Whether or not it’s the meals, historical past, environment, or structure, Rome is eternally fascinating – and with so many issues to do in Rome with youngsters, I couldn’t wait to introduce my daughter to its charms.
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Having determined to threat the climate at February half-term relatively than e book our journey for Easter, our timing couldn’t have been higher, flying again simply earlier than northern Italy launched its first lockdowns (and everyone knows what occurred subsequent…)
And for the previous three years, my daughter has been asking to return – as a result of a go to to Rome with youngsters is ideal, these magical sights as enchanting as ever and no journey restrictions to cease you exploring. Right here’s what we fitted into one week in Rome.
We couldn’t cowl every thing the Everlasting Metropolis has to supply, evidently – half the enjoyable of being in Rome is taking time to take a seat exterior a restaurant and folks watch within the solar, stroll the streets with some gelato and wander from piazza to piazza to see what secrets and techniques you discover.
However our week included an important strolling tour of Rome with youngsters, a household tour of the Colosseum and Discussion board, an opportunity to go to Gladiator College, Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Navona, and the Mouth of Fact, recognizing historical Roman websites and throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain, pizza galore and many extra.
I’ve additionally picked out some extra of one of the best issues to do in Rome with youngsters, together with the Vatican, extra locations to go to, a meals tour of Rome and household actions to strive.
And one of the best factor about by no means fairly becoming every thing into one week in Rome? You’ve acquired the proper excuse to return once more…
In the event you’re trying to save cash on sights and public transport, take a look at the assorted Rome metropolis passes together with the Roma Move, the Rome Vacationer card, and the Vatican Metropolis move
Day one: Trastevere & Isola Tiberina
Begin your loved ones vacation in Rome slowly – after your arrival, settle in by taking a while to absorb the environment.
If, like us, you’re staying in Trastevere, it’s the proper place to amble. Stroll to the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere for its astonishing ornament and mosaics, and seize some gelato on the sq. whilst you watch avenue performers.
It’s additionally strolling distance from the Isola Tiberina, set within the Tiber river, which has a protracted historical past of therapeutic – there’s nonetheless a Sixteenth-century hospital on the island.
The bridge connecting the island to the northern financial institution, the Ponte Fabricio, dates from 62BCE, making it the oldest Roman bridge in Rome that survives in its unique state.
There are legends galore linked to the island, however even with out understanding any of the tales, it’s a relaxed spot to wander the cobbled streets.
There’s not an enormous quantity to see (though there’s a Tenth-century basilica), however it’s a peaceable little oasis to walk by the water (evidently, you too can discover gelato right here).
The place to eat in Rome with youngsters
We spent a protracted lazy meal at Popi Popi, which had pizza and peach juice for my daughter, and pasta carbonara and prosecco for me.
I made a decision to strive carciofi (the deep-fried artichoke dish that originated within the metropolis’s Jewish ghetto) right here too – and in response to the waiter who evidently took pity on me, one of the best ways is to quarter it and eat a number of the softer coronary heart with the crunchy leaves.
In any case, journey isn’t all about exploring and stacking up miles, it’s concerning the experiences – and what’s extra Italian than a protracted lunch within the solar?
Day 2: Strolling tour, Trevi Fountain & Welcome to Rome Expertise
It’s time to get exploring – you possibly can create your individual strolling tour to see a number of the highlights, however reserving a family-friendly strolling tour of Rome is an effective way to get your bearings and see a number of the key sights.
We took a tour with Tapsy Excursions, which specialises in child-friendly excursions – there was an exercise booklet, an actor becoming a member of our information to deliver the tales to life, and a relaxed tempo with loads of time to speak alongside the best way.
Learn my full assessment of a Tapsy Tour of Rome with youngsters for all the main points
Beginning on the Circus Maximus, our tour took us previous the Colosseum and Roman Discussion board, earlier than recognizing the well-known statue of the she-wolf with Romulus and Remus.
Then shifting to extra trendy historical past, we wandered by the Piazza del Campidoglio designed by Michaelangelo, on to its Piazza Navona to be taught extra concerning the fountains earlier than heading to the Pantheon – and the gray February skies got here into their very own.
Because the drizzle began, we dashed inside to look at the rain fall by the oculus, the well-known gap within the roof, earlier than draining away by a intelligent system of holes and a barely sloped flooring, constructed by the Romans.
Ending within the Campo de’ Fiori with some pizza bianca, the tour had whisked us by hundreds of years of historical past and hundreds of steps, though you get a elevate from Piazza del Campidoglio to Piazza Navona part-way by – to not point out dozens of information, and one big mole, the tour’s mascot who waved us off initially.
Alongside the best way, there have been loads of quirky little information and fewer well-known tales behind the well-known sights, and we even acquired to put on a triumphal laurel wreath.
It’s an ideal introduction to town, particularly with youthful youngsters, and an effective way to see numerous the primary highlights in a single go.
In the event you’re on the lookout for one thing slightly completely different than a regular strolling tour of Rome with youngsters, this self-guided Rome treasure hunt is a extremely enjoyable method to see the sights whereas preserving youngsters entertained
Day 2 Afternoon: Welcome to Rome
In the event you’re visiting when it’s wet (or searingly scorching), fancy resting your toes for a bit, or need one other method to wrap your head round Rome’s astonishingly lengthy historical past, don’t miss Welcome to Rome, not removed from Campo de’Fiori.
The multimedia exhibit features a movie taking you thru Rome’s historical past from kings to republic, empire, popes, and unification, whisking you thru 3,000 years of town’s highlights.
There are additionally 3D digital recreations to indicate what a number of the current-day ruins would as soon as have appeared like – good after having had a glimpse of some earlier that day and an effective way to organize us for extra exploring. Permit round one hour.
We completed with just a few extra unmissable highlights not already seen in our tour, strolling as much as Piazza Venezia previous the astonishing Trajan’s column with its intricate element.
From right here, you possibly can keep it up in the direction of the Trevi fountain – the February drizzle meant we acquired virtually as moist as if we’d waded by it, La Dolce Vita type (undoubtedly don’t strive that in actual life!).
My daughter nonetheless threw a few cash in to make sure she comes again. Rome has one other fan!
It’s round 10 minutes to the Spanish Steps close by, or we took a tip from the Rome Metropolis Trails e book from Lonely Planet Children and headed to Moriondo & Gariglio, a 140-year-old chocolate store.
Whereas it’s an expertise simply to look inside, you’re unlikely to flee with out shopping for not less than just a few of the sweets (brace your self for the costs, however they’re definitely worth the splurge).
The place to eat in Rome with youngsters
Our Tapsy Tour information advisable Rossopomodoro in Largo di Torre Argentina, not removed from the top of the tour in Campo de’ Fiori, for some nice woodfired pizza.
One in every of 4 of the chain’s eating places in Rome, the pizza was nice and it’s splendid for those who’re on the lookout for a pitstop to relaxation your toes and refuel.
Day 3: Historical Rome & the Colosseum
You’ll be able to’t go to Rome with youngsters and never see the Colosseum – effectively, you possibly can, however I wouldn’t suggest it! So, having seen the outside on our day two tour, we booked a second tour to take us inside in addition to into the Discussion board.
There are Colosseum excursions galore, however not all are geared toward youngsters, so it does pay to decide on properly to find the tales behind the traditional stones and convey the drama of the Colosseum to life.
With challenges for the youngsters in our group to win factors by recognizing particulars and collaborating in different video games, my daughter flung herself enthusiastically into the competitors, trotting out all her information of Historical Rome from learning it at college (visiting a string of Roman websites within the UK had evidently paid off!).
But it surely undoubtedly wasn’t dumbed down, with particulars of what the video games entailed, the possibility to see historical graffiti and Latin inscriptions, and even tales of 2000-year-old bogs. Let’s simply say 70,000 spectators and some holes isn’t the prettiest image.
We acquired an important view of the cages the place wild animals would have been saved, heard tales of gladiator college and why the star performers would have been handled with child gloves, in addition to some vibrant anecdotes concerning the emperors.
The gladiator space beneath the sector itself can also be now open, as an added bonus for those who’re visiting the Colosseum with youngsters.
Then, on into the discussion board, the place the temples nonetheless standing give an impression of simply how astonishing the world would have been in its heyday.
After virtually three hours, I nonetheless wished the tour had lasted even longer, though I used to be undoubtedly flagging – even when Minnie was nonetheless scampering across the outdated Roman paving stones at high pace.
Who to e book with? Ours was run with Pink Umbrella excursions booked by Get Your Information – led by our implausible information Simona.
In the event you can’t be a part of that, I’d suggest reserving a mixed tour which incorporates the Discussion board as effectively, however you too can discover household excursions of the Colosseum alone.
Day 3 Afternoon: exploring extra of Historical Rome
The Colosseum and Discussion board definitely aren’t the one locations to find extra about Historical Rome, as we found throughout the remainder of our day – with the added bonus of assembly up with native Roman Marta (who blogs at Studying Escapes) to indicate me some secrets and techniques.
We headed as much as one of many free viewpoints from the Altare della Patria, or Vittoriano, a huge white development commemorating the unification of Italy – and noticed the altering of the guard by the tomb of the unknown soldier as effectively.
Trajan’s Column and Trajan’s Market are each subsequent door, so it’s simple to discover each of these earlier than heading in the direction of the river and the Theatre of Marcellus.
This theatre, which held video games in addition to performances, might have seated as much as 40,000 individuals, and it’s an important reminder that the Colosseum could be probably the most well-known enviornment, however it’s definitely not the one one.
Then on by the ghetto, the stroll took us by numerous picturesque slender streets on our method to Largo di Torre Argentina.
It’s simple to wander previous the ruins right here with out realising the importance of this uncommon spot: as soon as dwelling to 4 temples and the Theatre and Curia of Pompey, it was right here that Julius Caesar was assassinated.
In addition to trying on the columns, it’s additionally now dwelling to a refuge for stray cats: very fluffy, sleek-looking ones, together with a tabby sunning itself majestically on the archaeological stays. Nobody argues with a cat, proper?!
You’ll be able to go inside to pet them as effectively (donations welcome!)
The place to eat in Rome with youngsters
On Largo di Torre Argentina, it’s simple to miss Pizza Florida, however it’s good for lunch on the go – a lot in order that my daughter saved asking to return (and nonetheless talks about their veggie pizza).
One in every of Marta’s suggestions, it’s undoubtedly not only for vacationers both. There’s pizza by the slice to purchase, with a complete host of flavours, usually contemporary from the oven – completely scrumptious.
Day 4: Gladiator College & The Mouth of Fact
When you’ve been impressed by seeing contained in the Colosseum, the following logical step is clearly to develop into a gladiator your self, proper?
So it was off to gladiator college we went. And after just a few days of strolling and historical past, this was one thing actually completely different – and large enjoyable for the entire household!
The tour began with a mixture of studying some extra background about gladiator life and what the coaching entailed, earlier than getting taught some primary strategies with the sword.
And after trying across the little museum, studying concerning the costumes and helmet design, earlier than dressing the youngsters up in varied outfits – as you’ll uncover, there isn’t only one sort of gladiator – it was time to go into the sector.
Matched up with our opponents, we acquired able to spar… fortunately simply with a padded picket sword. It’s a very good job my life didn’t rely alone efficiency – though my daughter, concentrating fiercely, gained her bout.
Gladiator College is ready just a few miles exterior town: there are buses that run there, however I rapidly realized it’s finest to not depend on these. After ready virtually 40 minutes for the 118 bus close to the Circo Massimo (which allegedly runs each quarter-hour), we flagged down a taxi – 10 Euros on the time, we should always actually have accomplished that within the first place!
It’s not the most affordable factor to do with youngsters in Rome, however it’s simply some of the memorable – e book tickets to Gladiator College right here. And I’m now formally a Roman citizen (kind of), with a certificates to show it.
Day 4 Afternoon: Discovering a few of Rome’s quirky sights
Heading again to Trastevere, we took on one other problem on the Bocca della Verita – the mouth of fact at Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
I first got here throughout it within the well-known scene from Roman Vacation and couldn’t resist attempting it, though it took some convincing to reassure my daughter that her hand wouldn’t genuinely get bitten off if she advised a lie.
Apparently, in days passed by, clergymen used to place scorpions inside to proceed the legend.
It’s effectively value exploring the church too, with a relic of St Valentine whose cranium is on show, and an historical crypt that after housed the altar of Hercules.
In the event you haven’t already explored the Circus Maximus, it’s simply subsequent door too, otherwise you’re a brief stroll from Isola Tiberina and the Theatre of Marcellus, in addition to from the Baths of Caracalla, a Third-century complicated of thermal baths.
We climbed up the Aventine Hill for one in all Rome’s most uncommon sights. Within the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, preserve an eye fixed out for the big door at no 3 with an enormous spherical keyhole, and look by – likelihood is there’ll be a queue ready for those who’re not sure which door it’s.
Regardless of being a few miles away, you get a view straight to the dome of St Peter’s Basilica, framed by the vegetation within the backyard behind the massive inexperienced door.
Day 5: Castel Sant’Angelo or the Vatican
For me, no go to to Rome is full with out heading over in the direction of the Vatican and St Peter’s Sq. – and attending to see it shut up, for those who’ve already had a peek by that keyhole.
I’d determined towards taking my daughter to the Vatican museums on this journey – my very own reminiscence is of being wowed by the unbelievable contents however feeling barely overwhelmed, and we had a string of excursions and many historical past lined up already.
Undoubtedly one for a return journey, although – scroll right down to see extra for those who’re planning to go to the Vatican Museums with youngsters.
As a substitute, we headed to St Peter’s Sq. with a plan to go inside St Peter’s Basilica, the place the sheer dimension of the constructing at all times takes my breath away.
Even in February, the queue stretched round two-thirds of the best way across the sq.. And it’s not a small sq.!
My daughter’s verdict: it’s a must to be kidding me, mummy. So having marvelled on the fountains, we strolled on down the grand By way of della Conciliazione in the direction of Castel Sant’Angelo.
It’s one place I hadn’t visited earlier than, however this fascinating spot is actually enjoyable with youngsters.
It has been a fortress and papal residences, now a museum, however began life because the burial website of the emperor Hadrian – it’s nonetheless referred to as the Mole Adriana. The large grassy mound has a huge statue of Hadrian because the solar god with a chariot on an equally enormous pedestal.
Right this moment, the spherical fortress has been constructed up over the centuries, however Hadrian’s memorial has principally survived, in contrast to different emperors.
As you discover, you wander by tunnels, circling spherical and spherical as you climb every degree till you attain the very high – the views out throughout Rome and to St Peter’s are spectacular.
Alongside the best way you see the passetto, the passage working to the Vatican and escape route for not less than one Pope, the fortifications, a restaurant excessive up (which could not have had Rome’s finest pizza however did have top-of-the-line views) in addition to shows within the armoury, the adorned rooms of the Papal residences, grand statues, and imperial poetry.
We spent a cheerful couple of hours wandering earlier than trotting again down the curved passage out.
There’s a free app to obtain which supplies an audio model of the indicators which are dotted round – you possibly can simply skip it, however useful if it’s busy and you may’t see the boards.
It’s advisable to purchase tickets upfront to skip the queues, with timed entry slots – enable not less than 90 minutes to discover. I don’t suppose you want a guided tour right here, however for those who favor to take one, do that family-friendly tour of Castel Sant’Angelo.
Behind the fortress are the gardens of the Parco Adriano, additionally dwelling to a playground, so it’s an important place to whereas away a bit extra time in case your youngsters want a break from sightseeing.
Then stroll throughout the Ponte Sant’Angelo for some implausible views, and also you’re lower than 10 minutes from the Piazza Navona and its fantastic fountains.
Extra issues to do in Rome with youngsters
The Vatican Museums are simply astonishing – not just for the unbelievable items within the collections however for the sheer dimension of them. You could possibly spend all day exploring (effectively, with out youngsters) for those who didn’t get museum fatigue.
So the primary query to ask is whether or not to go to the Vatican Museums with youngsters: take into account that it’s a must to be silent within the Sistine Chapel, there are sometimes massive crowds and there’s nothing hands-on or interactive – this actually shouldn’t be someplace to return with a toddler.
But when they’re sufficiently old to understand what they’re seeing, don’t instantly rule it out. Nonetheless, I feel that is someplace the place a information is value their weight in gold to assist youngsters respect a number of the highlights, with out them feeling completely overwhelmed.
There’s a strict no-photo rule within the Sistine Chapel, and it’s a must to be silent – that is enforced for everybody. You even have a restricted period of time inside.
In the event you do need to go to independently, you should buy skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel (though you continue to need to queue for safety).
For a family-friendly tour, take a look at Rome4Kids, which has a complete string of choices, together with a treasure hunt-style tour that lasts two and a half hours.
Keep in mind that there’s a gown code to enter any of the Vatican buildings, together with the museums: as you’re extra more likely to be exploring the museums with older youngsters, do guarantee they’re additionally dressed appropriately – no shorts or naked shoulders, for instance.
St Peter’s Basilica
This monumental church will go away youngsters as open-mouthed as adults – the sheer scale of the constructing is astonishing, fairly other than the ornamentation and art work inside.
As it’s a working church, there’s no cost to enter the primary basilica, though you do want tickets to see some areas, together with the Dome (be ready for steps!), the necropolis (very restricted tickets), St Peter’s tomb and the treasury.
And whether or not you’re planning free entry, a self-guided tour, or a guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica, you possibly can’t keep away from queuing solely, with safety checks earlier than you’re allowed in.
As above, you have to to observe the gown code to enter St Peter’s Basilica, together with outfits that cowl your knees and shoulders – the foundations are usually much less strict for little ones and toddlers so long as they’re nonetheless dressed fairly modestly.
It’s the gardens at Villa Borghese that are the massive promoting level for households, with playgrounds within the Borghese Gardens and the possibility to go on the lake in a rowing boat, plus slightly prepare to take you round if small legs get drained.
You’ll additionally discover Rome’s zoo right here – the Bioparco is dwelling to 200 species, together with leopards, tigers, monkeys, and even Komodo dragons, amongst others.
The villa homes the Borghese Gallery, together with artworks by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian, whereas the constructing itself is virtually a murals. This one is healthier for those who’re visiting with older youngsters, although.
For youthful youngsters, take a look at the puppets on the San Carlino Puppet Theatre, not removed from the water clock and Pincio Terrace – which additionally has some nice views again onto Rome.
Head into the catacombs
Rome has a community of catacombs hidden beneath town, which as soon as housed a number of the earliest Christian cemeteries when the Roman Empire nonetheless dominated.
Not all are open to the general public, and a few are extra family-friendly than others, however these quirky sights are an important various to the same old historic sights, particularly for older youngsters.
One of many largest and hottest to go to is the Catacombs of St Callixtus on the By way of Appia Antica (not removed from Gladiator college), the place St Cecilia, the patron saint of music, was first buried, together with a string of Popes.
Reserving is crucial; you may get tickets for a guided tour right here, which lasts round half-hour – get a reduction for those who e book by my hyperlink utilizing the code MUMMYTRAVELS6.
Children aged six and underneath don’t want a ticket, though not one of the catacombs are precisely toddler-friendly (you possibly can’t take buggies in, and the ground is uneven for those who’re visiting with a child).
Not far-off, you possibly can go to the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, additionally on the By way of Appia, which is without doubt one of the oldest units within the metropolis, in addition to the Catacombs of Domitilla
Discover Rome’s pyramid
Rome isn’t wanting uncommon and crowd pleasing buildings, however you in all probability wouldn’t look forward to finding a pyramid there. However the Pyramid of Cestius dates again to the first century CE – an analogous age to the Colosseum.
The burial place for a rich Roman who needed to emulate the pharaohs, it’s slightly manner away from many of the locations you’re more likely to go to in Rome with youngsters, however walkable from the Aventine Hill for those who’re trying by the keyhole – or you possibly can embody it as a cease on the best way again from Gladiator college.
At current, you possibly can’t go inside, however it’s one other sudden spot to attraction to youngsters.
Take a Darkish Rome tour
I like the sound of the Violent Rome tour, advisable by Karen from Mini Travellers, who tried it along with her three women for some correctly horrible historical past, packing within the blood, guts, and scandal.
Not one for youthful youngsters, however it’s an important change from the same old tales with lots on Rome’s murderous previous and a few of its extra scandalous moments – from the Roman emperors to a number of the Renaissance popes, there are many these to go round!
Attempt a pizza or pasta-making class
There are some nice actions to strive with youngsters, however pizza making – even when you’ve got already eaten your physique weight in pizza – is one which at all times appeals if you’re on the lookout for issues to do with youngsters in Rome.
This nice family-friendly pizza masterclass takes place simply off Piazza Navona in an genuine pizzeria, the place you possibly can uncover the key of getting the proper Roman pizza.
Or for those who favor pasta, there’s additionally a pasta and tiramisu class that’s appropriate for teenagers, the place you meet an area household. You get to style the leads to each instances, too!
Be a part of a meals tour
In the event you’re keener to eat the meals than to make it, strive a family-friendly meals tour of Rome to nibble your manner across the metropolis – together with gelato, after all.
In addition to discovering corners of town that you simply won’t in any other case discover, you possibly can uncover basic Roman dishes, browse markets, and pattern olive oil (that one could be only for the adults).
Take an artwork class in Rome
In case your youngsters have been impressed by the artwork in Rome, you possibly can take a portray class with a Roman artist – appropriate for households, it could possibly even be tailored for youthful youngsters too.
For kids aged 12+, you possibly can even be taught to make your individual mosaics – good after seeing a number of the fantastic creations in Rome’s church buildings and historical websites – at a mosaic-making class.
The place to remain in Rome with youngsters
Simply some of the overwhelming selections to make, there’s a seemingly countless alternative of locations to remain in Rome with youngsters.
Some will value a small fortune, some will go away you removed from the primary sights or dealing with pricy taxi rides from the airport, so it may be exhausting to know the place to begin.
Trastevere is one in all my favorite areas, and it makes an important base for someplace to stick with youngsters in Rome, too – our Airbnb was inside strolling distance from the eating places and Isola Tiberina, in addition to on a number of tram routes.
That meant we might take a prepare from the airport, then hop onto public transport to get round, with extra tram strains only a few minutes stroll throughout the Tiber from our condo.
In addition to having pizza and gelato on the doorstep, Trastevere felt far sufficient from the bustle to be quiet, with an area bakery across the nook too, for slightly style of life as a Roman.
For extra concepts of the place to remain in Rome with youngsters, take a look at my information to Italy with youngsters.
In the event you want someplace to go away your luggage after trying out, particularly for those who’re staying in an Airbnb, we used Baggage Hero (or take a look at Radical Storage) – you possibly can e book utilizing their website and app, go away your luggage securely in one in all round 50 areas within the metropolis, then choose them up earlier than heading to the airport.
For extra nice metropolis breaks in Italy with youngsters, take a look at my tips about issues to do in Siena, Venice, and Florence with youngsters, in addition to concepts for visiting Tuscany on a household vacation
*First printed 2020, final up to date 2023*
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