All you need to know about visiting the Capitoline Museums with kids: why it is worth it, what to expect, our favorite kid-friendly tour and practical tips for parents.
The Capitoline Museums or Musei Capitolini, as they are called in Italian, are one of the most significant and beautiful museums in Rome.
They host an invaluable collection of ancient art especially and while they are a traditional museum, with nothing for small kids to touch or play with, they are one of the best museums in Rome to visit with children, especially if you have kids who love Roman Mythology (I am talking to you, Percy Jackson fans!).
I have visited the Capitoline Museums with my kids many times, the last one this summer just gone, and each time we love them more.
The Museums are beautiful, easy to visit, full of interesting sculptures and they open up onto the Roman Forum, offering stunning views of Ancient Rome.
On the basis of our experience, these are our tips for visiting the Capitoline Museums with kids.
Photos from inside the museums are not allowed for blog publishing so I am only including captures from the outside.
Why visit the Capitoline Museums with kids
There are several reasons why you may want to visit the Capitoline Museums with children:
- The Museums are one of the big art museums in the world, and a must see for art and history lovers. Some of the pieces represent mythological figures young Percy Jackson lovers will recognize and get excited about.
- The Capitoline Museums offer a kids’ scavenger hunt and there are tours and apps for kids that make a visit with kids easy and fun (see below)
- The Museums have air conditioning in summer, making them one of the most beautiful places in Rome to find solace from the scorching Rome sun!
Why not visit the Capitoline Museums with kids
The Capitoline Museums are a traditional type of museum, with masterpieces to observe but not touch.
Toddlers who cannot yet engage with the stories of the pieces will not enjoy it, although they can easily run around the museums’ large and airy corridors.
The Capitoline Museums are not stroller friendly or, at least, not entirely. Getting up the Capitoline Hill requires a bit of work with a stroller and, inside, there are some areas that are not served by the elevator. While strollers are allowed, a carrier is best.
While there is a simple scavenger hunt for kids to do, it is not a very interactive place so if you have kids who find museums hard to take, you may need to invest in a tour (see below)
While you can find here >>> our tips for visiting art museums with kids in Italy, this is one of the most traditional ones and you may need to use all your entertaining skills (or book a tour, see below) to make it engaging with younger visitors.
What age are the Capitoline Museums suitable for
I find the Capitoline Museums especially suitable for kids age 7 and up.
While a good guide can keep them entertained at a younger age, I believe upper primary school kids are likely to enjoy the experience the most as they can tap into the stories behind the pieces.
Visiting the Capitoline Museums with a baby or toddler: my tips
I have visited the Capitoline Museums with my 3 months old son and found the museums to have decent facilities for families but also to pose some challenges, mostly linked with accessibility.
For visiting the Capitoline Museums with a baby, you need to know:
The museums are at the top of the Capitoline Hill so you will need to either take stairs or climb up the road behind.
This will allow you to see stunning views over Rome but will be challenging with a baby pushchair just because of the nature of the terrain. Make sure you take your time and, if you can, opt for a carrier.
The Museums are in a historical building and most areas are accessible by shallow stairs or an elevator, but not all. Again, a baby carrier is best!
The museums have good bathrooms with basic but decent changing stations
There is a free cloakroom.
There is cafe and additional facilities on Terrazzo Caffarelli, just outside the museum: the cafe has one of the most beautiful terraces overlooking Rome but it is rather pricey: check the menu before ordering to avoid surprises.
I hope you enjoyed my tips for visiting the Capitoline Musems with kids and it gave you an idea about what to expect. Safe family travels!
The best way to visit the Capitoline Museums with kids
There are three good ways to visit the Capitoline Museums with children in town: a self guided tour with the museum scavenger hunt and audioguide, a self guided treasure hunt with a kids’ app or a guided tour.
Self-Guided tour with the museum scavenger hunt
The Capitoline Museums offer a cheap self guided scavenger hunt for kids you can get on arrival.
The scavenger hunt comes in the form of a printed sheet with things to find and an audioguide in several languages that explain what you are seeing.
The app is designed for kids and it is a dialogue between different characters, which makes it engaging for children.
My kids enjoyed this scavenger hunt; however, it is ok but could be better. For example, the sheet is a photocopied piece of paper with sometimes fading images and how to get from one piece to the next is not clear.
We enjoyed having it as a prompt but I believe having the right expectations on what the scavenger hunt looks like is essential to avoid disappointment.
Percy Jackson Tour
The Capitoline Museums have many pieces depicting ancient Gods, Goddesses, heroes and figures and therefore are a great place if you have mythology lovers or Percy Jackson lovers (the head of Medusa piqued my kids’ attention!).
The best way to harness this interest is by engaging a specialised guide: my favorite is Mariaclaudia from MariaClaudia Tours (tell her Marta from Mama loves Rome sent you!) who runs a fabulous Percy Jackson Tour here.
Good to know: if your kids love mythology but not Percy Jackson, just tell Mariaclaudia and she’ll adapt the tour accordingly.
Trova Trails App
Another cool way to explore the Capitoline Museums with kids is by using the Trova Trails App.
The app is developed by a local mom and has scavenger hunts for kids for several locations in Rome, including the Capitoline Museum.
The app is available form the App Store for a small fee and it is story driven, leading the kids along a hunt that allows them to discover many details of the museum in a fun and engaging way.
The app requires being able to read a bit of text and therefore I find it most suited to slightly older kids (my 10 year old seemed the perfect age for it) although with the help of parents, younger ones can love it too.
Top things to see in the Capitoline Museums for children
The Capitoline Museums have a in valuable collection of ancient art masterpieces. Some that piqued the attention of kids the most include:
The giant head and hand of Emperor Constantine
The original she-wolf
The original statue of Marcus Aurelius on his horse
Spinario, the cute Ancient Greek statue of a boy taking a splinter off his foot
The head of Medusa
Marforio, one of the so-called talking statues of Rome
How to get tickets for the Capitoline Museums
The best way to buy Capitoline Tickets is online, from the official museum website.
It is also possible to buy tickets on the day. However, the queue outside is often long, so I only recommend doing this if visiting during the week and outside the busiest season (in July, we only had to wait 15 minutes to get in)
Capitoline Museums address and what is nearby
The Capitoline Museums are on Piazza del Campidoglio, in Rome city center.
Nearby you find:
- Piazza del Campidoglio – one of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome (the museums occupy two sides of this square)
- Roman Forum
- Palatine Hill
- Piazza Venezia