We spent 5 full days in Rome. There was so much to see but we wanted each place we visited to be meaningful and enjoyable. You can’t run just from tourist sight to tourist sight with kids – especially after we’d been traveling for many months. So we picked what we felt were the most important places, learned a little about them and interspersed them with gelato and some down time. It was a great five days! Here are the highlights…
The Colisseum (see Caleb’s blog for more info)
Of course we had to try pizza while in Rome! We also tried lasagne, and a couple other kinds of pasta.
It really is everywhere! There are hundreds of kinds. Gelato was a great motivator, when the boys were getting tired of seeing another fountain or ruin.
We learned about the architecture of the Pantheon, through an interesting documentary we found online. To make our visit a little more exciting for the boys, we combined it with a few other sights, and gave them a scavenger hunt to complete, which included finding various components of the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Nanona (and the Fountain of Four Rivers) and the Spanish Steps. The reward: gelato, of course! We also stopped at the 4D Time Machine show, so we could all get a quick lesson on Roman history.
Piazza Nanona (and the Fountain of Four Rivers)
Crypt of Capuchin Friars
The Capuchin Crypt is a series of tiny chapels located beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. It contains the skeletal remains of 3,700 bodies believed to be Capuchin friars. When the monks arrived at the church in 1631, moving from the old monastery, they brought 300 cartloads of deceased friars. Fr. Michael of Bergamo oversaw the arrangement of the bones in the burial crypt. The bones have been arranged in rather bizarre decorative patterns. The boys found it quite fascinating and morbid!
Villa Borghese Gardens & Teatro Piccoli
We arrived at Borghese Gardens a little too late to rent bicycles, so we walked to Teatro Piccoli to see if there was a movie we could see in the world’s smallest cinema. Unfortunately, the movie playing that afternoon was in Italian so we opted not to see it. The park was quite beautiful but the cool, rainy weather wasn’t conducive to spending hours there.
Vatican Museum – Sistine Chapel
Amazing! The art was absolutely stunning. Caleb (our art enthusiast) will write more about this. He was so excited to visit and would have sat staring at the artwork for days. To prepare for this visit, we watched two documentaries about Michelangelo and how he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It really helped us to appreciate and understand the artwork much better.
St Peters Basilica
Although we are not Catholic, we just had to see St Peters Basilica, one of the largest and wealthiest churches in the world. Visiting in March, we were very fortunate, as there was absolutely no line to get in (apparently people often wait for hours to get into the church). I used a free online audio guide to learn a little more about the church. The boys weren’t totally blown away but they didn’t mind us pointing out a few things, so at least they could come away with an appreciation for the building and what it represents. They did think it was cool that we were in another country – the smallest country in the world!