This week, I have great pleasure in featuring Nikki and her wonderful trip to Rome – a city steeped in rich artistic and historical heritage and, of course, amazing food. Nikki is a woman after my own heart, as she professes Rome to be one of her favourite places in the whole world, and I would have to agree with her. Plus the kids loved it, too!
Over to you Nikki…
What do you look for in a holiday?
After having children, I craved a holiday where I could sit, relax and actually read a book. However, I realised I was kidding myself because I am not that sort of person, really. I am a red head, so I burn easily, am prone to prickly heat and generally do not do well in the hot weather. A beach holiday, as wonderful as it sounds, just isn’t for me. Fortunately, my husband is the same. We love food, culture and sightseeing. That’s why Italy was always our ‘go to’ place before we had children. It ticks all those boxes.
Where did you go?
We decided that now the children are older, it would be a good time to try out a city break. With that in mind, we chose our favourite country; Italy and a city that we thought would have sights that would interest them all – Rome.
I had been to Rome twice before, once with my sister and a second time with my husband for our 10th wedding anniversary. We knew the city reasonably well between us and we thought that it was so amazing, the children couldn’t fail to be impressed too. Our eldest daughter had studied the Romans at school and our middle daughter is already a culture vulture, so no problems there as far as interest is concerned. As for our five-year-old son, well it’s all about the Gladiators innit!
The five of us went for a four-day break.
Where did you stay?
This is always a tricky one. When you have more than two children, accommodation choices can be limited. Hotels don’t allow five of you in one room and they often won’t guarantee an interconnecting one. Our accommodation choices are usually about getting that space that we need, with location being secondary to that.
Tell us about your accommodation…
Luckily, I found the perfect place by searching online. It is a small hotel, situated on the second floor of a huge apartment building. In addition to its normal rooms, it has an apartment suite, with two bedrooms and a sofa bed. What an amazing find it was; traditional Italian décor, breakfast in our room every morning and just around the corner from the Coliseum.
Details: Caesar House Hotel http://www.caesarhouse.com/en/default.html. We stayed in the Apartment Coloseo.
Were there plenty of activities for the kids?
With some cities, like London, Paris and Rome, for example, the sights are so iconic that you know what you are going to see before you get there. So with this trip it was a case of picking out the most interesting and appealing according to the ages of our children. In addition to that, we found that Rome has its own Children’s Museum, which is a fantastic place, full of interactive fun.
Details: Explora Children’s Museum of Rome https://www.mdbr.it/en/
Your most memorable moment of the trip?
Every time I go to Rome, the Coliseum never fails to impress me. It is a vast and amazing structure and just by standing inside it and looking around you can almost hear the roar of the crowds and feel the atmosphere as it once was.
Was it good value for money?
Value for money, for me, is about so many things; having an amazing experience with your family being among them. I would not lie and say that Rome is cheap; it is a city after all. However, we managed to get a good deal on our flights and the accommodation, for the size and space that we had, was amazing value.
Your top tip/s for the area?
A Roma pass gives you entry in to most of the major attractions without having to queue (which is worth the money just for that). Children under twelve are free and this pass gives you free access on the Metro as well. It can get hot in Rome and you tend to do a lot of walking. Keep hydrated by taking a bottle of water with you. There are water fountains all over the city, so you can refill it whenever you need to, with delicious ice-cold water.
Which photo is your favourite and why?
My son’s fascination with the Gladiators, led his little brain to hatch a plan. For some reason he brought his light sabre with him on the trip and he thought it would be a great idea to challenge a Gladiator to a duel. Tourists can have their photo taken with the fake Gladiators, for a fee and as tacky as that is, we could not refuse our son when he asked if he could have one. I am sure this man never had a request like this before. I hope that we made his day interesting!
Would you go back again?
Oh my goodness, what can I say? Rome is my favourite city in the world and it happens to be in my favourite country, too. We will definitely be going back. We have friends there now too, as we met a client of my husband’s during our stay. His son recently came to stay with us when he was in England doing some work experience and they have already been asking when we are coming back. Next year definitely. Get me on that plane…
What five holiday essentials could you not live without?
• I have discovered that now the children are older, I can read a book or two when we go away. Therefore, my Kindle is a holiday must-have for me.
• We have iPads, which we always take with us as well, as I like to keep up with my emails every day. I always make sure I have downloaded plenty of films before we go, so the children can watch them when we are having some downtime in our accommodation.
• I always stuff gluten and dairy free snacks in my suitcase and bag when we go anywhere. I never know what the choices will be where we are going, so it is a must for my intolerant son.
• My little medical bag is well-travelled. It contains Calpol, Piriton, travel sickness tablets, throat spray – you name it, I have it. This comes from lessons learned over the years of travelling with young children and never having these things when you need them.
•Finally, vain as it may sound, I hate squinting in the sun and I do not want wrinkles, so I always make sure I have my sunglasses.
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