On the final day of our Mediterranean cruise this summer we will be in the port of Naples where there are more activities to choose from than any cruiser can possibly do in one day. The most popular activities are excursions to the ancient city of Pompeii, drives on the Amalfi Coast, treks to the top of Mount Vesuvius, boat trips to the island of Capri and tours of the city of Naples itself.
This summer our family will be in Rome for three days in August prior to a Mediterranean cruise. After a great deal of deliberation I have decided to engage the services of Context Travel (www.contexttravel.com) for a private guided tour of the Vatican.
Today is Natale di Roma which commemorates the date of the legendary foundation of Rome by Romulus in 753 BC. This year the city of Rome is celebrating its 2,764th birthday with a week of festivities, including festivals, concerts, gladiator displays in the Forum area and fireworks by the Tiber River. Wish I was there!!
I finally settled on a hotel in Rome and have booked our accommodations for this summer. I chose Albergo Santa Chiara (www.albergosantachiara.com) which is a family-run hotel in the historic area of Rome. The hotel was originally built as a tavern in 1839 and has expanded so that it now consists of close to 100 rooms spread across three separate buildings. The hotel is located behind the Pantheon and near Michelangelo's obelisk in Piazza della Minerva. We should be able to walk from this central location to most of the city's attractions.
One of the things that I have learned since I started taking my kids to Europe is that finding suitable hotel accommodations is much more challenging when you are traveling as a family than as a couple. For one thing, it is very difficult to find European hotels that will allow a family of 4 (let alone any more) sleep in the same room. So families either have to pay for multiple hotel rooms, try to find the rare "quad family room" that exists in only a few hotels, or rent an apartment. We are going to be in Rome for 3 nights in August and I have been poring over hotel websites, reading hotel reviews and asking friends and acquaintances for recommendations for the past several months and still can't seem to make a decision about where to stay. I'm not usually this indecisive!