Many years ago we went to Rome for the first time, just the two of us, eager to discover a city appreciated by many and dreamed of by even more. But what to see: apart from the gorgeous weather at the beginning of December, we didn't like the city at all, it seemed dirty, expensive and way too crowded everywhere we went.

We decided, however, to give it another chance for the sake of the children who really wanted to see the Colosseum, and this time we left much more prepared to enjoy it properly.

Accommodation in Rome

accommodation in rome

Because there were five of us and we needed space, quiet, and a central area, we turned to an Airbnb on Via Merulana, a two-room apartment in a superb building on the ground floor of which we had a supermarket and a Panella with all the goodies of the earth, where we had our coffee and sweets every morning.

From the apartment, we could walk to the Colosseum in 15 minutes and to the Trevi Fountain in 25 minutes, and for all other objectives, we had a metro and bus stop at a maximum of 10 minutes.

What's more, very close to us we also found a wonderful park for children, where we can spend our time between visits and walks, a playground equipped with musical instruments and all kinds of sound and light installations, both fun and educational (I put a nice reel with the activities there in the feed).

Landmarks in Rome

Trevi Fountain Rome
Trevi Fountain

We divided the places we wanted to visit into two, so that we could combine long visits to the Vatican and the Colosseum with leisurely walks around the city, looking for various places and tourist attractions.

For the Vatican and the Colosseum, I bought tickets online, and for those who choose to go to the Vatican with the little ones, I recommend purchasing a children's guide, absolutely brilliantly thought out.

They really liked everything and it made our visit infinitely easier, giving them various "treasures" and information to find with the help of an interactive map. We also climbed the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, and although we adults gave our souls all the way to the top, the view over St. Peter's square was worth all the effort.

At the Colosseum, we also included the visit to the forum and Palatine Hill, and we did well because they found that is much more interesting than the Colosseum itself.

The gardens of Villa Borghese were also on the list, not only for the huge and incredibly well-designed park but also for the water clock, a machine like I have never seen before, a clock whose pendulum is driven by the movements of the water in two pools that they empty and fill intermittently.

An extraordinary place, a stone's throw from a belvedere point preferred by the inhabitants of Rome and, to everyone's delight, from a small entertainment area where we rented go-karts.

With the baby asleep in the manduca and the grown-ups on the pedals, we wandered for a whole hour through all the alleys, among all the statues and artesian fountains, alone or with one of us. We laughed a lot together and charged ourselves with good cheer for the whole day.

We have, of course, also included the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Piazza Venezia, Castel Sant'Angelo, and Trajan's Column in a walking tour along the main thoroughfares of Rome, but also along the charming little streets lined with orange and cypress trees.

I didn't miss the gelaterias near the Trevi Fountain, nor the cafes in Navona square or the restaurants near Trajan's Column, where I tried everything possible in terms of Italian cuisine, pasta and tortellini, pizza and calzones, bruschetta platters and, obviously tiramisu and prosecco.

The budget for vacation in Rome

budget vacation Rome

Rome is not a cheap city, especially when you have such a large family, so here is our spending list for four days:

  • plane tickets with Ryanair, only with hand luggage: 363 euros
  • Airbnb accommodation, 2-room apartment/5 nights: 685 euros
  • Vatican City and Colosseum online tickets: 120 euros
  • public transport from and to the airport: 85-100 euros
  • food, souvenirs, and other small entertainments: 500 euros

We arrived at approximately 1800 euros for a family of five, so somewhere around 360 euros/person for a relaxing mini-vacation, as successful as possible in all respects.

The weather was superb, 18-21 degrees and the places and time spent together were exactly what we needed after three exhausting months of school, colds, worries, and stress. Rome really is, without too much hassle, an excellent idea for a holiday with children when it's cold and ugly here.

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