Road trip update: Rome wasn’t meant to be seen in a day, but …

By | September 17th, 2011

Since when has that stopped us from trying? We checked out all the major sites in the Eternal City yesterday, including the Forum, Colosseum, Pantheon and the Spanish Steps.

But we kinda cheated; we had FastPasses.

We’re here on an Adventures by Disney tour, which means a lot of the attractions with long lines presented no obstacle to our group.

I’m more of a see-it-on-your-own kind of traveler, but after our capable guide opened the door to so many places with crowds waiting outside yesterday, I feel differently. If you want to hit the highlights of Rome, this is definitely a great way to do it.

All of us threw a coin into the Fontana di Trevi and are sure we’ll be back to explore this city more thoroughly.


We were a little surprised that the water in some of the fountains was drinkable. With temperatures hovering in the 90s, that was a welcome relief.

As fans of the films Gladiator and Spartacus, the Colosseum made the biggest impression on us, and especially the boys. Here’s a shot that attempts to capture the energy of the place as it once was — a lens blur focusing on the underground area that held the gladiators and wild animals before each fight.

I’ll have more details in National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog, as always.

I like Rome, but I could do without the traffic and throngs of tourists. We’ve also struck out on finding a family-friendly restaurant in our area (we’re saying near the U.S. embassy). (“A crime,” says my friend who runs a newsletter on traveling to Italy.)

Related story:   Rome will have to wait ...

Ah well, we have one more night to set that right. We are at the Vatican tomorrow.

I’m sure we will.



  • Ladycarols

    I thought you were on a road trip to Montreal?

    When and how did you get to Rome?

  • @8aba5031ef2da312537954610a17a7bf:disqus Yes, we were. We arrived here by plane two days ago.

  • Jayne

    I love Rome, and have several friends who live there. If you know where you’re going it’s much easier to see. Our first visit, we had a Great map and a wonderful helpful concierge at our hotel. Good directions or a tour guide also help. We used an old device- a Garmin GPS for walking and it kept us from getting lost. Just be sure to find out what areas NOT to venture into. We had helpful residents who told us- “Hey- you don’t need to be in this area.” in English.

  • Jerry

    I was in Rome nearly a year ago.  It was awesome.  I stayed at a small hotel just around the corner from the Colosseum.  Rome is such an amazing city.  I did 2 tours of the Vatican and did a self-paced tour of the last steps of Apostle Paul.  I can still taste the gelatos.  Chris, you are right about all the crowds.  I came from Paris right before arriving in Rome and was overwhelmed (at times) by all the crowds.

  • Monica Lynn Kennedy

    Doing an Adventures by Disney is on my bucket list. I’ve done pretty much everything else Disney has to offer and have been impressed every time, from DVC to runDisney to DCL, so I have high hope for their Adventures.

  • naoma

    I loved Rome when I was there — a couple of times.  Glad you are having a great time — although a short time.  ENJOY!

  • Lisa Simeone

    Truly one of the great cities of the world.  Every time I’ve gone I’ve loved it even more.  Wish I could see it again.  Ah, well.