It’s amazing how travel can inspire that moment of clarity for a young child where s/he understands a bit more about their world! That’s what happened to our son during a recent trip to Rome, Italy when he suddenly realized the technical contributions made by the Romans (and Greeks).

He was asked to keep a journal/scrapbook during the trip and when I asked him to read the journal aloud one day, he mentioned how “surprised (he was) that the foundation of technology that we use today came from the Romans and the Greeks”.

He specifically noted:

  • Architecture – the materials, such as concrete, and mathematics used to build Roman buildings, arches, roads and aqueducts helped to make the empire a strong one.
  • Sound Systems – seeing the amphitheaters of Pompeii and then (testing their acoustics) as we moved from one area of the stage to another was astonishing – “It was a better sound than a Bose system!”
  • Plumbing – the use of lead pipes, which were considered malleable and durable, were first introduced as part of the Baths system to encourage public hygiene and health and continued to be used through the 20th century.
  • Neon Lights – so that residents could safely walk the sidewalks of Pompeii at night, engineers used white-colored stones that reflected the moonlight.
  • Home Ventilation & Water Recycling Systems – the concept of having an opening in the roof of a home was so that there was proper air circulation and so that residents could collect rainwater for drinking, cooking and other household uses.

According to, the Romans produced advances in technology, culture, and architecture that remained unequaled for centuries. In addition to the above, they were the first to produce newspapers, public welfare programs, bounded books, the “Twelve Tables” based legal system and introduce battlefield surgery.

With a little bit of effort, any family trip including one closer to home in Costa Rica can be tied back to your child’s school curriculum, making the experience more meaningful for the entire family.  

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