Italy Day 3: Bici Pincio Bike Rental through Villa Borghese

We’d intended to rent a golf cart today, but thankfully that didn’t go as planned. Our AirBnB is deliberately near a large garden/park area called Villa Borghese. We learned early on that booking a stay with a playground or open nature space nearby is key for letting the little ones burn off energy (even more so when cooped up in a hotel room or airplane).

For our visit to Rome, we booked this apartment on AirBnB. If we are staying in a city with lots to do and explore, we don’t bother booking a place with many amenities as we won’t be home much to use them. If we are somewhere more rural, we try to book a stay with a hot tub, pool, swing set… something special to pass the extra time at home.

Not our house… maybe one day

Amir and I make a pretty great traveling team. When it comes time to planning for a vacation, our jobs require us to do things in a certain order, or else nothing would ever happen.

Step 1: Request vacation time at work.

Step 2: Book flights (that’s all Amir, thank goodness). He’s become an expert in credit card rewards and upgrades.

Step 3: Book lodging – AirBnB is our go to. As an alternative searching “boutique hotels” can also land you somewhere unexpected.

Step 4: Book transportation. This never used to be a focused step for us, but now carting around 5 people with baggage limits our ability to be spontaneous.

Step 5: Plan activities. We probably only decide 25% of what we are going to do somewhere before we go. We watch travel shows and YouTube videos for unique spots. The rest we decide on the fly once we arrive. This allows room to not overbook ourselves and to squeeze in experiences only discovered once we’ve arrived.

The Navigator

It helps that Amir has an innate navigation ability built-in to his brain. He can look at a map for 5 seconds and then remember the turn by turn directions to get us to our next adventure. It’s probably a skill everyone had by necessity prior to GPS, but for me that brain space has long been crowded out by many, many other things.

We had one destination today – Villa Borghese. The third largest public park in Rome, the gardens date back to 1605 when Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, began development. Fun fact: the gardens are the setting in Chapters 8-11 of Nathanial Hawthornes novel The Marble Faun.

The gardens are dotted with small food stands and cafes. We stumbled upon the Bici Pincio bicycle rental, offering all shapes and sizes of bikes. We were worried about our ability to find something safe and fun for our littlest and biggest riders, but they had every option imaginable. To our surprise, the lady said we could fit a “Small Family” bicycle… I glanced at Amir and #1LittleSister, skeptical, but she nodded with confidence, “You fit.”

#1LittleSister and #1BigBrother

I’m not going to lie – the bike was my favorite part of the trip yet, and the most fun thing I’ve done in a LONG time. I’m pretty sure my face just screamed childish joy. I want to buy one for back home. Except then I might have to park my car outside to garage my “small” family bike… on second thought – I should probably think this through.

We drove up upon a fanciful merry-go-round. Instead of the traditional horse merry-go-round, It was like someone knew our kids and designed the exact things our kids would want to ride… Lightening McQueen, rainbow unicorn, fire truck, princess pony… it was a little spooky to be honest.

After the merry-go-round and more peddling, we stopped to get a light snack and a glass of wine at an outdoor garden restaurant. They were ready with the high chairs, and as #1LittleSister flirted with the world, they gave her all the attention she ever wanted. #1BigBrother drank 3 glasses of apple juice, and I enjoyed brucette with my dry white wine. It was nice to slow down. The rest of the outing allowed time for photos and more sips from the public fountains.

We leave tomorrow morning for Tuscany – we’ve rented a car (could be a disaster if we don’t fit), and plan to stay at another AirBnB, this time in the rolling countryside with not much around us. It’s time to slow down.


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