Did you know that Italy’s famous capital attracts 7 million tourists every year? With more historical monuments and landmarks than any other city on the planet, you can see why! Not including the fact that it is renowned for its delicious food and fashion.
I’ve always wanted to see Rome. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt of eating pizza on the streets and throwing money into the Trevi Fountain. Spending the weekend in Rome certainly didn’t disappoint, although I must admit, it wasn’t like I thought it would be.
We arrived in Rome on a quieter week in October. We’d chosen an AirBnb really close to the Vatican and a metro line, so that we could easily access everything and not have to travel far everyday with our toddler.
Much to our shock, we arrived at our AirBnb only to find that it was completely unsafe for a toddler and not like the description at all. The electrics didn’t work properly for one and fizzed every time you turned things on. The man who checked us in informed us that there was actually no wifi (although the description said there was) and that we couldn’t use more than a couple of plugs at once, or the electric wouldn’t work at all.
Thankfully we managed to get hold of someone who had wifi and a new AirBnb was found for us to move too first thing the next day. The new AirBnb was a completely new listing so we were really lucky to get it.
Only a three minute walk from the Colosseum and situated in the middle of a really vibrant and friendly area, full of families and young people, we couldn’t recommend it enough to others wanting to visit Rome.
With a large living space, secure building entry and a window that opened above a lively street, so you could listen to the entertainment below, it really was the perfect ‘holiday’ house. As soon as we checked in, we dropped our luggage and headed straight off to see the sights.
We only had three days to spend in Rome, so we tried to pack in as much as possible. The Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous fountains in the world, was first on our list of things to see. Designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci, the enchanting monument really is a must visit when in Rome.
We recommend getting to the fountain really early! We reached the Trevi Fountain at 8.00 am, before any shops or cafes were open (Italians are late risers) and there were only a small handful of people already casting coins and making wishes.
Apparently after 9am it gets chocablock with coach parties and it’s hard to find a good spot for photos. Good times to come are before 9am and after 3pm.
When we turned the corner to the fountain, it really did make us go ‘wow’. The fountain has been recently restored and there is no denying its beauty. There is something really magical about throwing coins over your shoulder and making a wish. I have to admit though, I was a bit underwhelmed by the surrounding area, right by the Trevi Fountain.
I always had it in my head that it was surrounded by gorgeous eateries and bars and that there was a big open piazza packed full of excited tourists, with the Trevi Fountain at one end.
In reality, you turn a corner and it’s in a tiny street and looks a little bit out of place. If you ignore the area though, the fountain is very surreal. Evie was in her element, casting her coins and posing for pictures. Although I did have to convince her that it wasn’t a swimming pool.
Straight after the Trevi Fountain, we headed to the Spanish Steps. Only a ten minute walk away, again, we tried to reach it before the crowds and were spoilt for choice in places to stand to take pictures. I can only imagine how busy it gets later on in the day.
At the lower end of the stairs you can find an early baroque fountain called Fontana della Barcaccia, which stands for “Fountain of the Old Boat”. Designed by Pietro Bernini; a member of the renowned artist family Bernini, it’s a really elegant piece that adds so much character to the area. Again, Evie was really disappointed that she couldn’t swim in it.
The steps also have not long been tastefully restored and make such a grand statement in the beautiful square. The Piazza surrounding the steps, are similar to what I presumed the area around the Trevi Fountain would look like.
The buildings were home to eateries and designer shops, as well as a museum dedicated to John Keats, the famous iconic British poet who died on the steps at a young age.
The views from the top of the steps overlooking the city, are gorgeous. It’s only a ten minute walk from the Trevi Fountain, so it’s really easy to do both in one hour.
In the morning daybreak, it really is the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a more peaceful Rome.
Evie loved the steps and spent a good half an hour running up and down them demanding pictures. She is definitely a bloggers child.
After a delicious pizza brunch and a much needed glass of wine, we headed straight to the Vatican. We knew it was slightly crazy to try and squeeze in another attraction on the same day, especially with a toddler, but we tried our luck.
The Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is the famous home of the Pope.
We decided to visit both the Vatican Museums and St. Peters Basilica, arriving at the museums first. We came at prime tourist time and the queue was extremely long.
Luckily we found out very quickly, that if you have a toddler or baby you don’t have to queue. Even without a pre-booked ticket, you can simply join the fast track queue for groups and can avoid waiting inline for a few hours.
The Vatican Museums include access to beautiful gardens, ancient Roman sculptures and the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling. It is a complete treasure trove of art and architecture.
Despite this, I can’t deny how underwhelmed I was by the Vatican Museums. You very much feel like you’re being herded like sheep throughout your time here, moving very quickly through all the rooms in mass. I can only begin to imagine how it feels in the summer months when there is triple the amount of people. But it was good to see some different viewpoints of Rome from the windows.
Although lots of incredible artefacts and history to read about in the Vatican, it is much better to come sans toddler if possible. Evie got very fed up and in the Sistine Chapel you aren’t allowed to make a sound (luckily she’d fallen asleep on my shoulder by this point) which is difficult with children.
The highlight of the Vatican Museums are the ceilings. The intricate details are fascinating and it is so incredible how perfect they still are.
St. Peter’s Basilica
After the museums we popped over to St. Peter’s Basilica. We were lucky enough to be arrive when a ceremony was taking place. Although we were completely gutted that we didn’t get to go inside, we did get to see the Pope give a speech and enjoy the outer areas of the famous ground.
You cannot come to Rome without visiting the Colosseum. After a lovely sleep in our new AirBnb, we spent our last full day in Rome visiting the famous monuments on our doorstep, starting with the Colosseum.
The Colosseum absolutely took my breath away. We fully recommend booking tickets in advance online. Even with booking tickets, you still wait about half an hour to get in, but it’s triple that and more if you don’t already have a ticket. I wouldn’t wish that wait on anyone with a toddler or baby!
The Colosseum is Rome’s most popular monument. Built between 72-80 A.D, it still holds the record of being the largest amphitheater in the world.
Inside the Colosseum, it’s hard not to be marvelled by its size. Do be aware that there are a variety of ticket prices, that allow you to see different areas. We went for the most basic ticket, because we didn’t know how long Evie would last before she got bored. But other tickets get you tours of the basement levels and allow you to stand on the main platform.
Inside, it is breath-taking. You feel like a very tiny ant. It is incredible how this structure has survived and you can only begin to imagine what it felt like to stand or sit their in its glory days.
Even the most basic Colosseum ticket, also includes entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, which is just a short walk across the road from the Colosseum. The ticket is only about £16, which is incredible value for money compared to some basic UK attractions.
You don’t have to visit all of the places in one day and can use the tickets over a couple of days, which is great if you’d rather do something else or have children who need lots of rests.
Evie loved it here as there was plenty of space for her to run around. The old ruins of the Roman Forum were really impressive. I always find it a bit surreal walking in such historic places, with old crumbling buildings around you. There were so many different levels and areas to explore, you could easily get lost here.
Just off the Roman Forum, you can climb up to the top of Palatine Hill.
Palatine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of Rome. It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down at it on one side and down upon Circus Maximus on the other.
From the high points you can really see the difference between the old city and the new city. In the distance you can just make out the grand Italian style buildings, with horses on top. It gives you a good indication of the grandness of the Roman Forum before it’s demise.
We spent a good few hours here so that Evie could disperse her energy. From one part you can also look across to Circus Maximus, but we had a sleepy toddler on our hands by the time we reached the viewing spot, so decided to forgo visiting it by foot.
We recommend taking time out to spend the whole day in this area, visiting the Colosseum and Palatine together. If you have an energetic toddler or child like us, it’s the perfect place to let them run around as it’s complete enclosed with no traffic.
The next day we said our sad goodbyes to Rome. We wished we’d had more time to explore the centre of the city and the shops. But, we needed to head to the airport to continue our Europe travels, this time in the French Riviera.
Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of our toddler travels across Europe!
Have you ever been to Rome? Is there any other attraction you’d recommend visiting? Let us know in the comments below.