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If you’re planning a family trip to Rome, you might be wondering how to keep your kids entertained while still enjoying the rich history and culture of the city. Fortunately, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities in Rome that will keep everyone happy and engaged. Rome is one of the best European cities to visit with kids. In this blog post, we’ll cover some of the best things to do in Rome with kids, as well as provide tips for making the most of your family vacation. Here are the top things to do in Rome with kids.
Before you set out on your trip to Rome with kids, I highly recommend purchasing this Rome activity guide for kids. They can learn about some of the history before they go and then complete the rest on the trip, while at the actual attractions. These books have been amazing and super educational. I wish they covered more cities!
How to get to Rome
There are several ways to get to Rome, depending on where you are coming from and your travel preferences.
- By plane: Rome has two international airports, Fiumicino Airport (also known as Leonardo da Vinci Airport) and Ciampino Airport. These airports are served by many major airlines and offer direct flights to many destinations around the world.
- By train: Rome is well connected to other cities in Italy and Europe by train. If you’re coming from other parts of Europe, you can take a train to Rome from many European cities.
- By car: If you’re coming from other parts of Italy or Europe and prefer to drive, Rome is easily accessible by car. However, keep in mind that driving in Rome can be challenging due to heavy traffic and limited parking options. On a past trip, we have actually drive from Paris to Rome (via Amsterdam, Munich and Venice) and it was an amazing road trip! Auto Europe has great car rentals for this type of trip.
Tips for Visiting Rome with Kids
- Plan ahead: Rome can be overwhelming, so it’s important to plan your itinerary in advance and make reservations whenever possible. Many places (like the Vatican) book up months in advance and you cannot just walk up and purchase a ticket the day of. Check to see the release schedule and plan to be online at the exact time to purchase tickets, our date sold out quickly!
- Bring an empty watter bottle and fill up your empty water bottles at fountains throughout the city. This water is fresh and safe to drink, no need to purchase plastic bottles.
- To make your trip more memorable and smooth, familiarize yourself with the biggest mistakes to avoid in Rome.
- Use public transportation: Walking around Rome can be tiring, so consider using public transportation or taxis to get around. The metro will take you to many popular tourist attractions.
- Reconsider the stroller. The streets here are very uneven, lots of cobblestone and just not stroller friendly terrain. The alleyways are narrow and you have to share them with cars, not much room for a stroller! We saw more baby wearing than strollers here.
- Bring a portable phone charger, you’re going to need it! We use our phone for walking directions and it drains the battery quickly.
- Keep a close eye on your kids when crossing the streets or walking down alleys (even the super narrow ones allow cars) and the drivers are just awful here. We saw a guy on a scooter get hit and thrown from his bike, and just left there to fend for himself. The taxi we were in was hit while we were in it and every time we crossed the road (even on a green pedestrian light and at crosswalks), we would be beeped at and they yelled at people who were simply trying to cross the road legally. Pedestrians most certainly do not have the right of way here so be sure to keep an eye on your kids, especially near intersections.
Where to stay in Rome with kids
When it comes to choosing where to stay in Rome with kids, there are several neighborhoods and accommodation options to consider. Here are some suggestions:
- Centro Storico: This is the historic center of Rome and a great place to stay if you want to be close to major attractions like the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain. There are plenty of hotels, apartments, and B&Bs in this area, but keep in mind that it can be crowded and noisy.
- Trastevere: This charming neighborhood on the west bank of the Tiber River is known for its narrow streets, picturesque squares, and lively nightlife. It’s a good option if you want to be close to the city center but away from the crowds. There are many family-friendly apartments in Trastevere.
- Vatican City: If you’re interested in exploring the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel, staying in Vatican City can be a convenient option. There are several hotels and B&Bs in the area, but keep in mind that it can be expensive.
- Monti: This trendy neighborhood near the Colosseum is a good option if you want to be close to the action but away from the tourist crowds. There are many boutique hotels and apartments in Monti, and it’s a good place to find local shops, cafes, and restaurants.
When choosing accommodation in Rome with kids, look for places that offer family-friendly amenities like cribs, high chairs, and kid-friendly breakfast options. Also, consider the location and accessibility to public transportation to make your family trip as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Family-Friendly Hotels in Rome
Our family personally prefers hotels and we loved the one we stayed at in Rome. Dharma Luxury Hotel is located in a great area and is a very family friendly Rome hotel. It’s connected to a restaurant, where they serve free breakfast every morning and the staff was super friendly and welcoming. The metro was right by the hotel, making it easy to get anywhere in the city though we did walk a lot more than take the train, Rome is a very walkable city.
If you want to stay at an apartment or a different area of Rome, there are plenty of options as you can see on the map below.
How to get around Rome with kids
Once you arrive in Rome, you can easily get around the city using public transportation, including buses, and the metro. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also available, but can be more expensive. If you are visiting Rome with young kids, public transportation is your best best so that you don’t need to bring car seats. Download the MyCicero app to purchase and store public transportation tickets right on your smarthphone. We walked a ton and only used the metro once, it’s a very walkable city.
What to do in Rome with kids
As mentioned, Rome is one of the best cities to visit with kids. Italy in general is very family friendly and most Italians love children. Here are some of the best things to do in Rome with kids. And before heading to Rome, be sure to get this activity book about Rome. There is a ton of kid-friendly information in here about the city and the sights they will see that will help make sense of what they are looking at.
Explore the Colosseum
The Colosseum is one of the most iconic landmarks in Rome, and it’s a must-see for visitors of all ages. We booked a family friendly Colosseum tour and our guide was amazing. Your kids will love exploring the ancient amphitheater and imagining what it was like to be a gladiator or a spectator during the Roman Empire. To make the most of your visit, consider booking a guided tour that includes skip-the-line access to avoid the long queues. Get your kids excited for the trip by buying them books like Where is the Colosseum?, which my daughter loved!
Visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
If you’re already at the Colosseum, it makes sense to do this in the same day since they are next to each other. And the best views of the Colosseum are going to be from here!
Visit the Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are home to some of the most incredible art and artifacts in the world, and they’re a great way to introduce your kids to history and culture. Some of the highlights include the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms, and the Egyptian Museum. To avoid the crowds, try to visit early in the morning or in the late afternoon, and consider hiring a guide to help keep your kids engaged and interested.
Make sure you have tickets in advance for this! The standby line had over 100 people in line, I couldn’t imagine waiting around in the heat and it was only May. It’s only going to get hotter and more crowded! We purchased tickets online (they release them 60 days in advance so make sure to be online at the exact time, they sell out fast) and walked right in without a wait.
Visit St. Peter’s Basilica
Another must do in Rome with kids is to visit St. Peter’s Basilica. While this is free, you will be waiting quite a bit to go through security. We waited just under 1.5 hours but I have heard of the line being 2+ hours, especially at peak times. If this is something you must do on your visit, come either super early in the morning or closer to closing time. My daughter had this high on her list (we have been before she was born) so we made sure to fit it into our Rome with kids itinerary.
Visit the Pantheon
One of the best things to do with kids in Rome is visit the Pantheon. Keep in mind that if you want to go in, you will need to plan ahead and purchase tickets in advance. We didn’t and they were sold out for the day, but honestly we didn’t really plan on going in since we have already done all the other sites so we were fine with just seeing it from the outside.
This area has lots to explore so you will have lots to do either way.
Take a Pizza-Making Class
Pizza is a staple of Italian cuisine, and your kids will love learning how to make their own authentic Neapolitan pizza. There are plenty of cooking classes and workshops available throughout the city, and many of them are specifically designed for families with children. Not only will your kids have a blast kneading dough and choosing toppings, but they’ll also get to enjoy the delicious results of their hard work.
Explore the Villa Borghese Gardens
If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to the Villa Borghese Gardens for some outdoor fun. The park is home to several playgrounds, a small lake, and plenty of space to run around and enjoy the fresh air. You can also rent bikes or pedal boats, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park.
Visit the Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps
It’s not a visit to Rome without taking a trip to see the Trevi Fountain! This fountain was built in 1732 and draws visitors from all over the world. Keep in mind, this area will be crowded no matter when you come so keep an eye on your kids since it’s easy to lose them in the crowd! Want to return to Rome in the future? Increase your chances by throwing a coin over your shoulder into the fountain. Legend has it that those who do this will return to the city in the future!
The Spanish Steps are a short walk from the Trevi Fountain, so you can easily do them on the same trip. Keep in mind, you aren’t allowed to sit on the steps to relax, you will be very promptly asked to move!
Explore the different neighborhoods
One of our favorite things to do in a new city is just to wander around without any itinerary and explore the local neighborhoods. Rome has some beautiful places and lots of alleyways to explore so just go for a walk and see what you stumble upon! One of the best neighborhoods in Rome is Trastevere, so be sure to make time to check it out!
Where to eat in Rome with kids
Indulge in Gelato
No trip to Italy is complete without indulging in some delicious gelato, and Rome has no shortage of gelaterias to choose from. Let your kids pick out their favorite flavors and enjoy a sweet treat together as a family. Make sure to choose a place with fresh gelato and not the artificially colored stuff. The bright green pistachio? Well pistachio isn’t green when made into gelato so you know to avoid that place.
We happened to be eating gelato outside of Fatamorgana gelato, one of the few that makes it fresh using real fruit and nothing artificial, when a food tour came by. We heard the tour guide telling the people that this is one of the few that does it right and you won’t see those heaping mounds of gelato. He said that’s a good indication that it’s artificial, the fake stuff uses powder for flavor vs. fruit and they whisk it to get to the big mound you see near the tourist attractions. Natural gelato is not whisked and lays flat in the containers, like you see in the photos below. And it tastes amazing, just like the fruit it’s supposed to represent!
This unassuming little cafe was down the street from our hotel and one of the first places we visited while in Rome. We had just landed and needed some coffee so we came here. The coffee is excellent and they have really good sandwiches at great prices. Definitely check them out if you need a lighter meal or coffee!
Two Sizes Tiramisu
Do you want to try tiramisu in non traditional flavors? Then come to this place! They have 2 different sizes of tiramisu, just like the name implies, in many different flavors. Now I’m not a tiramisu fan at all but my husband is and I loved theirs because the strawberry one I chose didn’t taste like the tiramisu I’ve had before. My husband on the other hand wasn’t impressed because they didn’t taste like tiramisu so I guess you have to try them yourself and decide if you like them!
Mr. 100 Tiramisu
Another great tiramisu place in Rome is Mr. 100 Tiramisu. Like the name suggests, they have 100 flavors of tiramisu so you are bound to find one you like! We loved this place and if you only visit one tiramisu cafe, make it this one. I had the frutti di bosco one and my husband the banana nutella and both were awesome. Our child is not into tiramisu, but luckily they serve small plates here too so she had a cheese plate while we ate our dessert. This is one of the best tiramisu restaurants in Rome!
Osteria da Fortunata
Now you probably already know that you’ll be eating lots of pasta in Rome and this restaurant has some of the best pasta in Rome. It’s also a kid-friendly Rome restaurant, making it great for a family dinner. My daughter has been wanting to try traditional cacio e pepe and this restaurant was recommended to us by locals ant tourists alike. You can watch them make the fresh pasta by hand inside the restaurants and we all loved our meal here.
This was another family friendly restaurant in Rome in one of the cutest neighborhoods, Trastevere. Get here early or you will be waiting a long time! Once you arrive and check in with the host, they will have you stand across from the restaurant against the wall. There are two lines, one for parties of 2 or fewer and one for 3 or more so be sure you get on the right line or you will have to start the process all over again like we saw multiple parties have to do!
The food here is excellent and there were lots of families with kids here, making it one of the best places to eat with kids in Rome. After, wander around the cute alleyways and explore the neighborhood.
Mizio Street Food
One of the best things we ate in Rome were these amazing sandwiches from Mizio Street Food. These sandwiches are massive and inexpensive, a must try on your visit to Rome! The place is in an alleyway and tiny, very easy to miss so keep your eye out and try one of these amazing sandwiches!
La Casa del Tazza d’Oro
OK so this one is more for the parents than the kids, but you can get them a pastry while you have some of the best coffee in the city. We didn’t want to sit and drink so we ordered at the cash register and then walked over to the counter for our coffee. It’s standing room only so you drink and leave. We highly recommend this little cafe if you like coffee!
Sapori e Delizie
Craving pizza? You’re in luck, Rome has a ton of pizza restaurants! We walked over to this place after the Colosseum (about a 15 minute walk) and it was great! It’s a small place so you might have to wait for a table during peak times. The pizza was yummy and the staff very welcoming and friendly.
Rome is a fantastic destination for a family vacation, with plenty of kid-friendly activities and attractions to choose from. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, indulging in gelato, or simply enjoying the beauty of the city, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Rome. The drivers might be crazy, but Rome is one of the best and most educational cities to visit with kids.