What makes for an ideal family holiday? I’d say road trips, jumping into the sea with the kids, getting local ingredients and twirling up a storm in the kitchen, discovering common interests and of course, the bonding time; these are memories that last for a lifetime. So, it was that time of the year again for us and we were as excited as kids in a candy store. Our flight was on its descent and the outside was visible now. In an ecstatic cheer my son said “guys look” and when I peeked from my window, I was awestruck by the architectural grandeur and the symmetrical perfection of the city below. No surprises we were landing in Rome. Our excitement levels had quadrupled from the time we made our way through the aero bridge to the cab. Fatigue, hunger all disappeared and all we wanted now was to know more about Rome than Augustus himself. Our cabby tried to answer all our questions initially, juggling through the accents, but soon his English disappeared.
After a quick pit stop at our apartment near the Termini station, we spent our evening in Piazza Navona. Our kids running tirelessly around the square with renewed enthusiasm at the end of each lap. It is one of the biggest miracles of nature, the energy these little beings of light have. We had our dinner at one of the many restaurants at the square. After dinner, we did some gelato at the Pantheon, explored the city by foot for a while and called it a day.
Day 2 – Rome
We visited the Vatican Museums today. I had reserved “skip the lines” ticket from the official website. You can skip the long lines and arrive at the designated time printed on the ticket. Since we arrived early, we went across the street and grabbed one of the most expensive below par pizzas ever. After our “so called” lunch, we entered the museum. My kids were really intrigued by the spiral staircase at the entrance but as soon as we hit the first exhibit, the interest died out and my younger one was off to sleep. Good thing we had a pram. We had to carry through the stairs in the museum at times but that it wasn’t a big deal. The museum is beautifully adorned in exquisite artwork and the Sistine Chapel is magnificent. The kids decided for us to visit St. Peter’s in the coming days as it was getting a bit too much for the kids. So, we grabbed some gelato en route to Piazza Venezia and walked to our favourite spot in Rome, the Trevi fountain. It was evening by the time we reached the fountain. Kids flipped coins, we got some pictures; it was perfect. We waited till the lights at the fountain were lit and then…magic!
After Trevi, we visited the Piazza Di Spagna to see the Spanish Steps. Some restoration work was in progress at the steps, so, we grabbed some dinner, gelato and called it a day
We bought a 2 day ticket for the open top bus and took our little gladiators to the Colosseum. I had reserved skip the lines tickets from their official page. The architectural brilliance of this colossal arena is unparalleled, sad history though. Spent sometime inside the arena, showed the kids around, shared a little history and went to the adjacent gardens. The children transformed the garden in the busiest pretend airport in the history of Rome. After their pretend planes were finally parked, we went across the street for some pizza. It’s an amazing feeling to have lunch across the street from the colosseum. After lunch, we went shopping for toys at a shop called the little big world near Piazza Venezia. Now that the kids were happy, we headed for the Trevi fountain with a quick stop at the Pantheon. After Trevi, we were Piazza Di Spagna bound but our hunt for the Spanish steps actually transpired in one of the best memories we have of Rome. We were walking the streets of Rome at night, our elder one was siting on my wife’s shoulders, and my younger one was in the pram. Walking besides each other and sharing a laugh, this was perhaps the best memory of Rome for my wife and I. We got to a beautiful little square with an adjacent restaurant. Considering the crowds waiting for a seat, one could say it was very popular with the locals. A guy was singing Italian opera songs, could not understand a word, but he was entertaining and also he was doing these funny little jigs that kept the kids entertained.
This was more of an off day for us. We grabbed some pizza from a restaurant near our hotel and decided to go to St.Peter’s. It is stunning from the outside and the interior is magnificent. After visiting the Church we went about walking from Via del triton to Via del corso and spent the day visiting all our favourite spots one last time.