Bryant and I coordinated on our posts about the latest family trip and found it challenging to summarize, but here’s what we’ve got so far!
We wanted to go someplace warmer for winter break, and chose Rome. It was an easy 2+ hour flight from CPH, and we had never been there before. We thought it might be less crowded than usual, though we didn’t anticipate the headaches of new covid restrictions. Luckily we managed to get Vaccine Passports and it seemed like the kids would be OK with their US vax cards. We didn’t realize that those would be invalid 6 months from the second dose so it was super lucky that we returned on Jan. 3 because their cards expired on Jan. 6 (by Italian rules) Sweden isn’t even offering boosters to under 18s yet so we might not be able to travel far for Spring break.
Anyway, we booked flights for an 8 day visit, and nabbed an AirBnB in the historic center of Rome in a cool old building in a neighborhood dating mostly from the 1500 and 1600s. Here are a couple of pics of the place and a map its nice central location near Castel Sant Angelo.
We were so satisfied with our Tours By Locals experience in Athens that we went for it again. We found a guide with a good profile and asked him to help us out with seeing the key things in Rome. We ended up doing 3 half days – Ancient Rome (Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, and the Colosseum), Villa Borghese, and the Vatican (art galleries and Sistine Chapel) along with Castel Sant’Angelo. Each outing, Ennio showed us around, told us all about the history and culture of the place, and stories about the art and artists. Seriously great way to immerse in Rome!
We did a little walking around on our own and saw the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.
We also really liked the food tour we did in Athens, so we looked to repeat it in Rome. We had a great guide (Chiara) who took us around to lots of little places for great samples – aperativos, great cheese and salami sampler, Roman pizza, Michelin-starred Pasta Carbonara, and tiramisu. All really good. It was a little rainy in the evening, but not so bad and we only needed the umbrella a couple of times.
On one day that we had to ourselves, we did a little self-guided walking tour, from the apartment to the Passeggiata del Gianicolo with pretty amazing overlooks of the city, in to the Trastevere neighborhood for a snack and a view of a church with a really cool mosaic, across the bridge to the island in the Tiber (world’s smallest inhabited island) and then finally to the Jewish neighborhood, where we ate overlooking the Portico di Ottavia, and back to the left bank of the river.
The weather was pretty good and in spite of the clouds, it was significantly lighter. An additional 2.5 hours of daylight made a big difference. Sites were busy but not overly crowded and the nightlife was vibrant but not crazy. Our location was remarkably quiet except for the birds (gulls?) and city sounds like the occasional ambulance or recycling glass sounds, no big parties or crowd noise. The trucks were sooo tiny, even compared to the small vehicles in Sweden.