To be honest we were really very nervous about taking our three children to Rome. They have been begging to see this amazing city for about two years (one home school until on Ancient Rome and they were hooked), and we didn’t want our visit to fall short of their expectations. From the ruins to the many gelatarias they were envisioning a DisneyWorld-esque adventure. We didn’t want to burst their bubble, but at the same time we knew that we had a lot to see in a very short period of time, and that the reality of getting from Point A to Point B would be challenging for little legs. So, we started preparing for our trip months in advance hammering out our itinerary, researching transportation options, and finding a great place to stay. Below we have included our itinerary for the week as well as our tips for a successful trip to “The Eternal City” with children.
Exploring Rome with Children: A Seven Day Itinerary
- Arrive at the airport and take a car service to your accommodations
- After unpacking venture out for a pizza dinner.
- Sleep in and try to recover from yesterday’s busy travel day
- Visit the Basilica of San Clemente (our kids loved exploring the lowest level)
- View the obelisk at Piazza di San Giovanni
- Find a gelataria and start trying some of the numerous flavors. You only have a week to fit them all in :)
-Day trip to Ostia Antica (pack a picnic lunch to take with you, as well as kid friendly distractions for the train ride).
-Take the train back into the city for pizza and gelato
- Walk through Piazza Navona
- Stop for lunch at a cafe or pizzaria (make sure it has a bathroom first)
- Tour the Pantheon
- Stroll by Trevia Fountain while enjoying a scoop from one of the many surrounding gelatarias
- Plan time for the playground and the pedestrian friendly Ponte Sant’Angelo over the Tiber River
- End the day with Rome’s best pizza from Pizzarium
(a short trip away via the metro)
- Follow the locals to the Park of the Aqueducts
to enjoy the playgrounds, and marvel at the remains of Ancient Rome’s engineering wonders
- After lunch and a rest explore as much or little of the Appian Way as your group is up to (we skipped the catacombs, and instead walked the area near the Mausoleo di Cecilia Metella)
- Begin you day with a brief tour of the Roman Forum
- Head to Palatine Hill for a picnic lunch with incredible views
- Spend your last night in Rome with a meal at your favorite restaurant or pizzaria. Followed of course with just one last scoop of gelato :)
The Kid’s Top Favorites:
1. Ostia Antica
2. Castel Sant’Angelo
3. The Park of the Aqueducts
The Five’s 5 tips for a successful week:
1. Arrange a car service from the airport to your accommodation. After a long flight it is worth the money not to have to juggle luggage and kids as you try and secure a taxi or navigate public transportation. We used Bob’s Limousines
but Rome Cabs
was highly recommended as well.
2. Consider a rental apartment instead of a hotel. Having a kitchen with fridge as well as a washing machine can really make the difference in making a busy week go a lot smoother. We used airbnb.com
and found a lovely apartment for way less than we would have paid at a hotel.
3. Think about getting around the city from your child’s point of view. Walking through Rome is a great experience. Around every corner there is a new amazing building or view to take in. However, little legs get tired easily and the crumbling ruins of Ancient Rome don’t seem so interesting to children after a while. While the bus service in Rome is extensive we opted to use the metro as much as possible. It is super fast and it gave the kids a chance to get off their feet. Kids ride for free and a seven day pass for us adults was very affordable. Our rental apartment was less than a 5-minute walk from a metro stop which made all of the difference after a long day of sightseeing. Just be sure to avoid the metro during rush hour from about 4:30pm-6:30pm. It isn’t worth the pushing and shoving to get into a car, especially with young children in tow.
4. Plan ahead for restroom facilities. With three young children we always had someone in our group who had to go. Restrooms were easy to find at the ticketed sights such as the Colosseum and Castle Sant’Angelo, but were sparse in many other areas. Near Piazza Navona we ended up spending money at a cafe just so that we could use their restroom. Of course after the fact we found this great map that some wonderful person put together of “free restroom facilities” in Rome. This would have come in handy!
5. Stop for pizza and gelato often! Honestly the kids were mostly looking forward to eating a lot of gelato and pizza while in Rome. It really helped that most every gelataria offers some vegan flavors and those like Il Gelatone
have several on hand everyday. Having a treat of gelato to look forward to everyday made their little legs work harder and helped keep their attention through some of the more “boring” sights that the adults wanted to check out. We usually try to limit sweets, but on this trip our adage was “when in Rome, eat gelato”.