|Easy snacks at ancient ruins|
One thing I tried to do was get a variety of new things to snack on (or play with) for Ada which saved us many a time. Sometimes our eating schedule didn't exactly line up with hers, so I was glad I had easy things to give her on the go. I especially love baby food that comes in pounches by Plum Organics. Too often convenient food means junk food, but these are nutritious and easy. We also got some GoGo squeeZ applesauce from Typewriter Grandma. Ada loves it. And I love that I don't have to carry around a sticky spoon when she's done.
Make reservations/get the Roma Pass
If you're efficient while you're out and about, you won't feel as bad about calling it a day earlier than you would sans-kids. Like Florence, we got the tourist pass offered and were glad we did. We got right into the Colosseum, the Forum and all the other sites we went to see. I also made sure we had our reservation for the Vatican early (and we made ours for the earliest slot, 9:00, so there would be less chance of a back up). We didn't have to wait hardly a minute at any site and it made Mom happy if no one else. Also, the metro pass (included in the Roma Pass) was a huge perk. We used it every day. There are escalators but not always elevators, so sometimes strollers can get clunky, but not un-doable.
|Making ourselves at home. Ada does this without pants on.|
If you're going to splurge, do it on a nice place to stay
In Rome we stayed in a great bed and breakfast just a few minutes from the Vatican. I was especially glad to have a place where we could hang out since our trip to Rome was a rainy one. It made a huge difference to have a nice place to come home to, dry off, and cook up some pasta. With kids you're bound to have more down time anyway, so you might as well pay to stay in a place that you can create some good memories in.
Bring a stroller
Rome, like Florence, has many accommodations for strollers (elevators, ramps, alternate entrances) and like most major cities, the sidewalks are wide. The one hard thing about strollers here was finding places to cross the street. The Italians will park a car anywhere it will fit—including straddling the crosswalk and wedged between trees. Sometimes we had to walk down a block or so to find a gap wide enough to pass through.
|Dada and Ada at the Roman Forum|
The Ancient Forum
This was maybe my favorite place to take Ada. Not only was being outside all day great for her, but there isn't the quiet museum atmosphere, there are tons of rocks/ruins to climb, gravel to sort, places to explore. Get some earphones and listen to Rick Steve's audio guide and you've got yourself a great few hours for both parents and toddler. Bonus: she was so tired after all the running around that she took a great afternoon nap. On a related note: I was glad she was asleep for the Colosseum. I wouldn't rank that on a fun place to take toddlers.
Though it was raining the day we went so Ada was stroller-bound, I can imagine this as being a great place for toddlers to roam and play as well. There are large grassy areas next to the ruins that looked like the perfect spot for a picnic lunch.
Most everything is behind glass, up high, or roped off so little hand can't break anything. Ada was awake for a bit of it, but, as we planned (and she magically went along with) she slept through most of it, including the Sistine Chapel which would have been a small nightmare with her. It's so crowded in there and no one is watching where they are walking. Everyone's eyes are, rightfully, glued to the ceiling, which makes tripping over a little one a distinct possibility.
St. Peter's Square
Fountains, pigeons, Berini's statues. What isn't to love? Plus you can get lots of wiggles out before going inside the church.
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
One of my big regrets about Rome is not getting to Trastevere. My Roman visiting teaching companion said this area is "Romanissma!" But the weather while we were there was not only a downer, but a slower-downer. We opted for less soggy options since it was a slow slog through the city. I have heard from several people, however, that this church has a great garden out front that mothers and babies alike love to dally in. Bonus, the church is beautiful and only minutes away from one of Rome's most magnificent and oldest churches, Santa Maria in Trastevere.
|At Castle Sant'Angelo|