We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Just back - Trip Report

Which Rome hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
New Orleans...
Level Contributor
645 posts
62 reviews
Save Topic
Just back - Trip Report

We just returned from 2 weeks in Italy (4 days in Rome, 4 days in Florence, 4 days in Venice then back to Rome for 2 days). I'll just report on the Rome part here and try to post trip reports for the other cities later in the week.

We arrived on July 29 and were met at the airport by RomeCabs. They were wonderful and even including a bonus sidetrip to peek at the view through the keyhole at the Knights of Malta gardens - just breathtaking.

For our first 4 days in Rome we stayed at the Rose Garden Palace off the Via Veneto. I wrote a review, but it has not yet been posted to TA. The hotel was good value, service was indifferent.

The weather in Rome was quite hot when we were there, but still we walked a great deal, which allowed us to eat as much as we wanted!

We found the city very manageable and not as crowded as we would have thought. The Romans were very friendly and helpful, but I found that all of the time I spent studying Italian was wasted! Every request I made in Italian was answered in English! I guess it was just easier for them, but I started defaulting to English by the end of the trip. I found this to be true in every city we visited. I suspect that we would have had different experiences in smaller towns.

We spent our first day and half roaming around on our own. My husband and I have been to Rome before, so we enjoyed rediscovering the city and introducing our children to the Eternal City.

On Tuesday we headed to the Vatican Museums at 7:30 am to meet our private guide (referred by a friend). I know that there are very differing views on the need for a guide, but I have to say that for our family, this was definitely the way to go. We were in the Museums promptly at 8am (the Vatican Museums do not open to the general public until 10am; between 8 and 10 only guides with reservations are allowed in. During this time period 2000 visitors per hour with guides are admitted for a total of 4000 people before 10am). Our guide was fabulous and spent a great deal of time with the children, especially in the Sistine Chapel, which we managed to see before it was filled to the brim with people. My husband and I had both been to the Vatican before, but never with a guide and we were both surprised to find out how much we didn't know!

St. Peter's Basilica was an awe-inspiring visit. We loved everything about this majestic building and I was moved to tears while praying at the tombs of Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI. Our daughters, who are 13 and 10 said that the Vatican and St. Peter's were the highlight of their trip (even after visiting Venice, which I thought would be their favorite!)

On Wednesday we covered the Colosseum, the Forum and Palatine Hill. I loved all of this, but I am a bit of nut for ancient history. I was surprised to find out that the kids found it all "boring", too much "old stuff"! Although, I have to say that my older daughter said that she wished she had visited the sites last year (before studying ancient Roman History in school). Go figure!

Please do not stress about clothes, shoes, etc. We saw everything in Rome. Dress in what makes you comfortable (as long as it is appropriate for the sites you will be visiting). I can't stress enough the importance of comfortable shoes. I started wearing a pedometer 2 days into this trip and found that we walked anywhere from 8 to 12 miles a day! We did not use public transportation at all in Rome - and only took taxis on two occasions (both to meet our guide early in the morning). Otherwise, we walked everywhere, saw a great deal of the city and ate ALOT!

We had no issues with safety, no pickpockets, no scams. We felt safe everywhere that we traveled. We did have our camera stolen in Venice (details in my Venice report), but otherwise all was fabulous.

At the end of our trip we returned to Rome for 2 days and stayed at the Hotel Raphael near Piazza Navona. This by far was my favorite hotel of the trip. We had a lovely terrace overlooking the cloister next door, and would sit outside sipping wine and listening to the churchbells ring all over Rome.

Oh well, back to reality!

Hagerstown, Maryland
Level Contributor
6,157 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Yes, back to reality. That's the hard part.

Nice report. Glad you had a great time.

U.S.
Level Contributor
299 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Hi Lori!

Thank you for this review. It sounded like you had a good experience in Rome. So sorry about the camera theft in Venice - boo. I hope you were able to salvage some pictures.

We plan to take our girls next summer (18 and 14) and so I'm very interested in your itinerary as it relates to keeping the interest of your children. Did you use any particular guide books, etc? I've ordered SoloRoma's kids in Rome book and can't wait to get it. My husband and I went to Rome last September so we've already done the major sites. I am v. concerned with not overdoing "old stuff." Even I could have done with a much shorter version of the Forum and the Colosseum.

Welcome home - start planning to go back! c

United States
Level Contributor
1,829 posts
230 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Thank you for the trip report Lori. I was actually wondering when you would be back. Time flies! Did you take the hop on hop off bus at all?

New Orleans...
Level Contributor
645 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Travelovers2,

We've used the Hop On Hop Off buses in London and NYC and for the most part, have found them to be a good introduction to the city, particularly if you can sit in the upper, open air part. Unfortunately, it was too hot in Rome to make sitting on the upper deck of a bus pleasant, so we just decided to walk everywhere.

It was good though, because we were able to see a lot of the city and all of the exercise tired us out so that we slept very well at night. None of us suffered from jet lag and Rome is 9 timezones from our home in California!

New Orleans...
Level Contributor
645 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Hi Candigirl,

I found that the Rome for Kids book was geared more to younger children (except for the restaurant reviews, which were terrific for planning meals). Your children are older than mine, so you may find that some of the suggested activities are not really age appropriate.

I guess you have to judge your kids tolerance level for history and art, etc. and plan your trip accordingly. For instance, although we visited Florence, we skipped the Ufizzi; I just couldn't see making a 10 and 13 year old stand in line to view paintings, it would have been miserable. They can do that on another trip when they are older.

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
3,852 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Welcome back!

In my opinion your kids will have a better sense of this trip as they grow older and define themselves as the amalgam of experiences that you've provided them... sometimes this takes 20 years to kick in.

:-)'

Perth
2 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Hello Traveller

I am writing from Australia. We are about to visit Rome for the 1st time in late September and am interested in contacting a guide for a visit to the Vatican. Would you be able to provide me with details and costs.

Thank you

Michel Polak

Perth
2 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Hello Traveller

We are planing a trip to Rome last September and am interested in finding out how to contact a guide for the vaitcan tour. Can you please send me the details and costs. I am from Australia

Thanks

polcatPerth

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
19 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Hi California Lori,

Thanks for the great trip report. We're off to Rome in late September so I am avidly reading your posts as we're also going to other parts of Italy. I just keep re-reading the 'can't stress comfortable shoes' bit over and over. It makes the comfortable sandles in the packing line look more attractive. LOL!

So sorry to hear about your Camera! I'd cry.

For polcatPerth,

Do you want to contact a guide for the Vatican tour for 8am or later on in the day? I'm also from AU and I faxed the Vatican, to request inclusion with their guided tours which are way cheaper than paying a company. I got a reply within 24hours. Just type "Vatican" into the search here on the Rome forum and you'll be able to read all the posts about it. Ive' posted exact details on one of the threads and the Vatican site is:

…vatican.va/3_EN/…MV_Info_Servizi_Visite.html

Fax +39 06 6988 5100 and give them the dates, preferred times, your names and number of people. Check out the official site and do some cost comparison. :-)

New Orleans...
Level Contributor
645 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Just back - Trip Report

Hi Everyone,

Y, I did cry about the camera. It was stolen on day 10 of a 14 day trip. Since it was a digital camera (and of course I did not download the photos or remove the memory card) we lost all of our photos of Rome, Florence, Lucca, Pisa and our first day in Venice. I'm still sick about it, but we do have some photos from Venice (taken with my cell-phone and then a cheap disposable) and it least we didn't have our passports or other important documents stolen. And we do have our memories, so we will just have to keep them alive by constantly reminiscing!

our tour guide in Rome (for the Vatican as well as the Forum and Palatine Hill, etc) as Tosca Perrotti. We loved Tosca, she is a native Italian with a degree in Languages and her English is excellent (I believe that she is also fluent in French, spanish and German, but you would have to confirm that with her). She charges 60 euros/hour for a minimum of 3 hours and is a licensed tour guide.

With a licensed guide you will skip the line at the Vatican (we were actually visitors 9-12 the day we toured, there was 1 group of 8 people ahead of us, we were in the Museums at 8 and in the Sistine Chapel before 9). Licensed guides also have their own entrance at the Colosseum, which also meant we skipped the line.

you can e-mail or call Tosca directly at :

toscamp@alice.it

347-3631599

Ciao!