Now that you heard my tips on traveling with kids to Rome, here are some of the highlights from our time in Rome with a nine-year old. As I said in my prior post, aside from the walking and crowds (not horrible, after all I live by Disney now and I am from New York) the Colosseum was amazing.
Just absolutely increbile to think we actually stood where Roman emperors stood. Our tour not only included the Coliseum but also Palentine Hill.
What a great history lesson both these tours offered. To note, the tours we took provided pick up at your hotel, but you were on your own getting back to your hotel. Some people were surprised by this, forturnately our travel agent, a/k/a my sister, informed us of this so we were prepared. Fortunately our hotel, Hotel Lyrica, was centrally located so we didn’t have too much trouble finding our way back. After the Colosseum we went ventured out on our own to see the Tiber River, a specific request from from mythology loving child, and crossed over into a little town of Trastevere. I was excited to see this town of narrow streets and old world town, however, they did not seem overly “tourist” friendly. Actually one restaurant had a comment that they did not offer Tourist Menu. We all felt this was not a very friendly area, other than when we found the city center. Kids were playing around this area and Lightning joined right in; we left right after there and opted for dinner elsewhere.
Of interest, in speaking to some locals, some of the “not so friendly atmosphere” could stem from a new law that was passed. According to some locals that business owners must have at least one English speaking person working in the store at all times, additionally tourists are exempt from the 11% sales tax if they spend over $155.00 euros (residents are not). As a tourist I think that’s a great perk, but as a citizen I might be a little annoyed with these laws.
Despite that one small not so friendly area we meet many friendly Italians, English, Australians, Europeans, Filipinos and Americans on this trip. Our last night in Rome we had dinner with a lovely couple from England, Mike and Sarah. I say had dinner with because the tables in some of the restaurants are so close you feel like you are sitting together; we thoroughly enjoyed their company. Lighting said they reminded her of the couple that lived next door to Dennis the Menace (a/k/a, The Wilson’s); the guy was so funny and Lightning felt like the wife would make her cookies. We spoke with them all through dinner.
We ventured off on our own before we left Rome to see the Appian Way, the Pantheon, Boca de Veritas, Caracalla Baths, Fountain of Trevi, Catacombs and Church of Domine Quo Vadis. We were fortunate on one of our bus trips to meet a man from the Philippines living in Italy. He saw us looking at Lightning’s book about Rome. He engaged us in conversation and pointed out several spots as we were riding on the bus. We saw the Baths of Caracalla on the bus ride, yet none of us opted to get off (we were exhausted). He pointed out Boca de Vertias but as it was getting a little late and we really wanted to see the Appian Way, the Church and the Catacombs we decided we would do that on the way back. The bus driver dropped us off right outside of the church. We went there mainly to see Domino quo Vadis Church, where Jesus spoke to St. Peter, little did I know there is a cast of the footprints of Jesus in the church from the Appian Way. We were able to visit this very small church and have the whole church to ourself. I am baffled this is not more of a visited site. I thought it was pretty amazing to stand in the spot where Jesus appeared to St. Peter. This is right near the Appian Way. Our intentions were to rent bikes and ride around the area, there is actually some of the original Appian Way still in existence there, however, it was close to 5:00 PM and unbeknownst to us the Appian Way closed at 5 PM.
There is so much to see in Rome it is amazing. To think of living there and surrounded by so many historical sites is jus unfathomable to me, however I have to assume it is similar to my living in NY and never being to the top of the Empire State Building.
The Vatican was next on our agenda. We you arrive in Vatican City you will see this is one place you want to take a tour, however, you don’t have tons of time to linger as your tour moves fairly quickly because there is so much to see. The tour started with the Vatican Museums…there is so much artwork. I could have stayed there for months making my way through the museums, but then you enter the Sistine Chapel and realize you are standing in the same room as Michelangelo did and you are looking at what may be the most amazing work of art you ever see. The room was very crowded, but they keep it very quiet as your are in a chapel. To say this room was incredible would not do it justice (no pictures are allowed). We ended our tour in the Basilica. We studied La Pieta and it was awe-inspiring for me to stand in front of La Pieta – it was more beautiful and grandiose than I could have ever imagined. The artwork in the Basilica is amazing, I can’t even imagine going to church there weekly. How incredible would that be?
After we left Vatican City we went looking for Borghesse Park, the Heart of Rome. This was a lovely park and a great place to take kids for just some fun running around time; Lightning really needed some at this point. There is a playground and a children’s theater that played a movie at 4 PM (we did not stay that late). If we had more time I would have loved to have rented bikes and rode around this rather immense park.
Our final stop was Boca de Veritas. We also arrived late here, however I don’t think it mattered much as we could still see Boca de Veritas. Supposedly if you stick your hand in the mouth it will be taken if you lie. Although the gates were closed to walk in there, you could clearly see it and the rope which you had to stand behind – my husband and I both said we couldn’t reach our hand in from behind the rope. No clue if they let you do that or not, but it was a fun spot to stop. We did find out that it is actually a sewer cover from one of the locals.
Next we headed for dinner to a recommended restaurant but once we got there we realized it was pizza only and having had pizza so much already, Lighting and I were ready for some pasta. We found an amazing restaurant around the corner and I had awesome Spinach Ravioli, but the highlight was the Tiramasu; we had to order two it was so good. I will dream about that Tiramasu. This is the same restaraunt I mentioned above where we had dinner with that lovely couple from England.