Like most big European cities, there is sooooo much to see in Rome. By the time our crew got there, we were exhausted from all of our previous travels. So, there we were…trying to catch up on sleep, trying to carefully tackle another busy city with kids, and trying to see one of the most amazing cities in Italy! Oh, and did I mention we also had to squeeze in Christmas in all that! It was a crazy week to say the least!
When we first arrived to Rome, my main focus was Christmas. The kids have been looking forward to it for weeks and I felt that I couldn’t let them down.
Step 1: Decorations.
I had to make it feel like Christmas. We decorated a little tree and got a little nativity set for the kids to put together. Done!
Step 2: Gifts.
We were in a huge city – how hard could it be to find a few popular toys?! Um, it was nearly impossible! Ugh. Remembering it gives me a headache! We searched for a toy store in Rome and the best one that came up was “Little Big Town” where they claimed to be the biggest toy store and have everything for kids and adults. We showed up and our stomachs sank. It was small and had nothing we were looking for. It ended up taking us 2 days, countless bus rides, and so many heart aching moments where I imagined my kids waking up with no presents. We finally found some gifts – not the ones we were hoping – and crossed our fingers that the kids would overlook the toys they were begging for and settle for what we got. Done!
Step 3: Christmas cookies.
One of my favorite traditions is baking and decorating sugar cookies as a family. I realize this new traveling lifestyle omits most of our normal traditions, but the kids have been troopers with all this traveling and I wanted to reward them with a normal Christmas. Well, that hope was shattered when I realized there was NO OVEN in our apartment. I threw a hissy fit and shed a couple tears, but had to accept it.
Step 4: Christmas Eve Pajamas.
Another special tradition is the Christmas jammies. Thank my lucky stars that my awesome mother-in-law spent an arm and a leg to ship the cutest pajamas to all of us! Done!
Christmas morning came and all my worry melted away as Brandon and I sat and watched the kids open their 2 gifts. Besides being such a fun and exciting time for the kids, it was also a time that we realized again that we don’t need much to make us happy.
The kids were more than happy and didn’t complain once about the itty bitty tree, 2 mediocre gifts, and the complete lack of sugar cookies. I was a mess trying to make the Christmas as special and memorable as I could and now I feel silly for ever doubting my family. We had our itty bitty tree, mediocre gifts, and each other! When we have each other, everything else just seems unnecessary. I love that my family is so cool like that!
Seeing the Sights in 2 Days
Since we were in a time crunch with so much left to see, we decided to do the Big Bus Tour to see the sites in Rome. We loved the Big Bus Tour in New York City, but was terribly disappointed with it in London, so we knew it was a risk. It actually was great! Sitting on the top was cold this time of year, but we were able to see a lot more and get some great pictures.
When you think of Rome, you always think of the Colosseum – so, we got off at the Colosseum bus stop and did a tour. Although I wish I could’ve understood and heard our tour guide, signing up for the tour got us past all the lines, so it was worth it! (Our tour guide spoke English, but her accent was so strong and she used a dinky little microphone that you could only hear when standing right next to her.) The Colosseum was amazing – much bigger than I ever imagined. There is a lot of detail you can still see on the walls, stairs, and floors. It was fascinating and the kids loved it, too!
Like a lot of other amazing women, my sister and I have seen the movie “When in Rome”! Well, the whole movie is based around the myths of the Trevi Fountain. There are several myths of the fountain, but the main one is that when you throw a coin in, you’ll fall in love. Because of this chick flick, my sister and I really wanted to stop and see this fountain! When we got off at the Trevi Fountain bus stop, it was a little walk to get there. The walk was on narrow cobble-stone streets filled with cute cafes and shops, so we didn’t mind. We could hear the fountain as we got closer. It was so much bigger than I thought! (In fact, I think they used a different fountain in the movie. Remind me to look into that later.)
There were a TON of people around it, so we couldn’t get any great pictures with it, which was disappointing. But, my sister was able to throw several coins in…mainly to get a good picture…and, well, it’s up to her to tell you the other reasons. haha
Best Pizza in Rome
When in Rome, you HAVE to eat at Bonci’s Pizzarium! They were featured on Anthony Bourdain’s TV show, The Layover. That is how we heard of it. The owner was on the show talking about his pizza and his passion was contagious! They have a big variety of unique flavors, some including broccoli and pumpkin! We got several different kinds to try. The crust is to die for!! He uses sourdough starters, some aging back to World War I!
And, guess what?! When we went inside, we saw the owner himself with his apron on behind the counter! I snuck a picture with him in the background. Then, when we went to the register to pay, he came over and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask him for a selfie! It was awesome! He’s just as nice and committed as he was in the TV show!