Archive for April, 2014

The Top Children-Friendly Places In Rome

Posted on April 20th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Rome, one of the world’s top tourist destinations, is a city of great history, great excess, great shopping, and great nightlife.  But what if you’re traveling on a family holiday?  Don’t miss out on the proverbial endpoint of all roads simply because you’re with children in tow; Rome can be a fascinating and enlightening experience to be enjoyed by all ages.  Check out these tips on child-friendly sites and activities in Rome that your whole family will get a kick out of.


1. The Coliseum.  While this was probably at the top of your list anyway, the Coliseum is a vivid and exciting way to immerse your kids in ancient history.  They’ll be so excited to wander and explore the ruins of the once great entertainment stadium that they won’t even realize that they’re learning at the same time.

2. The Trevi Fountain.  Let your kids leave their mark on Rome—an old legend states that anyone who tosses a coin into the fountain of La Dolce Vita fame is destined to return to Rome someday.  It also makes a great backdrop for family photos.

3. Sistine Chapel.  While too much museum time can lead to fidgeting, any of your kids who’ve ever enjoyed an art class or playing with crayons will be astounded by the ceiling frescoes of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.  Take the whole family to gaze up at Michelangelo’s masterpiece and see what inspirations will come from that.

4. Open-air Theatre.  Get your kids to practice their Italian by heading to Gianicolo Hill, where they will be treated to free plays for children, as well as a public playground and pony rides for younger children.  For parents and teenagers, the view of the city you get from the top is well worth the climb!file000329464605

5. Porta Portesese Flea Market.  Every Sunday, located in Viale Trastevere near Gianicolo Hill, there is a massive flea market, or mercatino, full of knick-knacks and antiques for all interests.  Not only is this a good chance to walk in the sunshine and eat some gelato, but it’s also the perfect place for people-watching, as it’s frequented by both locals and tourists.

6. Via dei Fori Imperiali.  Every Sunday, in a city-wide push to reduce their carbon footprint, Rome shuts down all traffic within the city limits, and the boulevard that connects the Coliseum with the Piazza Venezia becomes a family-friendly block party, filled with live musical events and entertainers and fun of all sorts.  Definitely worth a stroll down.

7. Villa Borghese.  This beautiful public park will appeal to anyone, and you can rent bikes and ride around for the entire day.  Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it while your children burn off energy on the playground, Casina di Raffaello.

If you are planning an extended family trip to Rome, be sure that you have an understanding of basic Italian, to get the most out of the experience for you and your family.  Send us an inquiry to get started, or check out our various different levels of Italian courses to see what would be right for you.

Top 6 Phrases To Arrange Your Transport In Italy

Posted on April 6th, 2014 by Anna in Uncategorized | No Comments »

dibujos-animados-tren-moderno-en-el-vector-rojo_657058Transport, whether you’re just out of the airport or trying to navigate your way through a confusing network of trains, trams, and buses, can be a hassle at best in Italy.  At worst, it might not happen at all—there is a long history of train employees going on strike in the summer, leaving a lot of holiday travelers stranded.  If you’re planning to go to Italy and wish to get around by any means other than walking, you will have to knuckle up and prepare for a lot of surprises and frustrations.  To ease the process along as much as possible, make sure you have a smattering of Italian phrases at your disposal appropriate for whatever mode of transportation you’re going to attempt.  Here are a few good ones to remember:

1. Dove posso fermare un tassi?  “Where can I hail a taxi?”  Probably your best bet, especially if you’re coming from the airport, taxis in large cities are plentiful and inexpensive.  They’re also a great way to see the grand sites of cities like Rome or Florence all in one drive if you don’t have time for a walking tour.  Official white or yellow taxis are government regulated and have a meter, so you’re best sticking with those.

2. Dove si trova la stazione ferroviara?  “Where is the train station?”  Useful if you’re planning to visit a few cities throughout Italy, as trains are a fast and popular way of travel.  Top companies include Eurostaritalia, Trenitalia, and TBiz.  However, if you’re on a time-sensitive schedule, such as on your way to the airport to catch a flight, Eurostaritalia, the most reliable service, may best fit your needs.file000925831076

3. Quanto costa un biglietto?  A crucial phrase, whether you’re traveling by bus or train: “How much does a ticket cost?”  In most train or bus stations there should be a placard of prices according to distance, but it never hurts to ask.

4. Vorrei un biglietto di andata i ritorno.  “I would like a round-trip ticket.”  This will save time and keep you from having to finagle your way up to a ticket booth in a strange city to go through it all again.  Round-trip tickets may come with discounts in some cases.

5. Quando parte il treno?  “When does the train leave?”  Another important one for the traveler, especially if your tickets are non-transferable.  Try to get to your platform fifteen minutes early, just to be safe.  But keep in mind time runs at a more relaxed pace in Italy, so trains may be late.

6. Vorrei affitare una macchina.  “I would like to rent a car.”  If you trust your driving skills and your ability to navigate Italian road signs, this may be the best way to independently tour both the cities and the countryside.  Plus, this would be your chance to drive a prime Italian sports car in its native habitat!

These phrases, of course, are only a precursor to the Italian you will need to know to effectively communicate throughout your travels.  Prepare yourself with a course of basic Italian taking our free Italian language learning test, or by sending us an inquiry!