In my last post I said that the start of our holiday to Rome had been a bit of a disaster because it didn’t stop raining. Thankfully for the last couple of days the sun made an appearance, so we actually go to do some of the things on our itinerary. A lot of people think that Rome isn’t the sort of place to visit with little ones and while in rain it is hard work, in the sunshine is a really wonderful city to explore with little ones. I thought I would share some of our favourite bits for anyone who is thinking of visiting Rome with little ones.
Stay at Campitelli Apartment
We stayed at the Campitelli Apartment, which is a great little self-catering apartment located in the city centre. Whenever we go away, we try to find self-catering accommodation where we can because if the boys are feeling a bit tired we can stay in and cook something without stress. There was only one double bed and a sofa bed, but when we go away the boys tend to share a bed with us anyway. We would definitely book to stay here again.
Hop on Hop off
We used the Hop on Hop off tour service in Amsterdam and thought it was a brilliant way to travel around with small children. Because we stayed at Campitelli Apartment it was only a 3 minute walk to the nearest stop, which made it really easy for us to travel around to all of the tourist hotspots.
Kids Tours of Rome
We booked a private tour of Ancient Rome with Kids Tours of Rome, which took us around The Colosseum and The Forum. I had planned the tour to be on the first of our holiday so that the children were bright eyed and still excited after all of the reading and activities we had done, but because of the rain, we had to reschedule it to the last of the holiday. By the time we actually got to do the tour, they were a bit fed up. Thankfully our tour guide Francesca was absolutely wonderful, really well informed and she made such an effort with Bear, even though he was being such a grump.
Ancient Rome: The Colloseum
Francesca told us some really funny stories which have been taken from poetry and texts from the roman era. She also explained that our perception of the gladiator games is actually not entirely accurate. The gladiator games were actually set in staged arenas, with sets of hills and rocky terrain and not a sandy pit as is the common perception of the gladiator games. The gladiator games were also quite theatrical and not quite as barbaric as modern films would have us believe.
Ancient Rome: The Forum
The Forum is a fascinating place. The pathways are the original roman ones, so as you walk along them you are literally retracing the steps of the ancient Romans. The temples and structures although in ruins, are just stunning to look at. I had read a little about the Vestal Virgins, so it was fascinating visiting their ancient temple ruins. Francesca also took us around Julius Caesar’s final resting place and explained that the people of ancient Rome saw him like a God. She also knew a lot about how the Romans worshipped the ancient gods and how the different temples worshipped different aspects of their specialities.
It was such an interesting tour, that explained a lot about roman social classes, the seating system and the history of ancient Rome. Francesca also knew the best places to take photos and was brilliantly bold in making sure we got them. The tours are a little pricey, but are absolutely worth the money and I really recommend them. The boys were even given a book all about Ancient Rome and a little Colosseum figure at the end as well.
*If you are wondering where Bear is in the pictures of our tour, he is sat on the floor in a grump watching Toy Story.
During our tour, Francesca took us to a wonderful gelato shop near ‘The Forum’ to give the boys a bit of a rest from all the walking around. Rome is famous for its gelato, so it really is a must to try some while visiting!
The Orange Garden
The Orange Garden is just stunning and offers one of the best views of Rome. Most of it is sheltered from the sun, so it is a great place to take little ones. There were actually a few local mums there with their little ones. Monkey loved running around and we played peek ‘a’ boo behind a tree before counting stones. Considering how close it is to the city centre, it is a really tranquil place that has an air of calmness about it.
Maximus Circus is an ancient chariot stadium located about seven minutes away from The Orange Garden. Before we went to Rome I had been doing a ‘Romans’ sticker book with Bear, which had a page about chariot racing. The book explained that after each lap someone would tilt one of the dolphin counters to mark the end of the lap. As we walked along the inner circle of the track we saw a lot of concrete circles on the floor, which made Bear question if that was where the dolphin counter used to be.
Ancient history aside, Maximus circus is a great place for little ones to burn off some steam and is definitely somewhere to visit if you are in Rome with young children.
Have dinner at San Michele
After visiting Maximus Circus, we found a wonderful little restaurant ‘San Michele’ about a 10 minute walk away. The walk to the restaurant has some little gems en route, including an ancient roman aquaduct. The food is just amazing, the staff are really good with little ones and it is just such a beautiful place to have dinner. I highly recommend the Carbonara and the Crème Brulee.
Despite a disastrous start to our holiday to Rome, we ended it on a high. Rome really is a beautiful city and somewhere I would definitely take the little ones to again… although I would check the weather forecast before booking next time!
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