Rome is a truly an astonishing city, a cross between the high rises of a modern society with the scatter of ruins from a historic era. This city is claimed to be one of the oldest named cities in the world! A city that is so old, that it has been called ‘The Eternal City’. A city that those young and old will appreciate! A perfect city to visit; when traveling to Rome with kids in tow!
This city is believed to have grown from a small Latin village in the 8th century BC into a civilisation which dominated the Mediterranean region for centuries. From the early days of Rome, the city was ruled by Kings. Seven Kings had reign over Rome, before the Roman people decided to take matter into their own hands and created a powerful senate structure. The Roman Republic government was incredibly successful and lasted for almost 500 years.
But enough of the history, after all, I’m not really a history buff and history is not really my passion. We have all most likely heard of the history of Rome to some degree. This quote sums it up for me:
‘Better to see something once, than hear about it a thousand times!’
And so we encourage you to stop reading about the history, and to make visiting the Eternal City a priority. These are our comprehensive, helpful hints and tips of things to do in Rome with kids!
Essential & Helpful Hints for Families when traveling to Rome with Kids!
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1. The Colosseum with Kids:
The Colosseum should be on the top list of things of what to do in Rome with kids. It truly is magnificent; one of the true wonders of ancient Rome. It is easy to forget about time passing by whilst staring at it’s glory in absolute awe.
Colosseum with Kids – Tips for the family:
- The history of the Colosseum is incredible. Even for non history fans like myself, I still encourage you to join a tour or hire an audio guide if you can. Whilst I haven’t done this tour myself, I found this tour guide who specialises in Rome tours for kids aged between 7 and 12. If your kids are young, it really might be beneficial to get hold of a documentary to get an overview of the history and watch it before you go; leaving you with more flexibility to wander at your own pace.
- The queue for the tickets can be long for this one, so our recommendation is to get there early or later in the afternoon. We recommend you pre-purchase your tickets on-line which helps to progress through the queue’s at a much faster rate. Colosseum Entry Tickets are currently 12 Euros plus online fees, children under 18 are free.
- Take a hat, sunscreen and water bottle with for the family members. It can get extremely hot standing in the sun with the heat baking on those ruins. Try to avoid the midday heat.
- Colosseum Opening times vary depending on when you are going. So please check the bottom of this page to find your opening and closing times. Be prepared to spend at least 2 hours here.
2. The Pantheon for Kids:
This building sure demonstrates the marvel of the Roman engineering. This colossal building is over 1900 years old! When in Rome with kids; the little ones will love the sheer size and height of this building whilst the parents can enjoy some brief history surrounding the fascinating aspects of this incredible site. It is a perfect example of Roman architecture for kids to enjoy!
Pantheon for Kids – Tips for the family:
- There is a metro close by for easy access to the Pantheon, which is located in the Piazza della Rotonda.
- Pantheon Entrance Tickets: Entrance to the Pantheon is free of charge, you can pay to join a tour or hire an audio guide or even listen to some commentary from some of the machines once inside.
- Pantheon Opening times: Mon – Sat: 9 am – 6.30 pm and Sun: 9 am –1 pm. Recommended time to devote to the Pantheon is around 30min – 1 hour. We visited the Pantheon at late afternoon, around 5pm, and the queue was pretty short.
- There is a gorgeous fountain – Fontana del Pantheon in the Piazza located in front of the Pantheon, kids will enjoy playing at this fountain which has a feature of 4 dolphins around the bottom. There is also heaps of little cafe’s where the parents can sit down and enjoy a coffee whilst keeping an eye on the kids.
- For extra fun, visit Gelateria della Palma in the street near the Pantheon. Your kids will love you forever for it. This place looks like something from the Willy Wonka Factory with a dizzying array of gelato flavours. Trying to choose something from over 150 flavours can be slightly tricky!!
3. The Trevi Fountain for Kids:
I don’t think the Trevi Fountain needs much explanation here. One of the most famous fountains in the world. What is not too love about this gorgeous place? When traveling to Rome with kids, make sure you bring enough coins as the kids will delight in making wishes whilst watching the coin splash into the water.
Tips for the family:
- Check to see at what stage the current renovations on the fountain is at. When we went the entire fountain was under scaffolding and it was really disappointing after walking so far to get there!
- Make sure you take some coins for the family, make a wish and throw it into the fountain. Let me know if your wish comes true!!
4. St. Peter’s Basilica & The Vatican with Kids:
It is thanks to the first Apostle Peter, and the first Pope and leader that this magnificent Christian church was built. The interior of this church will amaze adults and kids alike, the colours, the detail, the artwork, the light shining through the dome. If your kids are old enough to endure heaps of steps the climb all the way to the top of the dome is highly recommended by us not only to get a close up look at the interior of the dome, but also to get a fabulous 360 degree view over the Vatican grounds as well as Rome.
The Vatican with Kids – Tips for the family:
- There is always a long queue (with often a waiting time of 1-2 hours) to get into the Basilica, so it might be advisable to pay for a guided tour which will allow you to skip-the-queue. Otherwise ensure you have a hat, water bottle and sunscreen, as you will be spending time in the sun whilst lined up.
- St Peter’s Basilica Entrance Tickets: free.
- The Vatican City Opening times: Oct – March is from 7am till 6pm and from April – September from 7am – 7pm.
- Not everyone realizes that there is a lift (that you must pay to use) that can take you to a second level of the Basilica where you can get nice views of the outside of the Cupola as well as a beautiful view of the statues and the square below. If your kids are fit and older, it is also recommended you climb the stairs all the way to the top, where you can get an up close view of the interior of the Cupola together with a 360 degree view over Rome. Be warned though, there are over 300 stairs and it can get cramped and hot with all the other tourists sweating their way to the top. If your family can handle it, it is highly recommended by us.
- Recommended time at St. Peter’s Basilica is 2+ hours, not including the waiting time in the queue.
- Wear clothes that cover shoulders and knees as required when you explore sacred sites in Rome.
- The metro is located close by for easy access to the Basilica.
The Knights of Malta Keyhole, even for us adults, blew us away. Not only does Aventine Hill have beautiful views of Rome but you can also wonder through the Santa Sabine Orange Grove Garden, which smells simply divine. Close by is a ‘magical’ door through which you can peer to find a garden of lovely green hedges creating a tunnel to perfectly showcase St. Peter’s Basilica. Truly amazing and astonishing.
Tips for the family:
- Free of charge.
- Take a hat, sunscreen and water bottle with for the family members. It can get extremely hot standing in the sun in the queue. Our queue moved fairly fast and there was only about 12 people in the queue.
- Try to avoid the midday light which will wash out the beautiful St. Peter’s Basilica with harsh light. We went mid-afternoon and it was beautiful.
- Aventine Hill is close to Il Gelato (Claudio Torce), which is arguably one of the best gelato places in Rome. A perfect way to cool down after standing in line in the hot sun! Don’t miss it on the way back down.
6. The Mouth of Truth, Rome:
Bocca del la Verità – An ancient stone mask representing a river God including an open mouth, wide eyes and a windswept mane of hair. The Mouth of Truth legend says that if a liar puts his hand in the statue’s mouth, he will loose his hand. What awesome fun for kids to experiment with haha!!
Tips for the family when traveling to Rome with kids:
- You will find the Mouth of Truth in the portico of the Paleochristian church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, at the foot of the Aventine hill.
- Entry is free, one of the staff will take the photo for you and it is a nice gesture to donate money in return.
- The line-up when we went stretched out to the street and we almost decided not too bother. However, as someone controls the click of your camera and tourists are only allowed one photo, the queue moves pretty quickly and some shade once off the street pathway will help the ease of the wait.
- If you can, wear clothes that cover shoulders and knees as you need to exit through a church. However they do provide you with a cover-up if required.
Other Mentions of what to do in Rome with kids!
The Roman Forum: The Roman Forum can take a lot of time to explore. It truly is amazing. The reason I popped it on other mentions is simply because of the walking required and the amount of time taken to get from point to the other. If you have younger kids, this might make it challenging. I do recommend getting a beautiful landscape view over the Roman Forum from the Palentine Hill at the very least!
The Spanish Steps: The Spanish Steps are so well known. I bet many of you think of the steps when we think of Rome, together with the Trevi fountain. Our experience of the steps might have been damaged by the renovations carried out, and by the mere fact that there were that many people on the steps that you could not even see them, however to us, whilst beautiful, it really was only steps. So I suggest, if you have time, go and see it, otherwise give it a miss.
The Vatican Museum: The Vatican Museum is surreal! However to do it justice, you really need to devote around 1/2 a day to see it in all it’s glory. When we went, our feet was aching from walking around all day. We really wanted to see the Sistine Chapel, but the museum was absolutely packed with people. The way to the Sistine Chapel takes patience and time. I believe we spent around 45 min pushing past people in order to get to the Chapel itself. So if you go, be prepared to hold your child’s hand very tight, and exersize patience.
Rome for Kids – the activity books!!
if you are after ancient Rome facts for kids or more information on the Roman empire for kids, why not look at investing on these two fun recommended books for the kids. These books are specially designed with Rome for kids in mind and it will educate them and help them fall in love with Rome – as well as keep them busy while the parents relax.
Kids’ Travel Guide – Italy & Rome: Kids enjoy the best of Italy and the most exciting sights in Rome with fascinating facts, fun activities, quizzes, … Leonardo! (Kids’ Travel Guides) (Volume 8)
Over to you: Do you have plans of travelling to Rome with kids in tow?
Did you find these tips helpful?
Are there any tips you can add for things to do in Rome with kids?
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