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February trip to Rome and Florence w/kids

February trip to Rome and Florence w/kids

Old Apr 13th, 2007, 06:06 AM
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February trip to Rome and Florence w/kids

Sorry for the dry trip report, but hope you find it helpful. Happy to answer questions: 3 generations (my parents, spouse and me, 2 kids (3 and 7 years old)) flew in/out of FCO. On arrival, we took the train to Rome Termini, then by Eurostar to Florence. We did not have Eurostar reservations to Florence and had to wait for the 2nd available train, b/c the first one was booked (at least for a party of 6, second class). FYI for other Rome first timers: the station is huge; we had trouble finding the stationís underground shopping area. It was obvious after the fact, but not apparent when we first arrived (b/c we exited on a side a good distance from the end of the tracks). After we found it, we loaded up on sandwiches for the train to Florence.
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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We spent the rest of Friday until the following Tuesday in Florence. We wandered, ate gelato and went to a number of museums, including the Accedemia, Uffizi, Bargello, Pitti Palace, and the science museum. We obtained reservations for the first two before leaving the US. We visited the Duomo and really enjoyed the Baptistry. We also visited the Brancacci Chapel (near our convent), with its frescos.
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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General thoughts regarding Florence: It is a pleasure to just walking around in Florence, particularly South of the Arno. (Watch out for the cars and scooters, though). The Ponte Vecchio is what it is, a crowded shopping bridge; worth seeing...once. The Uffizi is much larger than we expected; arguably too big to see AND keep your focus/attention. The science museum was well done and a nice change from art museums.
We took a siesta each afternoon for a couple hours (for kids and adults, alike!).
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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In Florence, we stayed at the convent Casa Santo Nome Di Gesu, on Piazza del Carmine. Wonderful experience. Our large, quad room had 20 foot ceilings with pillars, arches and ceiling frescos (all a little worn, but lots of character). Note, the breakfast at the convent is limited (hard rolls, butter, jelly and/or chocolate spread), and there is no elevator. There is a tidy garden attached, with paths, sitting areas and a grotto of sorts. The convent is across the Arno from most sites, but we walked almost everywhere, and ate 3 meals on the semi-nearby Piazza Santo Spirito.
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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From Florence, we took a day trip by bus to Siena. Siena is a great town to walk around in. Its tunnels and paths are even more interesting than its square. I bet the town is magical at night. We were stunned by the Duomo. Itís hard to rate all the great churches we saw and have seen, but it is up there near the top!
Tuesday, we Eurostar-ed to Rome. We stayed at the convent Casa Il Rosario, which is more hotel-like than the Florence convent, with a small elevator and a small garden area, and located on a narrow street near. Our room was pretty small for a quad. The location, though, was great: Close to where Via Cavour runs into the Forum. Plenty of comparatively inexpensive restaurants nearby.
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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We had tickets to see the Pope on Wednesday, but failed to make it. We toured the Vatican museum and St. Peterís on a subsequent day. We tried to get there early, but the museum line was already out and down a number of streets. We ended up paying 200 euros for the 6 of us to jump significantly in line (the fee included admission (12 euros? for the 4 adults) and a guided tour). It seemed shady at first, but it was well worth the cost to save time (particularly with kids). That said, it was an exhausting day; I cannot imagine visiting during the peak season.
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 06:08 AM
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We visited the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps (which we found to be overrated), the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Forum and the adjacent museum, the Pantheon, Castel St. Angelo, and St. Peter in Chains. First timer observation: Rome has so many ruins and churches, some are hardly mentioned in guidebooks (yet, they would be major attractions in another city). For example, there is a small, neighborhood church near the convent that was more ornate than most churches weíve seen in the U.S. Similarly, there is a park at the Villa Aldobrandini (Via Mazzarino 1 at bottom of Via Nazionale), is raised up on which appears to be some old walls or ruins, and looks over Piazza Venezia. Would be a great place for a picnic.
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 06:09 AM
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Perhaps it was off season, but we saw none of the gangs of thieving children of which I have read. We did get taken by the taxi drivers in Rome, though. The weather was awesome; unseasonably warm. Rain was limited to about one afternoon and one morning.

If you asked our kids, I think they would say they enjoyed the pizza and gelato the most, but I think their favorite sites were the Colosseum and the Castel, understandably. With the exception of the day at the Vatican, we tried not to push them too hard. Rome was probably more fun for them, b/c the sites were mostly outside (so they were a little more free to be kid-like). We tried to engage them (particularly the 7 year old) in history and stories. The took some of their own pictures, with the 7 year old preparing a photo report for school (which kept both occupied or interested). It also helped in the overall scheme that they were able to spend time with their grandparents, not just mom and dad. End.
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