On the Monday of our recent holiday to Tuscany, we decided to venture a little further afield and do Rome for the day. We felt it was a must see when we were already only a few hours north, so for the sake of a couple of hours by train, and £140 return for us all, we decided to incorporate the capital city and famous sites of Rome into our travels and it was a great family adventure and day out. Italy has high speed rail so from Pisa it is only about 2.5 hours each way and with that I guess we saw it as like going from Leeds to London which would be manageable with 3 kids!
We woke at about 5.30am to be able to get the 7am train from Pisa station, which in hindsight was a bit mad. We wanted to make the most of our day trip and so we were aiming to be in Rome for about 10am and return about 8pm, getting back to Pisa 10ish! Seriously it was nuts getting out of the door that early with 3 sleepy head kids, finding our way to the station and suitable parking, but we did it and it was worth it for a day in Rome.
Our first train from Pisa to Rome unfortunately was cancelled which initially was rather stressful too, but with some broken English and chats, they were obviously happy to reassign us to the next one. In the end it only put us back about 40 mins from our original arrival time, as the second one was more direct and faster so it was great and not even a problem.
We found the trains in Italy to be a little cooler than those here in the UK. They’re just bigger and more impressive I think! We found them to be really comfortable and each carriage has plenty of storage and toilet facilities. They are clean and the seats are set out in 4s with tables and electrical points at each table.
The morning train was packed and the kids were more awake and giddy, but it was fine. The evening one however was even better – it was empty, we had bought colouring books from Tiger and I read most of the way back, it was a great journey!
Once in Rome we just made our way around each of the sites starting at the Colosseum. It was a very hot day and a very busy city, and we decided to just walk everywhere instead of using the metro or buses. I think we had high expectations of the kids, but they were so good and the thousands of fountains made the whole experience way more fun and exiting for them, and therefore way more enjoyable and bearable for us!
We saw so many things from there that were beautiful and made sure to call by the Trevi fountain, and of course the Vatican! Like Florence things cost money and ques are everywhere so we decided to just meander and look. The Vatican is free if you can stand to que, or you can pay about 40 euros and go inside to see the Sistine chapel and museum. I really did want to go in, and I was excited to go in too… I had dreamed of going in for years, but in the end the heat, ques and kids combo meant that I backed out and we sat and admired it all from outside whilst they went with their preferred choice of activity – colouring on the steps! It was great to do this still and just soak everything in and we had a lovely time.
Rome was everything I expected and more. It is a beautiful city and I loved the incredible history and tales oozing from its streets. I think its a great place to take kids, as aside from a lot of walking and sight seeing that the whine about, there are fountains everywhere to drink from (or play in) and there are many impressive things that capture their attention. The stories you can tell them really educate and bring it all to life and its one of those places you can just wander for hours with no real purpose, but be greeted with beauty and famous places at every turn.
The train was easy, and aside from the morning, it was reliable and fast! If you are in Pisa for a few days its definitely a trip worth taking to save money on a separate visit at a later date – though a few days there would also be well spent too! Thank you Rome for having us, it was most hearty and we can’t wait to return kid free for the romantic side!!!!
Tips for Training it to Rome with Kids
Don’t promise them a paddle in the Trevi fountain the night before. You can’t even touch the wall let alone paddle and it will result in meltdowns!
Take a picnic and a crate of water – Kids are always hungry and especially thirsty with the heat and it saves lots of time and unnecessary stress. I took some pizzas in a tub and with all of the drinking fountains you can continually refill the bottles.
Don’t expect to be able to go in the Vatican if you save it til the end.
Don’t plan on a tasty Italian meal for dinner down a quaint little street because all they want is the blumming McDonalds next door!
Buy colouring books or something to keep them occupied on the train – I should have remembered from the flight!
Go at their pace and appreciate it as an opportunity to notice the little things you might otherwise miss.