Shun the condom-and-glass-laden shores of Ostia if you want to visit the beach for a day on your summer hols to Rome.
The beach and sea at Sperlonga are cleaner, prettier and quieter, and only take an hour(ish) to get to by train from Termini, Rome's main train station. The beach is also shallow for quite a long way out to sea so it's a nice paddling spot for children or people with short legs.
Take the Naples slow train, which is at 49 minutes past the hour every hour from 8am and costs 6.20 Euros. Get off at Fondi Sperlonga and then get the beach bus (1 Euro) to the seafront itself.
It's worth leaving the beach for a couple of hours and wandering up to the hilltop town for a drink or a spot of lunch and a gawk at the view.
If you don't want to queue for hours book your Colosseum ticket before you go, on line.
We arrived at the Colosseum and found a long snake of a queue. For ticket holders you can head for a different ticket office with no queue.
This is highly recommended especially if you have children.
Last week I've been in Rome for 1 week with my family and I've booked with a last minute deal a large apartment near Spanish Steps . The price was very convenient and the apartment was wery appointed and equpped . If you are going in Rome this season I suggest you to don't miss the Giulio Cesare exhbition at Chiostro del Bramante www.chiostrodelbramante.it
Via della Vite 32 , www.romesweethome.it , +390669924833
The flood in Rome was scary and exciting at the same time. (I can say that now the worst is over). We spent it in a rented apartment from Palazzo Olivia for our family Italian break ... they are so nice. I was worried about going out, but received necessary directions and reassurance during our stay. Comfortable accommodation, great service, great location as usual. On this particular occasion, close enough to the river to "monitor" and far enough to feel safe. Worth a visit.
This tour will take you down paths less trodden and provide you with a different outlook on Rome and its superb landmarks. The tour is taken at night and, as mystery and your imagination take over, the guide will provide an entertaining side to the capital that you are not likely to get during the day. Particular landmarks explored include the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the beautiful Campo de Fiori. This is a really cool way to explore this magnificent city, especially if you have children.
Sant'Andrea Della Valle Church - Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
If a few days in the capital city start to take their toll, then escape to the beach and rest your tired feet. Ostia beach is situated around 30-40 minutes outside of Rome and gives you the opportunity to wind down with a cold drink or ice cream while you laze on the beach and soak up the sun.
A great benefit of this beach is that you have the chance to buy your souvenirs and gifts while you relax, as the majority of vendors will approach you and offer their goods without you having to move an inch. If this doesn’t sound like your idea of relaxation then there are also quieter sections of the beach.
Lido di Ostia, Rome, Italy
Google map: bit.ly/nUl0Vi
A 400-year-old building with seven apartments for holiday rental. Great location, close to all we wanted to see, and a quiet, friendly atmosphere. We spent five nights in July. My kids liked the idea of entering the building using their own keys. We felt at home.
It's the king of kitsch in Rome. For all your hard-to-find knick-nacks and crazy gifts, this is the only place to go in Rome. On three floors, it's a splash of fun and colour in Rome, with a funny staff and loud music. It's open every day until 1am - kids will love it.
Via Santa Maria dell'Anima, 29 across street from Piazza Navona (it's 20 metres from Piazza Navona)
Rome's zoo is being gradually improved and has been renamed the Bioparco. A greater emphasis is now being placed on its ecological and environmental credentials. I visited it on a Wednesday afternoon. Apart from three Russians who asked me for directions to the exit, I was the only visitor. I think the animals were glad to see me. If you like wolves there are lots here. Very wolfish and sleek. Apart from its intrinsic merits, it's one of the few places in Rome where you can get away from the crowds.
Viale del Giardino Zoologico. Trams 3 and 19, plus a short walk.
Charming apartment in a historic house a few hundred yards from the Colosseum, in a quiet backstreet. Giulia, who manages this small family business, speaks English and is happy to help you with all sorts of insider tips on the city.
Nice family place to stay for the night. Close to shopping centre, restaurants, beaches and Ostia Antica (ancient harbour city). I suggest you try it...
5km from Fiumicino Airport 5km
Around 45 minutes from the centre of Rome.
Via Monte Vies 4 Fiumicino (Rm)
OK, so it's Sicilian and we're talking Rome, but Capricci Siciliani delivers the best baby squid in the known universe. Fantastic seafood, excellent wine list, including many native Sicilian grape varieties, reasonably priced, and a warm and inviting staff. Over an 8-day visit, we actually had dinner here twice, and our 14-month-old enjoyed both the delicious bread and unending attention. Two truly memorable meals.
Via di Panico, 83 (near Piazza Navona;
tel: 06 4543 3823;
Family run restaurant/trattoria very close to the Colosseum, excellent value and friendly staff. This is a much better choice than the restaurants that actually overlook the Colosseum and much more 'local'. Wide menu selection as well as the usual pizzas (which are very good). They also have a massive collection of games which you are welcome to play with during or after your meal - we were there for about 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon...
La Pace del Cervello
Via dei SS Quattro, 63.
Tel: 06 7005173
At the 'back' of the Colosseum, ie opposite to where you go in. There are few parallel streets running away from the Colosseum, this is the 2nd from the left and about 100m down on the left - just after the Spar!
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