Day 20 Rome and The Vatican (so that’s where all the marble went)

under the basillica

St. Peter's Basilica

Here’s the one thing I refuse to do on a trip to Italy with kids – wait in line.  So far we have been incredibly lucky.  We have made advance reservations whenever we could, we encountered no lines anywhere else like the Duomo in Florence and the Palazzo Ducale in Venice because we went late in the day.  We used our Roma Pass to glide by everyone at all the major archeological sites in Rome, and so for the Vatican I ordered our tickets on-line and printed them at home.  We had our two o’clock reservation time so all we needed to worry about was lunch.

The only real snags we’ve hit on this trip have been with restaurants – either not being open at all or not seating people without reservations.  This time I was determined that we would eat somewhere great in Rome.  I don’t believe that you can’t have a bad meal in Rome.  I’m from New York; I know that great restaurant cities are full of mediocre restaurants of all price ranges.  Continue reading

Day 17 Staying Cool in Tuscania

We spent the the day in Tuscania going to the market and trying to stay cool on the hottest day so far.  I spent most of the day planning our field trip to Rome the next day when the heat was supposed to break.  I’m big on planning.  I don’t believe in just winging it when we travel, particularly with kids in tow.  My feeling is be as prepared as possible, and then hope for the best and be flexible when you’re actually at your destination.  So, with that in mind we booked a few things ahead of time.  I bought our Vatican tickets for Monday.  After a ton of research and emails I decided against getting a private tour guide for Saturday’s trip since I didn’t want to be tied down to anyone else’s schedule and figured the girls really didn’t need to be schlepped around according to a guide.  So instead we decided to go all out tourist and book tickets on the double decker red bus that goes around the city and lets you jump on and off all day long.

Now, I have to say as a New Yorker I have come to loathe these buses as they chug through the city, clog traffic and generally make me feel like I’m being perpetually viewed by tourists holding up video cameras as the bus whizzes up Broadway or Central Park West.  Continue reading