Rome for kids

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.

The good news about visiting Rome with children

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.

Top tip: before you visit Rome with (older) kids

Play Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.

This is Renaissance Rome brought to life in an accurate architectural way – even if the city’s geography is somewhat compressed.

As its names suggests, it is a violent game (in fairness, Renaissance Rome was pretty violent too), but on arrival your kid will be delighted to recognize familar sights such as Castel Sant’Angelo and the Pantheon. See video below.

Watch the movie ‘Gladiator’

It’s also 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.

Are you not entertained?

Alas other ‘Roman’ movies such as the old (or modern) Ben Hur may prove a little tedious for younger people.

How to eat out with little kids in Rome

rome for kids rome vacation tips

Restaurants in Rome are super child-friendly. As long as you book ahead and mention you have a child, 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 or night – incuding babies.

There is always a high chair (“seggiolone” pronounced SEJ-uh-lone-eh) available, and the waitstaff will bend over backwards to make your baby or child welcome, to the point of making and bringing the kids’ food even before the adults’ appetizers (pasta al pomodoro – simple tomato pasta – being the default dish, or pasta in bianco – pasta tossed in butter/oil and parmigiano), 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 screaming and running around the soft maze.

There’s also the Mucca Pazza (‘Crazy Cow’) which is always crammed with families with children, birthday parties, soft play, cakes, tchotchkes, and reasonable food. It’s organized chaos and extremely loud, but there is tons for the kids to do.

However for us, the “Rolls Royce” of kid-friendly restaurants, which exceptional food to boot, is Cottage, about 5 minutes’ walk from Cinecittà Metro station on the A line. This restaurant features not only an outdoor kids’ area, but also people to look after them (known as an animatori) while they play, so you can sit back and truly relax with some excellent food. Another, more central place like this is Queen Makeda Grand Pub which has a small indoor play area and an animatore to keep them busy and happy.

Choose age-appropriate tours of Rome

Leonardo da Vinci museum and kids’ workshop

Age guideline: 6-12 years old.
See Leonardo’s amazing inventions brought to life, and add a fun workshop with a trained educator. 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…

Rome with kids – outdoor fun

Rome is absolutely stuffed with parks of all sizes, and most of them have playgrounds. From the wilderness of Villa Ada – which boasts a comprehensive playground near the lake – to the genteel sophistication and wide-open vistas of Villa Doria Pamphili.

We also recommend the small, quirky Villa Torlonia whcih boasts a brand-new kids’ eco-play area.

However the number one kids’ park is the elegant Villa Borghese, with many child-centric activities such as a tiny fun fair, a kids’ theater, and ‘Flintstones’ cars and go-karts at Viale dei Bambini.

Rome Zoo

Rome’s “Bioparco” is within the Villa Borghese park. It was built in the 19th century and is therefore of a somewhat outdated design with regard to animal welfare but is undergoing a revamp and reimagining as an outpost of environmental education. Buy tickets in advance > 

What to do in Rome with children if it’s raining

Don’t panic! As well as the ‘standard’ exhibitions of art and archaeology, there are also great child-friendly museums in the city.

The Museum of Illusions

All ages.
This tops our list for fun things to do indoors in Rome!

Go cross-eyed trying to work out how the optical tricks work. Lots of photo opportunities and contrivances to amuse and amaze pretty much all ages.

A visit will take about an hour. The museum is conveniently located in the central, trendy Monti district where there are lots of places to eat.
Book now >

Tickets for the Museum of Illusions, Rome

Explora: The Children’s Museum

All ages.
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 >

Outside Rome

If the Eternal City just ain’t cutting it for you and your loved ones, there are always theme parks just outside the city. Here are three of the best. 

Cinecittà World

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. Modern rides, and very suitable for children of all ages. Book now >

Rainbow Magicland

A traditional theme park built around the concept of magic. Book now >

Zoomarine Waterpark: Skip The Line

Marvel at the wonders of marine life, and enjoy spectacular aquatic shows. Book now >

Now make sure you don’t miss out: plan your visit in advance:

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Photo credit: AFP

Tickets in advance!

Because of ticket supply problems following the end of Covid restrictions, it is strongly advised that you buy tickets and tours in advance to visit attractions in Rome.

Buy your tickets now to avoid disappointment.