My favorite topic in History class was 100% The Roman Empire. To me the ancient Romans just seemed so innovative and clever, strong, feisty and even a little bit glamorous. A visit to Rome then has always been on the agenda.
Originally we were planning to arrange our own trip by booking elements separately, however that was proving complicated, so in the end we took the easy option and booked a package with Easy Jet. We flew into Fiumicino airport and took a pre-booked mini bus transfer to our hotel. At 10 in the evening this took us around 45 minutes.
We were staying in the very central location of the Trevi Palace Luxury Apartments, just a stones throw away from the always bustling Trevi Fountain. This recently restored mid 17th century palace is a welcome cool and calm retreat in what is noisy and crowded part of the city.
The comfortable air-conditioned rooms all have wooden beamed ceilings and views over the quirky rooftops and cobbled alleyways that lead up to the Trevi Fountain itself. The corridors retain their original stone stairwells and marble flooring, original iron fretwork can still be seen in the many little apertures dotted around the place. The breakfast room even features the original well sunk into the middle of its floor, now covered with a glass top that you can walk over, if you dare… Don’t expect access to an on site bar but there are plenty to choose from in the surrounding streets.
We had a lovely evening drinking prosecco and Aperol Spritz at the roof top terrace bar of the Relais Fontana Di Trevi Hotel. This is a perfect spot to take in the picturesque fountain away from the crowds.
Our first full day we spent visiting the Colosseum. We booked a tour through trip advisor that included exclusive entry through the gladiator entrance and access to the arena floor.
I definitely recommend doing this in advance as it can be a little bit chaotic around the colosseum ticket offices. It is also the only way you will be able to see the Colosseum from this view point.
The tour was very informative and our tour guide was particularly good with the Children.
On our second day we visited The Vatican museums. Like all the major landmarks in Rome this was very very busy. Having heard about the queues from other people this was another activity that I pre booked. I’m so glad I did as this as ‘skip the line tickets’ meant no queues and it made getting through the security checks and registration a breeze. I’m not sure of the reason for it but most places we visited in Rome required us registering the children before we could visit.
For me the Vatican museums were rather overwhelming. Before we had actually got anywhere near the Sistine Chapel we had seen so many dramatic ceilings, sculptures and works of art. It truly is a special place. Expect to spend a few hours wandering around.
I took a lot of photos, be warned. However I don’t actually have a picture of the Sistine Chapel itself as you are not allowed to take photos .
Being the Catholic girl that I am of course I was going to behave myself. Much to my delight and surprise my good behaviour was rewarded. A Priest came into the chapel, asked for quite, and then invited those that wished to join him in prayer to do so.
It was a very special moment for me and I’m not ashamed of saying I got a little bit emotional. Hands up if you have also cried tears of happiness in the Sistine Chapel!
Our next day was a very chilled one. We had been for dinner the night before at Il Chianti which is a very authentic local traditional restaurant in the trevi fountain areas. We then went for supposedly a quick night cap. Well… said nightcap turned into a bit of a late night. We had got talking to a couple of girls from Texas and before we knew it a good couple of hours of sipping wine and good conversation had passed.
Er…When in Rome?
On our last day we visited the Villa Borghese Gardens for a wander in the shaded avenues and to take advantage of the view point over Piazza del Popolo. Here you can see most of Rome including a particularly good view of The Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica.
Within the park you can also hire out Segways for €10 if you fancy a bit of outdoor fun, as well as bikes and pedal carts. The Kids had great fun wizzing around.
Of course we had to do a little bit of shopping, I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to visit a Sephora or come home without an Italian leather handbag.
Via Del Corso leads directly off of piazza del popolo. It has many well known brands as well as some reasonably priced independent shops.
This is also a good opportunity to visit The Spanish Steps as they are just off of the road that runs adjacent.
FYI Sephora is directly across from the Spanish Steps if your interested.
Rome was a crazy whirlwind of sightseeing, fresh pasta and gelato, so much gelato. A relaxing trip it is not. Would I go back? Definitely!