Since we are all friends, let me be honest with you. Even before becoming a parent, I would imagine the sheer terror of losing a child in a crowded place. In all of these crazy scenarios, I was thinking of a local grocery market or even a department store…never in a foreign country at a major tourist attraction!!
On our first full day in Rome, we decided to visit the Colosseum.
As soon as we walked up the initial set of stairs at the Colosseum, we stopped at a bench to gather ourselves. There were 5 adults and 2 kids (and one of them wasn’t even mobile) – surely there were enough sets of eyes that Liam wouldn’t escape. We were wrong.
Somehow everyone had their eyes in other places for literally 2 seconds and Liam disappeared – that is all it took. When I turned around my heart stopped!
We all quickly fanned out to search for him and ended up finding him a short time later (probably only a minute or two) hamming it up and posing for pictures for some Japanese tourists in front of a portrait of a statue.
Thank God this turned out well!
This just confirms another reason why I love traveling with my children – I am blessed to have independent children who make friends easily. I also now believe my mother when she says she got all of her grey hairs after having children!!
After finding Liam (and telling him that he would be leashed to me forever if he ran away again), my mom volunteered to sit with Addison while the rest of us explored. Leave it to Addison to fall asleep whenever we arrived somewhere interesting.
Mom was in a prime location because by the time we returned, she had heard tours in about 5 different languages.
Now on to the good stuff….Before even setting out on your trip to the Colosseum with the kids, go purchase this. In all seriousness, you should pick up the best deal in town by visiting one of the covered sights, tourist information centers or many news stands.
The best value for exploring Rome is the Roma Pass which costs €30 and is valid for 3 days, covers public transportation and free or discounted admission to many Roman sights. The best part? You will receive free admission to your first two attractions where you can also use the fast track line, and then discounted admission to the remaining sights.
When planning your activities, ensure you get the most out of your pass by visiting the two most expensive sights (and those with the longest lines) first – the National Museums (€10) and the Colosseum (€12).
We took our obligatory family picture in front of the Colosseum…do you see those long lines in the background?! Just another reason to use the Roma Pass.
The Colosseum itself is simply amazing! To think that it was the largest amphitheater ever built and that it was completed back in 80 AD! That is what I call craftsmanship – it is still standing in decent shape today.
The structure is estimated to have held between 50,000 – 80,000 spectators during events which included the well-known Gladiator fights and executions. What I find so interesting is that it was also used for things such as animal hunts and possibly (there is debate on how it was made water-tight) mock sea battles. The Colosseum floor was flooded and ships were brought in to reenact battles at sea.
As the Encyclopedia Britannia 2006 says, at some time during the 16th century, Church officials sought a productive role for the Colosseum. Pope Sixtus V (1585–1590) planned to turn the building into a wool factory to provide employment for Rome’s prostitutes. What interesting plans for one of the most well-known structures in the world!
What remains of the Colosseum is perfect for children to explore. They are able to run around the levels of seating, look at artifacts, and explore the arena and hypogeum. The entire subterranean network where gladiators and wild animals made their way to the arena is like a giant maze to little kids.
Its also never too early to start teaching your kids about history. The Colosseum offers an easy story-telling aspect that is sure to enamor young children.
Because this was our first day in country, Adam, the kids and I could only make it about half way through the day before the kids needed to head back to the apartment for a nap. Our morning at the colosseum wore the kids out! Colosseum 1. Kids 0.