OUR SURVIVAL GUIDE TO ROME
All roads lead to Rome… And this summer, we found the way to this ancient, spellbinding and amazing city! We just realised a dream together with our kids and it was an extraordinary adventure. Discover our alternative survival guide to enjoy together with your family this unique city in all its glory.
Ok, now staying a few days in Italy’s capital needs some preparation! First you have to decide if you’re gonna go by car or plane… Then you have to check your accommodation. You can either book some hotel rooms or go for the cost-effective version, like we did, an apartment (via booking.com or airbnb.com for example). A short-term vacation rental is a great alternative to a hotel, especially if you plan to settle in one location for several nights and if you are traveling in a group or family. Apartments are generally roomier than hotel rooms and come with kitchens and common areas to gather in. And we just love to eat our breakfast in the bakery of our choice! 🙂
As you only will have a few days to discover most of the astonishing artistic and architectural heritage of the city, it’s advised to plan 1 or 2 guided tours. It’s an easy way to explore an attraction and you get a lot of interesting information you will not necessary get out of travel guides. We recommend you to book your tours well in advance. Book them either for Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, as there are less people visiting than during weekends and they are even cheaper. Choose “skip the line” tours as you will not need to wait to get in. It’s also more interesting to select the tour operator proposing headsets to hear the guide at all times. We used the GetYourGuide app for this and we had each time great guides (Partyamo /Enjoy Rome) who always selected and presented us the most important things in an easy way with a lot of enthusiasm and humour so that even junior understood almost everything. We suggest you to book the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s as well as the Colosseum and Roman Forum guided tours.
All of Rome’s major attractions are gathered within walking distance. So you can easily walk from the Colosseum, next to the Roman Forum, to the Spanish Stairs via the Piazza Navona! No need for the traditional hop-on hop-off bus tours… which is a great way to explore in a relaxed manner all the major sites of a city one needs to see. That’s the reason why we also used the sightseeing bus in Rome. But you really do not need to spend money and time on this as the bus can’t get you near to most of the sites ‘cause of all the small and tangled streets! Well, we sunbathed and played Pokémon Go instead during the whole tour!
Our picks of must-see’s when visiting Rome:
- Colosseum: the precursor of today’s arenas
- Roman Forum: the ancient grandiose district of temples, basilicas and vibrant public spaces
- Il Vittoriano aka Altare della Patria: the monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel
- Vatican Museums: boasting one of the world’s greatest art collection
- St Peter’s Basilica: Italy’s largest, richest and most spectacular basilica
- St Peter’s Square: the Vatican’s central square which colonnades were described by Bernini as representing “the motherly arms of the church”
- Pantheon: one of the most influential buildings in the Western world
- Piazza Navona: central Rome’s elegant showcase square
- Fontana di Trevi: the tradition is to toss a coin over your left shoulder into the water, thus ensuring that you’ll return to Rome
- Piazza di Spagna & the Spanish Steps: the perfect people-watching perch which is unfortunately closed for the moment…
- Piazza Del Popolo: the grandiose entrance to what was Rome’s main northern gateway in 1538
- Bocca della Verità: its role as a lie detector
- Castel Sant’Angelo: the instantly recognisable landmark
- Villa Borghese: one of the largest public park in Rome ideal to visit with a golf car
True, we did limit our sightseeing of Rome to the major landmarks, monuments and plazas as we did not want the tour to be too boring for the kids. But you still have numerous interesting museums and art galleries to visit as for example the Museo e Galleria Borghese, the Museo Nazionale Romano or the Museo dell’Ara Pacis.
During your stay in Italy’s capital, do not miss to enjoy some pizza from the bakeries, that’s the best way to have lunch or even dinner! Italians do really have the hand on pizzas! Check out Lucky Peach’s post on their pizza crawl to get some of the good addresses.
Now for dinner, the part of the stay my man and I almost preferred, we can only recommend you a few great restaurants all gathered around the Piazza delle Coppelle within walking distance of the Pantheon: Ristorante Maccheroni and Macelleria / Maxelâ. And we just fell in love with the Osteria Delle Coppelle where we dined twice in a row: great food, great stuff, great location! Another one we wanted to try as we got the word that it was excellent was Armando al Pantheon but unfortunately it was closed during our stay… 🙁 Oh yes, don’t forget that if you want to try out one of these restaurants, you better have to call first and to reserve a table as they are all really good booked!
What do you need to know more? Ah yes, the Italians are also well known for their gelaterias! And our kids just needed their daily ice cream portion! And you really have to try these two: Grom in the via della Maddalena and Il Gelato di San Crispino in the via della Panetteria. And you definitely have to drink a caffe the Caffè Greco, the oldest bar and an historic landmark opened since 1760!
Now it’s your turn to enjoy and uncover this astonishing city in all its glory!