Rome with Kids. And Pompeii and Sorrento!

First stop was Rome. Two buses. One train. One plane and one very expensive taxi. But the taxi ride was the best. Sunset past the Colosseum.


Too late to do much when we got there so we went out for pizza. Found a friendly basement eatery and ordered. Doug got a double dose of red wine. He perked up. Kids and I ate pizzas. Caroline gave it a thumbs up.

The next morning we had an early start at the Colosseum.  A couple hours there. Touching. Standing. Antagonizing one another in an arena 2,000 years old. Lots of blood was shed there- no Dziekan blood though. 75,000 people could fit in there with the women and the kids only allowed in very top section.  The inauguration of the Colosseum was marked by 100 days of 'games'. 24 hours a day. The author of the Hunger Games may have been inspired by the Colosseum. A fight until death might get you a wreath. Though apparently they didn't have any interest in killing the gladiators every time. It was expensive to train them. Super.
A gladiator on his iPhone.

We also had tickets to the Forum and the Paladine. I still have no idea which was which. It was all cool. And old.  I had sort of thought I could rely on my son, Sam, to tell us where we were and what we were seeing. Apparently he likes certain periods in history- not all of them. We muddled along. Met a really nice young family from the States. Her husband is in the service stationed in Italy.  They had five kids- all under 7.  Talked life in Europe, sending kids to public schools for the language immersion, and what to do with them when we go back to the States- how do you keep a foreign language going when you know the schools don't offer it?  Weather was beautiful.  Kids hunted lizards in the Paladine and then we moved along.

Not one of my kids holding a lizard. This little girl was fearless.
Through the gardens with hedge mazes (there is a name for those things- just can't remember it). Past the orange trees with all the low hanging ones gone already.

Then a weird thing happened. We started talking fondly of Switzerland. The clean, reliable transportation that was on time. The city pride- how clean and safe it felt. Then it got a little confusing when Caroline said she wanted to 'go home'. She needed to clarify. Home as in the hotel in Italy? Home to our flat in Switzerland? Home to our house in the US? Turns out it was the hotel. My kids are turning into nomads.

The next day began even earlier with an 8:30 tour of the Vatican. I was starting to really enjoy having done NO research for this trip. Besides the bits and pieces of information learned in elementary and high school, I knew next to nothing about the places we were visiting. It was all a big surprise. Kids liked the Vatican. We were all surprised by the huge wall that separated Vatican City from Italy.

It was a long tour but they hung in there. I had no idea painting the Sistine Chapel was Michelangelo's first time painting fresco. The guide said there is so much art in the Vatican it would take ten years if you spent only one minute with each piece. We then spent about an hour addressing and sending postcards in the Vatican post office. One pen. 9 postcards. Takes awhile. Especially if one of you still writes rather slowly. We had a picnic lunch in one of the courtyards.  No one else was picnicing but the Vatican pigeons were helpful and pecked up all the crumbs.

The man in the center is Raphael, the painter. He admired Michelangelo. Michangelo didn't admire him. So, Raphael painted this gigantic painting (The School of Athens) with both of them in it.
Here is Michelaneglo in the same painting. He looks bummed out to be in it.

Vatican exit

Off to the Trevi Fountain.  Wasn't expecting that! We all enjoyed it. All 1,000 of us. It's pretty popular.
Trevi Fountain
Had dinner nearby with tables essentially set up in an alley.  Caroline was sitting on the end. When cars went by, we just checked to make sure she wasn't going to become a hood ornament. She survived.  Enjoyed it even. Spaghetti with an element of danger.
Spaghetti drunk

Picked up our rental car and headed further south to Pompeii. Pompeii is a confusing little town.  You have the ruins- a huge area- which was a very sophisticated and wealthy little town by the way. Bakeries, cloth manufacturers, theaters, parks, a city center, brothels, anything you want.  We wandered but Lauren got a little tired of our haphazard approach to touring. She got out a map and drew up an itinerary.
While she was doing that, a middle school trooped into the amphitheater.

They were all dressed in togas.  Teacher gave some sort of lecture in Italian and they left. Pretty good field trip (there was also a field trip at the Vatican and one at the Paladine).  Last stop in the ruins was the Villa Misteri, which shall remain a mystery, as the kids quit at that point.

Interior painting at the Villa

Then there is the small town of Pompeii which has a really pretty Main Street.

Venture too far off though, it can get a little sketchy. But you could get your car blessed. That was a first. 
So many stray dogs. Narrow streets with people driving like maniacs and even more maniacal, the moped drivers.  Those drivers must completely skew the charts of life expectancy in Italy. We had planned on visiting a museum in Naples housing many of the more interesting artifacts from the Pompeii ruins but I had no interest in driving in that city. Tons of garbage everywhere. Literally tons.

Last stop was Sorrento. Loved Sorrento so much full sentences aren't even needed.

The cliffs.

The pastel colors.

The turquoise blue ocean.

When a wave came in, it was like looking through green sea glass. Gelato; banana, lemon cream, pineapple, chocolate, Nutella, strawberry, and melon- our collective choices. An elevator through the cliffs to the tiny beach below.  Caroline and Doug wading. Lauren did handstands.  The wedding we stumbled on.  Driving the curvy highway along the cliffs. All along the streets were orange trees laden with fruit.  What a beautiful day.

I have to go back.


  1. Wow!! It looks like you had another incredible trip! Beautiful photos! Caroline sure looks tired in the one at after the spaghetti..;-) Glad you're back safe and happy. Love Pearl

  2. Sorrento is a beautiful place up to heaven. Have done a very nice trip. I had two days in Sorrento. Here are my notes I wrote travel. One of the places I will never forget.


Post a Comment

Thanks for subscribing!

Popular Posts