Some friends went to Rome earlier this year with their then-8-year old son, Joaquin. It was his first visit to Italy, and he was excited to see the Eternal City. We interviewed Joaquin to get his take on his trip and his suggestions for other kids going to Rome.
How did you prepare for going on your trip to Rome?
I went and looked at pictures of Rome on the internet. Then we went to the library and got some guide books that I could look through. Later when we were in Rome I used the Mission Rome: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure book that my mom got me.
What were you looking forward to the most in Rome?
The Colosseum was the one thing I wanted to see the most and it was really neat. We took a tour. I learned that gladiators would fight random people and sometimes random animals. It was totally worth seeing.
What did you think about the food?
I loved the pizza, the plain pizza with cheese was my favorite. I think I ate it every day. The gelato was delicious. My favorite flavor was Stracciatella [the Italian version of chocolate chip]. I got gelato every day. There was a place near the Spanish Steps that was open really late and one night we got gelato there at 2 a.m.!
Tell us about Flat Stanley and what he did in Rome…
I printed out a Flat Stanley and took him to Rome. We took pictures of Flat Stanley at the Colosseum, at some of the [obelisks], and at the Vatican. Then I mailed him from the Vatican post office to my teacher.
Did he get back home OK?
Yes, my teacher got him in the mail.
What was it like to see Pope Francis?
It was kind of crazy. Even the nuns were standing on their chairs. But we could still see him pretty well. I would do it again.
Were there any things that surprised you about Rome?
All the statues without heads. I did not expect that and I thought they were funny.
Your dad said you learned something about Michelangelo and Raphael…
When the tour guide was talking about them, I thought she meant the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but then I learned they were artists.
Your dad said he wanted to gain 20 pounds in Rome. Did he?
I don’t know if he gained 20 pounds, but he ate a lot. He really liked the food.
Did your mom end up buying all those shoes she wanted?
Pretty much. We had to drag her away from the clothes and shoe shopping sometimes.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
What is your advice to other kids who are going to Rome for the first time?
Stay close to your parents because Rome is big and you could get lost. And, eat lots of gelato. Always.
Do you want to go back to Rome some day?