You may remember, we were super lucky to make a trip to Rome over spring break — in fact we arrived in Rome on Easter Sunday! A busy day for the capital of Christianity. I’ve been meaning to write up a little report of our trip for 2 months now, and today’s the day, because there were 3 separate emails in my inbox this week asking for kids-in-Rome advice. : )
We LOVED our trip to Rome. I asked each of the kids to tell me their favorite parts of the trip and this is what they had to say…
Ralph’s favorite was visiting the Colosseum. He said that for him, it was the most iconic landmark in the city and that he wanted to film as much footage as he could while he was there because it was such a cool setting. I agree. It really is an amazing space to wander around. It’s this ancient space that you can be in, touch, and explore.
Maude’s favorite was renting bikes at Borghese Gardens. The “bikes” are made for groups and they’re sort-of motorized — you start pedaling and they help do some of the work. The park was spectacularly gorgeous while we were there. The trees were in blossom! We spent several hours of a sunny day at the park, climbing trees and pedaling around, and would have spent many more hours if we’d had them to spare.
Olive’s favorite was throwing coins in Trevi Fountain. Legend says that if you throw a coin in, you’ll return to Rome someday. There’s something very romantic about the legend that really captured my kids’ imaginations. We had them line up with their backs to the fountain, then they all threw in a coin at the same time. We ended up visiting the fountain 3 times during our trip. It’s a great place to sit still and enjoy a little picnic.
Oscar’s favorite was walking up the Spanish Steps and taking in the views of the city at the top. We bought long-stemmed roses from a street vendor at the bottom, and the kids gave out the roses to strangers as we climbed the steps. We told them to watch for anyone that looked like they’d enjoy a flower. We visited the steps in the late afternoon, and walked along the road at the top for a long time, just snapping pictures. The light was amazing, and Rome’s skyline is endlessly interesting to study.
Betty’s favorite was the food. Sometimes eating while traveling can be tricky for a 5 year old — they crave familiar tastes! But Italian food is easy for anyone to love. Betty ate spaghetti or lasagna or pizza at pretty much every stop and she was never disappointed. Rome has restaurants on every corner, so food was easy to find and we never had to wait for a table — more reasons why Betty has such fond memories of the food. My sister Jordan gave us 2 recommendations for family friendly restaurants and we loved them both!
1. Il Chianti Restaurant (Via del Lavatore 81 Rome, Italy). It is right next to Trevi fountain, doesn’t feel touristy and has the best fresh pasta and pizza.
2. Pictured above, Gusto Store + Restaurant (Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 9, Rome, Italy) It’s near the Spanish Steps. The home and kitchen goods store is fantastic. I bought a water bottle there that makes me happy every time I see it. The restaurant is gorgeous too — and we loved the food!
One little travel food tip: We have such a big group (there were 9 of us in Rome — our 6 kids plus niece Roxcy) that we would try to eat at off hours. Like a late lunch or an early dinner. Then we’d have the restaurant to ourselves and didn’t have to worry about taking up too much space.
June’s favorite was… who knows! I’ll say it was visiting the Sistene Chapel. The visit is a long process. In order to get to the chapel, you walk with your fellow ticket holders through the entire Vatican art collection. It can be tiring for little ones, but every one we encountered was so sweet and friendly and flirty with June that the time flew by.
Everyone’s very favorite was eating as much gelato as possible. We would stop for cones several times each day. Mimi found a flavor she loved on the first day (caramel) and stuck with it. But everyone else tried lots of new flavors. My favorites were black cherry, pistachio and crema (which is milk, I believe). Ben Blair’s favorites were yogurt, cantaloupe and salted caramel.
There are a million other things we loved. Getting to see Michaelangelo’s Moses. Spending time in the Maria Maggiore cathedral which was right by our hotel. Happening on a protest parade. Walking and shopping in Trastavere. Seeing Roman ruins (my personal favorite part). Just being there — walking on the cobbled streets and ancient tile floors. What a city!
What about you, have you ever been? What are your favorite things about Rome? Did you bring your kids? What did they especially love?
P.S. — One of the funniest images from our trip to Rome was the tiny red car at the top. You can’t see the logo in the shot, but it was a Ferrari! The little car on the cobblestone street captures my memory of the city perfectly.