Rome, Italy, or the “Eternal City” as it is sometimes called, is a place of real beauty and fascinating history. The city offers a varied experience depending on what you want to do. In this post we’ll share with you some insider tips to ensure you have the best family visit to Rome. Aside from the incredible ancient landmarks from civilizations of several thousand years ago, there are also more modern attractions for tourists and locals to enjoy. Ancient Rome is one of the world’s oldest cities dating back to 753 BC, and it is impressive just how well some of the structures have survived.
If you are one of the many people taking a trip to this iconic city, then you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable vacation. It is a fantastic location for individual adventurers, couples or even families. Kids might get bored with most of the main attractions, but we can help you find ways to make them entertaining for people of all ages. We will also give you useful tips for travelling with kids, and the first one is to find the nearest luggage locker in Rome to keep your family’s things safe and out of the way.
The Best Rome Attractions for Kids on Your Next Family Visit to Rome
Catching a city break with kids can be so much fun! Of course, the biggest landmarks in the city are must-sees for everyone who gets a chance to visit Rome. Don’t miss an opportunity to stop by the Colosseum or St Peter’s Basilica! Young kids might not understand what is so amazing about these ancient relics but if you know how to keep them interested then almost anywhere can lead to a great time. Below are some of the less common places to visit in Rome and why they should be on your family vacation itinerary.
Welcome to the Rome Permanent Exhibit
A great way to start your vacation in Rome is to learn a little bit about the history of the city, and this activity will do just that in a fun and interesting way for the kids. Using new light technology the Welcome To Rome exhibit manages to create 3D projections of the most famous landmarks in the city. If your kids seem to take interest in a specific one, then you know where to visit next! At the exhibit, you can also watch a short video that can teach you about the city’s history and won’t be too long or boring for the little ones.
Rome can be very busy and even overwhelming, so sometimes you need to get the kids away and go somewhere quiet to relax. The Janiculum Hill green space is perfect for that and is a good place to take a walk, especially since the terrain is not too challenging, so even young kids should be able to manage it with regular breaks. Along the way, you will come across statues, fountains, incredible views of the city, and even a carousel.
Largo di Torre Argentina
Although they might not be the biggest or most popular ruins of ancient Rome, the Largo di Torre Argentina sure is a hidden gem nestled in the city streets. This old archaeological site houses the ruins of four unique temples, and they do not always get the attention that they deserve. Most people don’t know that it is also home to the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, meaning that there will be lots of furry friends walking around the area. As long as your kids like animals they will surely find a way to stay occupied as you admire the ancient structures.
Pizza or Mosaic making class
One of the best methods of keeping a kid entertained is to keep them busy and doing something. Some of the best workshops in the city are pizza making and mosaic making classes, so your family can participate in some of the traditional Roman arts while having fun together.
Campo de’ Fiori
The Campo de’ Fiori is one of the city’s best local markets, and the whole area is vibrant and colourful. There will be lots to see, smell, taste and listen to here, and thanks to the very friendly locals your kids are bound to have a good time. Do some shopping for souvenirs or encourage your kids to try new foods that have been grown and prepared right here in the city.
The Spanish Steps
Rome’s Spanish Steps are one of the big attractions in the city, but we will tell you exactly why you should visit if you have brought the kids. If they ever have too much energy or need to run around, then this is a great place to do it, all while sightseeing. Try to visit when it is not too busy, so early in the morning or later in the evening. Then you can let your kids run up and down the steps to burn off some energy.
Villa Borghese Gardens
If the Spanish Steps weren’t enough to get them to settle down, then the Villa Borghese Gardens should do the trick. This gorgeous park near central Rome is perfect for a family picnic, getting active playing games or even biking. It won’t be too hard to find the bicycle rental shop situated nearby where you can rent four-wheel bikes that are kid-friendly and a fantastic way to tire the little tykes out for a while. There are also several playgrounds on site as well as a zoo and train!
Explora Children’s Museum
When your little ones have had enough sightseeing and just want to be kids, then the Explora Children’s Museum is the best place for you to go. It is filled with different play areas, including a soft area perfect for toddlers under the age of 3, so your children can have fun and play before heading back out into the city. There are also workshops and themed play areas suitable for older children.
Where to Eat in Rome with Kids
After a long day of sightseeing, your kids are bound to get hungry, and you know what a grumpy and hungry kid can be like. Keep in mind this list of family-friendly restaurants that your whole family will enjoy visiting when in Rome.
Let’s begin with brunch! Rec23 is known for its fantastic kids’ brunch which is available every single Saturday between September and May. It is themed around different science-related activities and events that will keep your kids engaged and interested.
The restaurant Enoteca Ferrara is a great place for a relaxing Sunday brunch with the family. They also organize fun activities targeted toward children, like interactive cooking classes or storytime.
Most, if not all, kids adore pizza. Since it is one of the traditional Roman dishes, it won’t be too difficult to find a good pizzeria, and La Pariolina is one of the best and welcomes kids. The food is tasty and you can choose from different flavors so you can be guaranteed to find something your kids will eat.
For those energetic kids who just never seem to sit still, the Vivi Bistrot is the perfect place to eat. It is located in the Villa Doria Pamphili Park and it offers outdoor seating so you can watch the kids run around and play while you enjoy the delicious food.
Where to Stay in Rome with Kids
There is already so much to plan for when you are travelling with children in Rome, and one of the important things that should not be overlooked includes finding a suitable place to stay. You should research the area thoroughly to make sure that you pick a safe neighbourhood that is not too far from the places that you want to visit, and hopefully, it is affordable as well.
Here are some of the best areas for families to stay in the city. Rome’s Centro Storico, also called the Historical Center, is huge and one of the most popular places for all tourists to stay, whether travelling with kids or not. The places listed below are all parts of the Historical Center that are suitable for families.
Near the Pantheon, Piazza Navona or Trevi Fountain
This area, situated right in the heart of the city, is great for all types of travellers. Families can benefit from a room in this spot because you will be within walking distance from most of the city’s main attractions meaning that you can skip having to use public transportation for most of your vacation. This goes for both the neighbourhoods around the Pantheon and Piazza Navona but also the area surrounding Trevi Fountain. Be aware that these places can be very busy and sometimes loud which is the only downside.
Trieste and Parioli
For families hoping to get a more authentic experience and want to feel like a local, the neighbourhoods around Trieste and Parioli are fantastic. In general, they are quieter than the spots mentioned above because they are just outside of the city centre, but keep in mind that means you will have to travel to get into the heart of the city.
Colosseum, Monti and Fori Imperiali
These places are said to be the top destinations in the city for accommodations, so any families who are looking to make the most out of their trip and are okay with spending more will love it here. The downside is that hotels can be more expensive, but rest assured that you will be well taken care of.
Definitely one of the best neighbourhoods for family vacations in Rome has to be the area of Trastevere. This location is close to the centre of the city but not inside it so it won’t be as loud or pricey. You can still have a fantastic touristy experience of visiting the top sights of Rome while also taking advantage of the local charm of the city, so you and the kids can have the best of both worlds. There is also a children’s playground in the area.
Challenges of Visiting Rome with Kids
An iconic city like Rome is always a great place to visit, and you are never too young to start exploring the world. However, a big city like Rome can be a challenge to navigate if you aren’t familiar with the area, and visiting with children can bring up even more obstacles.
The city is busy
Rome is a popular travel destination, so expect big crowds and lots of traffic, especially around the popular areas of the city. If your kids have a lot of energy and tend to wander, then it can be easy for them to get lost, so keep a close eye on them at all times. It can be a good idea to invest in a harness; there are several types available, or even keep a GPS tracker attached to their clothing or in their backpack. At the very least, write your phone number on their bag so someone can reach you if your little ones wander too far.
Rome Roads aren’t stroller friendly
The stunning cobblestone streets of Rome are part of what people love about this city, but the truth is that they are not ideal for strollers or other wheeled vehicles. It can be hard to push a stroller and also quite a bumpy ride for the kids, so be aware that walking might be your best option.
Hot summers and rainy winters
No matter where you are travelling, one of the most important things is to research the climate and prepare as best as you can. Rome in the summertime, can get very humid and warm, and during the wintertime, you can expect to see some rain. This means you will need to pack a hat, sunscreen, raincoat and boots, depending on what time you are visiting. Bug spray is also a must to keep away mosquitoes and other pests.
Tips for Traveling with Kids
Aside from the specific challenges of visiting Rome, travelling with children, in general, has its own issues. Here are some tips to help make your vacation go smoothly.
Packing can sometimes be stressful and even more so if you also have to pack for kids. It is a good idea to make a detailed list of the essentials and check that you haven’t missed anything after packing, and bring extras when it comes to clothing or supplies. When it comes to snacks, always choose something healthy as opposed to sugar; you don’t want a super energetic or hungry kid on the flight!
Give yourself extra time
Even if you aren’t vacationing with small children, arriving early and giving yourself extra time is always a good idea. Everyone who has kids knows that life is unpredictable, and you never know what might happen. Prepare as much as you can for those unwelcome surprises by not leaving anything for the last minute and getting to the airport early.
Be prepared for the journey
Travelling with kids by plane, car or even by boat can be both exciting and upsetting for children. If you know that your kid is prone to motion sickness, it is wise to bring the proper medication, lots of water, and good snacks that won’t upset their stomach. Keep in mind that the sounds and changes in air pressure as the plane takes off can be uncomfortable, but chewing on candies can help. Lastly, bring some toys, drawing supplies or simple games without too many pieces to keep them occupied during the journey.
Get the energy out before the flight
Before your plane is set to take off, it is a good idea to try and keep your kids active so that they settle down once the flight begins. Keep them moving as much as possible and make sure that you take a bathroom break just before boarding begins.
The Ultimate Family Vacation in Rome
Vacationing as a family can be an incredible experience and a great way to show your children the world as well as bond and make memories together. However, it is not without its challenges. Travelling with young kids can be difficult in general, and a big city like Rome will bring its own obstacles.
Even if your kids aren’t interested in seeing the structures of ancient Rome, you can still make the vacation memorable for them by including fun and kid-oriented activities. Keep these travel tips in mind when you are planning a vacation to this historic city, and as long as you are prepared, your vacation is bound to be incredible.