Earlier this Summer my Husband and I celebrated our 10 year Wedding Anniversary. We felt that ten years was definitely worthy of something a bit more extravagant than our standard meal out. So naturally we decided a mid week break to Rome without the children was in order! It was to be our first child free holiday in over 9 years! It was definitely due, and whilst I was a tad apprehensive how the children (and I) would cope, it was a great success and so worth it. 

Looking across the river towards the Vatican

We found a great little hotel very close to the Trevi Fountain, which turned out to be an ideal location for exploring all of Rome easily and on foot. Other than the train from the airport into Rome we walked everywhere. In retrospect I wish I'd installed some sort of pedometer onto my phone as I feel fairly confident I achieved some sort of world record* of steps walked in one day.

(*World Record may be a bit of an exaggeration, then again maybe not. We will never know now.)

The Trevi Fountain

Given the lack of small children to convince (and more accurately, bribe) to come sightseeing with us we actually managed to see everything we wanted to see and then some. The wonderful thing about Rome is that the whole city is beautiful, and whilst guide books will tell you the places you HAVE to visit, there are a wealth of other places just as incredible to explore. You can barely go five minutes without finding yourself in another Piazza, or in another church full of breathtaking art. If you think about it, it's actually a little greedy of Rome to hog quite so much beauty within just one city. Clearly they need a lesson in sharing ;)

As you might predict the "Must See" places all come with approximately 2,458,890 people trying to see them too. You can't miss these main sights; just look for the crowds. That being said they are beautiful and you can see why they are so popular. I don't know if we are just uneducated in what is "best" and "most Historic" but i'll confess to you my favourite places were the churches we found by mistake, and the piazzas and narrow streets we discovered just getting lost in Rome. I'd choose these "lesser" sights over the "best" ones any day.

The Basillica di Santa Maria Maggiore was one of my personal favourite churches, and as a bonus there were no queues or crowds! Hopefully these photos are explanation enough...

The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatino

One ticket will get you into all three of these Ancient Roman sites. It'd be wise to buy tickets beforehand, but we luckily arrived before 9.30 to find there was no queue. There was however a huge queue later on when we wanted to visit the Roman Forum, so we visited Palatino first (where there are very few people) and to our delight discovered you can enter the Roman Forum through there. A trick worth remembering if you want to avoid the queues. If you enjoy a nice long queue then forget I said anything ;)

They are "must see" and therefore very busy. However, they are very impressive and we had a lot of fun exploring these lovely ruins.

The Food

I shall confess to you Italian cuisine was the real reason I wanted to visit Rome. You know those "Would you rather?" questions that always pose impossible choices, well if told I could only eat one countries' cuisine for the rest of my days, I would actually find it quite a simple choice. It is 100% Italian. Sure i'd miss other cuisines but I wouldn't even need time to think. I might be British but my stomach is Italian.

However, when you are there and you know the potential for amazing food is at your fingertips you find yourself crippled with indecision as to which of the hundreds of restaurants to choose from. 

So incase you venture to Rome anytime soon, these are the places we ate and wouldn't hesitate to eat at again. In fact one of these we did go to twice it was that good! 

  • La Bottega Del Caffe - A short walk from the Colosseum and in a lovely piazza. You can sit outside and people watch whilst you enjoy your food. {Piazza Madonna dei Monti, 5}
  • Il Chianti - Located near the Trevi fountain, (and the place we ate at twice,) this restaurant is just so lovely, and the food is perfect. {Via del Lavatore, 81-82}
  • Ristorante Quirino - Our most fancy (expensive) meal but one of the best. A lovely Italian restaurant near the Trevi Fountain. I can definitely recommend the homemade Ravioli.

As well as amazing dinners we also had perfect breakfasts each day from lots of different cafes. Fresh croissants and freshly squeezed peach juice was my breakfast of choice. Why oh why do we not have peach juice readily available in the UK?! A travesty for sure!

I won't tell you how much ice cream I had. But I will tell you that as well as eating all of the Gelato you have to find the Magnum shop near the Trevi Fountain, you get to create your own magnum. You choose which chocolate to coat the ice cream in, then you can choose 3 of a multitude of delicious toppings and then a sauce on top too. It was so good I think I may need to open a store in Swansea! 

The Pantheon

I was actually a little done with sightseeing when it came time to visit the Pantheon. We had seen so many places the guide book said we HAD to see and with mixed responses so I had very low expectations for the Pantheon. Maybe that is why I loved it so much, but I think it just actually is a "must see". Plus who wouldn't want a big hole in their ceiling? I wonder if it was the first ever skylight?! I did love how hot and sunny it was when we were in Rome, but I would love to see the Pantheon when the rain is coming through the ceiling! 

As I said before we managed to see a lot of sights, so here are a few favourite photos of them...

Piazza del Popolo

The Spanish Steps

The Vatican

Word of warning, get tickets beforehand. We foolishly didn't read up enough on visiting the Vatican and when faced with the prospect of queueing for hours in the blazing sun in order to get some tickets we decided to give it a miss. I have visited before and my Husband wasn't desperate enough to see it to spend any precious time on our short break waiting in a queue. It was however very pretty to explore from outside, and given how much art and beautiful churches we did get to see I feel ok not seeing it this time. Just don't tell the Pope I said that ;)

Villa Borghese

Located North of the city and not far from where we were staying is the Villa Borghese. I'm not really a city girl so it's no surprise that in our short time in Rome I made sure we sought out one of the greenest areas. During the day you can hire boats to row on the lake, and there are lots of parks and even a zoo there if you happen to take your children to Rome. I couldn't help but think for a moment how nice it would have been to have our three children there to explore the park with them, but then I remembered how much they would have complained about all the walking and "boring sightseeing" and I got over it pretty quickly. 

Piazza Navona

Probably my favourite of all the Piazza's.

The streets

No not the band, but my favourite thing about Rome. Walking everywhere, as well as getting me that much coveted world record I mentioned earlier, also afforded us the chance to enjoy the amazing architecture and beautiful streets of Rome. Here are a few of my favourite photos from our wanderings. And no I couldn't tell you where any of them are!

Walking everywhere also led us to one of my favourite discoveries; a mausoleum in the Trastevere area of Rome. This area was said to be the "cool" and "trendy" part of Rome. Which made me think we mustn't be very cool or trendy as we kind of preferred everywhere else. But this beautiful white mausoleum in that light, and those views across Rome towards the mountains, made it worth visiting.

It was just a brief, 3 night, stay in Rome, but it was so relaxing and there is so much to see and do there. It is well worth a visit, and if you can manage a child free visit as well I don't doubt you will have an amazing time.

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If you want to see a different view of our holiday, check out my Husband's blog of street photography. 

Just click on the Image.