One of my dreams as a mother came true this summer. That dream was to be able to take my children to Italy someday and finally this summer I was able to take my kids to Rome, Florence, and Venice after playing vacation roulette! (we took a Military hop) After months of hoping that we would actually make it to Europe we did. We ended up in Germany. After we got done traveling around Germany we headed to Rome when we got super cheap airline tickets on RyanAir from Munich to Rome.
Rome with Kids
I happen to have a degree in History, so Rome is just about my all-time favorite place. The history here is never ending. Unfortunately, my kids do not share my passion for history at all. In fact they all seem to hate the subject. So, began the dilemma of how to make them gain an appreciation of Rome and its extraordinary history when they are just kids.
Our first stop was the Roman Forum.
- Remember it is way quicker to buy your Coliseum and Forum tickets here. One ticket gets you into both places. Do not stand in line over at the Coliseum. It takes way too long.
Once inside I began pointing things out and giving the kids little tidbits on the history. Mistake #1 – my kids do not enjoy listening to me ramble on about history. Well, they did when I was talking about the various people killed here or being burned over there. (I think they might be playing too many video games!)
I also used Rick Steve’s audio guide that I had downloaded to my phone in advance. Mistake #2 – I did not bring a speaker for my phone. One of the kids could hear it when the other two couldn’t. Also, Rick Steves did not make these audio guides for kids. What I think is interesting my kids think is boring.
Second stop the Coliseum
At this point I realize maybe we need a tour guide. So, at the Coliseum we head to the tour group line and pay for a tour.
- Do not pay one of those people that approach you outside of the Coliseum for a tour! They charge triple or quadruple what you will pay for a tour at the counter. If you do decide to do this make sure it is a private tour.
- There is a line for tours for people that already have entrance tickets.
This is not a private tour, but a group tour. I found the tour to be a definite improvement, but throughout the tour we had issues. One being we could not hear our guide all the time, because they group was large. Also, it was such a large group that we couldn’t necessarily all fit in the shade and that was if there was some shade. It happened to be extremely hot when we were there. This may not even be an issue during cooler months.
Now, I am thinking we need a private tour guide. I do not care what it costs because what we will gain by having a private tour guide will by far exceed whatever amount we pay. I simply cannot leave Rome without the kids really having experienced Rome properly, so I turned to Nancy Aiello Tours. Who arranged to meet us at the Spanish Steps and then take us on the 4 hour Rome Discovery Family Tour.
It turns out Nancy Aiello Tours is just what we need. Not only do they offer private tour guides, but they cater towards families. Their site says:
“We cater to the growing desire for educational and unique travel experiences. Our mission is to make your vacation and tours fun and engaging. We create comprehensive Italy luxury journeys suitable for multigenerational families, disabled and independent travelers. Our insider know-how allows you to visit Italy best sights along with off the beaten track places for an authentic travel experience. Our Italy trip planners are expert at designing custom tour packages and family adventures that mix learning and leisure.”
After taking a tour with Nancy Aiello Tours I can say that they more than lived up to their promise. Our guide Laura is a mother too and was awesome with our kids. She already knew our kids names before we met her! Not only that, but she carried visuals with her. She quickly assessed the kids ages and adjusted the tour to be the most appropriate for them. She made ancient Rome come alive to them as she guided us along the Spanish Steps, through cathedrals, and down ancient streets. She was able to incorporate things all around us into our guided walk. The kids and my husband and I learned incredible amounts of information about Rome throughout the tour. As we went along she would ask the kids questions about Rome or questions about what we were looking at. The entire time we went along she seemed to be gaging their interest, so if they were more interested in something she would elaborate. We saw all of this plus some other places that I can not remember the names.
- Roman Pantheon
- Trevi Fountain
- Piazza Navona
- Paintings and sculptures by famous artists (Raphael, Bernini, and Caravaggio)
- Sant’Ignazio Church
- Basilica of Sant’ Agostino
- Spanish Steps
It was so nice to be on a tour that was so flexible with kids. It even included a gelato break and Laura doubled as our family photographer!