Tuesday, October 07, 2014

When in Rome - Don't Blow the Budget!

When it comes to city breaks, the Italian capital is right up there among my faves. I love Rome & have been back four times already, so far. There is nowhere in the world that matches the stunning architecture & vibrant culture for me.

A city thoroughly steeped in history, you'll find ancient buildings at every turn, still in use today & it truly is a sight to behold.

We found this up a random side street!

I usually keep an eye on air fares & deals for city breaks as we can snap them up when they come along. Both Aer Lingus & Ryanair fly direct to Rome and you can get a return flight for roughly €150pp

Our last trip we chose to fly with Ryanair to Ciampino Airport, from there the cheapest & most direct route to Rome is a Terravision coach transfer for €4pp each way. The journey takes just under 40 minutes & you can buy tickets at the airport.

Roman Canals

We have stayed in a few different hotels & my favourite by far has to be Residenza Canova Tadolini, just a stones throw from the Spanish Steps. It’s a stunning 4* boutique hotel that feels more like a private residence. 

There is no restaurant so you are served a wonderful continental breakfast in bed each morning. We paid €130pp for 2 nights B&B. 

As we do in each city, we took the hop on hop off sightseeing tour bus on the first day so we could get our bearings of Rome before we set off on our adventures.

We’re all going to the Zoo, but somebody isn’t happy!

We found Rome very easy to navigate with most places easily accessed by foot, including the Zoo. Children under 1 meter are free in whilst any children over 1 meter & under 12 years are €12, adults are €15

We spent a lovely afternoon with the children getting up close to the elephants & giraffes. There are also a few open fields around the zoo so we bought a ball & let the children have a run around.

One of many many Basilicas in Rome

There are literally hundreds of basilicas & churches dotted around Rome so we dipped in & out of each to have a marvel at the architecture & stained glass windows. 

We ate our lunches & dinners in local little restaurants & the food was simple yet delicious. You haven't had pasta until you've had Italian pasta. The prices were also quite cheap, especially as we indulged in a bottle of local wine with our dinners. 

There's a real family feel to dining in Rome with restaurants gladly catering for little eaters with mini portions of adult meals - none of your nugget or sausage schtick. Our bill for 2 adults and 5 children was never more than €70


We found a great site for buying tickets before we went to Rome http://www.rome-tickets.com where for €16 including booking fee you can buy a Skip The Line ticket that’s valid for two days for The Colosseum, The Roman Forum & Palatine. I’d pay that amount just to skip the line at the Colosseum as it can get crazy long.

Don't let the lines put you off though as The Colosseum is one of the most magnificent sights you'll ever encounter. Just like the city itself, its steeped in history that no photograph or television show can ever really convey (sorry Russell Crowe). 

We got the lift to the top on our day there as we had buggies and Adam remarked that it must have been some squeeze for the lions & tigers, listening to musak in the glass lift before they got their fight on. He doesn't be well that child. 

The Vatican

While we were visiting the Vatican on our first evening in Rome a Nun approached us & gave us tickets for an audience with the Pope the following day. Should that idea float your religious goat you can apply for free tickets HERE but be sure to do so in plenty of time before your trip. 

There is a little souvenir & gift shop on the grounds of the Vatican where you can send postcards from Vatican City. We sent one home to Sue's dog Diesel to make sure he didn't bite Grandad. He ate it. Just across the road there are plenty of souvenir shops & stalls selling the exact same items at a cheaper price so be sure to spend your sheckles wisely.

Trevi Fountain

We ended each evening in Rome with a visit to the Trevi Fountain.....to look at it in awe....eh & gelato, plenty of gelato!! There is a fab little gelato shop right beside the Trevi Fountain and it just might be the reason we're already thinking about trip number five. 

There are also lots of bars & restaurants surrounding, where you can eat, drink & take in the wonderful view. There really is nothing else like it. Just make sure you throw in a coin to ensure your return to Rome!

Have you been to the Italian capital? Any hidden gems you'd like to share? 

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