Charming Italian Bikes

March 21, 2012

I took these bike photos when Ben Blair and I were in Florence and Pisa. What is it with Italy and charming bikes? : ) I’m hoping to add to my bike photo collection in Rome. Rome! We just bought tickets to Rome for the Easter Break!! In fact, we fly in on Easter Sunday. I wonder if the city will be absolutely nuts…

I’ve never been to Rome and can’t wait to make plans and packing lists. Have you been? Tell me everything! Where should we stay? eat? explore? We’ll have about 5 days. So excited!

P.S. — Have you heard of airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir? They just fly to and from European destinations and sometimes you can score crazy cheap tickets! Flying our whole family from Paris to Rome costs about as much as one ticket from the U.S. to Rome. Crazy!

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{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sandra March 21, 2012 at 10:04 am

I was in Rome for a 10 day conference a few years ago. The man came along and explored while I was in my sessions. It is an AMAZING city. Not too large – you can get your arms around it quite easily.

The food is incredible – we ate in a lot of neighbourhood restaurants and never had a bad meal. People are friendly and passionate and so so very stylish. The guy running the conference was in his late sixties and could STILL pull off bright green casual pants.

And your kids will love it too – very very family friendly. That’s one of the big differences that I notice in Europe in general compared to North America – you see ALL generations hanging out together and in restaurants and in public. It isn’t so stratified by age.

You MUST have deep fried zucchini flowers and also fruiti di bosco (new berries).

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2 Abby D March 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

My family and I were in Rome in April of 2009. We were a family of 3 back then with Cecilia being 3yo. We had 10 days in Italy and the majority was spent in Florence but we did a quick 2 day stop in Rome. Because we didn’t have much time, we opted to get a guide for the Vatican and St. Peter’s. My husband found a guide who was an American studying Italian Art and History and had been living in Rome for 7 years. He specialized in tours for families. It was the best decision EVER! There is so much to see in Rome that having someone to point out and tell us about the beautiful details inside the Vatican and St. Peter’s was priceless. We would have missed so much if we’d just stumbled through on our own. We ended up using him for our tour of Ancient Rome on the 2nd day, as well. And although some of his tactics were lost on Cecilia who was only 3, I could tell that he would have captivated older kids with his stories. He was so engaging but not overbearing at all. He let us go at our own pace even when that meant Cecilia just wanted to sit and play with some rocks. I wish I had his contact info to share with you but we have since changed PC’s a few times and lost it.

We threw several coins into (and Cecilia nearly jumped in) the Trevi Fountain so we know we’ll go back at some point. Can’t wait!

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3 Lori H March 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

I love the colors!

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4 Tania March 21, 2012 at 10:25 am

Isn’t turquoise the most beautiful colour on a bike? I almost want to paint mine turquoise now. :)

We have been to Italy for exactly one day (on the Lago Maggiore shore) and I have been wanting to go for a longer visit ever since. I wish you a great time in Rome, I just know you will have all sorts of adventures!

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5 Fashion for the Resf of Us March 21, 2012 at 10:40 am

If you are flying easyjet you need to bear in mind that they are luggage nazis, so one carry-on means exactly that — if you have a small suitcase and a handbag they will make you put the former inside the latter! Hope this helps!

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6 Christine March 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Yes I suffered the bag problem too be aware of that. I would use easy jet over Ryanair any day of the week. If you’re on Ryanair I recommend keeping your expectations LOW. I had good flight experience with Wizz Air, but timeliness is not their thing ;)

Just keep In mind they’re budget airlines and if they can charge you for something they will.

Have a wonderful trip to a beautiful city. I look forward to reading your tale!

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7 Design Mom March 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

We haven’t tried RyanAir yet, but Ben Blair and I used EasyJet when we flew to Florence. And yes! I laughed when I realized one carryon was really ONE carryon. : )

We’re using EasyJet for this trip too. I hope it won’t be too crazy! But I suppose traveling with our family is always a bit crazy.

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8 TennesseeCassie March 21, 2012 at 10:40 am

You must see all the touristy places: the Colloseum, Trevi Fountain, boca Della veritas, Vatican, Spanish steps (gorgeous at Easter!) My husband’s grandfather had a shoe shop in the Piazza d’Espagna many, many years ago!! He painted it from memory after all those years and now we have one of those paintings hanging in our bedroom as a beautiful reminder. I loved the Post Office inside Vatican City and sent postcards home from there. There are fun bookstores surrounding the walls of the city that had children’s coloring books that I will keep forever. Have fun! Rome is even more fun than Florence! (but maybe not as romantic)

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9 Cheryl Burchett March 21, 2012 at 10:41 am

Seeing those bikes made me want to share the ADORABLE vintage bike that my husband restored as my Christmas gift this year. I kept asking him to just buy a new one and he kept showing me this rusty old bike that had been his great aunt’s in the 1950′s. I am SO glad he didn’t listen to me! Here is a link to a blog post showing the before and after. http://lydiaburchett.blogspot.com/2012/01/merry-christmas-to-me.html

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10 allysha March 21, 2012 at 10:48 am

Book your rooms now, because the city will be nuts for sure! Especially with Easter Mass and everything. I LOVE Rome, though. Nuns and priests and pick pockets everywhere! I’m sure the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basillica will be insane, but they are great. Especially the Basillica. My favorite is Michaelangelo’s Moses. Don’t miss it. It is awesome, in the most classical sense of the word. Gosh, I’m jealous. Having lived in France I was used to living in an “old” place. But Rome? It’s ancient. Have a great time. Keep your purse close and your wallet hidden!

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11 Lady Mama March 21, 2012 at 10:59 am

I used to use those airlines a lot when I lived in London. Also I don’t know whether you’ve checked out lastminute.com – great for finding really good last minute deals on flights/mini-breaks around Europe. That’s the beauty of being there – so easy to get around and see lots of different places!

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12 amy March 21, 2012 at 11:15 am

Watch for the side costs with those airlines. I love them and they are a good deal but they charge for EVERYTHING!

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13 Julie March 21, 2012 at 11:20 am

Gotta love Easyjet!! We did Rome last year with our three kids – my best advice -book your tickets for the Vatican Museums / Sistine Chapel online now so that you can skip the queue – http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/index.html . As with anything, check if hiring a guide at an attraction will help you skip the queue (and there is always a queue!) We also did the Catacombs with the kids and it was really interesting (Catacombs of St. Domitilla or St. Callixtus) – also the kids loved the view from the top of St. Peters, it’s a big climb, but it’s worth it, and then you have a good excuse for another gelato!! Have a fabulous time!

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14 communikate March 21, 2012 at 11:21 am

I’d go back to Italy just for the gelato. As a backpacker there, my friend and I would save all of our “food” money for the day just to get multiple scoops of the stuff! Rome is an amazing city. You and your kids will both love it.

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15 Susan March 21, 2012 at 11:25 am

Roma!
I second the warning about pick-pockets especially when you ride the subway. And be wary of the gypsies, they usually work in pairs and sometimes one with a baby will distract you while the other one will pick your pocket.
Sites to see…for your first time you do need to do the main tourist sites…Colosseum, Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi, Vatican/Sistine Chapel, Spanish Steps, etc….hiring a guide is helpful and some sites do have audio tours. I was there over Christmas and we went across the street from the Colosseum to the Palatine Hill, it is where the emperors had their houses. It is super interesting and I learned so much.
There are a large number of places to eat, I’ve only ever eaten lunch there at a “tavola calda” (hot table) of which the city has many. These places have an assortment of food, anything from pizza to meat to pasta and are usually reasonably priced. One that I have heard of is Volpetti Piu but I am not sure where it is in the city. You can also go to any grocery store and buy food or pre-made sandwiches for a picnic in a nearby park (there is a Todi grocery store across from the Colosseum that faces a park and we had a great picnic there). Breakfast can be found in any “bar”, lots of breads and croissants, cappuccino, juice. Some bars also have sandwiches for lunch and gelato for an afternoon snack.
And you should visit at least one market, most neighborhoods have a market day where all sorts of vendors sell their wares, some are expensive for what you get but it is fun to look. I managed to get a beautiful bowl made of olive wood and it was $10 euros and a pretty coral bracelet for $5.
Have fun!

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16 Chris March 21, 2012 at 11:29 am

Definitely the Catacombs and a tour of the Churches…St. Paul Outside of The Walls, Mary Major, St. John Lateran, St. Peters (duh) and I cannot remember the name of the little chapel but I think it is kitty-corner from Mary Major…pilgrims walk up the stairs on their knees b/c they are the steps Jesus climbed when he was condemned to die.

Definitely pay for a reputable tour guide. You’ll get so much more out of it.

Have a wonderful time. Yes, it will be Ca-Razy for Holy Week/Easter. I know you aren’t Catholic, but you could get tickets for the Wednesday audience with the Pope. They are free.

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17 Susan March 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm

San Giovanni in Laterano

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18 Rachel March 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

check out this link to great things to do with a family in Rome!!
http://babyccinokids.com/blog/2012/03/16/weekend-getaway-rome/

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19 Flori Christensen March 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

We will be in Rome that same week!! (our first time too) I am thinking of signing up for a cooking class while he’s at his conference. The one at http://www.cookingclassesinrome.com seems to have amazing reviews. Maybe the chef would do a discount for your whole family?

Thanks to an earlier tip on your blog, we found an awesome apt. on AirBnB. I cannot wait! My husband has a beard and glasses and I have dark brown curly hair. We can be Roma twins. :) –My husband served with the elder Blairs in Latvia 95′

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20 Design Mom March 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm

High five to my Roma twin!

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21 Cathie March 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm

My dad and I went to Rome for his 65th birthday last fall. We took the cooking class you’re referring to! It was really fun, the chef was funny and personable and we enjoyed talking with other travelers and the food was delicious! You should take the class!

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22 Rebecca March 21, 2012 at 11:33 am

Ah, Rome! I lived there for a semester during college and since went back for a short trip a several years ago. It’s such a walkable city and there’s something wonderful to explore (church, piazza, place to eat, etc.) around every corner, so there’s no need to rely on taxis, busses, or the terrible metro system. A wonderful place to eat near Campo De Fiori is called Trattoria der Pallaro. It’s a restaurant without menus – you eat what they are making that night. We had a wonderful 4 course meal that tasted like my Italian grandmother’s cooking. It was also inexpensive – can’t remember the exact price, but it was around $40 total for my husband and I (4 courses, bottled water, and wine). Also, be sure to check out the market in Campo de Fiori (weekday mornings). Have a wonderful time and hope you fall in love with the city.

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23 Jill March 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

Never commented before…but we’re from Utah, living in Switzerland for a couple of years for my husband’s work…we’ve been here for 10 months and we’re loving all the traveling! (I use your tips and those from commenters whenever we go somewhere. It’s soooo great!) We’ll be in Normandy at the end of June. And guess what…we’re going to Rome too for Easter. And arriving on Easter Sunday as well. Meet you at the Vatican ;-) If you make it to Switzerland before you head home, we live in Central Switzerland (right in between Luzern and Zurich) and have lots of room – enough for everyone. You’re welcome to stay! I seriously think this is the most beautiful place in the world. Crazy expensive, but very beautiful. Ciao!

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24 Design Mom March 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Wow, Jill! What a generous offer. We are dying to get to Switzerland! We kept thinking we’d make it skiing and couldn’t pull it off. Hopefully we’ll make a trip there soon!

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25 Jill March 22, 2012 at 2:34 am

The summer is amazing! Interlaken, Luzern, Matterhorn, Rhine Falls Schaffhausen, close to Bavaria for a day trip, cheese and chocolate factories, Colmar, France for a day trip, Lake Como is only a 2 1/2 hour drive from my home. Anyway, we’ll be gone for some of the summer back to the states. And I’m serious about letting you stay here if you don’t mind our things in the closests and cupboards! ;-) Have a great time in Rome. It was funny, I read your sister’s blog too and we were in Barcelona on the same days as they were. I recognized her husband and little boy at La Boqueria getting fresh juices with us! The world really is so small.

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26 Cathy March 21, 2012 at 11:39 am

My husband was equally fascinated with the bikes in Pisa: http://markeclipse.com/Places/pages/places0-15.html

We were in Rome in 2004, pre kids, so I’m sure others can give you better info. But three words: Gelato, gelato, gelato.

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27 Carly March 21, 2012 at 11:50 am

Ah, Rome!

I spent a few days there while backpacking Europe in my college days. I loved wandering around the Roman Forum! Your kids will love it, I’m sure. When we were there, we downloaded walking tours by Rick Steves onto our ipods and used them for free self-guided tours (he has lots for different cities on his website). He had one for the Forum and one for the Colloseum, so we didn’t have to pay for the audio tours they provided. Very useful!

Also, I flew ryanair in Europe a couple times. My cheapest flight was 1 cent (plus taxes!)

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28 Gabrielle March 21, 2012 at 11:53 am

Love your site! Can’t help but comment on Rome… I love it. Been twice in the last few years with my husband, our mothers, and two young daughters.. It is a really fun city. I would recommend staying near Piazza Navona/the Pantheon if you can find a place… It’s right in the heart of things and makes it easy to walk everywhere. Our kids loved eating gelato on a horse carriage ride home after a long day of sight seeing. Sunset at the Spanish Steps is amazing. We really enjoyed the Castel Sant’Angelo- highly recommend it. There are great views of the Vatican and all of Rome from the top. Pantheon and Colusseum are obvious choices, but not to be missed. Have a great time!

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29 CarrieB March 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm

If you can hit the Pantheon when it’s raining, do it. It’s pretty cool to see a column of rain come through the hole in the roof.

The Trevi fountain after dark – and if you can go after 10 pm, there are often tourists and locals there singing, playing guitar – it’s fantastic. One of my favorite memories is joining in with a crowd of strangers on the chorus to O Sole Mio, sung by an elderly Italian man and lit by flickering reflections.

My main advice is that there is SO MUCH to see–don’t even try to see it all. My first trip to Rome (5 days) was miserable because my family tried to pack too much in, and I was hot, tired, and overwhelmed. I thought I hated Rome until I went back for a weekend as a quick trip during my study abroad in Florence, and discovered I loved it.

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30 Design Mom March 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Column of rain? Oh! I want to see that so bad!!

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31 Tina March 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I have a hate/love relationship with the cheap European airlines! Love the prices, but really hate the miserable service, the repeated cancelings, delays, and stressful boardings. Also really hate that they charge you for each suitcase and the strict on-board luggage regime. Make sure to bring your own food also, the food on board is terrible and really expencive!!!

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32 corrie March 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Love, love, loved Rome! And I wish there was a North American version of Easyjet. I made use of their services very often while living in Europe. So great to be able to jet off for the weekend to some wonderful city. One of the things I loved doing in Rome is visiting La Bocca della Verita at the Basilica of Sainta Maria in Cosmedin. Legend has it if you tell a lie while your hand is in the mouth your hand will be bitten off! Famous from the scene in Roman Holiday. I had no idea where it was so asked several shop keepers before we found the basilica. We had a lot of fun, and it was a pretty walk to the church! If you love old movies I also recommend watching Roman Holiday before you go to get you in the mood, you’ll see a lot of familiar sights when you do visit Rome!

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33 Vanessa March 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Speaking of great travel tips, are you familiar with airbnb? Rather than stay in a hotel, you can stay in a house or flat where ever you go. MUCH easier for traveling with kids!

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34 Design Mom March 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Yes! Used AirBnb for our trip to Barcelona and had a great experience. We are looking into their options for Rome. We’ll see what we find!

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35 Nadege March 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Rome for Easter, that’s by far the most crowded time but also absolutely wonderful., if you’re not italian it’ s a once in a life time experience, worth a little crowd!!!

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36 Design Mom March 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

“it’ s a once in a life time experience, worth a little crowd!!!”

That is what I was thinking too! I hope it will be great.

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37 J.Allen March 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Plan to go to Tazza D’Oro Coffee Shop everyday for a coffee granita!!! You won’t regret it! It’s a unique Rome experience.

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38 Aukse March 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

These bikes are so lovely! I would so love to have one of them. :)
Well, I’ve used the easyjet lines and loved them! They’re so cheap if you book your tickets like a month of a few before and the plane attendants are so much fun! I couldn’t help myself laughing all the time though I was so scared to fly for the first time ever. :)
I hope you’ll enjoy your trip!

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39 Stacey March 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

EasyJet and Ryanair have customer service standards to match their ticket prices, so they are a mixed blessing in my experience.

I spent Easter in Rome in 1996. It was crazy, especially as we were having an Easter dinner with some non-English speaking relatives of my friend way in the suburbs…and public transportation on Easter in Rome? Nonexistent. :)

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40 My Name is Jacy March 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm

It’s been 14 years since I’ve been… I’m dying to go back! ;)

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41 Catie March 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I used to live in Rome so there are SO MANY places I wish I could tell you about (but there’s definitely not enough room here!) So I’ll just stick to this:

Best Gelato: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187791-d1140866-r32730353-Gelateria_del_Teatro-Rome_Lazio.html
Best Open Market for fresh cheese, salami and a quick snack: Campo di’Fiori
Best Market for books and old maps: http://mdt.mydaytrip.com/locations/view/935

Don’t forget to ‘stamp your ticket’ when you get on the bus… I don’t know if this is common in France but I’ve seen it trip up a lot of tourists in Rome. Also, this might be too late, but contact the US Council of American Bishops and see if they have any tickets left for holy week masses with the pope (you don’t have to be Catholic, and it’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience, even if you aren’t — and they’re free). At the very least, the pope comes to his office window at noon on Sundays and waves to the crowd.

I’m so jealous! I wish I could go back with you guys!

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42 Catie March 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Okay just one more :)

Best hot chocolate: http://www.foodandwine.com/restaurants/caffe-doria
(It comes in this HUGE mug and essentially is like liquid melted chocolate!)

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43 Design Mom March 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Sounds divine!

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44 kalleyn March 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I have been to Rome three times, You should check out my blog and follow the link to Italy on the sidebar. We went to the best little bistro. The food was amazing, but if you didn’t know about it you would never find it. It was recommended to us by some friends who live there. C. Osteria Pizzeria located on (Via Dei Genovesi 37 00153 Rome, Italy). Don’t be confused by the word Pizzeria in their name because they make way more than pizza and everything I tasted was amazing!

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45 Tiffany March 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Amen to the pick pockets, gypsies in pairs and a good tour guide. When I was in Rome I had a bonehead tour guide that was all on his ego about what he knew……….

I would also suggest you find out when the festivities are etc. and plan accordingly. It. will. be. CRAZY. As has been stated before. When we went to the Vatican, we unknowingly booked the tickets for the same day the pope was to address the people in the square. When he left, they pushed EVERYONE who was in the museum where we were: the Sistine Chapel. Then wouldn’t let anyone out until he was gone. Not complaining about the extra time in the chapel- just the extra crowds.

oh- how jealous am I! I would love, LOVE to go back. Hopefully next year for the LDS temple dedication!

best wishes- have a glorious time!

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46 Tan March 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Love love love!!!!

When I lived in Japan I was SO sad to leave behind my lovely bike with a little basket. They’ve always been popular there but only the last few here’s in North America. They’re just so adorable aren’t they?
*sigh* Oh my old bike

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47 Sherri March 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Rome is nuts all year round – but great. Agree with not trying to see it all at once. I will be crowded at Easter – especially the Vatican, etc. Can you book dinner or anything ahead of time (and on that note – because I am Italian American – can say to eat what they recommend – they are very proud of their food and helping you appreciate it :)? Also – hate to say it – but truly watch the gypsies. If you don’t know what to look for, you may not see them coming – usually young girls and the one with which you are interacting is not the one to beware – it will be the one you don’t see.

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48 Design Mom March 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Ben Blair is always so good about asking the server to recommend something. He loves to try the dish they’re most proud of.

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49 Alice March 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

As I live in the UK and have family in Spain, I fly with easyJet all the time. Avoid Ryanair, it’s no-frills taken to the extreme and you’re bombarded with adverts and treated like cattle. EasyJet is just cheap – no food included (take your own, the in-flight food on offer is rather overpriced), and ridiculous amounts od money paid in extras if you want to check in luggage or pay with anything other Visa Electron.
I have flown Ryanair and never again. They add so many extras to the prices of their tickets easyJet look like Mother Theresa in comparison.

And another piece of advice about Rome: pickpockets!!! They’re everywhere, especially on buses and if you’re American. A bit like Barcelona I guess (I’m original from Barcelona so I can say it – it’s shameful!). But whatever you do, do NOT miss the Pantheon, my jaw dropped!

Sorry for the long comment, I just thought this time I could actually contribute! :)

PS I love those bikes, been trailing ebay for one for ages, but I thought they were called ‘Dutch bikes’, at least here in the UK…

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50 Christine March 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Search eBay for ‘town bike’. Pashley make this style as does Raleigh (I have a Raleigh, Pashley are beautiful but out of my price range!)

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51 Lesley March 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm

My husband and I went to Rome for our honeymoon in October and he was on a quest to find “the best pizza in Rome”. According to our Top 10 Rome book (which I highly recommend – great tips, and a very easy to read pull out map) Pizzeria da Baffetto was it. We waited on line for about 40 minutes (which at the time i thought was crazy- there is a pizza place on every corner in Rom) but it was THE BEST PIZZA WE HAVE EVER HAD. So much so that instead of ordering desert, we order another pie! 3 pies b/t 2 people :) And thats coming from native New Yorker’s who know their pizza!
http://www.pizzeriabaffetto.it/
http://www.amazon.com/Eyewitness-Top-10-Travel-Guides/dp/0789484374

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52 Design Mom March 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Oh my goodness! These comments and suggestions and getting me even more psyched for our trip!! Thank you, thank you, thank you. And please, keep them coming. : )

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53 Alexandra March 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Hi Gaby,
I am Romanian native and resident in Italy/Verona since 1999. So, my suggestions would be: hotel Siena (www.sienahotelrome.com) which is very near to the main atractions in Rome. We have booked it through Venere.it and we got a special rate. The rooms are not very big (or at least not ours) but the good thing is that it is almost walk distance to Foro Imperiale, Trevi Fountain, Vatican (we never took the public transportation while in Rome) and we were pushing one stroller. Another nice hotel would be Hotel Modigliani (www.hotelmodigliani.com/index_it.htm). For eating I would recommend 1. “Trattoria Lo Scopettaro” (www.ristoranteloscopettaro.com)-lots of good food-and I would order “la carbonara” the best I ever had, 2. Settimio (no website but is in Via delle Colonnelle 14, tel 06 6789651-close to the Pantheon).
As for what to see, Rome is an open air museum so I would just walk on the streets (minding though the scooters that run everywhere). And indeed Easter is the period when most people travel and Rome will be packed with tourists (both Italian and foreigners).
Buona Pasqua and enjoy Rome
Alexandra

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54 Allyson March 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I rode a bike just like those ones for 6 out of my 18 months in Italy. What I wouldn’t have given to have it shipped back to the States! I still miss it! And I second a visit to the post office in the Vatican Museum! I wrote postcards to all of my family members while waiting in line to get into the museum and mailed them all out once I got to the post office. I also loved going to Villa Borghese…there are some beautiful gardens and fountains with places to run around or relax. Rome is so beautiful!

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55 Vera March 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Besides all the famous sites, my greatest experiences were: strolling around Trastevere (great small restaurants), getting lost at night and the Protestant Cemetery (Shelley and Keats are buried there). It may sound odd, but I’m definitely going to visit the cemetery again (even with my kids), if we ever go back, it is beautiful, time stands still there.

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56 anita March 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm

My daughter’s AP European History school group just got back and they loved staying at a monastery right by the Colosseum: Congregazione Camaldolese Dell’ordine di san Benedetto. Have fun!

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57 Molly Winn March 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Love me some Ryan Air!! Rome is amazing of course, but you absolutely can’t leave until you try the Nutella Gelato. :) To.die.for. Have fun!

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58 artsdevivre March 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Whatever you do DON’T MISS sapore di mare for dinner, located right near the pantheon. it must be the only restaurant in the area that isn’t touristy. don’t be fooled by its hole in the wall facade. best lobster i ever ate!

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59 Rosa March 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

What a joy to find you and your blog. All kinds of yumminess here! Cheers!

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60 Zoe - SlowMama March 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Rome! So jealous. I loved Rome. My best meals were at tiny, family-run places… and the best chianti. I would suggest a Scavi tour (the catacombs under St. Peter’s) but it may be hard to arrange it during Easter week. Still, such a special time to be there! Can’t wait to read your reports.

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61 Linda@Many Things to Do March 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Wow Rome for Easter that sounds amazing hope you have a great time, love the bike photos.

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62 Ann March 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Love the bike photos!!!

I had about the shortest stay in Rome you could have. Flew there from Milan and drove to Pescara for business – from the car window it looked amazing!!!

Have a great time!

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63 Heidi March 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm

I found that if you yell out (in English) “We’re getting robbed!” then for some reason the gypsies look all offended and go away. (worked twice!) Both times it was the newspaper in the face, but maybe techniques have evolved since my visit.

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64 Vera March 22, 2012 at 1:48 am

Please don’t talk about “gypsies” this way. It’s not a group that merely consists of petty criminals (I had gipsy classmates at the most prestigious university of Hungary), even if you have different experiences while staying in Rome. I find this very-very disturbing. I’m sure that you didn’t mean any harm, but you have to understand that in Europe, this is one of the minority groups that face the most hostile prejudice. The first step to change this is to watch our words. :)
Still, if you visit Rome (or any bigger European city), you really have to be careful, keep your purse close, watch your camera etc. Ah, Rome! I’m so envious right now! :))

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65 Suzanne March 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Climb to the top of the Vatican! It is well worth it. I had to drag my fellow classmates there since they weren’t Catholic, but it was the highlight of the trip for them as well. The building and view from the top was amazing.

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66 Kellie March 22, 2012 at 1:35 am

Yes, I used those airlines a lot back in the day! Oh, now I want to come to Rome too! Have a wonderful time, can’t wait to hear all about it!

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67 Cath March 22, 2012 at 2:53 am

I have been to Rome lots of times (and yes, I have been pickpocketed on the bus too – whilst talking about how not to get pickpocketed – let’s just say they are very skilled!). I am ashamed to say I haven’t been since my children were born though – and we only live 2 hours away by train! I hope you have a lovely time and look forward to picking up some tips when you get back.

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68 Marnie March 22, 2012 at 3:19 am

Hi! My husband and I were there Spring 2010 and we had a great time, we found out the place where locals eat is Trastevere, really great restaurants. Avoid tourist menus and go for the places that don’t advertise. Try pasta cacio di pepe and you’ll be in heaven! Have fun

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69 Béa March 22, 2012 at 3:38 am

http://www.giolitti.it/english/home.html
and Roman ruins in Ostie (closer than Pompei and hopefully less crowded than Rome)

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70 Sharon @ Discoveringblog March 22, 2012 at 5:11 am

I read an article years ago that has since made me fantasize about going to Rome for Christmas, and waking up to the church bells ringing.
Have fun!!!!

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71 Barbara Wendell March 22, 2012 at 6:22 am

It will be crazy! The crowds in Centro Storico were huge last April when I was there. I’m afraid you might be missing Italian Culture week, April 14-22, when all the government owned museums are free, including the Borghese. If you miss it, the churches are veritable art museums.
We stayed at an apt. in Testaccio, where there is a permanent market. We used buses and trams to get around.
Go to the Janiculum Hill (Gianocolo) for a birdseye view of the city. There are lots of grassy areas for the children to run around and a merry-go-round.
I’m off to work, but will give you a couple of other must do’s later.
Buon Viaggio.

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72 julie March 22, 2012 at 8:06 am

i’ve flown easyjet several times and had great experiences with them. haven’t tried ryanair but have heard a few negative things in terms of cancellation and disorganization.

one of my favorite museums ever is in rome — the borghese gallery. stunning, stunning sculptures by bernini!

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73 Stephanie March 22, 2012 at 9:55 am

I don’t think I can add much to these wonderful comments, but I myself study abroad for a semester in Rome oh so long ago and fell in love with the city. As mentioned in one of the comments, Trastevere is a great neighborhood to walk around & eat in (it’s kind of like Manhattan’s West Village vibe). But I think one of the most important things you can do is talk to the natives – Italians are oh so friendly and warm, even just asking for directions will easily become a way to start a chat with them.

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74 Barbara Wendell March 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm

The Capitoline Museum, which is near the Colosseum, is wonderful, and down the paved hill between the two wings is the Forum Overlook. There is an ancient chariot and huge body parts from the colossus statue of Constantine, which the kids will like, several Caravaggio’s, among all the other paintings and sculpture. We ate at La Taverna dei Fiori Imperiale.
Explore all the tiny streets in Trastevere and see Sta. Maria there. We enjoyed a 4 course al fresco lunch for 10 euros at Trattoria La Scaleta.
Go to Campo di Fiori, the Pza Navona. We enjoyed another delicious lunch al fresco at La Tavernetta 48 deglis Spagnoli.
I could go on and on. A Streetwise map is handy, as is Eyewitness Top Ten Rome. Enjoy!

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75 Barbara Wendell March 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm

P.S. Renting an apt. in Trastevere or Testaccio allows you to see what it’s like to live like a Roman rather than a tourist and to retreat from the crowds. We stayed one block from the grocery, four doors from the gelateria and then across the street to the pasticceria.

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76 becki March 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I love Rome! Have a wonderful time.

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77 Lindsey March 23, 2012 at 7:43 am

All the food in Rome is fantastic, so there will be no shortage of good restaurant options. Keep en eye out for fried zucchini blossoms – fiori di zucca fritti – on the menu, they are divine. The best cappuccino/espresso you will find is at Sant’ Eustachio. Rumor has it that they still use water from an ancient aqueduct. Counter service is much cheaper then sitting down for coffee (you will find this to be true in all caffes)! The Trevi fountain at night is beautiful. The view from the top of the Vatican dome, breathtaking. And there will be no shortage of delicious gelato. Plan to do major attractions (Vatican, Coliseum…) early and get in the queues before opening times and spend the afternoons picnicking and enjoying gelato.

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78 f March 23, 2012 at 8:56 am

Wow – I’d love to go to Rome!!
Choose EasyJet over Ryanair if possible … and in both cases don’t expect too much, you get what you pay for!!
Be very careful not to exceed their luggage restrictions as they are not forgiving and it costs a fortune if you have to pay for excess luggage or if your hand luggage is too big and has to go in the hold.
Have a fantastic trip!!

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79 Cecilia March 26, 2012 at 9:49 am

Carciofi alla giudia in the Jewish quarter are to die for. They will be coming into season now. It’s a flattened fried artichoke—delicious. And then have the traditional pasta, cacio e pepe afterwards.

Rent four-person bikes or go-carts (just remember to bring an ID to leave with the rental guy) to tour the Borghese Gardens. Really fun and gets you out of the hubbub of the city for a few hours and into some lovely green space.

I’m envious!!

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80 bdaiss March 26, 2012 at 10:31 am

I can’t wait to cull your comments for all the great suggestions!

One “off the beaten path” bit we loved was a walk we found via Rick Steeves that takes you up to the square of the Knights of Malta. It’s private and the gates are locked, but if you peer through the keyhole you get a pretty awesome view. (I’ll dig up the details and email them to you. There were some other cool stops along the way.)

I’ve heard the “Rome underground” tour is pretty amazing, but not sure how appropriate it would be for all ages. And finally, I’m sure schedules will be crazy with Easter weekend, but if you’re planning on visiting the Vatican, bear in mind the last admission time is typically one hour before the closing time. We almost missed the Sistine Chapel because of that! (Actually, we did miss it. But since we were coming back, we rearranged our plans a bit to make sure we hit it on the second go. If I had gone all the way to Italy and missed the Sistine I would have died.)

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81 Nina March 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I’ve lived there for five years, and sure I miss the colors, odors, flavors… so here’s my insider tips

make sure you visit San Clemente – all of the layers, down to the mitreum and subterranean river – it’s quite close to the Colosseo

for a quick, rewarding snack:
- ‘pizza al taglio’ (on the go) in the area of Campo de’ Fiori
- a fab bakery in via Merulana, also not far from the Colosseum

a must-drink-espresso-with-a-secret: Sant’Eustachio (near the Pantheon)

and it’s worth going on a treasure hunt to see the bunch of Caravaggios scattered in a few churches around Piazza Navona

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