We arrived at our accommodation ready for a good night’s rest before tackling Rome the next day. We’d already been travelling through Italy for a week, now keen to discover what the Italian capital had to offer. With three generations in tow and our ages ranging from 7 to 73 – and just as wide a range of interests – two days was never going to be enough time to sample everything, but we were going to try our best!
Staying 30 minutes outside of Rome, at Olive Tree Hill in Zagarolo, we sat down with our endlessly patient and generous host Ivano to discuss the days ahead. He dispensed sound advice that turned our original plans upside down; suggesting we skip some of the generally favoured options such as the crowded tours around the Colosseum and Vatican museums in favour of some lesser known delights such as the Capuchin Crypt. Taking his advice resulted in two days of variety and discovery and two evenings of relaxation and delicious home cooked food at Olive Tree Hill, away from the hustle, bustle and general chaos of Rome; for us a winning combination.
Our two days of Rome-ing included:
Trajan’s Market – built around 100AD, thought to be the World’s oldest shopping Mall.
The Capuchin Crypt – remains of 3,700 bodies, bones intricately arranged. Meant to be a reminder of our swift passage on earth rather than anything too ghoulish. Beware, the kids will be spooked!
150 flavours of gelato at Della Palma, conveniently placed near the Pantheon. For the adults choose the nearby La Casa del Caffe Tazza d Oro for sumptuous iced coffee granita – just be sure to order on the left as you go in and collect from the bars to the right.
Climb the Vatican’s Cupola (dome). If the Vatican museums’ endless queues don’t entice you, climb St Peters’ Cupola for fantastic panoramic views of Rome. Take the lift option if steps aren’t your thing but even then they’ll still be another couple of hundred steps to negotiate. Take your time – the view from the top is worth it.
Da Vinci Museum – one for the inquisitive. Whilst small it’s packed full of recreations of some of Da Vinci’s inventions along with plenty of information about the great man. Many exhibits are ‘hands on’, a great antidote to any ruin overload the kids may have after touring many of the major Roman sights.
A compact city, much of Rome can be accessed on foot from the central railway station. However, the daily travel pass is good value allowing access to the buses and metro system for when the kids get weary. Under 10s travel for free.
Weekends tend to be a quieter time to visit. Avoid hectic and hot July and August if possible.
Minimise queuing by pre-booking the Vatican museums and Coloseum tickets if these are really a must-see for you.
Keep your wits about you, pickpockets and scammers abound but a generally safe city.
It’s always best to take travel insurance with you, no matter where you’re going, or how long you’re going for. If you have a few shorter trips planned, it may be worth taking out an Annual Multi Trip policy or it could be more cost-effective to take out a single-trip policy. You can then relax and explore your chosen destination without any niggling worries about getting reimbursed for untoward or unexpected events that could occur. Compare what you are covered for under each of our policies and pick the one that is right for you