Rome DAY 1
Leaving Pisa, I was so excited! We were now heading to Rome! ROME!! Man I couldn’t wait! The drive was about two hours from Pisa, so easily do-able. We get to our hotel in great timing. We go to check in, ring the doorbell, and nothing. Alright, so we are ten minutes early, so wait a little. Ten minutes, fifteen minutes, twenty minutes pass. Phone numbers don’t work, e-mail doesn’t work, and at this point, I am angry.
Finally, after contacting and contacting, someone said they would show up in twenty minutes. There was a McDonalds at the corner of our street so we decided to eat lunch and wait. Not really the type of lunch you want to be eating in Rome, but we were too hungry to really care at this point! Finally the man showed up, and everything just got worse. Our beautiful looking apartment online turned out to be two rooms with a bathroom in between, and a hallway to other rooms! Man was I mad! The only thing that made it better was when the man put up a barrier between our three rooms and the rest, which made it a LITTLE more private… Let’s just say I was not happy! Good thing when we travel we don’t spend much time in our hotels and a lot of time touristy..
We got settled as quickly as we could, and headed out. I needed to head to something quickly to redeem this part of the trip – we lost about three hours on this hotel crap…
Phone GPS put on, and we decided to walk to thirty minutes to The Vatican (closest place to our hotel walking distance). We were staying up on a hill away from it, so literally as you are walking, at least twenty minutes away, you can see the top of Saint Peter’s Basilica – that was quite awesome! Twenty minutes, and a couple of wrong turns later (we went up about 50 stairs on the wrong side, so had to go back down, and back up on the right side…) we arrived! It was amazing to be there! To be BACK there! To look around brought back such amazing memories! My family was here in 2000, so it had been quite some time. I was young, so I didn’t remember the same way as I would after today! The lineup to get inside Saint Peter’s was absolutely ridiculous. There was no way we were waiting at least two hours just to get inside. Would it have been worth it – yes I’m sure – but still wasn’t going to happen. Because so many people were in line to go inside, there were not as many people walking around the square, so that at least was a little easier to enjoy.
Biggest disappointment though, is it was Easter Monday – Easter Sunday mass was the day before, and all the seats were still set up and barricaded off. I wouldn’t have expected them to be moved that quickly, I just forgot about the date momentarily.
We walked around the area a little bit, and decided to head towards Castel Sant’Angelo. Once you cross the street, you turn around, and see how beautiful The Vatican looks from a distance. Absolutely incredible!
From Castel Sant’Angelo we decided just to walk. It was a long walk, but we got to the Spanish Steps. There were too many people to even think about walking up the steps, but we were happy with looking. wekept walking the small streets, on the way buying Hop On Hop Off bus tickets for the next day. We still had a lot to see, and one full day left, so the Hop On would be best to let us see it all.
Last stop of the night before supper, was the Trevi Fountain. I told the kids before coming about the Trevi Fountain. They would each get a coin to throw in, which was very exciting. I explained to them, that by throwing the coin in the fountain, it meant that some day in their lives they would come back to Rome. I told them when I was in Italy in 2000, I threw a coin in, and now here I was back again! It’s a magic fountain!!
The excitement over a fountain for three young boys is incredible! They were trying so hard to get to the front, but the people around made it so hard. After probably five minutes of pushing by, we made it up front! We couldn’t stay for long, as we were also getting pushed out of the way, but just being there was amazing. I would have loved to be able to sit on the steps and enjoy it for a few minutes, but that just wasn’t the case today… We threw our coins in, and off we went.
A friend of mine was in Rome with her family at the same time as us. We decided to meet up at the Hard Rock Cafe for a well deserved supper. We live an hour from each other in Germany, and of course it takes being in ROME to meet for supper right?!?! 😉 It was delicious, and great company made it even better!
Hotel time to sleep, and start on our next day!! May not sound like we did a lot today, but we walked a ton, and were seriously exhausted!!
Rome DAY 2
We left the next morning as soon as we could! It was raining, so we took the metro to The Vatican (where we needed to get the Hop On Hop Off from). Once we got on the bus, the rain stopped which was excellent. Definitely would help our day.
We decided only to get off where we really wanted to. When we were in Paris, we did the entire route once, then got off on the second time around. It let us literally see everything, and only DO what we wanted. Concidering we actually wanted to do stuff and visit things in Rome, we weren’t going to have time for that now…
First stop = The Colosseum. Now who can go wrong with seeing the Colosseum?!?! Incredible!!! I’d already seen it, but felt like I was seeing it again through my kids eyes. We explained that this is where Gladiators used to fight – was a big hit for the kids. They said they were sad though that people got hurt. We could have bought our tickets online before getting there, but just in case we wouldn’t make it, I didn’t want to waste the money, so we bought them when we got there. Still Easter timeframe so the line was a little long, but it still only took about thirty minutes to get to the front. The three kids were free, and adult cost was 12€.
Getting into the ampitheatre area was simple – after a bathroom break. The woman’s line was so long there were women lining up for the men’s – it was crazy. Would have taken longer getting into the bathroom than getting tickets! I kind of knew what to expect – but even then, it was better than expected! Even though there were so many people in line earlier, the entire area is so wipespread, we didn’t feel squished or crowded. It took about an hour for us to walk around the entire Colosseum. Sure it doesn’t sound like long for he 12€ fee, but you really can’t pay to be standing where we were! The history of this place… 12€ was 100% worth the cost to be standing here!
We explained to the kids where the fighting happened. We showed the kids were people sat and watched. We explained how some people fought other people, and how some fought against animals like tigers and lions – sometimes even bears and crocodiles! They really liked being here – and some of my very minor history skills came out in explaining. I love being able to teach my kids something so significant in our history!
By now, we were starving. Even though we knew restaurants were always most expensive near the attractions, we couldn’t wait to find some place else. It was after two o’clock, and we had yet to eat anything all day. We found this cute little restaurant up the hill which wasn’t too crowded. Turns out, the prices were amazing!! For all five of us, with drinks, was 40€ – including half of liter of wine! Two kids ordered pizza, one spaghetti (twins wanted to share pizza and spaghetti), hubby had lasagna, and myself, gnocci with pesto sauce. The waiters kept bringing bread for free (I double checked the cheque – it was free!). We were all so hungry, we had no leftovers whatsoever. My oldest even ate his entire pizza alone! To this day (five months later) he still says “remember that time in Italy I ate the whole pizza to myself!”. Oh do I ever!!!
Once satisfied, we headed towards the Roman Forum. It was included in the Colosseum ticket. The entire area of the Forum is just over 10 acres – huge! It could take you a day just to walk around here! There are so many different ruins to see. After about an hour, we decided to head back to the Hop On bus. There was so much to see, but after a while, it all started to look the same. To be completely honest, we were getting bored.. The best part was The Temple of Caesar. It was also starting to rain, and the way the clouds looked, I didn’t want to get stuck in a storm…
We left at the perfect time, because about twenty seconds after we got on our bus, it wasn’t just raining, there was a full-on thunderstorm! Check out the picture below to see how bad the clouds were!
The rain died down around the Trevi Fountain, so we decided to go back and see if the crowds from the night before had gone down. The answer – was no! We went back to the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier with the sun, and it was absolutely incredible to see. The artichture was amazing! The kids said they loved seeing how pretty the white building was.
From here, we had one more stop to make to make our trip complete – The Pantheon. It used to be a Roman Temple; now being used as a church. We didn’t go inside (I’m not even sure if you can…) but admiring from afar was good. We stood around the fountain and people watched; listened to street musicians playing songs. Felt very Italian to be standing there. From here, our list of things to see in Rome was completed.
On the way back, we saw a spray paint artist making Rome photos – kids were abslutely mesmerized. The pictures he made were just amazing! We even have one now hanging in our living room – for five euros, you couldn’t go wrong!
So after a day and a half in Rome, our stint here was done. Were we happy with what we did and saw? Yes, for the most part. We would like to go back – but mainly to go into St-Peter’s Basilica, and into the Sistine Chapel – one day max!
In all total, truthful honesty, Rome was not what it is hyped up to be. Beautiful? Of course! Fun? Definitely! But not exactly what we were thinking. Maybe I had such high hopes of the Italian capital that they just didn’t live up to them. Maybe the experience at first glance with our hotel tainted my thinking of it; who knows?! What I do know, is we made memories here – and that is all that matters!!