Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rome, our final chapter of Italian saga

Finally – last part of our Italian saga, nearly a year later.  Rome!  Rome was magnificent, it was big, it was hot, it was everything that I thought it would be with tons of monuments everywhere we turned, tons of tourists, tons of Italian gelato … Thanks to my friend who gave me her notes on Italy, I knew exactly what each flavor was :)  Rome with kids is interesting to say the least but it did not stop us from doing all the Rome touristy things. 

For us Rome started with Galleria Borghese.  While for most places I bought tickets online because we wanted to avoid the lines, for this museum you either buy it in advance online or you don’t go to museum.  They have slots every 2 hours and since boys are early risers anyway we got in as soon as they opened at 9 o’clock.  The official time you have to spend at the museum is 2 hours, I am not sure if they kick you out afterwards but it took us about an hour and a half to wonder through everything at somewhat leisurely pace.  The older boys absolutely had their favorites, it was nice that the art there is something that we are kind of familiar with and can tell them the story behind the sculpture or whatnot.  It always helps to know a bit more about art/sculpture then the small post-it size information located next to it. Sometimes I try to keep it simple – say Rape of Proserpina we talked about Pluto and how he abducted Proserpina but for Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius we went into a little more detail and talked about burning of Troy.  Of course, it absolutely helps that Andrei really likes history and has listened to different audio books on history of the world.

Borghese park
Pantheon was just as impressive as it was supposed to be.  The entrance is free and I don’t know if we got lucky or what but there was no line.  We walked in, walked around, took some pictures, and kept going.
On our way to Pantheon
Our hotel was in great condition and we were really close to Trevi Fountain but it became painfully clear that in order to get close enough to see it, we’d have to fight some massive crowds we came up with alternative plan of going there before 9AM and it worked amazing.  It also helped to have a sunny morning and the glow of the marble, made it seem magical.  

We wondered through the streets of Rome a LOT and saw many Piazzas, many smaller churches.  One thing we did not see is Spanish Steps  - closed for reconstruction.
Running in the streets of Rome
Chris diving in Rome fountain for a something, I think Anton dropped a car in

Another Rome fountain :)
Colosseum and Palatine Hill are much larger than I anticipated and thankfully we went early in the morning so we avoided some heat. We did not get a tour, but we overheard some tours and most of them were not that interesting; however, one tour was directed at kids and it sounded great.  Unfortunately, we did not get the name or any other information. 

Now Vatican … it’s one of the smaller countries in the world but it’s a bit hard to cover in one day with 3 rather tired (we’ve been traveling for a while by now) boys.  This was one of those times where my "research" paid off because despite having bought advanced tickets and skipping the massive line to get in, it became painfully clear that crowds are huge and we would have to keep an eye and a hand on everybody if we didn’t want to lose a child.  We also realized that there was absolutely no sane way for us to see the entire place and choose to skip museum - this is where my research paid off.  After standing shoulder to shoulder in Sistine chapel with some strangers and being screamed at by the guards who screaming for everybody to keep going, we took the “secret passage” to St. Peters.  Secret passage involved going into a door that had a sign “Keep out” and going against the crowds but nobody questioned us and we also got to skip a line to get inside St. Peters.   The boys loved seeing the Swiss Guards and actually so did I – the uniforms are so colorful that’s it’s hard to think of them as actual guards, no disrespect intended!

Anton was done, but as always brothers are there to help him out


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