There’s the colosseum, of course. But talk about the tip of the buried treasure. We pre-booked a ROMA Card (discounts and freebies, including public transport), which was a bit silly, turned out, as you can buy them all over the place. That first day we went round in circles quite a bit, actually, but we did visit the colosseum, found the Trevi fountain and went to bed feeling like we had saved our messy gong-show of a day.

The Colossus itself.

Under the floor, where they kept the beasts, and other prisoners.

Trevi, Elena and me!

For thursday we had reserved entrance to the Borghese gallery, repository of Berninis and Caravaggios in abundance. This was stunning. The house holds the gallery of paintings and sculpture, including just jaw-dropping stuff and awesome ceilings too. Lucky for our art-fatigued kiddies, the grounds are also something of a marvel. We picnicked after an overpriced little ride on a vehicle resembling a train, then grabbed a coffee (standing at the bar… cheaper and requiring no patience from preschoolers) to fortify us for the afternoon.
Louis got his fortifying drink at a fountain. They’re all ‘potable’, ie. drinkable water. So great!

The colosseum ticket is good for entrance to the roman forum and palatine hill (whole swarthe of ruins adjacent to colosseum) and allows 48 hours to enter both sites, so we made for the ruins.

Toddling on Palatine hill.

The Roman Forum (town centre, basically.)

Louis slept through a good part of it and Elena probably needed to but it’s hard to nod off when constantly being adored. New and interesting passers-by of different nationalities and languages are fascinating, and some of them are also slightly mad, but that’s fun too.

On Friday Luuk said he’d take the kids to the Zoo, which we stumbled upon during our not-a-train trip around Villa Borghese. Luuk’s gift to me: a whole day to myself! In Rome!

A friend had recommended Villa Medici but access is solely in guided groups, and following a guide, with a group, erases the smidgen of flexibility requisite when traveling with a newly-potty-trained toddler who likes to run, and a chatty baby who likes to walk… and squeal. The English language tour goes at midday so I got to villa Medici in time, after getting slightly confused and accidentally finding the Spanish steps.

The tour was mostly through the gardens because the house is the inhabitance of artists and possibly a few very rich tourists. The outside of the house is beautiful and there are some amazing statues in the garden and out-buildings.
The Villa Medici, and Vatican beyond.

Shade-hugging on the Spanish Steps.

After that I wandered leisurely down the Spanish steps, admiring the views, and found a restaurant for lunch, which I made last for, oh, ages! ‘Twas wonderful. I sketched, I even ate desert. Then I thought I might browse the shops, scout out a summery dress for the beachy part of our holiday, but Piazza di Spagna is where you go for Prada And Gucci, not cheap beachwear.

The temp was well over 30C so I aimed for a museum nearer our apartment, the Museo Nazionale Romano. I wandered through a gorgeous church and around several blocks (oops, wrong way) before finding this treasure trove of sculpture and mosaic. There was one floor set up as close as they can manage to the actual layout of a house, where they’ve transplanted the frescoes and mosaics in so it’s set out similarly. One room felt like being in a garden. It had a long, wide seat so I lay down… briefly.
My garden room. I want one.

When I got on the bus to go back I managed to, somehow, be on the same bus as luuk and the kids! So we went home together. What are the chances?