Series – When In Rome
Rome, Italy. The Eternal City. Awe-inspiring ancient sites. Vibrant street life. Art, architecture and culture. An iconic holiday. An ancient history lover’s dream destination. A romantic’s love affair. An awesome family vacation destination.
What? Take the kids to Rome? Absolutely! Inspire and intrigue them with ancient history come to life. Introduce them to fabulous food. Explore with them a vibrant culture. Show them a city they won’t soon forget. Come along on our own journey to Rome and see for yourself. Enjoy the highlights of one family’s five days exploring this fabulous city.
Day 1 – Welcome To Rome!
This first day is all about becoming acquainted with this dynamic, vibrant, ancient city. Stroll through historic neighborhoods, along narrow streets clogged with pedestrian traffic. Gaze upon antiquated buildings and centuries-old ruins co-existing with modern life.
Savor the taste of a mid-afternoon treat of hand-made gelato. Observe the local ambiance, the historic charm, the vibrancy that permeates every corner you turn. Enjoy dinner and a glass of fine Italian wine in a quaint sidewalk cafe.
Top the evening off with a walk along the Tiber River. Catch the sunset from along one of its bridges, the city of Rome lighting up the evening sky. Settle in early to your lodging for a good night’s rest. Tomorrow’s going to be a big day!
Day 2 – Explore Rome’s Historic Sites & Piazzas
Grab a cup of cappuccino and head out early! This is going to be a fantastic day for a more in-depth exploration of Rome’s many iconic sites and piazzas. So much to see, so much to do, so many foods to taste in the Eternal City.
Start out in Rome’s Centro Storico, meandering in and out of historic piazzas, medieval churches and ancient Roman remains. Find your way to the Pantheon, one of the best preserved and quite possibly most elegant ancient buildings in Rome.
Get up close with Trevi Fountain, basking in its glory beneath the morning sun. Explore Piazza Campo de Fiori’s market square and its bustling bazaar of foods and trinkets for sale. Sit for a spell along the Spanish Steps, then climb to the top for expansive views across Rome.
Stroll through Rome’s famed piazzas like Piazza Navona, world renown for their lively atmospheres, central fountains and street-side cafes. Grab a bite to eat, people-watch, or cool off with another round of gelato. Sit back and enjoy the moment!
Day 3 – Tour The Colosseum & Palatine Hill
This day is all about Rome’s ancient past. Did you know that the Colosseum was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, not the Colosseum? Built between 72 – 80 A.D., Flavian Amphitheater is sure to impress all who enter. Schedule an early tour! It gets very crowded here, and you’ll want time afterwards to explore other sites on your own.
Once the site of games fought to the bitter end, gladiator combat, and ruthless animal events, today’s Colosseum is a ghost of its former gory, glory days. Once a dominant political and social presence for the Roman Empire, today it represents an empire that was a dominant, pivotal force in the shaping of the modern world.
Head across the cobbled street to Palatine Hill. Walk through the Roman Forum, past where Marc Antony once spoke, and where Julius Caesar’s funeral was. Stand where Roman Empire politicians once debated, and citizens once strolled. Though a guided tour is not required for Palatine Hill, it comes highly recommended to get the most out of this experience.
Continue up Palatine Hill to the 2,000 year old homes of Emperor Augustus Caesar and his wife, Empress Livia. Only recently opened to limited public viewings, they are not to be missed! You’ll be astounded as to how the ancient frescoes have weathered the test of time.
Tour Booking Advice: Book the Walks of Italy’s VIP Caesar’s Palace Tour for a limited access tour of Caesar’s Palace, skip-the-line access into the Colosseum, and in-depth details about Palatine Hill’s ruins. It’s a tour worth the splurge!
Read more about our experiences at: 1) Inside The Roman Colosseum – Up Close with Ancient Architecture, 2) A Rare Glimpse Inside Emperor Augustus Caesar’s Private Residence and 3) A Photographic Exploration of Rome’s Ancient Forum & Palatine Hill.
Day 4 – Tour Vatican City & Castel Sant’Angelo
A visit to Rome isn’t complete without experiencing the incredible, amazing, beyond-words, Vatican City. There’s a reason this is one of Rome’s top tourist destinations! Plan ahead for this day. A guided tour is a must if Vatican City is on your agenda.
Most tours begin in The Vatican Museums, a massive Papal collection of artwork collected over the centuries. Witness Michelangelo’s masterpieces inside the Sistine Chapel. Marvel upon the vibrant colors of Raphael’s Stanze di Raffaello. Stand next to a Van Gogh.
Step into St. Peter’s Basilica for yet another jaw-dropping experience. See even more priceless works of art, like Michelangelo’s Pieta and Bernini’s Baldacchino. It’s nearly incomprehensible just how massive St. Peter’s Basilica is, how much marble and gold dominates its architecture.
Plan on several hours to explore Vatican City. Then head on over to Castel Sant’Angelo just across the street. The Castel was once a mausoleum built by Emperor Hadrian in 123 AD, eventually becoming a papal fortress standing guard over the River Tiber.
Tour Booking Advice: Splurge for the Walks of Italy Pristine Sistine Vatican Tour. You’ll be happy you did! This VIP tour has early access into the Sistine Chapel, bypassing the massive crowds that will take over once the Vatican Museums are open to the general public.
Read more about our Vatican City experiences at: 1) Vatican City in One Day – 7 Top Tips to Maximize Your Time, 2) Favorite Photographic Moments Inside Vatican City’s Papal Basilica of St. Peter, 3) Favorite Photographic Moments Inside the Museums of Vatican City and 4) Lasting Impressions Inside Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel.
Day 5 – Bike The Via Appia Antica
Today’s Rome adventure is all about Via Appia Antica, an ancient road dating back to 312 B.C. Few tourists seem to venture outside Rome’s hustle and bustle to experience this incredible stretch of ancient Roman history, which only adds to the charm and ambiance of the day.
Begin at the Catacombs of San Sebastiano. Descend underground into 1,900 year old tunnels dug by hand, and past ancient Roman Christian burial chambers. Rent bicycles from a nearby cafe. Bike down original cobblestones, along ruts carved by ancient Roman carts.
Bike past modern day villas and ancient ruins left next to the road where they fell. Stop and explore up close ancients like Circus Maxentius, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and Villa Dei Quintili. No crowds here to block your views!
Read more about our adventure along Via Appia Antica at: Biking The Ancient Appian Way.
What Would You Do With 5 Days In Rome?
Though our original plans were to spend four days in Rome, a scheduling glitch resulted with an extra day here. This was one unexpected travel glitch we were most happy for! It allowed us to explore Rome at a more leisurely pace, to experience and savor more of what the Eternal City has to offer. The additional day also gave us the opportunity to experience a part of Rome that most visitors miss – Via Appia Antica!
How about you? Have you been to Rome? What were some of your highlights? Would you bring the kids? Do share!
Note: I received complimentary admissions to both the Colosseum and Vatican tours from Walks of Italy. All opinions are my own. Read more about Walks of Italy at 5 Favorite Reasons to Explore Rome with Walks of Italy.
Images by C.Biederman