A Family Guide to Rome: 10 things to do with kids
Rome! One of the most visited cities in the world, full of great food, ancient sites, history and incredible works of art. There is also so much for families to see and do! We spent one week in Rome, but could have accomplished all we did in 4-5 days if we wanted to. Here are our top 10 activities for families in Rome:
1. Colosseum Tour with Dark Rome
I’ve never really been one for guided tours, preferring to wander at my own pace, but I’ve learned over the years that if I’m spending the time and money to take my family to these famous historical sites, then spending the extra time and money to take a tour is well worth it. We always try to book kid-friendly tours where we can. The tour of the Colosseum with Dark Rome was fantastic. Our guide was so great with the kids, giving them a good mix of fun and history. We all learned a lot and had lots of fun. The big bonus about booking tours is that you get to skip the lines!
The kids all got laurel wreaths on the tour!
Our guide was so great with our kids, even holding up little man to get a better view of the ground floor.
Lots of games to learn about ancient Roman life!
Little man not really so into his laurel wreath!
I suggest doing a bit of ancient roman studies before going to Rome so your kids can make a connection when they are there.
2. Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica
I wish we would have done a bit more research before visiting the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s. We had tons of tour sales people trying to get us to sign up for different tours and tickets. It was so complicated and by the time we finished, I swore I would write a clear post about this so other families could be helped! We ended up buying more expensive “skip the line” tickets, which I would never do again. We had to pick up the tickets in front of St. Peter’s, then walk a mile to the actual entrance of the Vatican museum (there wasn’t even a line when we got there), then had to wait in a separate line to trade in our skip the line tickets for the “real” tickets! The whole situation was ridiculous! So I’m going to break it down for you here:
-Buying tickets to the Vatican Museum is the the only way to see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. You have to walk through long halls (4 miles) of museum, with interesting (and odd) artifacts and beautiful artwork to get there. You have to pay to enter the museum. It was 16 Euros for adults and 8 Euros for children when we went. The museum is closed on Sundays. You can find hours, prices and more here.
-You do NOT have to pay to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. There is a line, but it moves quickly and is worth it.
You can find a more adult explanation of why all the genitals are missing in the Vatican here.
3. Campo de Fiori
This open air farmers’ market in the heart of Rome is open every day and constantly buzzing with fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful flowers, meats, cheeses, pastas in all sorts of shapes, and more! The kids loved all the sites, sounds and smells of the market! It’s also really fun to wander this piazza at night.
Wandering the streets of Trastevere gives you a taste of what Rome without all the tourist hustle and bustle is like. Old buildings, laundry strung across tight alleyways, bikes and scooters lining the streets, locals smoking out of windows, wisteria hanging everywhere and delicious cafes!
We ate at Grazi et Graziele…delicious!
Rome is full of beautiful fountains! The most famous and magnificent probably being the Trevi Fountain. It’s crowded and crazy, but a must!
6. Villa Borghese
Besides gelato, this was probably the biggest winner for the kids. Rome’s central park has so many kid-centered things to do here. You can ride a carousel, rent a golf cart or Segways, see a Shakespearean play at a replica of the globe theater, play in a fountain, or just stroll through the beautiful, lush gardens (with gelato in hand of course)!
7. Pantheon/Piazza Navona
I was surprised at how you can just stumble upon ancient ruins in Rome and the Pantheon is no exception. It’s just right there in the middle of the city! And if you go around the corner, you’ll hit piazza Navona which has an amazing church. We lucked out and saw a youth choir sing there! The best thing about piazzas is that there are usually no cars so the kids can run wild and dip in the fountain!
8. Take an UBER Tour
My very favorite thing to do in Rome with kids, besides eating of course, is an UBER Tour. We were exploring Trastavere and it started to drizzle. We were all a little worn out from a week of sightseeing and a little out of shape from a week of eating! We were just going to take an UBER back to our AirBnB, but saw “UBER Tour” pop up and we thought we’d give it a try. Our nice driver picked us up in a huge van that fit all 8 of us. He drove us around for about an hour and a half. He took us to all sorts of places that we didn’t even know existed! Small, old churches with amazing art, huge fountains overlooking the city, a secluded orange garden, and much more. I have limited pictures, because my babies both fell asleep in the back seat on my lap. I was totally happy to enjoy the views from the window. Our driver would stop at each spot, drop us off and make a loop to pick us up 5-10 minutes later. No parking, or waiting for the next tour bus and no getting out of the car if we didn’t want to. The best part is that it is totally customizable. We just said, we’ve seen all the touristy stuff, show us something new! And he sure did. I thought it would also have been a great thing to do on your first day in Rome so you can get a feel for what you want to see and do and also to get a layout of the city, which is much more walkable than I originally thought. If you decide to do this, you can sign up for UBER and get $20 off HERE.
9. Drool Over Cars
So many adorable cars in italy! Just wander and check out the many tiny cars, beautiful cars and scooters (also known as bees) and buzz all around the bumpy streets of Rome!
I mean, what is the point of going to Rome if you’re not going to EAT!? Pizza, pasta, cannoli, gelato…need I say more.
I found most of the restaurants to be about the same in quality and price. Here’s a tip I use in all big cities to find those hidden gems and avoid tourist traps. Go to a busy tourist place then head directly 2-3 blocks OUT of that area.
Walk down little alley ways if you must. Also, using an app like Yelp is a huge help. Our favorite gelato stop was Gelato del Teatro.
We probably went about 5 times during our week there. But whatever you do, don’t leave Rome without sitting in a piazza in the sunshine and gobbling up something tasty and then wandering down twisted, narrow cobble stone streets, gelato in hand, dodging scooters as you soak up the smell of the Wisteria growing everywhere and the bright, dripping laundry strung from the windows!
Have you been to Rome? What are your favorite things to see, do and eat? We’d love to hear from you!