I am still on cloud nine from our 5 day Roman excursion. The truth is we've been to Rome before but just for 24 hours on a cruise pit stop. So during our visit in 2013, we spent our entire day at the Vatican exploring and engulfed in the majestic splendor of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican's Museum.
Why the Vatican? Several reasons, I love old Catholic cathedrals and not to mention the Vatican (Headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church) holds one of the world's largest collections of art. The truth is, it wasn't until I arrived in Rome that I realized this region of Italy deserves a week or more of my full attention.
This modern day bustling metropolis city is built around the cities historical ruins, monuments, and landmarks. With glimpses into Rome's rich history everywhere, it's a magnificent mesh of old world and new world. I mean, you could be walking down a busy modern street then turn down a corridor walk a few feet and all of sudden you're in front of a 6000-year-old monument in all its glory.
The great thing about Rome was how family-friendly it was. Unlike Venice, that wasn't stroller friendly, it was a wonderful place for strolling the ruins, fountains and even public parks. My daughter really enjoyed listening to the tour guides (in the comfort of her stroller), taking her own pictures of the sculptures, watching the street performers and she really enjoyed running around the large spacious Piazza's chasing the birds and making new friends.
Tiber River at sunset
If you are into exploring off the beaten path, then you'll definitely enjoy the city of Trastevere. It's a charming and quaint neighborhood paved with cafes, street markets, restaurants and ice cream vendors. This is the spot for the most delicious, authentic and inexpensive Italian food. A must see for kids is the famous Trevi Fountain. The grandeur of this Baroquen masterpiece is breathtaking. Plus, everyone in the family can indulge in the traditional toss a coin into the fountain. But not just any fountain, instead one of the biggest and oldest fountains in the world.
There's an old legend that goes: If you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain – with your back to the fountain, tossing the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder this will ensure a return to Rome. However, tossing the second coin in Trevi Fountain leads to a new romance, and a third coin leads to marriage.
Piazza San Pietro in Vatican City
Strolling the Roman Forum
Inside the Colosseum
Tiber River at night
Entrance to Vatican City
My advice is to wake up early, grab a quick breakfast and explore the city. The benefit of waking up early are for great pictures. You get to beat the tourist crowd. Plus, you get to stroll and explore the beautiful empty streets.
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Until next time,
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