rome, italy with kids! part I

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i know i’ve shared a few posts already from our trip to italy (with our full length video shared here), but i’ve rounded up the remaining photos from rome with some links of what we enjoyed most during our time in rome and will be sharing both of those today. apparently, i really gravitate towards all things scooters and tiny cars, but i tried to narrow down the number of scooter photos i took for you below. ;)

i know a lot of people will say, i don’t know how you took 5 kids to rome, but a trip like this feels very much like our days in new york city. i think city life preps you for those long days of exploring a new neighborhood in the very best of ways. honestly, any day out with kids, no matter the environment, can prep you though.  i really believe that. it’s just getting out the door and putting on that brave face and attempting it! i’d much rather do 10 hours of exploring and walking and parks and museums and the works than 10 hours inside my apartment with my children. ha! that is small apartment living for you, i suppose. but it’s the kind of living we really thrive on over here.

a highlight of our time in rome included gladiator school for eleanor, samson and conrad one afternoon.  i was skeptical if we should do it or not, because when i was researching this, i found a lot of mixed reviews online. but a reader sent me a DM on instagram and said it was one of their favorite things they did, and so we booked it. i am so glad, too! because it really was so much fun for all of us.

we had such a fun and energetic gladiator teacher, whom the kids latched on to right away, and i know that always helps. we learned a lot about the history of rome and their military and colosseum  before doing our gladiator training and then our official battles. the kids were given new gladiator names at the end with their own certificates. it’s all in our rome video if you’d like to see.

learning all about the history of how rome came to be, and how military battles went down!

we also tried on all sorts of gladiator armour, and learned why things were made in particular ways (always with the idea of continuing to battle, even if you lost the majority of your armour) which was so cool. i realized i knew nothing about any of this stuff as i kept calling out answers that were so so wrong during our lesson. haha!

onto our gladiator training which included 6 circuits that mama should have joined in on because HI PASTA EVERY MEAL, but also i was holding babies and trying to sneak some photos and videos so i gladly stood back and watched everyone else do their pushups and rope jumping and somersaults. very proud of these three for completing all 6 circuits!

and now, let the battling begin!

three against one. he fought his hardest but they still got him in the end. they went for the legs. we learned to always go for the legs if you’re small. haha!

we stayed at the westin excelsior and our stay was unbelievable. while this trip and hotel stay was not sponsored (we paid for our rooms), the hotel so graciously upgraded us to this insane three bedroom suite when we asked if our rooms could adjoin. and they kept bringing up fun little toys and surprises for the kids to help their stay feel a little like home. thank you so much to the westin excelsior for seriously thinking of every small detail.

we slowly but surely adjusted to the time zone over the first few days. we deliberately did not book anything for our mornings so we could move at a slower pace those first couple of mornings, and it was nice to keep slightly on nyc time so that we could do late dinners out since most restaurants don’t open for dinner service until about 7 or 8pm.  we would use the black out curtains in the hotel once we were back to ensure our kids still got their 10-12 hours of rest in, and slowly each night tried to go to bed a little bit earlier to transition. by the time we hit florence, we were pretty set on our time zone!

samson was our little navigator during much of our trip. i think i’ve shared how much he has enjoyed navigating on past trips over the years and even on outings here in the city. i love this about him.

and this cutie and her books! we brought a huge stack of books from home for her but she still cruised though them all by the first half of our trip. even with me trying my best to have her leave books behind at the hotel when we were out and about exploring. i’d be like, “i love that you’re reading, but you can’t walk and read, eleanor! we’re in a crosswalk!!!!” kind of tricky for me to know how to not squash her love of reading but also set boundaries for when it’s appropriate to bust out the books and when we need to leave them behind. if you have any suggestions, please share!

these two can always spot the toy vendors that hang out in public squares like, 4 miles away! but these little squishy/ roll up things that you splat on flat surfaces were pretty fun for the first 3 minutes they worked (then they did not work anymore, as usually happens with these sorts of souvenirs that are just ridiculous but impossible to avoid as a parent.)

on one of our evenings in rome, we wanted to eat at piatto romano which was recommended to us by adam leonti, the chef at a local italian restaurant (called Leonti) here on the upper west side. unfortunately, it was closed when we arrived despite the website saying they were open, so then we tried another one of his suggestions, tavernaccia over in trastevere. and that was closed too! so we ended up at taverna trilussa instead (still in trastevere), which josh found last minute on his phone. they had this secret ingredient ravioli though that really was something delicious so i was happy! made the previous two restaurant attempts not feel so frustrating when you still get a really yummy meal.

we hadn’t been to trastevere yet and really enjoyed walking around the neighborhood…

the kids wrote postcards to little friends back in the states.

eleanor and i climbed all the spanish steps one morning while josh waited at the bottom with the babies sleeping in the stroller as the boys chased pigeons and explored a bit. once we arrived back to the bottom, eleanor’s brothers realized they wanted to climb the stairs, too! so then we did a second climb.

a very delicious meal at roscioli. everything was delicious, but especially the gnocchi.

the next several photos are curtesy of eleanor and i love them very much. it was during a long pause outside the pantheon where i fed both babies and we kind of took a break for a few minutes.

this photo is by josh. i talked about this a bit on my instagram, but a lot of travel with kids is all about pausing. pausing to breastfeed a tired baby to help them fall asleep better, pausing to use the bathroom, to get a snack, to go to the bathroom once again and then do very important things like chase pigeons next to the building you actually came to look at! ;) but i do believe there is magic that happens when traveling with little ones and a lot of that magic takes place during these pauses.  when i slow down and pause with my children, i learn much more. i enjoy the time with them. and some of our favorite moments and memories are made in these pauses.

the kids mission, rome book (i seriously can’t recommend these kids travel books enough! they are incredible) said to hug the pantheon during a secret mission, and here is my girl, doing just that!

CHEESE outside the trevi fountain, thanks eleanor for the photo!

all my loves looking so dang cute!

this next set of photos of samson, josh and eleanor, make me laugh a lot.

part II with a few more things we did/ate/loved coming next.

if you missed it, here is my post with photos from the colosseum, and our pasta making class with the kids, the visit to the torrechiara castle in parma and also our visit to the cheese factory in italy!

for those interested in clothing pieces, my jeans are from here and my boots from here. and similar black belt bag here.

  1. Nellie

    Lovely pictures!! That’s great Eleanor likes to read, my daughter is the same. Reading everywhere, I have to remind her, when we are out, she needs to be aware of her surroundings and enjoy where she is. Reading is great, but distracting and can rob them from that real life experience if they don’t put the book down while out. I get it, my girl has been that way since kindergarten and now she’s in 8th grade. hope that helps!

  2. Luis Valenzuela

    Hello, my wife and i have been following you since eleonor was born! and this whole trip has one encourage story for us that are also wanting to travel with kids!

    i have a question but it can be a little out of this Rome post, we have seen that Eleonor uses an smartwatch and we are looking one for our daughter, do you have any recommendation or the name of the one you guys have?

    thank you in advance and greetings from Guadalajara, Mexico

    • josh

      Hola Luis! It’s not a smartwatch, but just a regular digital watch. It is a Shark Classic Mini. Hope that helps!

  3. Appreciate the pauses to nurse! I am still doing that too, with my daughter nearing age two. Good on you for taking your space to do it right out in the open. You are a pro!