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Buon Giorno from Roma!

Matt Lauer and the “Today” show team bring you the first-ever live broadcast from the floor of the Colosseum in Rome.
/ Source: TODAY

Day Four brings me to the beautiful country of Italy — a return to one of last year’s countries (we visited Venice then) but a first for us in the ancient Colosseum, an amazing structure with an amazing history. In fact, it is a first not only for us, but for any live American broadcast — no one has ever been allowed to bring cameras to the floor of the Colosseum for a live program. In fact, tourists are not even allowed to walk the floor — we were given special permission for this trip.

TODAY’S TRAVEL update — our trip off the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt was one that I will not soon forget. We were put into a Cod Plane, which is half used for passengers, half for cargo, and (literally) launched off the end of the flight deck, headed for Crete. The catapult they use to build the speed for the planes taking off is an incredible device, able to “fling” the planes off the edge, allowing for the runway distance to be very short — as there is little room on the deck. From Crete we flew a relatively short flight to Rome — a welcome relief after the amount of time we had spent in the air prior to our trip here. Exhaustion had truly set in by the time we arrived, so it was off to bed right away.

We woke up on Thursday morning to sunny skies in Rome, and spent most of the day preparing for the show. I am really impressed with this beautiful city — I would have loved to have had a bit more time to look around and explore the history and culture. I enjoyed my interview with Rome’s mayor, Francesco Rutelli, as well as my very informative talks and tours with local historian, Nancy di Concillis. Being in the Colosseum, one gets a feeling of incredible awe standing amidst those ancient bricks and stones. In fact, it is not hard to throw your mind back two thousand years.

As I walked down the brick corridors and looked at the incredible stonework and engineering, it was hard to forget that I was standing in the very spot that the ancient Romans also stood. As you walk through the Colosseum, your concentration can be interrupted by sounds of everyday Roman traffic — police sirens, mopeds, honking horns. It is very strange to balance both worlds in your mind. And last, I would be remiss in not mentioning the huge buffet of traditional Italian cuisine that was prepared for us by two local chefs. While many of us think of pasta as the quintessential Italian meal, this was instead a look at what the ancient Romans ate — everything from quail and rabbit to fine cheeses and wine. We asked to have it all wrapped up as (once again) we headed for the plane right as the show ended.

Destination five will surely be a great one — but I must say, we have a lot of travelling to do to make it on time. So I’m off...

Where in the world will I greet you from tomorrow? Just wait and see…..