Hunter and Savannah came all the way from San Diego for a summer vacation on Golden Glow in July 2015.
Since they were flying into Rome, our plan was to take them to the very beautiful offshore islands of Ponza and Palmerola, not too far by distance, but a world away from Rome in terms of being cleaner, less crowded and cooler.
We thought we would save time by stationing the boat in Ponza while Rand went to Rome to pick up the kids, traveling by ferry and train. But as it turned out, the transportation schedules would have required two extra days of travel to get back and forth from Ponza (via Ventotene) to Rome’s airport. And at the same time, we realized that Rome’s international airport is in Fiumicino, right on the coast, and very close to the Tiber River, where there are numerous marinas to choose from. So instead, we sailed east from Sardinia and brought Golden Glow all the way to the mainland to pick up the kids.
This change of plans also made it easy to take the kids into Rome, which was a treat for them…and for us as well, since we got to see Rome all over again through their eyes. Pacing ourselves to teenager energy, we whirled around Rome, seeing the Pantheon, Colliseum and the Forum, Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and countless piazzas and fountains – all in a day.
We interspersed the sightseeing with lots of Gelato, deciding that our favorite gelateria was San Crispino, about a block away from the Pantheon. Their fruit flavors had the most authentic, rich taste, and the colors were muted, unlike most of the brightly colored gelato around Rome that know is full of artificial colors. Nowhere else did we see that each gelato flavor had its own thermostat and cooling unit, and nowhere else did we see such a variety of flavors…whiskey!?!
Between bites of gelati, we enjoyed wonderful Italian pizza, bruschetta, and at the end of the day, a Roman dinner at the outside tables of a neighborhood restaurant that was as authentic and untouristy as we could have hoped for.
One of the best items of trip-planning preparation we did before Hunter and Savannah aarrived was to get Vatican tickets online ahead of time. In the 90+ degree humid swelter, you can imagine how nice it felt to walk to a special very short line for ticket holders. We felt bad for the hundreds of people we walked past who were lined up for many blocks in the hot sun waiting to get in without tickets and reservations. Another tip: be sure to bring something to cover your shoulders (only needed in the Sistine Chapel)