Our second stop on our recent travels was Rome and I have to say that it was the destination I was most looking forward to. I’ve always been a bit of a history geek so the thought of standing within the walls of the colosseum was just so exciting, and let me tell you it didn’t disappoint (except for the fact that it was closed so we could only stand outside of the walls, but the outside was just as breathtaking!).
We travelled straight from Barcelona and after checking into our first air bnb (it was pretty grim and not accessible so we ended up moving to a better one on the second night) we took a stroll to the local park, which happened to be right opposite the colosseum. It actually took my breath away a bit as we walked towards it, especially as we didn’t think we’d be seeing it until the next day and it took us by surprise! Even though it was closed and it was quite late into the afternoon it still amazed me just how open it was; you could literally go up and touch the walls and I could just imagine the gladiators waiting to fight the lions – okay I’m a geek right!?
It was pretty freezing, surprisingly so for late March in Italy, so we took a few quick snaps of an amazed Jasper and took a stroll through the streets to find a spot for dinner.
The next morning we had a tour with Withlocals mid-afternoon so we decided to stroll around the city beforehand. We of course started at the Colosseum because I wanted to see it in the sunshine and it was just as glorious as the night before.
Rome is a city absolutely full of history and everywhere you turn you see old ruins with a story behind them worthy of a Horrible History book!
There were certainly a lot of ‘money makers’ aka men dressed up as gladiators charging 20 euro for the privilege of this here picture – we haggled it down to 4 euros as he didn’t really give us a choice not to take the picture and we didn’t have any more change on us! We were also given ‘gifts from a sellers mother’, which was a bracelet for each of us that again was practically forced onto our wrists despite really insisting that we didn’t want them. We were then asked for gifts to give back to his mother and the bracelets were swiftly snatched from our wrists when we said we had nothing to return!
Just a gentle reminded to always be vigilant, especially around large touristy spots like the Colosseum!
Our first tour was with an amazing host named Yanira; she not only showed us some of the most beautiful sights but taught us just about as much as we could have learnt about the city’s history whilst making it fun and interactive for Jasper!
There are so many hidden gems dotted around the city; tranquil walled gardens where you can hear nothing but the birds chirping and fountains flowing yet just outside of those walls it’s a buzz of chatter, car horns and general day to day busy city life!
Jensons favourite spot was the cat association; an adoption agency randomly located underground in the city and right next to the spot where Julius Ceaser was murdered! The cats are even allowed to roam over the ruins – I guess a city so full of ancient ruins it’s less fussy about keeping things behind red tape!
We also stopped for the best gelato in Rome and I think Jaspers face speaks for itself in terms of how delicious it was! haha
The next day we set off on tour number two in Rome; a family food tour with Armandio and oh my goodness we left with both our hearts and our belly’s full!
We met in Camp De’Fiori the flower and food market and it had the most amazing atmosphere. Armandio met us under the central statue and we knew it was him from his familiar black hat and blue bike as in his Withlocals host profile.
We tried fresh fruits, strolled past the gorgeous blooms and Armandio even taught Jasper how to live like a Roman – by using the aqueducts fountains the right way! It is said that dogs drink from the tap but humans cover it with two fingers to drink from the spout on top! Jasper had so much fun practising and it was pretty funny watching him move his fingers away just as his mouth got close enough to drink! Petes first attempt also ended in an overzealous amount of pressure leading to Jenson getting a soaking wet head!
The tour led us around picturesque cobbled streets, each leading to squares, statues and ruins. We sampled pizza, gelato, cannoli’s, croquettes and even visited the worlds very first and therefore oldest church in the world!
Armandio left us in a fab park right in the city centre after our tour to let the boys burn off some steam (not that they needed to after a fun packed day of walking the city!) and after they’d played we headed to the Vatican to have a look around.
As with the colosseum it was very touristy and reminded me a bit of Disney land with its fairytale style streets lined either side with overpriced restaurants. I’m sure on a day when something important is happening it would be magnificent but with everyone walking around taking pictures and sellers offering selfie sticks and overpriced bottles of water I found it quite hard to really take in its history.
I didn’t get any snaps of the Vatican as by that point we were all so tired and just ready to head back home to snooze before our flight the next day to destination number three!
If you’re heading to Rome then I hope you love history because it is seriously jam packed with ruins and stories to send you back to the days of gladiators and chariot races!
I’m loving sharing all of the snaps from our travels and have quite a few more to write so I hope that you’re loving them too!
Thanks for reading!