On our way to meet family in the south of Italy, we flew into Rome for a 3-night stopover. Having been to Rome many years ago as a single backpacker and then later with my husband, we were looking forward to discovering this ancient city with our children. My very organised sister found a hotel smack bang in the middle of an amazing shopping strip (I love Sephora), called Hotel Mozart (www.hotelmozart.com), which suited our needs. Close to the Spanish Steps, it had a quadruple room with a terrace, which accommodated our family of four perfectly. It also offered a great breakfast included in the rate and a rooftop bar, a wonderful spot for a nightcap on our way home from dinner.
Our first day was a walking tour to the Spanish Steps (with a stop off for coffee), Trevi Fountain and then on to the Colosseum (which was closed due to a strike). We had friends joining us from London, so then headed for lunch at Edy at 4 Vicolo del Babuino which offered a fairly traditional Italian menu, but with great quality and service, and the locals were eating there, so that is always reassuring.
Our first dinner was at Salumaria Roscioli on Via, dei Guibboneri, 21 (www.salumeriaroscioli.com) which is very popular (does three sittings) and there is always a line at the door, hoping for a no-show table. It is a shopfront with amazing produce, with room at the counter for casual diners, and then a restaurant at the back. Salamis and charcuterie are a feature on the menu, as the name suggests, but it also offers dishes like Short Macaroni with Tomatoes “San Marza-No Dop), Guanciale (spiced bacon)and Pecorino Romano Dop and Spaghettone with cream onion from Giarre and red prawn. We opted for two of the spaghettis, and some plates of charcuterie with cheeses and bread. The waiters are knowledgeable and efficient, and you don’t feel you are rushing to meet your sitting deadline.
Day two was a quick tour of the Vatican, which was probably a little boring for the kids, although they can tell you some interesting stories about Michelangelo! In hindsight, which is always a wonderful thing, we should have gone with an hour-long horse and carriage ride around the city, which our friends enjoyed with their children. Fun, interesting and doesn’t require standing in lots of queues.
On the other hand, our trip to Eataly, the food emporium that is changing the face of food retail (think Simon Johnson on steroids), was a great excursion. Just two stops from Colosseum station, it has 18 eateries, a bakery, brewery, Panini bar, bookshop, fresh food sections, Mozzarella Heaven, cooking school, coffee bar which roasts and grinds its own beans, chocolate section and cake store. We were in love, and began making plans to move to Rome just so we could visit it weekly.
Gelati eating is a national past time in Italy, and why wouldn’t you with some amazing flavours and quality. Most vendors are good, but here are a few to try – Giolitti (Via Uffici del Vicario, 40, Pantheon), Gelateria San Crispino (Via Di Panetteria, 42, Trevi) and Ciampini (Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, 29, Centro).
The Villa Borghese Park is another great stop with kids. There are pony rides, some fun powered quad bicycles, plenty of room to kick a ball and have a picnic, and a lake if you can find it!!
Pizza at Le Grotte on Via Della Vite, with friends on our last night was great. Pizza was fine, wine easy to drink on a hot night, and the kids were able to kick a footy in the street. An enjoyable way to end our time in Rome. Ciao!