“Honestly, this day is still my absolute favorite from our entire trip!”
It all begins with a letter.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Los Angeles, CA
I wanted to share these documents with you before you go to Rome.
As you may or may not know, I lived there as a kid from ages eleven to sixteen. One of the things they don’t tell you when you move to Rome is that the plumbing is as ancient as the ruins millions go to visit every year. They invented the aqueduct, but they haven’t updated it since. So you can have really nice apartments with barely functioning toilets.
Sometimes, a sewage pipe would get clogged so that every drain in our apartment would get backed up. On those occasions, it wasn’t enough to plunge one drain, but you had to block every drain (and overflow hole) to actually get some suction going. Both my parents and all four of the kids would have to hold wet rags over the drains while my grandfather plunged the slowest sink.
My grandparents eventually moved back to the US, and, as the oldest son and next handiest family member, some of the simpler plumbing duties fell to me. It was during one of these tasks that I discovered the treasure I am enclosing with this letter.
As you will see, some of the older European toilets have elevated water tanks (the gravity causes the toilets to flush with greater strength—I’ll spare you the why), so when the little chain that handles the flushing mechanism came undone, it was up to Pablo to get the ladder, go up there and fix it. And while I was blindly feeling around for the chain, my hands came upon an unexpected parcel wedged between the tank and the crumbling wall.
I opened the package and discovered the enclosed yellowed documents. They seemed valuable, so I threw them in a suitcase, but then I forgot about them. They’ve moved with me many times, but it wasn’t until I discovered them this year that I opened and read them.
Obviously, I’m not sending you the originals because they are delicate. But I have painstakingly transcribed (as best I could—some of the handwriting is smeared, faded or illegible) all of the content.
My advice is to read The Letters and The Diary on the plane. Then, on the day, go to Piazza Venezia and the monument to Vittorio Emanuele and follow The Clues. There are Appendices at the back to help you along (there’s even a cheat sheet near the back in case something’s closed—it happens).
I hope you find retracing their steps enjoyable.
“A wonderful blend of mystery, romance and adventure that you literally get to be a part of!”
Is this a guide book?
Nope. If you’re into a complete, encyclopedic listing of all the places to visit in Rome, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
What is it then?
This is something unlike you’ve ever seen before. It’s a novella. A story. A mystery. A game. A hunt. A tour. An adventure… Set in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
How do I use it?
First, you read the story (say, on the plane). When you get there, follow the clues and walk through the city.
I’m not really good at this sort of thing. What if I get lost?
Don’t worry so much!
First of all, there’s a cheat sheet. So you can always get back on track. But more importantly… getting lost is the best way to truly discover a city. Talk to strangers! Ask for help! (also, Rome is extremely safe).
Will there be a digital version?
I know… you’re a modern day nomad and it is so convenient to have everything on a digital device. But this isn’t that kind of experience. When you’re on an adventure, you don’t want the constant interruption of all those work emails and facebook posts distracting you.
When you’re on a real journey, you’ll want to be holding a Real. Paper. Book.
It doesn’t run out of battery, or break, or have roaming fees. It’s a small book… you just stuff it in your back pocket.
Will there be others?
With the incredible response we’ve been getting… YES!