Sunday, January 9, 2011

Travel to Italy with your dog: Arriving in Rome, dog-friendly hotel and an outing to Piazza del Popolo

In the United States, dog people often long for a bit of Italy, where you can take your dog most anywhere. So when we embarked on our journey to Italy with Cosmo, we were excited to see all the sights, enjoy the food and shopping, and not have to leave Cosmo behind! 

We flew non-stop from Atlanta to Rome and arrived  at 7:30 a.m. in the morning after flying all night.  Cosmo traveled in his SturdiBag under the seat in cabin and slept the entire way! Above, he shakes off the sleep, does a few downward dogs and he's ready to go!

Going through customs in Rome was a breeze. We showed passports, got our bags and were outside the airport in less than 30 minutes. We had all the required international paperwork for pet travel, but didn't need to show anything on this end. Outside the airport in Rome, above, Cosmo is ready to chase some Italian squirrels! I'm ready for a nap.


We stayed at the pet-friendly InterContinental De La Ville Roma. The hotel is beautiful, the staff super friendly, and it is conveniently located at the top of the Spanish Steps.

Cosmo was treated like a celebrity -- with hearty greetings and pats --  every time he entered the lobby of the InterContinental De La Ville. After checking in, we hit the town to see the sights and search for some much-needed cappuccino!

First stop, just a few steps from the front of the hotel we walked down the Spanish Steps to Piazza Di Spagna.  Above, we stopped for a photo opp in front of the Barcaccia Fountain. At the bottom of the steps to the right, you can see a corner of the Casina Rossa, where the poet John Keats spent the end of his life.  At the top of the stairs is the 16th-century Church of Trinita dei Monti. From here we walked down Via del Corso to the Piazza del Popolo.

So much to see... and eat! Along the way, we stopped for a scoop of warm chestnuts. These vendors are on almost every corner!

At Piazza del Popolo, we stopped at the Canova Cafe for cappuccino and brioche! Ahhh, nothing like Italian cappuccino! 

Cosmo sat at the table and enjoyed the people, and dog, watching in the piazza ... and, the sound of the bells from the twin churches that flank either side of the Via del Corso. Built in the Neo classical style, the churches Santa Maria di Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Marcoli were designed by Carlo Rainaldi in 1658. Listen...

On a  beautiful Sunday morning in December, there were plenty of people out strolling through the Piazza del Popolo, enjoying the sunshine and soaking up the centuries of history. The obelisk at the center of the piazza was originally erected at the Circus Maximus to commemorate the conquest of Egypt by Augustus in 10 BC. It was moved to Piazza del Popolo  by Pope Sixtus V in 1589. Cosmo takes a sunbath and we listen to the cellist playing next to the obelisk in the center of the square. Take a look and enjoy!

Next we headed to the west end of the piazza, below, where the steps lead up to Pincio Hill and the entrance to Parco Della Villa Borghese, a wonderful park for a dog walk!

Next post: A walk through Borghese Park and lunch in the Park at Casina Valadier!


  1. It looked like a great adventure for both man and dog, glad you had a good time and no hassels traveling. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow... looks like an amazing trip!

  3. wow - what a fantastic place! looks like you and Cosmo both had a great time. xoxo

  4. Bow wow wow - Cosmo, you are so worldly!!!

  5. I so remember the Spanish Steps! I think it's wonderful that Cosmo was able to come along and enjoy your adventure.

  6. We had a great time with Cosmo! We were lucky to have nice weather too, so we could do a lot of walking around. Cosmo found plenty of interesting new smells!

  7. What a good traveler Cosmo is-slept all the way under the seat?! Amazing!
    Such beautiful photos-ParentalUnit has always wanted to stay near the Spanish steps-gorgeous area!
    Can hardly wait to hear more!

  8. I have two dogs and I take them everywhere - on dates and on business meetings. Still, I haven't taken them abroad yet, and am a bit anxious about flying them around. Your blog therefor, is really inspiring for me, since it allows me to see it's not a big deal to "schlep" your dog around, just like you would your human kid. :]

  9. What a great adventure you shared! Very impressive! Enjoyed the pictures and video. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I have always wanted to bring my mini poodle with me on a plane. He is only 14 lbs, but he is technically too tall to go under the seat . I think this bag may work. Also, were you able to leave you dog in the hotel alone?

  11. Glad to see everything went well!!!
    Hope one day I will be able to take Tessa with me... I'm still wondering about her flight comfort...

  12. Holyland -- In fact, taking your dog can be a lot easier than traveling with a human kid! Especially on the airplane, Cosmo was a lot easier than one of the crying babies on board!

  13. Linda, we didn't leave Cosmo in the hotel room alone on this trip but I have on a few other occasions. Cosmo would rather be with us, and in Italy he could go everywhere we wanted to go. I love the SturdiBag because it's light and flexible. Cosmo actually weighs more than your poodle, at 16 pounds, but he's probably shorter and longer. (He's just under 11 inches at the withers.) He curls up in the bag and moves only once in a while to change sleeping positions.

  14. Francesca, thanks for all your recommendations! We had wonderful hot chocolate at Sant'Ambroeus and cotechino with lentils for the New Year. We also learned of an interesting tradition about red underwear and good luck!! Next time you're in Milan, check out Ratanà, a wonderful newish restaurant in the slow food tradition. We'll be posting more!

  15. Love this post! I have always wanted to go to Italy and bring my puppy dogs. Thanks for the info.

    I gave your blog the Stylish Blogger Award. Don't feel forced to participate, but if you want to, you can find it on my blogs at and . Have a fantastic evening! :-)

    ~ Tina

  16. Hi Diane, I forgot about the red underwear! You can also wear something new on the 1st if you aren't that much into red... :)
    I will check out that restaurant for sure. Thanks!

  17. This is simply wonderful! I am so looking forward to this entire series because we are going to be taking our two dogs (medium-sized cocker spaniel and beagle mix) with us through Europe next year and are going to be in Rome for at least two weeks. I know that this is a somewhat bizarre question but, where did Cosmo use the toilet? I don't remember there being much green space in Rome. Did he just go on the sidewalk/streets? Sorry . . . but these are the sorts of things that I worry about when we travel with our pets!

  18. Akila, that's exactly the type of question I'd expect from someone who is traveling with a dog! Hee hee! You are right about the green space. There isn't much in Rome, or Milan, but our hotel was in a great location fairly close to Borghese Park and even closer to a few trees that Cosmo grew very fond of! After a couple of days, Cosmo also became comfortable with going on the sidewalk. And of course we had plenty of poo bags and tried to find places just a little bit out of the way. You're going to LOVE being in Rome for two weeks... we could've found plenty to do.

    BTW, your blog is WONDERFUL! I need to head back there to do more reading. And I noticed you are in Atlanta too! Your year sounds amazing and I loved Chewy's Soiree! Have you already looked into how you are going to travel with the two dogs? Will they need to fly in cargo? Once you are in Europe the trains are a great way to travel... so much easier than flying!

    I'm so glad you found us and that we found you!
    Diane and Cosmo

  19. Diane: Same here! We're hoping to do a travel tweetup in Atlanta sometime in February and we hope that we're able to meet you in person and share dog-travel stories.

    We absolutely love Rome and can't wait to spend more time there! It's good to hear that Borghese Park is pet-friendly because we were actually looking at renting a park in that area but we didn't know if pets were allowed there. I think this will make our apartment selection much easier.

    The traveling with pets part is quite tricky actually! We're going to take the dogs to Europe with us on the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship because their entire 12th floor is a kennel. Our dogs are too big to fit under the seats and we aren't comfortable sticking them in cabin space, so we are going to take them on the cruise ship. We are also going to ship our car and drive through Europe with them b/c we'll be staying in Europe for a year and a half. I think we will probably take some trains and ferries but, for the most part, we'll be driving from place to place. There are all sorts of complications but finding blogs like yours and others that focus on travel with pets is making my life so much better! We're looking forward to following along your site, as well.

  20. Akila - That sounds like a perfect way to travel! What an amazing trip... I keep saying "amazing" about your travels!! ha! Hope to meet you in Atlanta too. I'll make sure all our twitter accounts are following you! @CosmoHavanese @DLSilver and @ToDogWithLove all are me... or Cosmo!

    We could have spent days at Borghese Park. Wish we'd had more time to explore. And there's a nice off-leash area if your dogs don't mind playing with other big dogs. Cosmo doesn't like when things get too rowdy so we stuck to the paths.

    If you haven't already, check out She also has done a good bit of international travel with her dog and spent some time in Paris last year.

    And one last thing... My travel companion spent two years living in Italy and he wrote about it at

    In this post he talks about the Slow Food movement and a book he couldn't live without: Slow Food's "Osterie & Locande d' Italia. We've found wonderful places to eat in this book, including a few I'll talk about in upcoming posts! I highly recommend it.

  21. I'm planning to travel with my golden retriever mix to Italy this year so seeing your blog is inspiring. I will continue to follow your adventures.

  22. hi!!
    can you tell me the airline you flew on? im having trouble finding an
    airline that allows dogs in the cabin on international flights. Many thanks for all the info!!

  23. Toni - We flew on Delta. We use the same carrier - a large SturdiBag - that we use on domestic flights.

  24. Nice to see these pictures that tells about the nature and beloved in human and dogs that's like a great.
    Hotels in rome|Rome hotel|Rome Hotels

  25. I just found your blog - we are taking our 2 mini schnauzers to Rome in a few days. are the attrations very dog-friendly there? Obviously not the Sistine but we were hoping to take ours to the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, Pantheon, etc...the ruins basically. Did you try this? Is is possible?

    1. Oh, you are going to have a blast! You can go pretty much everywhere with your dogs except for inside museums and some of the indoor tours like at the catacombs. We went to the Colosseum, Circus Maximus and Pantheon. Check out this post and some of the links at the bottom of the post too:

      Parco Borghese was a beautiful park for dog walking and of course they can go to most restaurants with you. Rome is a great place to be a dog!

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  28. My mom and I are planning a trip to Italy in May this year. What type of health certifications did you need in order for your dog to enter the country. I'm a bit confused as to what is required. I appreciate any help you can provide. Cheers....

    1. Hi Terry,
      You should find all the info you need on this post:

      Check out all the links too to read about the latest requirements. I took a quick look and it seems to me that the requirement to microchip BEFORE your most current rabies vaccine is a new requirement. Your vet should be able to fill out all the paperwork and you'll want to check with your airline too.

      It seems like a lot to do, but if you start collecting the information early it's not such a big deal.

      Have a great trip!

  29. I will be traveling to Rome, with my dog, in March. I just made a reservation at the Intercontinental (thanks for the tip). Did you notice if the hotel provides any dog sitting/walking services? I e-mailed the hotel, but I haven't received a reply. Also, did you get any sense that you received a "lesser" room, since you were traveling with a dog?



    1. Hi Cathleen,
      No, I didn't notice anything about sitting/walking services. We took Cosmo everywhere with us! We had a nice room, and it didn't seem like it was "lesser" than the others. Overall, it was a very pleasant stay and the hotel folks were very nice. The location was perfect!

      Hope you have a great trip!

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