- Where should I stay? There are many lovely hotels in Rome. The Gran Melia Rome is a nice choice for couples that want to stay near the Vatican. Hotel Majestic Roma is a good option if you would like to be on the Via Veneto, near the Spanish Steps . Hotel Raphael is well-regarded by couples and families and right off the Piazza Navona. Other (small) family options include Albergo Del Senato Rome and Fortyseven Hotel Rome. If you are traveling as a large family, connecting rooms will probably be necessary.
- How do I get around? I do not recommend getting a rental car to use while in Rome. Rome is a very walkable city and when you get tired of walking, the subway, taxis and private car services are easily available. If your travels take you outside of Rome, you can always rent a car when you leave the city.
- What should I see? There are the obvious "must-sees" (the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, etc.), but I encourage you to look beyond the obvious and visit some lesser-known sights. For instance, I love the Basilica of San Clemente. It is located between the Colosseum and the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. The current 12th century Basilica (with beautiful frescoes and a mosaic) is built on a 4th century Basilica, which is built on a pagan temple. You can visit all three levels on the Basilica's self-guided tour. Also, even with the "must-see" sights mentioned above, I encourage you to avoid the large, run-of-the-mill tours. Seek out the smaller, more exclusive tours (e.g. tours including before/after hours at the Sistine Chapel or tours of the underground and the third story of the Colosseum) and your experience will be far more interesting and insightful.
- Please check back in a couple of days for part 2 of "Habemus Papam!". I'll discuss papal audiences, the ever-popular Scavi (necropolis) tours and side trips from Rome. If you would like help planning your vacation in Italy, please email or call (615)415-4728.
With the installation of Pope Francis, springtime in Rome should prove to be particularly glorious this year. Even if you can't make a trip to the Eternal City until the fall or winter, it is a good idea to begin planning and making reservations now. Some of the main questions you need answered are
Hi! I am Laura Arender, owner of Maris Stella Travel and Pixiedust Destinations (our Disney-specific website). I am married with 3 little(ish) sweeties (DS 11, DS 8, DD 6). I am at home in Nashville, but I love to help clients all over the US create fabulous, customized vacations.