When In Rome

We're back from our Italian holiday.  "You went to Italy?" I hear you gasp...."I would never have known from your inundation of epic pictures from instagram".  Well - yeah.  We did.  We almost didn't though, I tell you.  The morning we were to fly out, Levi came out in a series of spots that were highly suspicious.  Knowing that the dreaded pox had been on the rounds in our area, I was BESIDE myself with worry that the whole trip was going to be a wash out of calamine lotion - but we took a risk and went anyway and the spots amounted to nothing.  *note to self - wash Levi's bedsheets more frequently* As I write this bit of our post, we are on the motorway on our way out of Rome.  Mount Vesuvius is on my right and the whole of Naples & Pompeii is laid out at its feet.

We're on our way to the Amalfi Coast from Rome to a beach house we've rented using Airbnb. I've been to Amalfi once before on a previous trip to Italy in 2005. I've travelled a fair bit since then and the only view to rival what I saw on the Amalfi coast would be the view of Rio De Janeiro from the top of Santa Teresa.

There is something about this country that makes me go weak in the knees. The people, the food (THE FOOD), the weather, the relaxed atmosphere (they still have a siesta in lots of places), the way the Italians don't give a damn about modern buildings, sky scrapers and shiny new things. Yesterday I saw signs in a window for a Valentino shop opening in the city and the building it will be in was a classic washed out yellow stone building with old wooden shutters. Stunning.

Here's a few pics from our first few days doing the big guns:

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Family shot at the Trevi Fountain.  Levi wanted to climb in for a quick dip.  He didn't.

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Spanish Steps.  Note - we are the only ones wearing shorts.  Apparently 24 degrees is trouser weather in Italy.

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Most days we let Levi run free until he could take no more - then he usually crashed in our arms and we found a quiet spot to let him take five (one hour).  This day, it was a random Chapel.  There were a few homeless people sleeping in the pews, so we thought it was probably fine to rest here a while.

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Our friend, Estelle who lives in Rome was the perfect tour guide to the City - walking us through the backstreets, showing us the hidden gems.  I love seeing big cities with a local.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We spent a good part of one day in the Villa Borghese.  There was oodles to do - pretend fishing in the fountains, pedal boats, musicians, play parks, cafes, bicycle hire, markets etc.  It was the perfect escape from the cobbles, and we took our time wandering around letting Levi stop and explore when he wanted.

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Bruschetta.  TO DIE FOR.

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My Birkenstocks passed the test and looked after my feet well as we tread the cobbles.

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The City water fountains are cold and refreshing - more of that in the UK please.

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We've enjoyed the pace of Rome with our little explorer toddler in tow. Something that has surprised me about Italians is their respect for children. On every bus, tram & restaurant I watched as people smiled, interacted and adored Levi - giving us their seats, winking, and making conversation (Levi has mastered 'Ciao' and says it to just about anyone we pass). Not exactly the same vibe as London (ARGH! CHILDREN! MOVE CARRIAGES IMMEDIATELY!).  I wonder does the UK have a toddler fear epidemic?  I love how the Italians interact with Levi, unafraid to engage with him, make him feel welcome, safe and at home.  It's such a stark contrast to the child protection frenzy that the UK is immersed in.  I lost count of how many old Italian men kissed my child's head, but it really didn't phase him or me.

We wandered around most of the big hitters in the city in the first two days; We took the tram to the Colosseum, gelato beside the Spanish Steps (coconut gelato is a game changer my loves), splashed in the many open fountains, hopped along the cobbles & side streets and stopped for respite from the heat & a quick nap in quiet corners and chapels.

I had been to Rome once before for a quick day trip and didn't rate it that much  (mainly because I took a bus tour and because of road works, it didn't pass many of the main areas - DOH!).  This time was very different.  I fell in love with the drama, the colours and the culture.  I also loved seeing Rome with my family - watching Levi take it all in and his delight at the smallest of new things.

As I mentioned, we left Rome for a few days to travel to the Amalfi Coast.  It was quite spectacular and needless to say, deserves it's very own blog post.  Stay tunes for Wiggy adventures in Italy, Part II!  Ciao!

Mel