Family Friendly Vacation Guide to Rome
What to Do in Rome with the Kids
Think gladiators, clambering through history, pizza and gelato! Rome is a great place to take the kids on vacation, but where do you start planning and what sort of activities are there to do in Rome as a family? Look no further, The Roman Guy’s Italy Travel Experts are here to help.
What to do in Rome with kids
Avoid the Crowds: City Driving Tour
Sightseeing in any city with young kids or teenagers can be hard. Lots of walking, navigating public transport, exposing yourselves to the elements rain or shine, mean that
getting a glimpse of some of the main sites can become a little chaotic. So, how can you see the main sites of Rome in one afternoon while keeping the kids entertained?
Our solution is to take a Driving Tour of Rome with a kid-friendly guide. You’ll see the highlights of Rome in around 3 hours, and a stop for gelato is worked into the itinerary so the kids are kept happy! Your family get to relax for the majority of the tour, being driven between sites in a luxury climate-controlled car, and you’ll still jump out the car at iconic sites. The kids can throw coins in the Trevi fountain, climb up the spanish steps, peek through a secret keyhole on the Aventine hill and visit an ancient Roman race track. Everyone is comfortable and entertained as you tick off the majority of the main sights of Rome in just one afternoon.
Piazza Navona Street Entertainment
Everyone needs a little entertainment on vacation and Piazza Navona is the place to get it in Rome. Visit the square in the evening to marvel at Bernini’s famous Four Rivers fountain as the kids enjoy the street entertainers. Artists, dancers, fire throwers, singers and magicians engulf the area to entertain locals and tourists alike almost every evening and through all seasons.
Behind the Scenes at Colosseum
The Colosseum is a must when visiting Rome and it’s important that you can make the most of the famous site as a family. One way to do it is to buy tickets to the Colosseum through their website or at the site when you arrive, but a downside to this is that you may have to face long lines to get in.
Another option is to book a tour in advance and make sure it’s a family-friendly tour like a Colosseum Dungeons Tour, which gives you access to behind the scenes VIP areas and lets you skip the line with a group of maximum 13 people and your guide. Small group experiences help the kids stay engaged with the guide and tours with value adds, like the ability to access restricted areas, make you and the family feel like VIPs. What’s more, the photo opportunities for the family album are out of this world!
Parks & Aqueducts
Getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city isn’t hard in Rome, with many large parks dotted across town. Here is a rundown of the favorites.
Villa Borghese is a popular park in town. In this heart-shaped park, you can hire rickshaws, enjoy a picnic in the grounds of a famous 17th century palazzo, take a rowboat out on the pond or simply sit in the sun as the kids play on the grass.
Villa Pamphili sits on the other side of the river to the historical centre, just south of the Vatican. This is the largest park in Rome and has plenty of space for the kids to run around. You can access the park near Gianicolo hill. At midday on Gianicolo, in Piazza Garibaldi, you can also watch a cannon being fired every day at noon – this practice used to allow the churches of rome to set their clocks to the same time each day. From there, you can walk 2 minutes south-west into the park where you can let the kids burn off some energy as you grab a coffee in a quaint little coffee bar in the park grounds, Vivi Bistrot.
Via Appia Antica (The Appian Way) is the perfect place to escape all hustle and bustle. If you’re a family of bike riders, then you can rent bikes at a number of places in Rome and take a ride down this ancient and iconic road that was built by the Romans in 213. B.C. All roads lead to Rome, so that means they lead out of the city too and as you cycle south, you can admire many historical sites along the way and take a picnic to enjoy in a nearby aqueduct park.
Skip the Lines: Vatican early Morning
You may want to see the Vatican, but you might think the kids will get bored as they wait in line or the potential for them to get lost inside the museums that reach 9 miles long. An easy solution is to get there super early. That is get there at about 7:30am to stand in line. This is your cheapest option as you only pay ticket entry, but the museums don’t open to the general public until 9am so bring along some puzzles or entertainment to keep the kids awake.
Another solution is to sign up for an small group Early Entrance Vatican Tour. Not only do you get to skip the general public line, but you’ll get into the museums and Sistine Chapel at 8am, so you’ll avoid most of the crowds with early entry and get to see the Vatican with
less people around. A small group tour means you’re also likely to meet other families with kids, so there’s less of a chance the kids will get bored when there are friends to be made!
Family Friendly Hotels in Rome
If you’re in a large family, we tend to suggest you rent an apartment in Rome. That way you get your own space and can cook at home if you feel like having an early night. If you’re more of a B&B or Hotel style family then there are still some great options!
There are a number of apartments across Rome and airbnb has exploded over the past couple of years so you can rent a whole apartment for your family almost wherever you want in the city! Take your time and look around online. Make sure to always check the rating of the host, many will provide you with a map and local eating suggestions on arrival!
Staying in a hotel with kids isn’t always easy, but one big distraction is…you guessed it, a pool. Here is a list of our top Family-friendly hotels in Rome that all have a swimming pool (they are also all central to Rome).
Parco dei Principi | Near Villa Borghese | from €145/night (2 ad, 2 ch) | ****
Grand Hotel della Minerve | Near Pantheon | from €700/night (2ad, 2 ch) | *****
Hotel Ponte Sisto | Near Campo de’ Fiori | from €400/night (2ad, 2ch) | ****
Hotel Raphael | Near Piazza Navona | from €660 (2 ad, 2 ch) | *****
B&Bs are a great way to spend less but still get many of the benefits of a hotel. Rome is packed full of B&Bs so get searching on airbnb for the place that you think looks best for your family’s needs. Here are our favorites below which have front desk service!
Internazionale Domus | Near Spanish steps | from €280/night (2 ad, 2 ch)
The Beehive | Near Termini train station | from €95/night (2 ad, 2ch)
Eats & Sheets | Near Vatican | from €100/night (ad, 2 ch)
Family Friendly Restaurants in Rome
No fuss food is what the Romans are all about, so your little ones should stay well fed during your vacation. Roman food is referred to as “poor man’s food” because of the simplicity of the recipe, but that doesn’t mean the taste isn’t there! Pastas, pizza, meat and fish, you can find it all in Rome!
La Montecarlo: Pizza!
This pizzeria is located just around the corner from Piazza Navona are is a favorite with local and visiting families alike. They offer a wide variety of pizzas and generous plate of pasta, and the atmosphere will surely keep the kids awake as the Roman families around you won’t keep their chatter to themselves.
Antico Forno Roscioli: On the Go!
Yum, yum, yum! The Roscioli bakery is a favorite with many locals in Rome (including us!). Near campo de’ Fiori, you can find Roscioli that sells the ultimate dinner on the go, i.e. pizza by the slice. Hot from the oven, you can choose from a range of different toppings. But remember, asking for pepperoni pizza in Italy won’t get you pizza with salami, you’ll get pizza with bell peppers instead.
Vivi bistrot: Parks!
Mentioned above, this bistot is found within Villa Pamphili park and is great to visit with the kids. They have a kids special menu and plenty of room around for the kids to burn off their dinner and tire themselves out ready for bed. In summer it is open until midnight each night, but make sure you check their website for opening times as they vary throughout the year.
The gelateria to top all other gelaterias (and not many people know about it!). You won’t see luminous blue colored ice cream in this gelato parlor, as everything is made with fresh ingredients. No powder or additives allowed! The names are also fun, so the kids can choose one with a fun name and you can be sure they aren’t eating frozen cream with e numbers!
Family Friendly Hotels in Rome
So there you go! Our Family Friendly Guide to Rome! We hope you have a wonderful vacation 🙂
If your family don’t have time to plan a full vacation, get in the experts. Our Italy Trip Planning services will help you plan a custom vacation that is right for your family’s needs. From hotel bookings & transfers to tours & restaurant reservations, we can plan it all so you don’t have to! Contact us for details on [email protected] and see our Italy Trip Planning video on Youtube.