ICYMI: where you at edition

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Who has four thumbs and LOVED their quad bike experience? Yup, these two. They had their own bell. I apologize to anyone else who was in Villa Borghese yesterday.

Sorry for the silence around these parts lately.  It has been a mixture of guests, travel, and secret projects.  I’m hoping things will be closer to normal starting next week.  But, of course, no promises.  In the meantime . . .

On the blog:

It is like a million degrees here now.  I have been rocking these outfits on the reg.  I definitely recommend if you are heading to Rome (or anywhere religious and hot) anytime soon.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Puglia.  Haha, just scratching the surface really, but it is a great travel destination.

And here’s how the pacifier usage went down on the Puglia travels.

But speaking of someone who still has more lenient pacifier rules, Mac is one!

On the internets:

Anyone else follow A Cup of Jo?  I recently added this one to my rotation.  Little bits on kids, beauty, life in the city, design, and plenty more.  Here is a tiny house tour I loved.  (You know I love me a tiny house.)

PowerPoint should be banned. This PowerPoint presentation explains why.  But what about all of those sweet PPT skillz I learned at the law firm???  Was it all for naught?

I don’t have a dehydrator, but I need these zucchini chips in my life.

Does anyone use a planner?  This one looks pretty and tempting.  I want to make sure I would use something before getting one.  But right now I have no planning so any planning would be better?

Me:  “Who is that?”  James:  “Uh, Sting.”  Right.  So Sting has a beard now.  Good to know.

Looking for a statement piece for your living room?

Cracks me up: Toddler Adjusting To Society After Serving 2-Minute Timeout

Looking for guidance?  Check out these life lessons from Anthony Bourdain.

Summer is here.  Watch out for ticks!

What has four legs and is completely not kid friendly?  This coffee table, but I kind of want it anyway, fingerprints be darned!

Happenings & Coming up:

Italy had a holiday this week.  Republic Day, to be exact.  We decided to escape the city to see the ruins at Ostia Antica.  Here’s a pro tip:  Don’t escape the city in the direction of the beach.  It all worked out, but there were some packed trains involved.  More on Ostia Antica “soon.”  (It can get in the queue behind Montepulciano and Pienza and Sermoneta and . . . )

My bazillion internet tabs are currently split between Lake Bracciano and Turin.  (And, let’s be honest, a million other things.)  We are heading to both this month, and I am pumped.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend whatever you are up to!

ICYMI: mid May edition

The elusive double vintage shot.

The elusive double vintage shot.

On the blog:

If I had to pick a root cause of the difficulties of law firm life, this would be it.

Henry, still hilarious.

Food photos!  (I just typed foot photos.  For a split second, I thought about leaving it, but that would be super weird and gross.)

On the internets:

I heart tiny houses.  Anyone want to build our own street like these guys?

Remember how I said that fava beans are definitely a thing right nowHere is a little more background.  My version did not turn out so hot because apparently you have to shell them and then peel them?  Oh, well, I tried.

Even if billables are bad, law firms do have very generous paid leave.

Happenings & Coming up:

I feel like this week went by fast.  Henry actually made it to school all three scheduled days.  I can’t even remember the last time that happened.  Henry has also been biting his brother.  Not cool, kid.

I’m not sure what the plan is for the weekend.  I was thinking about a day trip to Comune di Sermoneta, but the weather is looking a little dicey.  A friend also just alerted me to this sweet dino exhibit in Rome.  Whatever we do, it will probably involve avoiding downtown Rome.  Tourist season is ON.  (And utility vests are definitely back BTW.)

Hope you have a great one!

ICYMI: dentist LIKE A BOSS edition

Sorry for the absenteeism!  To take full advantage of our family visitors, we’ve been trying to do ALL the things, eat ALL the food, and stay up ALL (well, half) the night.  It’s been fun, but we are run down.  I see clean eating, early bedtimes, and no vino coming up this week.

Proof of guests!

Proof of guests!

On the blog:

Check out these sweet gardens.  All excellent day trip options from Rome.  Monster posts like these are also one of the reasons I’ve been posting less.  This post took three day trips, writing 1100+ words, editing 30+ pictures, looking up links, and doing a little more research.  I’m hoping this kind of evergreen content can be useful to some down the road, but I know this isn’t super helpful to the majority of my readers in the U.S.  Sigh.

I squeezed in one more letter to Mac before his birthday.  Cake pictures to come soon!  (He went for it.  BIG TIME.)

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Not that you will look beyond the adorbs baby, but you can see my ombre hair experimentation here.

And how to host like a rock star.  I attempt humor in this one.  Consider yourself warned.

On the internets:

A friend of my friend wrote a book!  C is for Critter is a huge hit with my boys.  Letters such as “E” for echidna and “N” for narwhal make this a nice change for the parents as well.  (I challenge you to google quokka and not immediately go awwwww.)

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The Cult of Busy.  These articles are my clickbait.

How Some Men Fake an 80-Hour Workweek, and Why It Matters.  The faking it could help on perception, but this strategy ultimately won’t work if you have to bill your hours.  They always know.  I do completely agree on the better to ask for forgiveness than permission approach.  My biglaw strategy was to get my work done and make myself be as accessible as possible without actually being in my office all the time.

You remember when I said I was failing at all the current events?  A sweet friend (thanks AJ!) tipped me off to the Skimm.  This weekday newsletter curates world news into a humorous, easy-to-digest format.  I promise, this one is not just more inbox clutter.  Now when friends have said, “did you hear about . . . ?”  I’m all yeah, YEAH I did.

Have I mentioned that it is starting to get really hot here?  I don’t usually adulterate my sparkling wine, but I may have to work my way through this list of cocktails this summer.

Happenings & Coming up:

Speaking of hot, I’m very happy that Mac can wear his new-to-him summer wardrobe, which aligns surprisingly well with Henry sizing.  Chunky baby thighs on display make me happy.

I made a version of this.   Even without adding cheese, it turned out nicely.  Eggplant stuffing, who knew?

I also made pulled out the slow cooker to make this.  Excellent flavor, but this was more work than I like from my crockpot recipes.  You want me to cut the meat, sear the meat, cook on high for an hour, and then switch to low?  This one is not destined to be in regular rotation.

I’m very excited about summer produce.  Melon season has arrived, and these are some of the best cantaloupes I’ve had in my life.  Also, apparently fava beans are a big thing now.  I picked some up today; will have to figure out what to do with them.

Mac is pro peach

Mac is pro peach

Henry dentisted this week for the first time.  He killed it!  I was so impressed.  They did an actual cleaning, with an ultrasonic water pick thing and everything.  I sat there with my eyes welling up because how did my little boy get this big??  (Dentist here is just like back home BTW.)

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For this weekend, I actually have no idea what we are up to.  We’ll try to squeeze in one more adventure with James’s parents.  We are also planning to attend a 70s-themed block party.  Pics if I’m brave!

What are you up to?  Any birthdays?  Dentist?  Questionable hair dyes?  Hope you have a good one!

Happy Mother’s Day!

ICYMI: Fresh Fish Edition

I had a delightful time with the fish guys this week.  We talked fresh catches and how to prepare them.  Here is my attempt at alici con patate al forno.  If I had just sliced the potatoes a little thinner, I think it would have been money.

I had a delightful time with the fish guys this week. We talked fresh catches and how to prepare them. Here is my attempt at alici con patate al forno. If I had just sliced the potatoes a little thinner, I think it would have been money.

On the blog:

Would you eat an orange off the sidewalk?  I haven’t yet, but I can’t get used to perfectly good wasted fruit . . .

Spring!  Pollen!  Easter!

I get a little emotional talking about too much of a good thing.  FeeeEEElings!

A sweet commenter stated this week, “[y]ou make me laugh so much my husband wonders what cat antics I’m watching.”  Being considered anywhere near the realm of cat videos makes me a little misty-eyed.

Since I don’t say this enough to all of you, THANK YOU!  Thanks for reading.  Thanks for chatting.  Thanks for checking out this weird little corner of the internets.

On the internets:

The True Cost of Leaning In.  Agree.  High quality child care is not cheap, not to mention frequently hard to find.

I’m not going to recognize anything when we go back to DC.

But would you switch to avoid sitting next to a solo two year old?  I’m a little nervous; we have a flight coming up where we couldn’t select seats.

Happenings & Coming up:

My sister and her fam left this week.  We have a week off before James’s parents arrive.  Yay family!

I had a bit of a meh morning.  First, it was that thing where the cappuccino counter is empty and then 10 people run up before I can place my order, then I couldn’t go into the zoo because of an errant ball under my stroller, and THEN Mac pooped his pants and I neglected to bring a spare outfit.  #WINNING  I know, all small stuff.  Thanks for listening.  I feel better.

I also saw a tram come to a complete stop in the middle of an intersection because a car was parked on its tracks.  It just sat there honking its horn, first politely, and then more insistently.  After about 90 seconds, a lady came running out of the cafe to move the car.  Italy, man.

I think we’re planning a day trip on Saturday (maybe Orte?) and then some relaxation and guest prep.  Do you have big plans?  Hope it is a good one!

ICYMI: Finishing Out Food Week

4.17_ICYMI

Does it get more Italian than this?

On the blog:

To kick off food week, I shared about my love/hate/love relationship with food.  Also, some deets on the Mercato Esquilino in there.

Breakfast is, without a doubt, our most consistently paleo meal of the day.  Here is our version of a “sexy” paleo breakfast.

And I talked about one of my favorite restaurants in Rome, a decidedly non-paleo place.  #pastaporn

On the internets:

“But the thing is — it’s not good for children to have infinitely patient, saintly mothers, because the world is not infinitely patient and saintly. . . . It’s good for kids to recognize the incipient stages of someone losing their shit.”  Interesting thoughts.

I need to try this immediately.  Mayo, who knew?

Ever planned a girls’ get together of any kind?  This podcast will make you snort your coffee.  Hey Ladies . . . (Yeah, for now, continuing with podcasting.  Listening anyways.  No immediate plans to launch a Roman Reboot podcast.)

Check out this doodle diary of a new mom.  Yup.

Coming up:

My sis, BIL, and my absolutely adorbs niece are here!  We’ll be trying to see as much as we can with three kids under three.  At least the weather seems to be cooperating.  Hope you have a good one!

ICYMI: Daylight Savings Edition

Count those wheels

Count those wheels

That’s right.  Most of you sprung ahead a few weeks ago, but we are finally doing it this weekend.  I’m pretty psyched about the extra daylight.  We will playground for-evah!

On the blog:

My top picks for Munich with kids when it is cold outside.

I updated my About page.  If you have more questions I should add, let me know!

I time tracked another day around here so I can answer the “what do you do all day” question.

Henry has been going to Italian day care for about two months.  I finally got around to sharing more about it.

I’m still trying to figure out a posting frequency round these parts.  Part of it is that I’m trying to carve out time for travel planning.  Another part is that we are going on adventures faster than I can write about them.  Our weekend adventures are usually pretty photo-dense, which means mucho editing time.  These are the posts I don’t love to write.  I want to make them more interesting than a hey-look-at-someone-else’s-vacation-photos type of thing.  Working on it.

On the internets:

For all you lawyers, LVK talks about billable hours and time management.  Yes, I have thoughts.  I still need to comment on this one.

Long but interesting:  What Ruth Bader Ginsburg Taught Me About Being a Stay-at-Home Dad.  I like his approach on thinking of seasons of life.  That’s what I’m doing now, a more intensive season with my kids.  I worry about what might be available next.  Not reassuring that a Supreme Court clerk had the same worry!

Loving this jacket.  I’ve been on the hunt for a moto-style knit for awhile.  It is jacket weather now . . .

Coming up:

What are you guys up to this weekend?  We’ve got an Easter egg hunt tomorrow, and we may try to dye some (brown) eggs.  On Sunday, we may hit the flea market in Trastevere.  It should be a chiller weekend before we get ready for an upcoming trip to Puglia AKA the heel of the boot.  I’m pretty excited.  Happy weekend, ya’ll!

This is why I moved to Rome (Visit to Parco degli Acquedotti)

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I think whenever you make a major life change there is a compulsion to justify it with optimism and cheer, even if it is sometimes forced.  Because if the new situation isn’t better, why did you blow up your life?  Why did you get that new car or change jobs or buy that house or move across the world if you aren’t happier?

This was true for me, anyway.  When we first moved here, I met every obstacle with a sort of manic enthusiasm.  Oh, the sidewalk is busted and there are three cars parked in the middle of it?  No problem, that eight block detour lets us explore more of the neighborhood!  Ooo, more dog feces on the sidewalk, how charming!  I wanted everything to be great, and I was going to enjoy it.  NO MATTER WHAT.

The wheels started coming off the wagon around the time we went to Germany in December.  Everything was just so easy there.  Sidewalks were in good working order.  Pedestrian zones abounded.  Public transportation was a snap.  Restaurants were open when we wanted them to be.  It was convenient.  It was nice.  It made me realize how different things in Rome are.

I slowly started to acknowledge that there are some annoyances here.  The sidewalks and roads frustrate me on a daily basis.  I’d love to be able to walk around without being stuck behind smokers.  It would be great if the hard water didn’t leave grit and film on our dishes and glassware.

Things aren’t perfect.  And that’s OK.  Because nothing is perfect all the time.  Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  And some days are just, you know, ordinary days.  This is normal.  This was true when we lived in DC.  It is true now.

I do have plenty of highs to go with the lows.  I’m spending oodles of time with my two adorable weirdos.  (This is sometimes also a low, but generally a positive.)  I’m eating pasta so good that it would make you cry.  I haven’t seen snow all winter.  There is so much here to do and explore.

Recently, we ventured over to Parco degli Acquedotti (Aqueduct Park).  We drove–and James is driving a bit more Roman today than my stomach likes–but you can easily get here on the metro.  A few stops would work, but Giulio Agricola is probably your best bet coming from downtown.

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The park is a relatively flat stretch of land that is crossed by, you guessed it, an ancient Roman aqueduct.  There are actually two aqueducts, but one is in better shape.

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Because of the flat tracks looping around, the parks was a popular spot for bikers, runners, and walkers like us.  This would be a great spot to get in a run and soak up some ruins on a quick trip to Rome.  There is also a playground, if you are into that sort of thing.  (We are into that sort of thing.)

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We stalled Henry from the playground long enough to do a walk by the aqueduct.  Even though it was February, the temperature was up in the 60s.  In the sun, it almost felt hot, and we ditched coats for the first time of the year.

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I pushed Mac along the path, contemplating the civilization that created these aqueducts that would stand for hundreds and hundreds of years.  I watched Henry kicking a soccer ball up and down the path.  I smiled at James in the bright sunlight, soaking in the coatless February weather.  And I just thought–THIS.  This is why I wanted to move to Rome.

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The jury is still out on Orvieto

If you find yourself contemplating a few days in Rome, I hazard that any guidebook will mention Orvieto as a possible day trip.  It isn’t far.  Unlike much of Tuscany, it is easy to access by train (so I’ve been told.)  It’s a beautiful city that can provide a nice contrast to Rome, particularly if you are short on time.

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After scrapping our plans for a bigger trip because of the weather, we headed to Orvieto on the Monday of MLK weekend.  The weather had finally cleared and, even though it was still chilly, we could see glorious sunshine.

It took us a minute to make sure we were in the right parking area.  It took us several more minutes to locate where to purchase tickets for the funicular.  (I think you can usually get them at the ticket office, but everything was closed, and we purchased them in the cafe through the train station.)  That’s right–for this hill town, you get to funicular on up into town.  This was probably the highlight of Henry’s visit.  I was a little disappointed, but that’s on me because I, for no good reason, associate funiculars with gondolas and would have been thrilled by nothing less than sailing through the air.

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We funicular-ed up along with, what seemed to be, a middle school tour group.  Granted, they were probably in college, but wow, kids look so young now.  Do you ever do that?  Look at people that can drive or order booze with disbelief and then start wondering where your walker is?  No?  Anyways, these kids were unleashed on the town with only an hour to wander.  That’s something I really like about living here.  Maybe my kids make it harder to travel and I’m not seeing everything, but I have time.  If I don’t get to see everything I want on one trip, I can come back.

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Strike 1.  There is a shuttle from the top of the funicular into the center of town.  We should have taken it.  We didn’t.  I’m used to Tuscan hill towns that are teeny tiny.  Orvieto is not as small.  It would have been a fine walk for any able-bodied person, but we blew a lot of toddler good will on the trek.  For some reason, we opted not to stroller on this outing.  Mistake.

Orvieto has caves that sound pretty sweet, but we opted not to brave those this time.  It was cold enough above ground.  That was Strike 2.  I was crazy excited about the sunny weather, but the buildings were just tall enough that everything was in the shade.  This would be great in the summer.  Less ideal in January.

We did hit the Orvieto Cathedral, a shockingly large undertaking given the size of the town.  The facade closely resembles the Duomo in Siena.

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It was very beautiful and impressive, but I think we are starting to suffer from a bit of church ennui.  Trust me, I know it sounds very bratty to say it, but if you see lots of amazing, ridiculous churches, you start to become a little immune to them.  It takes something really, truly impressive to blow your socks off.  I know other travelers would tell you the same.

The town itself was nice.  Winding alleys, beautiful homes.  It is definitely different than Rome.  It just wasn’t a town that grabbed me.  It didn’t feel as charming some other places we’ve visited.  I don’t know.  I don’t want to knock the town.  It really is something.  But if I had one day trip opportunity from Rome, I don’t think this would be it.

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Strike 3.  I had big lunch plans.  A friend mentioned that she had out of this world pasta with pecorino and honey.  Umm, yes, please.  We stalled until 12:30 and then headed to Trattoria del Moro Aronne.  After a few twists and turns, we found it.  We also found a handwritten sign stating that they were closed until February 20.  (Remember – we went in January.)  WHAT?  No pasta oozing cheese and honey?

I pulled it together.  After learning my lesson before, I had a backup.  We headed to Trattoria la Grotta.  SAME SIGN.  Nooooooooooooooooo.  At this point, everyone was melting down.  The troops needed food.  I was melting down and getting snippier than I’d like to admit.  Knowing that the kids–particularly the baby–are hungry is a big pressure point for me.

Thankfully, there was a backup to the backup.  Caffe Montanucci to the rescue.  They have premade pastas and sandwiches in a spacious cafe.  We got food fast and James snagged a carafe of an excellent Orvieto Classico.  They even had a high chair.

Overall, it was a fun adventure.  Not the adventure we had planned for that weekend, but I was glad to see something new and check something off the list.

But I couldn’t get that pasta out of my head.

So I did what any rational person would do, and I took to the internets.  I found a few people waxing nostalgically about the pasta.  The Internationalista took it a step further and got the recipe from the very restaurant that had denied me my cheesy, honey goodness.

I finally got around to making it this weekend.  I want to tell you that this story has a happy ending.  Girl doesn’t have perfect day in Orvieto but gains exotic new pasta recipe for life.  I want to make that true for you.

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It was a bechamel fail.  I don’t know if I added the flour too fast or the pan was too hot, but instead of sauce, I had a gloppy mess.  Even after I added the milk and cream, it more sticky than sauce-y.  I kept adding milk and cream but it was all for naught.

Then I forgot to save some of the “sauce” to pour on top.  I probably could have used more cheese.  (Because when is more cheese never not the answer?)  In the end, the pasta was sort of tasty, but definitely not a creamy, cheesy pasta to write home about.

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But I don’t think I can call Orvieto a three strikes and you’re out situation.  If you look at my strikes, two are because nobody expects sightseers in January and the other is because of our own stupidity.  I feel like we didn’t give the town a fair shake.  So we’ll be back.  I’ll have to go for the pasta at least.  Because goodness knows I’m not having any luck recreating that one on my own.

Been to Orvieto?  Have you had any travel destinations that redeemed themselves on a second visit?

Friday Fantastic A Number One Linky Party Extravaganza (and can we be FB friends?)

Hi friends!  Sorry for the light posting this week.  We were traveling for the holiday weekend and now we’re all sick.  (I am totally mouth breathing as I type this post.)

My mom left this week.  I miss her like a toddler loves changing his mind, but I’ve been pumped to get my own room back.  Especially now that everyone’s nights are punctuated by hacking fits.  Sexy!  I am pleased to report that we did everything on the to do list with my mom, plus some bonuses like visits to the zoo and a chocolate factory.  Even though she is gone now, my chin is up, because I think she will be back soon for additional shenanigans.

On the blog front, I owe you guys posts on Montepulciano and surrounding towns, Carnival, Orvieto, Villa D’Este in Tivoli, dining near the Pantheon, and Piazza Barberini.  Also info on the Henry day care situation and an updated state of the situation.  Can you believe we’ve been here six months??  That is 1/6 of my Italian adventure already finito.  I better get on that travel list!

In “exciting” news, Roman Reboot now has its own facebook pageClick on over there if you’d like to see me mangle another form of social media!

Thanks to my sister for these sweet outfits from her recent trip to India.  We may have had to cut Mac out of his bodice after the shoot, but we’ll always have the pics.  🙂

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I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, but I did catch some commercials and the halftime show after the fact.  This Diary of the Left Shark cracks me up.  Every.  Time.

My mom mentioned she was considering getting purse boots for her recent trip.  I think I may have done a spit take.  Say what?  Turns out, Purse n’ Boots are exactly what you’d think.  Boots with space for your stuff.  I scoffed, can it fit your cell phone?  IT CAN.  So they claim.  I must admit that I’m intrigued.  I actually really like the riding and combat boots.  I just wish they had pictures of the boots on actual people.  Can this be comfortable?  It seems like a win for vacations to pick-pockety destinations, except for the fact that most people don’t travel in boot weather.

I like my place, but I would move here tomorrow.

After gorgeous weather all week (I know, I know, shutting up), it looks like it will rain here all weekend.  I’m trying to plan some inside fun.  Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine has gotten me more excited about cooking so we may try some new recipes.  (The book is a touch on the churchy side–just mentioning in case not your jam, but I heartily recommend.)  We may even try to watch a whole movie on Netflix.  Lately, we’ve just been picking off TV episodes.  (Here’s a list of best TV on Netflix if you are looking to start a new series.)  OR just drop everything and start watching Bojack Horseman.  Immediately.  Will Arnett.  Aaron Paul.  Amy Sedaris.  Alison Brie.

Meet the most beloved sitcom horse of the ’90s … 20 years later. BoJack Horseman was the star of the hit TV show “Horsin’ Around,” but today he’s washed up, living in a Hollywood bachelor pad, complaining about everything, and sometimes wearing colorful sweaters. Set in an L.A. where humans and anthropomorphic animal-people coexist, “BoJack Horseman” is about one man (well, horse-man) who peaked too early and must figure out what to do next.

If you liked anything slightly oddball like Community, 30 Rock, or Arrested Development, I say to give it a shot.

How you doin’?  Big weekend plans?  Would you try purse boots?  Already finished Bojack?  Pretty funny, right??

Rome, you know, for kids

In general, we tend to avoid kid-focused entertainment.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  We go to the zoo, but I also like the zoo.  We go to the park, but I also like the park.

Hmm, what I’m trying to say is that–at least for sightseeing–we try to see interesting things and find something the kids are interested in there.  We went to Villa Torlonia, Henry found a palm frond.  We went to the Vatican, Henry chased a pigeon.  Things like that.

But the weather has been colder and wetter.  Days have been darker.  We have dipped our toe into some kid-focused entertainment.

I wouldn’t recommend hitting these sights if you are just in Rome for a few days.  But if you are in Rome for an extended period of time with kids, they may be worth investigating.

Explora

Explora is a children’s museum.  It is not too far from Piazza del Popolo and is right off the #19 tram line.  I took the kids on a weekday morning.

It was a pricier outing.  Everyone over three costs 8 euro; toddlers 12 – 36 months are 5 euro.  They do offer an annual pass.  If we lived closer to the museum, I might consider it.

Your entry buys you a 1 hour and 45 minute window.  For example, we were there from 10:00 – 11:45 am.  Timetables here.

I thought this would be a great rainy day activity, but you’d still get a little wet.  There is a parking lot, but it is a bit of a hike to the entrance.  And then the ticket office is in a separate building from the museum so you are exposed to the elements again to go between.  Not a huge deal, but I figure good to know.

Explora was very interesting, and I think it would be even more so if your kid is older than age two.  A lot of the stuff went over Henry’s head.  (Literally and figuratively.)  I realized how toddler-centric my world view has become when I couldn’t help but noting the hard concrete floors throughout the museum.

The museum focuses on role playing exhibits.  For example, there was a car that you could fill up with gas.  There was a garden where you could harvest veggies.  (If I were craftier, I’d work on making something like this.)  There was a supermarket with a checkout counter.  There was a kitchen with play food.  You get the drift.

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There was also a pretty sweet water area.  You moved levers and pumps that manipulated things in the exhibit.  Henry didn’t really get the cause and effect bit of that, but he did like splashing around.

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On the second floor, things seemed more exhibit-y and less hands on.  I only took Henry up there to try to distract him from throwing food at other peoples’ heads.  I don’t care if he throws the fake food.  Just not at heads.

There is also a separate area for the three and under crowd.  Still concrete floors, but some mats and other squashy things to play with.  Like this sweet instrument wall.

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There were a few field trip groups making their way through the museum.  It looked like fun.  If you have an elementary school age kid, I might consider Explora.  Not on a 3-day visit to Rome.  But maybe on a month long visit.

Explora, Museo dei Bambini
Via Flaminia, 80/86 – 00196
Tel. +39 06 3613776

Bimbilandia

On two rainy Saturday mornings, we headed over to Bimbilandia.  A quick note on the name, which cracks me up.  In Italian, a baby, or really baby + toddler, is a bambino.  (Bambina if feminine.)  Bambino is abbreviated to “bimbo.”  On the backs of cars you see “Bimbo a bordo” (baby on board) stickers.  It cracks me up every time.  And then if you have more than one bimbo, it is bimbi.  So I’m probably still messing up the translation somehow, but I just think, oh, my, we’re going to the land of the babies!!

Bimbilandia is a bit like Roman Chuck E. Cheese’s.  If Chuck E. Cheese also had an ice skating rink, coffee shop, and martial arts studio glommed on to it.  No, really, the place looks like your Southern relatives just started putting up various outbuildings and squashed them together.  (I can say that because I’m from South Carolina.)  The result is a structure does have heat piping in, but is still drafty.  The roof also leaks in certain places.  Less than ideal in a place you are running around in without any shoes.

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You have to drive to get to this one.  Unlike Explora, adults get in free.  Kids are 8 euro on the weekends (10:00 am – 1:00 pm and 2:30 – 7:30 pm) and only 6 euro on weekday afternoons (3:30 – 7:30 pm).  They keep not charging us for Mac; I think kids under one year are free.

Mac is skeptical of the ball pit

Mac is skeptical of the ball pit

Henry’s eyes lit up when we walked into this place.  It was all I could do to get his shoes off him before he bolted.  Unlike some things we do, there was zero new place hesitation.  He was like, “Oh, I’m ready to take this on.  I got this one.”

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It is a pretty sweet place for kids.  Enormous ball pit.  Inflatable slides.  Kid vehicles strewn around.  Trampolines.

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They do birthday parties here as well.  You can see little “houses” with fenced in yards for each party.  It looked like a neat setup.

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We’ve only gone right when they open.  It starts to fill up after the first hour and gets to be a bit much for the little kids.  I could see this being even more attractive when the kids are a little older.  You could sit calmly by the side with a cappuccino while watching your kids pelt each other with foam objects.

Still skeptical

Still skeptical

Bimbilandia
Viale Tor di Quinto, 55/57
Tel 06-98260444

So there you have it.  I don’t think either of these will be in our regular rotation, but I’m glad to have the option!