Winter City Breaks with kids are not ideal. I went to Rome in January 2017 and couldn’t believe how cold it got. If you are going on a holiday in winter you might as well enjoy it to the maximum and go on a skiing trip where the cold is somewhat accepted.
Cities tend to have many outdoor attractions and nobody likes to see things with cold feet. This is one issue that we explored in part 1 of this blog of mine. Here is the final part of my tips to keep in consideration when planning a city break in winter:
Rome and the crowds
Rome is famous, and in all famous cities there are a lot of people. Rome is old, very old and some places were not built for the amount of people that visit it. Pushing and shoving is a norm in crowded places but if you have members of the party with a disability or just simply slower than others, they need to be accompanied at all times. For instance my father got pushed out of the pantheon in the dark and he tripped over an uneven pavement and fell flat on his face.
The longest queue I have ever seen is the one to enter the Vatican museum. Even if I had bought the skip the queue tickets the line was still long. When you are inside the museum and you want to go to the Sistine Chapel you need to go through a long, very long corridor. This is too narrow for the amount of people that enter it and there are many bottle necks inside the corridor itself. I felt that it was a river of people and the currents were strong. I couldn’t even stop to see the tapestries that were hanging on the walls as the people start swearing at you. If you have a pushchair (which I did), you are looked at in shame and no one gives way! I didn’t know that I could have asked for the disability route so that in certain areas you can enter into places with less hassles.
Although the authorities do their best to control the crowd with barriers and restrictions, you are bound to be among the crowds. If any of your party have issues with this, like panic attacks or tentrums, the only way to see things in Rome is with private tours or may be very early in the mornings. Derek and my parents entered the Cathedral on Sunday early morning. It was the best part of the holiday for him and not because he was without the kids 😉 but there was not even a queue to get in!
Check the Events Calendar
In Rome, the Vatican, although an independent state, forms a very important role. If there is a function going on in the Vatican, such as Easter festivities or Christmas, or any other Roman Catholic important date, roads in Rome might be closed. Due to the event even public transportation will probably alter and it is very important to know these things. We went in January and were there during the Epiphany so some roads were clear from traffic and we couldn’t use the public transport at particular times. This could happen in any city especially if it is a capital; say you went to London and there was a royal wedding going on, the festivities are special but it would mean doing a detour to visiting the normal sites. It’s always good to check if there are any activities that will change your plans.
After all this I still love visiting cities and Europe is full of beautiful ones. Venice is one of my favourite places to visit with kids, check here to know how we spent our weekend there. I still wish to go to Rome again but there is Paris, Prague and so many other places to visit before I go back here.
The weather was the biggest drawback in our holiday to Rome and I learnt that whenever I go abroad and its winter then snow clothes are a must. No matter how bulky they are in the suitcases, I prefer paying for more luggages then remaining with a negative holiday. This Christmas I will experience the holidays away from home for the first time and I booked 2 large suitcases to accompany me. Even if one might be empty going to the destination, as I said in my blog, it not necessarily means that it will be so coming back.
If you have been to Rome and have a place you would like to share with me please get in touch so I can start planning my next visit to the Eternal City. It is still too close to the last time I went so I am still scared, but I know for sure that I will be visiting it and any tips of places to eat in or to sleep in would be of help to me and anyone thinking of going! Sharing is caring. Even if this time I shared a few warnings, I hope you understand that travelling takes planning, has its ups and downs and photos of blogs might not show you the whole picture. Any families that can show me that Rome is a family destination, do leave a comment below. I really need some convincing.