Before starting our day, we always have breakfast inside our apartment and used that as the time for planning our route. Apart from that, buying pastries from the bakery and bringing inside the apartment was a lot cost-effective instead of eating out during the entire duration of our vacation. So every morning, my husband gets up earlier than I do, buy our breakfast, and come back so I can eat, too.
Tip: Freshly-made cornetto (Nutella-filled croissants) are just €0.60 per piece and a €1 for a cup of freshly brewed coffee – a superb combination to start your day!
After breakfast, we bought bus tickets from a Tabaccheria (shops with a capital T posted outside) close to our apartment and decided to visit Piazza Navona first. My son loved it there. He particularly enjoyed chasing pigeons and looking at the two majestic fountains on display. The area was festive. There were balloon vendors around and a mini carnival set up probably because it was the Christmas season.
After Piazza Navona, we headed to The Pantheon. There was a little bit of queue to get in but it was moving at a decent pace. My husband and I wanted to get in (of course!) but it was so hard to convince my son to get inside. Apart from the pigeons scattered around Piazza della Rotonda, there were two big horses standing within the area, too. So after he cried a bit when we “forced” him to enter some uninteresting building, we went out. Good thing the entrance to the Pantheon was free and we managed to capture a couple of photos, too! I guess I’ll just include the Pantheon on my must-return-to list!
It was past 1 PM. My husband and I felt hungry so we decided to have lunch at a nearby restaurant around the area. Even though my son ate his lunch while running at Piazza Navona, we ordered some spaghetti for him to keep him busy.
Tip: Italian restaurants are very accommodating to children and will make a pasta or pizza dish according to your preference. So don’t hesitate to request according to how your kids like it!
After lunch, we decided to go to the Trevi Fountain. My son fell asleep on our way there, which was a good thing as we were able to capture some selfies and move our way through the crowd to have a closer look. Trevi was really marvelous but there were LOTS of people around, it is hard to take a photo similar to the ones you see in postcards. There was also a construction at a nearby hotel so we didn’t stay for a long time – it might wake the sleeping baby!
After capturing more photos of the fountain, we took another bus to go back to St. Peter’s Square. St. Peter’s Square was part of the Sistine Chapel tour the other day but we were so tired, we didn’t explore the area much. Once we were there, we bought some souvenirs (for our Moms) and captured a couple more photos here and there.
Tip: Common souvenirs like rose-scented rosary beads, fridge magnets, and key chains costs a lot more around the Vatican area. Try to walk around the city farther from the Vatican and you can find other options for half the price.
We eventually got satisfied walking around the square and the photos we took – but, boy, we were dead tired already! It was still early to go back but our bodies want to give up badly. The weather changed and it became so warm – it was like summer; making it a lot harder to walk with a baby strapped around while wearing winter jackets (it was supposed to be winter!). So we raised the white flag and bought tickets for the Hop On/Hop Off tour (we took the City Sightseeing Tour – red bus). It was great that we bought the tickets close to “the last bus ride” so it was valid until after mid-afternoon the next day.
Tip: Personally, buying a ticket for the hop on/hop off bus during midday or close to 5 PM allows you to use the ticket as if buying a 2-day ticket. Rome is huge and there are lots of places to see so touring the city for two days makes more sense rather than doing it in one day.
After one round aboard the bus, we hopped off at the Colosseum. We didn’t buy tickets to get in and just took a photo from the outside.
Tip: If you want to enter the Colosseum, this is another landmark to pre-book tickets. The queue from the outside was really long and our friends who traveled with us initially planned to buy tickets there but the queue discouraged them (and the babies started to get cranky, too).
The rest of the group and our Italian friend met with us at the Colosseum after the photo op. We walked around the area and managed to grab a few photos of this old, unassuming Church – Basilica San Clemente. From the outside, it looked worn-out but the interior was breathtaking. There was a small patio with a tiny fountain but what amazed me was the fact that this Church had some underground mini Churches inside, too!
After walking a bit more, and trying (but failing) to find an open restaurant serving dinner at 6 PM, we decided to call it a day and headed back to our apartment. One of the babies was so close to bedtime (usually, sleeps at 8 PM) but hasn’t eaten dinner yet since we can’t find a restaurant serving hot meals. It was another tiring day but ended up better than we imagined! Traveling with my son really makes my husband and me a lot better (and flexible) travel planners, which is really good if you ask me.