Rome is surprisingly child friendly and an excellent place to travel with your entire family. Let your children romp through the beautiful gardens and piazzas, attend a soccer game, ride bikes, or explore a children’s museum filled with imaginative play activities and hands-on science exhibitions. Watch your child’s eyes light up as he meets a Roman gladiator. And even pickier eaters won’t decline an Italian favorite – pizza! In this itinerary we show you how to do everything on your own. Or, you can unburden yourself with a few well-chosen family-oriented tours. Either way, you will find that Rome’s hospitality extends to all generations.
Start your 3-day itinerary with kids with a guided tour of the city center that provides needed structure that will keep everyone happy. A guide will help you manage your day so that you can enjoy your own historical and cultural interests and keep the kids entertained!
The Classical Rome tour is fantastic alternative, as it touches upon Piazza della Repubblica, the Trevi Fountain, the Column of Marcus Aurelius, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Basilica of Saint Peter. However, if you want to forgo the tour, we’ve developed a family-friendly route through Rome for you to follow on your own!
From the Barcaccia Fountain (“Fountain of the Old Boat”) at the base of the splendid Spanish Steps, take Via dei Condotti and side streets as you admire the luxury shop windows. Don’t miss the official Ferrari store that displays a real Formula 1 car! Then let the kids pick out their own treat when you travel down Via del Corso, where you can find shops that sell low cost souvenirs. Soon, you will arrive at Piazza del Popolo, where the children can play while you admire the Egyptian obelisk and the twin churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Monte Santo.
Leave the Square through the arch, entering Via Flaminia. At number 82 you will find Explora, a unique children’s museum filled with games, workshops, and entertainment for all ages. Not far from here is a restaurant with a family-friendly atmosphere, the Friseria (Viale del Vignola 1); order pizza for the kids while you munch on a variety of dishes from Southern Italy!
If you love music, you are only 300 meters away from the Music Park Auditorium (Via de Coubertin). This area hosts frequent shows and children’s activities, both in winter (enjoy the ice rink!) and summer.
The Baroque area is extensive, so choose the Baroque Rome Tour to make sure you don’t miss any of the best attractions! This tour is entirely dedicated to the heart of Rome. An expert will teach you about the history and architectural masterpieces of the squares and palaces, including the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and the Church of Saint Ignatius, as well as some lesser-known but equally significant churches.
After lunch, return to Piazza del Popolo and climb up to the Pincio terrace to enjoy the beautiful view of the Baroque area of Rome. You will find the beautiful gardens of Villa Borghese behind you. This green space is a triumph of paths, fountains and statues, perfect for children to get their exercise. You can ride the electric bus to cross it, but if you want a little more fun, rent a bike to more fully explore the area!
Are you an animal lover? Be sure to stop by the Bioparco, Rome's zoo, which has a reptile house and a zoology museum. Here, the kids can enjoy a pony ride (at Casina di Raffaello), and then you can all stop and get a quick bite to eat at the self-service restaurant, if you missed lunch earlier. And if you really want to treat yourselves and the kids, you can also hire a boat to row on the artificial lake!
End your day with a visit to the Borghese Gallery – a true delight for anyone who loves 16th century art. Right in the midst of the gardens of the Villa, it is the most important art gallery in the city, and one of the most prestigious in Italy. The gallery is filled with sumptuous furnishings and spectacular works of art, and contains the world’s largest collection of works by Caravaggio and Bernini. There are also annual exhibitions focusing on a particular artist. Ticket reservations are mandatory for the 2-hour visit to the Borghese Gallery. Make the most of your time there with a private guided tour to better discover the beauty and history of the works on display.
If you still have the energy after your day of fun, return to Piazza Navona or the Pantheon in the evening. At night, you will find many restaurants and trattorie open and ready to serve! For example, directly in front of the Pantheon lies an inexpensive self-service restaurant. Enjoy a casual meal with your family at one of the tables on the square!
The beauty and magnificence of the Vatican will certainly enchant your children! It would be a crime to miss the Vatican Museums on your trip to Rome. However, the museum complex is enormous, so managing your time is essential for everyone's happiness. One piece of advice is to book your tickets well ahead of time, so that you don’t waste time standing in line. There are always hundreds of people lined up outside, beginning early in the morning. Also, we suggest making this visit the first activity of your day when the children are rested. Finally, make sure that you visit the first rooms rather swiftly, reserving most of your time and energy for the final rooms - the papal apartments frescoed by Raphael and the amazing Sistine Chapel. Or better, choose the Vatican Museums Child Ticket with Family Tour Kit, a brand new educational and fun initiative specially designed for children (5 to 12 years old) to enjoy the museum. Armed with a kit that includes an MP3 audio-guide and a color-illustrated map, young explorers will go on a hunt for artistic treasures of the Vatican Museums. It's a fun way to introduce them to critical artworks from the Vatican's collection by following clues on an accompanying map. It's all about learning while having fun! Please remember this ticket is available for children up to 12 only, you need to get the regular ticket for elder members of your party.
Truly, the best way to fully enjoy the museum is to take a guided tour, as an expert can touch upon all the important areas without wasting a single minute! Another option perfect for families is the Guided Visit to the Vatican Gardens including tickets to visit the museums on your own. With this guided tour, you will discover the wide and scenic green areas. And afterwards, you can visit the Vatican Museums at your own pace. The Vatican Museum gardens are an ideal place for families with young children, as they give the children space to spend some of their abundant energy – aside from being a uniquely interesting aspect of the Vatican.
At the end of your visit, be sure to go to Piazza San Pietro in front of the basilica. Play and run between the columns, take fun pictures, and learn about pilgrims from all over the world and the folklore of the Vatican Guards. The interior of the Basilica is immense, with statues, chapels, beautiful lighting and a true sense of magic. Also, why not dare your children to climb the dome? The ascent is over 500 steps, but it’s a fun challenge that is rewarded with a priceless view.
Once outside on Saint Peter's square, take Via della Conciliazione until you reach the Tiber River. Here you will find one of the stops of the “Bus 'n Boat Service”, a terrific option for a unique view of Rome. With the purchase of a single ticket (valid for 48 hours), you will be able to use both the “Open Bus” as well as the boat tour. The boat ride is a wonderful experience – you can admire the beauty of Rome from the water, hopping on and off whenever you wish. Plus, this service is ideal for families, as you can move to and through the most interesting sights without effort, with new photo opportunities around every bend.
If the boat and bus tour is not for you, another excellent option for the second part of the day would be to visit the popular districts with the Trastevere and Janiculum Hill Tour. This tour allows you to find hidden treasures of Rome, from viewing the landscape from the second tallest hill in Rome, Janiculum Hill, to discovering places like Bramante's Little Temple. Yet another tour option is the Tour of Rione Borgo, which departs from Castel Sant'Angelo, the ancient fortress that now hosts important exhibitions. This tour also stops at the Museum of the Castle, which will captivate the children thanks to the grandiosity of the fort and its mysteries, including the dark and damp cells used in the Middle Ages.
If you would rather visit the Vatican on Sunday in order to receive the Papal Blessing, keep in mind that the Museums remain closed on that day. Don’t let that deter you, though.
A fun alternative plan for the afternoon would be to attend a soccer game of one of the capital’s two soccer teams, Rome or Lazio. The Olympic Stadium is very large and tickets can usually be purchased on the same day if it is not an unusually important game.
Few historical periods are as popular as ancient Rome. For your holiday in this beautiful city, it’s practically a requirement to visit the archaeological area of the Forum and other important excavation areas in the city.
Don’t miss a visit to the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater in the world. While you are there, check out the Undergrounds and the Third Level - your children will find the engineering of the amphitheater fascinating! Plus, the top of the Colosseum holds one of the city’s most beautiful views of the ruins of ancient Rome. Just be sure to book your tickets in advance, to avoid the very long wait at the entrance.
Kids will also love to see the many Roman gladiators that enliven the surrounding square – just be aware that taking a picture with them will cost you a little, as these people make their living like this. For lunch or dinner, there is the fun option of taking the whole family to the famous Hard Rock Cafe. In fact, if you book a combo-package tickets for the Colosseum, you will be assigned the first available table for lunch or dinner at the Hard Rock, which is located in the central Via Vittorio Veneto. The classic Vinyl menu is included in the reservation. This presents a wonderful opportunity – visit the largest monument in the city in the morning, then break up the day with lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe… or discover the remains of ancient Rome in the early afternoon and end the evening with some rock and roll!
Once you’re finished at the Forum, head towards the Circus Maximus, until you reach the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Here you will find the “Mouth of Truth”, an ancient marble face where you can take the traditional picture with the hand inside the carving’s mouth – be careful though, as legend has it that the mouth will bite if you tell a lie! For lunch, cross the bridge and you will find the Trattoria da Teo, which has a home-like ambience, plus pasta all'amatriciana or carbonara in giant portions! Afterwards, another must-see attraction is the nearby Caracalla's Baths, ancient Rome's enormous bath house. In the summer, you will always find stalls selling slices of watermelon, a great option for a refreshing snack.
Again, you can optimize your time by choosing a guided tour, such as the Ancient Rome Tour. Or, if you would prefer a more energetic option, try the Bike Tour. This fun and special tour combines history, archeology, landscape with an easy ride on an original Roman street.
If you happen to be in this area on Sunday, stop at the lively and colorful flea market of Porta Portese, located at the beginning of the Trastevere district. The eager pitches of the market vendors will amuse you as you walk by their stalls. And you might just find an unusual souvenir.
Before you leave Rome, admire it by night. The Illuminated Rome Tour will take you comfortably past the most amazing monuments, squares and buildings as they bask in the spectacular lights of the city. Your family will never forget the memory of the breathtaking Trevi Fountain in the evening!