Last year we spent the four days leading up to Christmas in Rome, and it was just as magical as you would imagine! My in-laws had just flew in to visit for a couple weeks, so we all took the train down to Rome, which was SO nice! My favorite way to travel here, its so relaxing!
We took the train down after my boys got out of school right before break started and were there by dinnertime, it was perfect! It just so happened that my brother and sister in law were visiting Rome at the same time, and our trips happened to overlap by 48 hours, which was so fun too!
We stayed at an Air B&B in the Monti neighborhood, which was very convenient to everything. It was just a quick metro ride away to wherever we wanted to go and had plenty of tasty restaurants and shops nearby for ease and convenience as well.
The first afternoon we got there, we trekked to our Air B&B, unloaded, had a glass of wine, and headed out for dinner right around the corner at Ristorante Tema. It was delicious. Best flounder of my life, my son and I still talk about it, but everything was so fabulous. Such a fun dinner!
Day two started off strong with a trip straight to the Vatican. We went in December, of course, so everything was so empty, which was such a blessing! We had heard plenty of stories about the lines in Rome to get into places, so we were so happy that the crowds were small. I absolutely recommend going in the Winter! The weather was still comfortable for walking around all day and the tourists were few.
Vatican Tips! We booked online in advance, which I advise, it’ll help you move through the entrance quicker.
We paid for the kids audio guide, which I highly reccommend if you have littles, because it comes with a scavenger hunt map, and kept my boys interested the entire time! They learned so much, and were teaching me fun facts for weeks! I was nervous about doing the Vatican with young kids, but that was for nothing because they loved it so so much!
As for adults, we did the audio guide too, but about halfway through I switched to the Rick Steeves app, free audio guides for everywhere in Rome, and I think that was way more interesting and informative. So maybe skip the audioguide, bring your own headphones, and download the Rick Steeves app! I ended using it everywhere the entire weekend and loved it!
Last tip, there’s a cafe about halfway through. Stop there, grab a snack, get a drink, it will recharge you and your kids and it was so nice to get off our feet for a few!
After spending about four hours at the Vatican, and trust, we could have easily spent four more, we walked down the hill and around to St Peters. At first we just walked around the square, let the boys run free, chase some birds, which they needed after four hours at a museum, ha! We ended up getting in line to go into St Peters, which looked long, so we originally weren’t going to, but Im glad we did. The line moved fast and the inside is UNREAL. Kind of wild to stand where the pope stands too. Such a beautiful experience.
At this point , we had hardly eaten and it was almost 4pm, so we walked down the street to eat at Ristorante Dei Musei, which was hands down our favorite meal of the entire trip. SO delicious, SO cozy and welcoming, and SO MUCH FUN. The staff were a big family and so incredible. At one point they brought glasses of Prosecco to every person in the restaurant and did a giant toast with all of us, and that is just one small thing. They went above and beyond! The food was outstanding, HIGHLY recommend eating here if you’re ever in Rome!
After a few hours of eating and hanging out there, we hopped back on the metro and went back to our Air B&B to relax and unwind. As I mentioned earlier, my in laws were with us, and offered to stay in with the boys for the night, so we headed out with my brother and sister in law, and the four of us had such a BLAST!
We hit up everything that night, and it was completely empty everywhere because it started raining, which truly only added to the magic of our night. We ate, drank, and laughed our way through an empty city until about 2am. If I can recommend one travel tip to people, I always recommend seeing it all at night, because its an entirely different experience. Everything is so beautiful all lit up, and it’s my favorite way to see any city. So much so that we repeated it with the boys on our last night, just not so late! 😉
We started at the Colosseum, walked over to Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. We walked up to Vittoriano, the alter of the fatherland, then over to the Trevi fountain, and on to the Pantheon. Like I said, we saw it all! We ended our night with wine and snacks outside, in front of the Pantheon, at Gruppo Di Renza, and it was perfect. We eventually walked home and it was such a fun date night!
Day three, we went and saw it all again, in the daytime, and with the boys! We started our day at the Colosseum and Roman Forum. We booked a tour for that one, and we all regretted it. We could hardly hear a thing she said and she didn’t even take us all over the Colosseum. At one point I switched to the Rick Steeves audioguide again, and it was much better.
We headed over to Trattoria Luzzi for lunch, with was right around the corner from the colosseum and had killer cacio e Pepe! All their food was stellar though, definitely worth a stop!
After lunch, we hopped on a bus to take us to the Trevi Fountain. The boys loved it and had too much fun throwing the coin over their left shoulder! We walked along towards the Pantheon, since theyre surprisingly close to each other. From there we grabbed some gelato on our way to Piazza Novana, and sat in front of the Fiumi Fountain enjoying it. Right in front of us was the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, and if you’ve ever been to a church in Europe, you know you never skip the oppurtunity. They’re so amazing.
The sun had set by the point, and everyone was getting tired, so we continued walking, and grabbed some espresso to go. We hopped on the bus and took it back to our Air B&B. By the time we got back, nobody had the energy to go back out, so we ordered takeout from Trieste Pizza, and just relaxed for the night.
Day four, our last day, we took off on our own, just the five of us. My favorite thing to do in new places in to just explore aimlessly, with no destination in mind. Its the best way to truly experience , soak up, and just feel a city.
We hopped on the bus to Campo de’ Fiore, grabbed some vin brûlée, treats for the boys, and then just started walking with not much in mind. We walked towards Castel Sant’Angelo, but didnt go in. We were pointedly trying to make this day about the boys, and just having fun with it!
We continued walking on and stopped to grab some gelato at Gelateria del Teatro. It was fabulous and just so happened to be next to a famous photo spot. It was such a beautiful little street, with the church bells ringing. I loved it.
We just kept walking and exploring, checking out all the Christmas decorations and lights along the way, which was so so pretty to see! We headed towards Thats Amore for lunch, and ended up walking past the Pantheon and Trevi fountain once again! Those sights never get old, so beautiful and new each time. Lunch was fabulous! It was so warm and cozy, very festive and the food was delicious. I think I ate my weight in Carbonara that weekend!
From our lunch spot, it was a quick walk to there Spanish Steps, which we were going to skip, but since it was so close, we figured why not! They had the police there making sure no-one was sitting on them leisurely, but we just walked down from the top, and ended up in a huge shopping district. Obviously I stopped at Zara, but Cartier was a bit much! 😉
We stopped and got dessert at Vale Gelato, and since it was dark at this point, we walked to see the giant Christmas tree in front of the alter of the fatherland. So magical! We continued to walk back through the roman forum, which was full of music and street performers, and we just had so so much fun along the way!
The five of us ended our night at a cute little spot in front of the Colosseum called, Antica Domus. We grabbed drinks and dessert, enjoyed the pretty lit up view and just had so much fun with each other. I truly love traveling with my guys, they’re so amazing and seeing things through their eyes is an experience in itself.
At the end of the night we took the metro back to our Air B&B, and tucked in those sweet faces. My in laws offered to stay in and gave my husband and I a little one on one date night. We just walked right down the street and ate at Trattoria Al Tettarello, which was fantastic. We ordered too much dessert, ha but had such a nice time, and was such a great end to a fabulous weekend.
The next morning, we hopped right on the train back home to get ready for Christmas! It was so so fun, and one of the best trips we’ve taken. I loved it so much and would go back to Rome in a heartbeat! There is just so much to see, and the city has its own kids of magic.