Luke and I recently returned from an adventure in Italy. Planes, trains, metros and miles and miles of walking on cobblestone streets and I’m confident we hit every major site.
The first thing we considered is how confident we were that the kids wouldn’t have made it a day there. With no English television channels, late nights and walking in the heat, it would have been a nightmare and possibly the death of either Luke or myself. At the end of the day, the kids had fun and didn’t even care.
Overall, we had an amazing time visiting Rome, Naples and Pompeii. I was surprised to learn Italians consume one bottle of wine per person, per day and live to 80. They’re a relaxed bunch that seems to have pulled off an 80s comeback as well.
What we saw:
Day 1 – Took the train from the airport and walked to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. We walked over to Trevi Fountain for dinner and enjoyed the marketplace and food options there.
Day 2 – We slept until noon, but managed to walk over to the Pantheon, Spanish Steps and stroll through the Borghese Gardens.
Day 3 – We had a group guide for the Colosseum and Roman Forum tour. It wasn’t cheap… Luke and I disagreed on the overall value. From there, we walked to San Clemente and checked out the underground levels. I enjoyed the little market vendors whose tents line the streets with their wares.
Day 4 – Spent the day at the Vatican. We had pre-booked tickets online or the wait would have been over an hour. Through the museum, we were herded through like cattle as we quickly glimpsed highlights of human possibilities. The Sistine Chapel is where you’re spit out. You think that’s cool until you get to St. Peter’s Basilica that happens to be the most awe-inspiring thing I’ve ever seen. We went into the grotto where many of the popes are buried. It was amazing to see what humans are capable of accomplishing.
Day 5 – Day trip to Pompeii through Naples. The metro on the last leg is something I will never forget. Nineteen stops… Too many people… No air. The pizza at the place across from the archeological site was the best we had throughout the trip though!
Day 6 – Walked to the Capuchin Crypt, which I thought was awesome (“What we are now you used to be. What we are now you will be.”), saw Bernini’s Elephant, checked out two Santa Maria Basilicas, enjoyed the Four Rivers Fountain and had gelato at Giolittli. We both thought the gelato was over-rated.
**While I booked this hotel thinking the convenience of location by the train station was a plus, it turns out Rome’s main terminal is considered the most dangerous in Europe, or so we heard. We were OK with the hotel, other than the direct failure to follow the “do not disturb” instructions.
We ate at a few restaurants in the area that deserve recognition for quality food and service.
Resources used: DK Top 10 Rome & Rick Steves’ Rome 2013
Pics from the trip…