Rome with children
A visit to the Eternal City is something of a rite of passage, an experience that’s especially memorable for younger visitors. Many parents think of the abundance of art and history in Rome and wrongly assume that it’s a city better appreciated by adults, when in fact it’s the perfect holiday destination for families with children. Here are some tips for making the most of your family trip in Rome.
Family-friendly attractions in Rome
A mistake that many visitors make is to rush around Rome, feeling that they’ve got to see everything that gets a mention in the guidebook. This kind of frantic sightseeing is even more draining when you’re on a family trip in Rome, so forget about ticking off every museum and monument, and plan a more relaxed itinerary involving plenty of breaks. Indulge in leisurely sit-down lunches and re-fuel on espresso or gelato, depending on your age…
These are some of the most family-friendly places to visit in Rome:
- The Colosseum – exciting and evocative, it’s best appreciated on a private tour that takes you to the subterranean tunnels beneath the arena floor. Children enjoy walking in the footsteps of the gladiators and seeing where the wild animals were kept.
- The Gladiator School and Museum – what child wouldn’t want to learn how to fight like a gladiator?
- Circus Maximus and the Baths of Caracalla – these atmospheric sites are a 5 minute walk from each other and are fun to explore if you’re in Rome with kids
- Castel Sant’Angelo – a unique opportunity to explore a mausoleum-turned-fortress-turned-papal place. The rooftop terrace offers fantastic views of Rome.
- Centrale Montemartini – this underrated museum in a power plant is a good place to escape the crowds, and the unusual combination of technology and ancient relics is sure to fire the imagination of young visitors.
- Villa Borghese – the most central and family-friendly of Rome’s parks. Take a picnic and go for a bike ride, or hire a row-boat on the pretty artificial lake. You could also pay a visit to the Bioparco Zoo, which has more than 200 species.
Choosing a guide for your family trip in Rome
Planning your family holiday in Rome is infinitely less stressful if you enlist the help of an experienced tour guide. Some companies, including Roads to Rome Tours, offer discounts for families with children, and are specialists in planning family-oriented activities. There are many Rome tour guides for families, so make sure you choose a guide who can cater to the needs of your family.
An expert local guide knows exactly what to do, but also what to avoid. For example, rather than doing the traditional Vatican itinerary, which can be tiring even for enthusiastic adults, let alone children, a specialist tour guide can offer a shorter Vatican tour geared towards children, involving treasure hunt activities and regular breaks. Similarly, a guide can bring the past to life at the Colosseum, telling thrilling stories of gladiator fights that will get the kids engaged.
Exploring Rome and learning about its history should be an adventure, fun and interactive. Rather than traipsing around in a large tour group or getting stressed by the logistics of organising your family trip in Rome on your own, let an expert take care of you and your family.
Read more: City Breaks with Kids: Rome (The Guardian)