I remember overhearing a conversation between two men at the post office when we first moved to Byron. One man was telling the other about an upcoming family holiday — the first holiday for their family in seven years! I remember how casual the other guy’s response was, ‘when you live in paradise, you don’t really need a holiday’. With travel such an important part of our lives up to this point, I was struck by the concept of staying still for seven years. But on the other hand, how nice to love where you live so much you don’t ever want to leave.
When we moved to Byron, we hoped we would make it back to Europe every year, or at least every other year for a family holiday. But, like those guys in the post office, we settled into life here and didn’t really have the desire to leave, especially knowing how far we’d have to travel and how expensive it would be. Of course, we knew Australia was far away from almost everywhere else when we moved here, but I don’t think we realised just HOW FAR away it is. Add to that the prospect of 25+ hours travelling with a busy toddler in tow and it was easy to put our desires on hold for another year.
It had been three years since our family had been back to Europe and everyone was excited to return. In planning our time there, we knew we wanted to spend at least a week in London — to see friends and visit favourite places. We also knew we wanted to spend time in Positano, a special spot for our family. So, we were left with a few remaining days at the end of our trip before making the long trek back home. We decided to spend our final days in Rome, to give the kids a bit of culture and a history lesson in this beautiful, old city.
I’ve had lots of people ask me to share our tips from our time in Rome, so I thought I would jot them down here for you. We weren’t able to explore as extensively as we had hoped because a heat wave sucked the life out of us during the days. But here are a few tips worth mentioning:
- We rented this apartment on Airbnb, which was centrally located between Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona and fit the seven of us perfectly.
- In the mornings, Michael and the girls ran out and bought delicious pastries from Roscioli, just around the corner from our apartment. I’m still dreaming about those pastries! (We tried to eat in their restaurant, which our Italian friends had recommended, but they could never squeeze the seven of us into their small space.) Their take-away pizza is known to be great too.
- We hired a super lovely, English-speaking driver, Fabio, to drive us around to all the sights for the day. He was really knowledgable and took the time to point out details throughout the city as we drove around. (Fabio’s number is: +39 328 591 9916.) His van was air-conditioned, he had cold water on offer, and it felt like heaven to get back into his car to escape the heat inbetween sightseeing. We told him we were on a mission to find the very best gelato in Rome, and he took us to Gelateria La Romana, and it did not dissapoint!
- Fabio drove us to a point where we walked up to a hill overlooking the Forum. We really enjoyed seeing the Forum from above — it offered a great perspective, especially helpful for the kids to understand.
- Speaking of gelato, we also tried FataMorgana, and it was delicious as well.
- A friend of ours recommended a playground in Trastevere at Piazza di San Cosimato, and it was a perfect (mostly shaded) spot to sit and let the kids play for a bit. There aren’t many playgrounds in the centre of Rome, so we were thankful for this tip!
- We walked from our apartment across the river to Trastevere one evening and had dinner at Da Enzo, a recommendation from a friend. Again, it didn’t disappoint. (Roma Sparita was another restaurant recommendation from a friend.)