My Lens Abroad » Capturing My Expat Adventures With My Lens

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Managing a Large Family Visit

I’ll admit it, I was really excited to have visitors come to Rome and visit.  Mostly, I was really happy to see my nephews.  I was glad that my sister-in-law was dragging my brother-in-law away from his computer.  Also, my in-laws were coming.  If you are starting to do the math you will soon realize that I had quite a number of guests coming and needed to start my planning as soon as possible.



My in-laws were simple, they would stay with us.  However, our 3 bedroom apartment, complete with the water that can only be used from one tap at a time, could not shower all those bodies.  When you run the sink in the kitchen someone is bound to get scalded in the shower.  We were fortunate that my husband had Hilton Miles and we could accommodate them down the street at the Hilton Garden Inn.  The Boys loved it!  A challenge can be trying to get lodging for greater than 3 people in certain areas.  Yes there are quadruple rooms available, but be aware that rooms in Europe are smaller.  I really had some issues getting a hotel to accommodate 9 people.  I thought my eyes were going to fall out starting at websites doing research, but I was so happy with my end result.


Because I wanted this to be a worthwhile trip, I made sure we had a checklist of tours for them.  Basically I asked what their “wish list” was.  My SIL is very easy-going, but when she said she just wanted to ride scooters in Rome I knew I needed to just take charge completely.  I had no desire to scrape her remnants off the Piazza Venezia or even the main street in front of our Apartment.  Like a lunatic, I got into planning mode and scheduled tours for my in-laws at the Vatican the day after they landed.  After the rest of the family landed and had a good day’s rest, we went on a tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Forum.  Both tours were scheduled with Walks of Italy, who did an outstanding job as the limit of 12 people, this was great for our party of 9!


We tried to keep it simple, by take them to places off the beaten path.  It can be difficult with a large party with diverse ages and tastes.  What’s more, is restaurants open after 8pm, which is after my son’s bed time and I believe my nephews would have fainted from starvation by then.  Lucky for us we have a restaurant nearby that is actually open ALL DAY, a rarity.  I believe they have set this policy because of the local Embassies.  It worked out great for us and introduced my nephew to his new favorite Roman dish.  We love Taverna Rossini and are so thankful for it.

What was next?  After doing some of the main Roman sites we hopped the Train and headed off.


When it comes to travel I highly recommend taking the train.  I know my husband prefers to drive, but taking a train is so much easier.  Also many towns have ZTL laws.  What is that basically Zone limits where you can get ticketed for driving and parking in that town.  You many not even know that you received a ticket, it can be mailed to you from the Rental Car agency.  Also, parking is awful to find in towns like Florence, Siena and non-existent in Venice.  So I booked tickets for the nine of us from Rome to Venice, then Venice to Siena and, finally Siena to Rome.  What could be a bit frustrating was the limit of tickets you can purchase at one time, oh, and that my internet connection kept crashing.  But–yay–I did it!  We did all those legs of train travel without any issues.  I highly recommend it.

And below?  Check out family times in Venice…


Below are the boys showing off bad habits.  One chews his sleeve, another sucks his thumb and we have a nail biter.


Here Uncle Doug puts Shane on his “elbows”.  We thought it was too cute for a while to correct the little man.  Venice has lots of walking, with all sorts of bridges.  I wanted to get on Doug’s elbow’s at some point…

Here is my older nephew, trying to charm his mommy.  I honestly think he’s been making those puppy eyes since he was a baby.  Always cute…

Nancy O'Mara - Great commentary on our trip, Heather, and what a fine job you did organizing all of us!! The photos are wonderful, also. The Walks of Italy tours are exceptional, as you predicted them to be!! Thanks again for the organizing and translating….how goes the Italian lessons?

Heather O'Mara - Grazie! Still taking the Italian two hours a day, two times a week….

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