Our first full day in Rome was spent in awe of all the beauty and mystery that Rome has. I had reserved our entrance tickets online for the Vatican in advance, and this proved to be worthwhile. As we rounded the corner a few streets down from our hotel, we saw the LONG line of people who had not bought tickets in advance. Yay! I did something completely amazing on the first day of the trip! Haha. Our tickets would allow us to walk through the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel without a guide or time restrictions. This was good and bad. Dave and I would have loved to learn about all the collections from different time periods, but we also knew that a 5 and 3 year old would only last so long looking at sculptures. The pieces stored within the museum were amazing and they just kept going. I can’t tell you how many rooms make up the museum, but it is a lot. The tour ends with the Sistine Chapel, where of course you can’t take pictures. I was well behaved, it might have been because we were in such a holy place, so I didn’t sneak any pics. It was very dark inside the room and SO SO SO crowded. I would have much rather been able to enjoy it freely with a guide, but it was still pretty amazing to see it up close and personal. After reading many guide books, I found out that if you follow along with a tour group you can actually skip the ginormous line for entrance into St. Peter’s Basicalla. We did just that. Score 2 for Lyndsay!! It was very overwhelming and I wasn’t sure if I was to pray, cry or jump for joy at actually being able to walk through it’s entrance. A little startling, we saw three well preserved dead men, who Emma thought were Santas’. I’m pretty sure they were past Popes’. I did have one upset about this entire holy place visit, they warn you of their strict dress code, and so we covered our shoulders, chests and knees to adhere to policy. I saw so many men in short shirts, women in tanks and short skirts, I was just upset not that they were let in, but that they couldn’t just follow the rules! Oh well, God knew our family was abiding by the rules on this day! After our first Italian meal, delicious!, we changed out of our respectable wear and into something more hot weather friendly. Dave is an amazing navigator, I mean he is a pilot, but I never fail to thank him for navigating us on the metro in different countries. He took us to many piazzas, like an open plaza area, and other great touristy spots like the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, most of the fountains featured from Angels and Demons and a castle for Emma. We were pretty worn out that first day, but it was very worth it!!!
We bought the Roma Pass the day before which allows us to enter two attractions in Rome for free as well as ride the Metro/Bus system for 3 days. It was pretty amazing. Another fun fact about the Roma Pass, you get the skip the lines. We like to skip lines in 90-degree heat!!! So our second day began with us skipping past the huge line at the Colesseo (Coliseum) and laughing at all the people stuck outside. We didn’t really laugh, but Dave kept shaking his head saying he couldn’t believe they didn’t know about the Roma Pass. Emma began this day sad, as she thought she would get to witness real gladiators fighting beasts. Dave promised to let her watch Gladiator when we returned and I said no. haha. This place was amazing. The fact that a good portion of it is still standing is incredible. The Romans didn’t do things small, they went big. Again, we opted to just tour ourselves rather than make the children follow a guide for hours in the sun; they just had to follow us. After the massive stadium, you walk right into some of the most famous Roman ruins, where the forum once stood. I loved the fact that there were pieces of old columns just lying around, like no big deal. We followed most of our mornings in Rome with a light lunch and then shower (it was HOT) and resting before dinner. Most restaurants don’t start serving dinner until almost 7pm so it was nice to be able to relax and change out of sweaty clothes before enjoying the breezy evenings. This evening we ate the BEST pizza ever; we also stumbled upon one of Rome’s most famous gelato shops in the city, possible country and ate there ginger and cinnamon gelato multiple times a day! We again visited the Trevi, we loved that area, and I also wanted to see St. Peter’s at night. It was beautiful, there weren’t that many people out on the square yet either so we were able to just stroll around and let the kids run crazy. Easy for them.
Days 3,4 and 5-
We didn’t really have any set schedules these days and mainly just wondered around the city and revisited places we wanted to see again or were overly saturated with tourists the last time. We made it to more ruins, the old bathhouses of Rome, Circus Maximus, the Mouth of Truth (Roman Holiday anyone???). We also were able to see the Colesseo, Trevi and the Vatican at night during these days. I think everything in Rome is so much more beautiful at sunset and just as the sky is turning from dark blue to black. A very memorable moment was on Sunday we went to St. Peter’s Square to see the Pope speak, we thought he would be in town, but alas he was living it up at his lake house so he spoke via video screen instead. It was still pretty amazing. The trip was so much more than I had thought it would be. I mean, I knew that I was going to be seeing some pretty awesome sights, but to be so close and touch some of them made the reality of the history lesson all the more real. I can only hope that Mason and Emma can look back at these pictures and feel the same overwhelming happiness that I felt when sharing it with them.