Rome: Top 5 Kid-Friendly Excursions
By Nancy Solomon
So you want to go to Rome with kids? You're NOT crazy. What could be a better way to bring history to life than ancient ruins from an empire that spanned the globe? This doesn't even factor in the excellent food, art, culture and the overall energy of this vibrant city. Rome does have an intimidating reputation, but if you pace yourself and add in some fun kid-friendly activities, it can be great urban destination for every age.
My question is how do you reduce Rome to five activities?
Difficult, but if I must, here are my picks:
Double Decker Bus Tour:
Let's face it, when traveling with your kids, you are just not going to be able to see everything. That is why I have chosen a
hop-on hop-off bus tour as the place to begin. It enables you get oriented in the city and to see what piques your group's interest, so you can return later. Additionally, if you don't get to go back to a site, at least you've seen it. You can also use the bus instead of cabs to move around the city. Grab some fresh food and hop aboard to enjoy a moving picnic. My children always fall asleep and my husband and I get some time to decompress, while being able to pay more attention to audio history of the sites.
Gladiator for a Day:
Tour the famous
Colosseum and then head to
school - Gladiator school! This combination of activities is sure to solidify and enhance your understanding of this early Roman sport. The Colosseum ticket office offers both audio and guided tours. As you are leaving, look for dressed-up gladiators-they make for fun family photos.
The Gladiator school, located right off The Appian Way, was hands-down, our favorite activity in Rome. Not too violent at all, this fun, 2 hour class includes an interactive demonstration of gladiator gear, followed by training, which includes running through a mock gauntlet and a one-on-one battles with foam swords.
What makes the Pantheon so terrific is that it is one of the few ancient sites that is still perfectly intact. It's a very easy stop for the kids. No lines, you just walk in and walk out at your own pace. Plus, it's surrounded by gelato shops and close to Piazza Navona.
Piazza Navona & Campo de' Fiori:
It's fun to imagine chariots racing around the beautiful, pedestrian
Decorated with spectacular fountains, this is a wonderful place to hang out.
The street performers and artist are fun to watch, and of course, don't
miss Tre Scalini's Tartuffo ("Death by Chocolate" ice cream desert).
The food, the bartering, and the local scene at the
Campo de' Fiori
open-air market (open daily until 3p) make it a terrific stop. The Italian fruit sold a the market is perfectly ripened-my kids still talk about the figs and raspberries. Plus, we were able to buy a few items and have a lovely picnic, instead of going to a restaurant for lunch.
What makes the A successful family visit to the Vatican starts before you arrive.
To avoid long longs, either buy tickets ahead of time or book a tour.
Given that tours of the Vatican-which include the
Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Cathedral-will
take 3-4 hours, plan accordingly with your kids.
There are plenty of tours offered on Viator and
I also like Context Travel's
services in general (although I haven't taken their
Vatican for Families tour).
Also, having an idea of what you want to see prior to arrival enables you to streamline your visit into a manageable amount of time for the kids.
If you have additional time, I recommend playing with other
Roman families in the
Borghese Gardens. This huge park has everything a child could want, including large grass spaces, a zoo, playgrounds, bikes, pony rides and a pond with paddleboats. After some sightseeing, it is a great place to let kids be kids.
When you book a Hotel in Rome through Ciao Bambino, you receive and extensive family guide to Rome with fun kid-friendly activities beyond typical sightseeing.