As adults we are able to view Rome’s ruins and spectacles in their historical context, and impose our own knowledge on what we see.
For children however, all that “old stuff” can be a little tough to enjoy, and the excitement and importance of what they’re looking at can be overlooked.
One way to avoid the sense that “it’s all just a bunch of rocks” is to get your kids informed and excited by the city before you go, or at least at the very beginning of your visit, which will allow them to get more out of it.
Another way is to provide activities that directly appeal to children to help bring the city alive. Here is a lot of advice to help you with this.
Now the good news
The great news is that Rome is a seriously child-friendly city. The people of the city – no matter what age – absolutely love and tolerate kids and really go out of their way to help out.
Before you go
Play Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
This is Renaissance Rome brought to life, albeit in a violent context (but then so was Renaissance Rome), but on arrival your kid will be delighted to recognize familar sights such as Castel Sant’Angelo and the Pantheon.
Watch the movie GladiatorIt’s violent so make sure it’s age-appropriate, but it’s also hugely entertaining and gives the Colosseum in particular a huge boost in recognition factor. Other movies such as the old or modern Ben Hur may prove a little tedious.
Rome tour for children
Age guideline: 6-12 years old.
A specially-trained guide will take your youngsters (and you!) around the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine together with a fun booklet and lots of activities. Book now >
Gladiator Training & Gladiator School Museum
7 years and up.
Get absolutely hands on with this course that teaches your offspring – or yourself – to become the kind of warriors who fought for glory or death in the famous arena. Read more…
Eating with kids in Rome
Restaurants in Rome are super child-friendly. As long as you book ahead and mention you have a kid, all will be taken care of for you. There are no restrictions on bringing children of any age into restaurants at any time of the day – incuding babies – there is always a high chair (“seggiolone”) available, and the waitstaff will bend over backwards to make your baby or child welcome, even to the point of making and bringing the kids’ food even before the adults’ appetizers (“pasta al pomodoro” being the default dish), or sending to the kitchen to make special baby food (“pappa”). People are also very tolerant even if your kid starts acting out.
If you have a toddler, there are also places available with a play pen/ball pit etc. so you can release them into the soft play area and relax with a beer and a pizza. One such place is Bucky pizzeria at Via dei Duranti 152, just a few minutes’ walk from Monti Tiburtini metro station. Nice house wine, Great German pilsner on draft, friendly staff, and pretty good pizzas for a good price. The tables are arranged around the soft play zone so you can relax while still keeping an eye on your beloved playing.
Rome is absolutely stuffed with parks of all sizes, and most of them have playgrounds. Form the wilderness of Villa Ada – which boasts a comprehensive playground near the lake – to the genteel sophistication of Villa Borghese and the many child-centric activities such as ‘Flintstone’ cars and go-karts at Viale dei Bambini.
Rome’s newest and most exciting theme park, based on the output of the city’s famous movie studios where La Dolce Vita and Roman Holiday were filmed but also exploring other fun themes. Very suitable for children of all ages. Book now >
And finally… if it’s raining?
Don’t panic! As well as museums, there are also great child-friendly indoor activities in the city.
The Time Elevator Experience
A three-dimensional cinematic journey into Rome’s history, right in the heart of the city. At less than 45 minutes, it’s just the right length for kids. Book now >
Explora: The Children’s Museum
A fun indoor space that gives kids of all ages hands-on experience with various tactile substances, from playing with water courses to driving a remote control train. There’s also a soft play area for toddlers. Each scheduled visit is one and a half hours long so it doesn’t get too crowded, and there’s a wonderful pizza restaurant in the lobby before or after you go in. Booking in advance is mandatory >