Rome with kids!
History, ruins, beautiful fountains and delicious food! Visiting the eternal city of Rome with kids is so much fun! We have explored most of the city by foot, from one historic beautiful site to another, but we also have done a fun and hands-on experience with our kids: a gelato cooking class in Rome!
In this article we will share our tips, restaurant and food recommendations and some fun facts on Rome. Rome is a big city, and it can get very busy, that’s why it can be a good idea to plan your visit a bit in advance, or order tickets to some sites online to avoid standing in line with the kids for too long.
Must-sees in Rome:
Where is the first place I would take the kids in Rome? For us this was the famous Trevi Fountain. Being there made us realize we were in Rome! We decided to get up early to visit the impressive fountain so that we could see it without too many people around and we are glad we did that. We had a nice morning walk towards the fountain, while stopping on the way for a typical Italian breakfast in one of Rome’s many coffee bars.
Trevi Fountain is really big and beautiful. Kids like learning about the meaning of throwing a coin into the fountain. When you throw one coin into the fountain, they say it means you will come back to Rome one day, two coins means you will find love, and three coins means you will marry. We are all at least reassured to know we will be back one day 😊. They say a lot of money is thrown into the fountain each day and collected at night. The money is used to buy food for people in need.
The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel
We had bought tickets to the Vatican Museum in advance, as like in many cities, sites like this can have huge lines. Visiting historic sites with kids is fun, and most kids are keen on learning, but a bit less so if they would have to wait for hours. We had our tickets, and we know there is also a possibility to do a very early morning visit, which also may be a good idea. Our main reason to visit the Vatican was because we wanted to see the famous Sistine Chapel with paintings of Michelangelo. The Sistine Chapel is however the very last room in the Vatican Museum, so you will have to cross the entire museum, but you will see some incredible art work on the way. Our preferred place was one of the long hallways before reaching the Sistine Chapel. An enormous ceiling made of separately framed paintings. All beautiful paintings, and the size of this ceiling is really impressive.
The Colosseum is of course a must-do when in Rome. It is amazing how well preserved the Colosseum and the ruins surrounding it, are. If you can get tickets in advance, again, this is very much recommended. We did not take a tour but just wandered through the Colosseum by ourselves. We usually read children’s guide books on-site so that the kids can read and learn and visualize the site when they are there. One of the tours you could do in Rome with kids is a special Gladiator tour in the Colosseum.
The Ruins, Imperial Forum
After a visit to the Colosseum, you will of course want to go to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Since it was really busy everywhere on the day we were there, we decided to visit other ruins close by, which were impressive as well, but maybe less known than the Roman Forum. We visited the Imperial Forum and its museum and we were almost by ourselves.
Piazza Navona is one of Rome’s most beautiful squares with yet again, beautiful fountains with statues. Have at least a drink on one of the terraces to take the time to admire it all.
Nasoni (drinking fountains)
Speaking of fountains… Rome has a lot of drinking fountains called Nasoni (big nose). The Romans actually use these fountains by blocking them with their hand, so that the water will come out through a small hole on top of the sprout, which makes it easier to drink. Once our children knew about this, they had to try about every Nasone they spotted.
Campo dei Fiori
The Campo dei Fiori square is one of Rome’s most lively squares where a market is held in the morning of every day of the week, except on Sunday’s.
The entrance to the Pantheon is for free, so you should definitely have a peek inside of this impressive Dome shaped building. In the middle of the Dome is a hole, and so yes, when it rains, it rains inside as well, but they have created little holes in the marble floor to get rid of the water. When we were there, the sunlight created a funny pumpkin-emoji-with-sunglasses on which made us laugh. Do you see it?
Other sites that we didn’t visit but which we will put on our list for a next visit:
The Bocca della Verita, a statue with open mouth which is appearantly the oldest lie detector 😊. There was unfortunately a line for this when we went.
And one of Rome’s keyholes that would give you a beautiful view on the Vatican if you peek through them. For instance the keyhole in the gate of the Villa del Priorato dei Cavalieri di Malta.
Gelato cooking class in Rome
Oh how we loved this hands-on experience with our kids! Even though our kids love to explore historic sites, they were quite happy with this cooking class where they could actually do something themselves. Read all about the Gelato and Cantucci class here, and you will be able to try out the Cantucci recipe for yourself!
Rome restaurants with kids
We had done a lot of research on restaurants in Rome, and when we wanted to book, some were already full for quite a while in advance. We have been to restaurant Roscioli for lunch, which was a cute restaurant that actually looked like a shop that had grown out to be a deli-restaurant. The food was good, but the space was a bit small.
A restaurant we really loved was Da Lucia in the Trastevere area of Rome which was recommended to us by a local. It was a family style restaurant, with simple interior, wooden chairs, friendly staff, and delicious food!
What to order in a restaurant in Rome?
Some local specialties to order in Rome, depending on the season:
- Cacio e pepe – Roman pasta with black pepper and Pecorino cheese
- Puntarelle – chicory salad
- Supplì, a fried rice-ball with ragù and mozzarella
- Carciofi – Artichokes cooked in various ways.
Where to stay in Rome with kids:
We like the Monti area for a family stay as it is in walking distance of all the main sites, and real close to the Colosseum, yet in a residential / calmer area of the city. See our suggestions below for a hotel, or an apartment. The apartment has a big terrace, and the people are really friendly and show you some hidden gems in Rome on a map when you arrive:
Our favorite kid friendly city guide to Rome:
Lonely Planet kids guides are full of fun facts that kids will love. We used this type of city guide during our trip to New York as well and love them (as adults we love them too 😊).
We definitely hope to go back to Rome one day!
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