Travel Tips : Rome for children and families
Our choice for places to visit in Rome with children
Rome's second-largest public park gives kids a chance to burn off energy in one of locals’ favorite spots. There are all sorts of ways to explore this historical park. Rent a rowboat on the lake, a bike, or ride a segway. There are also playgrounds, pony rides on weekends, gardens, and a quite good zoo.
The Colosseum of course!
Here they will learn about gladiators and animals shows, mock naval battles and crazy emperors who used to give shows or fight on the arena as gladiators themselves. This experience could be combined with the “Gladiators’ School”, which is great fun especially for children aged 7 -11. For more info check their website: http://www.gruppostoricoromano.it/en/romes-gladiator-school/
Visit the church of San Clemente
Located nearby the Colosseum, this medieval church with its many layers will really provide an unforgettable experience. Let your children feel like archaeologists for a day discovering an ancient and mysterious temple in the underground rooms, mosaics and even a hidden spring! This treasure trove showcases different slices of Roman history and give them a sense of Rome’s unique history.
The Capitoline Museums
If your children are mythology fans, bring them to the Capitoline Museums, the oldest museums in the world dating from 1471. Here they will have so much fun identifying the Roman and Greek Gods they read about or take a kids-friendly tour focused on mythology. The museums also houses the only gilded bronze equestrian statue of a Roman emperor left in the whole city of Rome, the super famous Marcus Aurelius and the famous bronze statue of “Lupa”, the she-wolf feeding the divine twins Romulus and Remus.
Villa Torlonia with the House of the Owls
Visit Villa Torlonia park with the “Casina delle Civette” (house of the owls) for an amazing experience away from large crowds. The Villa can be easily reached by bus (the stop is right outside the entrance) and is a bizarre mix of Swiss cottage, Gothic castle and twee farmhouse decorated in art-nouveau style. Kids will love the Harry Potter feel of the house with its colored stained glasses, decorative tiles, parquet floors and woodwork.
Excursion to Ostia Antica
Get the taste of what life in Ancient Rome was really like taking a half a day excursion to explore the ancient city harbor of Ostia Antica. Located only 35 min away by metro, reaching Ostia Antica is super easy as the stop is 5 min walking from the entrance to the site (do not get confused with Ostia, the modern town). It’s not necessary to pre-buy tickets and you can easily reach the beach from there on a summer day. Your children will see how buildings looked in early Roman times and imagine eating in the tavern or living in the crowded tiny houses. Even the public baths and toilets will be a hoot for them! There is only one little café and bathrooms near the ancient theatre so go prepared, bring water, sun screen, hats, plenty of snacks and wear sneakers as you will be walking on uneven floors and the ancient Roman streets. You can easily spend 2-3 hours there walking among the ruins under the shade of the pines (rarely crowded!).
Let your kids free to run and explore Rome’s ancient fortress of Castel Sant’Angelo. It was originally the tomb of emperor Hadrian and was turned into a castle in medieval times. Inside, kids can run along the fortress walls, checking out battlements, catapults, cubbies from which to shoot arrows and imagine guards and knights, torches and prisoners in chains. You can also visit the rooms dedicated to ancient armors and the wonderful papal apartments still decorated for the popes who stayed here when Rome was under siege.
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Rome magic moments
For a great view over the city, take the glass elevator up the Vittoriano monument, nicknamed the "wedding cake", the national monument to “Vittorio”, the first king of a unified Italy (the monument was inaugurated in 1911). Tickets cost 10 euros for adults, 3.5 for kids aged 10-18 and they are free for under 10.
Visit the Gianicolo hill right behind Trastevere. Here you’ll find stunning views of the city, busts of famous Italian heroes, and for a sprinkle of excitement there’s the local tradition of firing a cannon at noon to mark the time.
Eat as much gelato as you can! A few of our favorite “gelaterie” (in no particular order of preference) are: 1) Fata Morgana, Piazza degli Zingari 5 in the lovely neighborhood of Monti; 2) Fior di Luna in Trastevere, Via della Lungaretta 96; 3) Gelateria del Teatro, Via dei Coronari 65; 4) Hedera (near Saint Peter’s Basilica) in Borgo Pio 179; 5) Punto gelato has 3 shops in downtown Rome: Via dei Pettinari 43 (Campo de’ Fiori), Piazza Sant’Eustachio 47 (Pantheon), Via Due Macelli 108 (Spanish Steps); 6) Gelateria dei Gracchi, Via di Ripetta 261 (Spanish Steps)