I received such great comments, advice, and tips in this forum that I wanted to give back. I got so many ideas from your trip reports that I hope I can at least help one person as you all helped me.
A bit about us, we are a couple in our mid 30´s from South America (English is not my first language), who enjoy travelling, wine and dining. This was our first long trip with our kids ages 10 and 8. They´d never been to Europe before, so they were extremely excited about the trip. To tell you the truth the whole idea for this trip came from my eldest son, who one day asked me if I could take him to visit the Parthenon, I did some research and found a very good deal for a cruise that departed from Civitavecchia and made one stop at Athens.
Our initial itinerary was 2 days in Rome then a week on the cruise and then fly back home. But after checking the price for air tickets we found an extremely good deal on business class (the catch was that there were a few blackout dates so the trip had to be longer than expected). The itinerary ended up looking like this:
Day 1 Wednesday 26th Arrive in Rome at 6:00pm. Hotel Adriano.
Day 2 Morning: Colosseum, Palatine, Forum
Afternoon: elevator to the top of the Vittoriano, Campidoglio and Capitoline museums.
Day 3 Morning: Vatican museums, Sistine chapel, St Peter’s
Afternoon: Castel Sant’Angelo, and Ponte Sant’Angelo
Day 4 Morning: Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Sta Maria Sopra Minerva, Trevi fountain
Afternoon: Sta Maria della Concezione, Piazza di Spagna, Via Condotti
Day 5-12 Royal Caribbean Cruise: Civitavecchia, Mesina, at sea, Kusadasi, Athens, Crete, at sea, Civitavecchia
Day 12 Leave the ship at 9:00am
Visit Trastevere, or do something that was left undone from the previous days.
Day 13 Day trip to Pompeii and Naples
Day 14 Fly back home
We departed our hometown on october the 25th, arrived at Madrid and then onto Rome. We hired Rocarservices for our transfer, they were there waiting for us and took us to Hotel Adriano which is located near Piazza Navona. We arrived at the hotel, we stayed at the Junior Suite were the four of us could share one room. Downstairs the kids slept on the sofa bed, and on the upper floor we had a king size bed and a half bathroom. The full bathroom was downstairs. The room was big and comfortable a little bit hot for our taste but manageable.
After we were settled , we went to have dinner at Trattoria Da Ugo e Maria, it was very small, only a few steps away from the hotel with a sign that read only “Trattoria”. The food was really good, my kids had spaghetti pomodoro, my husband gnocchis and I had a bisteca with artichokes, everything was excellent. The only thing is that at first they didn´t look like they wanted us there, I guess tourists with kids was not the ideal clientele for them, but after they realized we were not discouraged by their attitude they became really friendly and even helped us with our Italian, which was pretty much nonexistent. But I´m glad to say that it got a little bit easier to communicate with others after a few days.
After dinner we walked to Piazza Navona, took a few pictures, had gelato at Tre Scalini and walked around the piazza absorbing the atmosphere, it was great to be there with my family, we felt really lucky. At 11pm we walked back to our hotel to rest.
The next morning we woke up at 9, had breakfast which was really good, and took a cab to the Colosseum. We bought our tickets at the Palatine Hill entrance to avoid the lines. We didn´t get the Roma pass tickets because my kids have Italian passports so they can get in the Colosseum and many other sites for free. We then went back to the Colosseum, again took a lot of pictures, climbed to the upper part, we didn´t do the tour since we had audioguides downloaded to our ipods, which were pretty informative and allowed us to go at our own pace. We then went to the Palatine and the Roman Forum. It started to rain a little but nothing that discouraged us from enjoying the ruins and having a great time.
At this point I´d like to thank the fodor forums for the idea to do a scavenger hunt, I believe I took it from indy_dad post. My kids had a great time trying to find the archs, the obelisks, the meaning of SPQR, I even included one that asked them to count as many SPQR inscriptions as possible, they enjoyed themselves immensely with this.
We exited the forum through the stairs that took us to the Campidoglio, we were really tired by then and decided to skip the Capitoline Museums, we just strolled around took more pictures and then went to the Vittorio Emmanuelle monument. We walked up the stairs and then took the elevator to the top. The views were amazing!
After the monument it was time for a late lunch, we went to Enoteca Provincia Romana. Our lunch there was great, we had a bottle of red wine, antipasto that included a variety of cheeses and cured meats, my kids had pizza bianca and I had a salad, after that espressos and we were all set to continue our day. We took a few more pictures of the Trajan column which was just outside the restaurant and then decided to ride on the horse carriages, we had to haggle a bit to lower the asking price for the ride. We departed from the monument and the little tour included the Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi, Spanish Steps, and finished at Piazza Navona. It took around 40 minutes, it was an enjoyable ride. By then it was already 7pm, we had some more gelato at the piazza, and then walked back to our hotel. At 8:30pm we went to Pietro Valentini for our dinner, this was one of my favorite meals of the trip. My kids had pasta amatriciana, and my husband and I had pasta as well but I can´t remember which kind, I just remember it was great, we had the pasta with tartufo nero, and they showed us the differences between the black and white truffles. We were very pleased with the quality of the food and the price as well. I would highly recommend this restaurant.
After the restaurant we walked back to our hotel and made the now unavoidable stop at piazza Navona for more gelato. Finally, we went to bed really tired but happy and looking forward to what the next day would have to offer.
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Amazing trip to Rome and 7 day cruise with kids