top of page

Client Blog: The Antrim family's top tips for a short break in Rome

Inspired by their half-term trip to Paris, the Antrim’s decided on the captivating capital of Italy for their next family tour together.

These guys know how to get the most from their trips, with some impressive pre-travel homework, a desire to experience a city plus some decent footwear! They also take some mighty fine photos too...


With the city break flame well and truly lit, and Paris having provided an ideal template, the next on our list was an Easter holiday visit to Rome, where our family of five had another wonderful time.

Ruth recommended the Kolbe Hotel for its location, just a 15-minute walk to the Colosseum and it was another gem. A boutique hotel, full of charm with an exquisite interior, a lovely garden and friendly, helpful staff.

We cannot recommend highly enough what a difference it makes to walk as much as possible. There is no doubt that it provides so much more of an authentic experience, enabling you to see so much more.

Pack your walking shoes - over the four full days, we managed to cover just under 80km with the furthest walk from the hotel to Vatican City, which took us 50 mins.

We used Google Maps which allowed us to find off-the-beaten-track cafes, restaurants and wonderful walkways.

I had pre-booked tours for the Vatican which included the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica as well as the Colosseum, including both the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

The tours were excellent - some enabled us to skip the queues and again we would have missed loads had we wandered in on our own.

Other trip highlights and tips included:

The Trevi Fountain

Although we hadn’t factored in the pre-10am cleaning session and therefore were unable to throw our coins in, we returned later at night where it was easy to get to the front to do so. Having also passed it again mid-afternoon, it would be sensible to avoid that time - the crowds were crazy.

The Spanish Steps

We went at 8:30am and delightfully had them almost to ourselves, feeling super smug having seen them mobbed in every picture and even more so when we saw the number of people there later that day.

Piazza Navona

A gorgeous place for an alfresco lunch by the fountains but if travelling this time of year take your suncream - we got a bit burnt!

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument

This monument provides spectacular views of Rome from the top. We couldn’t get a ticket just for the lift ride but taking the glass elevator up for €15 also gives access to the museum and again, getting there when it opened at 9:30am, we had the rooftop to ourselves!

The Pantheon

We loved this place - it’s free and don’t be put off by the queue, it goes down very quickly. Thoroughly recommend an Aperol Spritz, beer or a delicious cocktail at the bar to the left of the Pantheon as you look at it, adjacent to the fountain. Carl and I remembered being introduced to Aperol Spritz here and some great memories from visiting seven years earlier.

The Van Gogh Exhibition at Palazzo Bonaparte

This was a magnificent gallery, and was especially rewarding as our daughter is studying A-Level Art.

Top Tips

  • We weren’t asked for passports at all but did take them on the tours just in case. At the Colosseum, the guide suggested that we may be asked for proof that two of our party were under 18, but they didn’t.

  • Apple Pay could be used everywhere apart from a couple of times at stalls that would only accept cash.

  • Wear whatever you like, it’s such a mix. We didn’t take coats, only very light rain macs, which were only needed briefly. Layering was ideal with mornings and evenings a bit chilly but the afternoons were sunny and warm.

  • My husband, Carl, and the eldest of our kids are coeliac. Most restaurants offered gluten-free pasta and we found an amazing gelateria by the Trevi Fountain.

  • The bike tour along the Appian Way to the Catacombs wasn’t the most organised though we saw some delightful countryside, which was a total contrast from the city, and thoroughly enjoyed being on the bikes.

The city was every bit as memorable as I had remembered, and it was a wonderful experience to visit as a family.

Thanks, Ruth. We loved it.❤️



bottom of page