One of the most rewarding, interesting and fun activities I have taken in Rome with the children, when visiting, was a kids’ mosaic class.
I came across it on the web. My daughter (6 years old) loves ‘making’ and I thought it would be fun for her to find an art activity in Rome we could take together one afternoon, during our winter trip.
My search brought me to a site offering children mosaic classes and the way it was presented was so appealing to me, I quickly made contact and booked a session.
I am delighted we did. The class was all I had hoped for an more ad it is now one of my favorite things to do in Rome with the kids, something I highly recommend all families to look up when looking for kid centered activities in Rome.
What is a mosaic class for kids?
A mosaic class for kids is an arts workshops aimed at children during which they are guided to the several steps needed to create an original mosaic.
During the class each child makes their own creation with materials, patterns and colors of their choice and at the end they are free to bring it home and have it as a keepsake or turn it into a present (we gave one to nonna!).
The mosaic they make is big enough to give them satisfaction (it is a tile of about 20×20 cm) but small enough to fit in a handbag, which means you don’t have to worry it will bulk up your luggage.
Why a kids mosaic class in Rome?
We booked our class though a company called ‘Arte al Sole’ and several things made it special for us:
- The mosaic class is for children, and the child is at the center of the learning experience. My daughter was the one the class was made for and I was very much her helper, not the other way round.
- The class is lead by a real mosaic artist who teaches a real technique. Unlike many other kids activities, which are effectively glorified childcare, this is a real engaging, fun and educational activity.
- When you leave, you know not just how to make mosaic but you also have clues to understanding the beautiful ones you see in so many Rome churches and, for instance, in Ostia Antica. See examples of stunning mosaics in Rome here.
- The mosaic class takes place in a real artisan lab in Trastevere and this adds a lot to the experience. Trastevere is a wonderful area (with a church with stunning mosaics, Santa Maria in Trastevere,worth visiting after the class) and the lab is an incredible opportunity for children to get in touch with how a real artist works. Materials, tools, inspiration: the lab alone is a space full of educational value (and so beautiful!)
- The mosaic class takes place in the afternoon and is a one off experience: this means you can easily include it in your Rome itinerary as a child-centered activity to mix with traditional sightseeing.
How does a mosaic class for kids in Rome work?
The company we booked our class with is called Arte al Sole, and this is how we got on with them.
Planning and booking
I discovered Arte al Sole and their arts classes for kids in Rome on the web. They have a main website showcasing their activities but they are also very active on Facebook (they are now in my group Italy Travel with kids too – if you are not in it, please join, it’s free and fun!)
I first messaged them via Facebook and then quickly moved onto emails, so that we could finalize the details of our booking.
Everything was really easy: all our communication was in English (the person I was in touch with is an American in Italy) and few emails later we were booked up and ready to go
On the day: getting to the class
Our class took place in the early afternoon so at about lunch time my daughter and I tool the bus to head to the address we were given.
The lab is in Trastevere, as I mentioned, and very easy to reach. We opted for getting the bus and then walking from the other side of the river but you can also get there by tram, which is a great option (trams and buses in Rome operate with the same ticket, all is very handy).
We got to the lab a little early but this was a good thing: at the very end of the road where the lab is located, I know there was the Rome’s botanical garden and we were able to wait for our class in its leafy grounds.
Kids mosaic class: the wonderful mosaic lab
At 2pm we got to the lab and this is a place of beauty. The lab is in an old building with vaulted, frescoes ceilings, and it is full of marvels.
All around you, there are the tools of the trade (stones, hammers, cutters, boards) and very many mosaics that the artist has made as showcase and for selling – the lab is also a shop.
At the center of the lab you have a large table with individual lamps defining different work stations, giving the place and artsy and contemplative vibe.
The class: how we got on
Making a mosaic is a pretty elaborate activity and we soon realized how impotant it is to have a good teacher to get a grasp of it. The one we had was amazing.
Very patiently and clearly she guided us through the different stages of making a mosaic and we soon found ourselves immersed in the task of choosing a pattern first and then the colors we wanted to have on our creation.
Little Ms E had first pick for all the colors and, to her delight, each of them came with a story: she picked red stones coming from the Middle East, white ones coming from Sicily and even toyed with the idea of blue ones coming from Central America!
As we started working, we listened to the story of where the different stones came from but also to the stories of how mosaics came into fashion in ancient Rome, how they date back to really ancient times and how the great mosaic masters were often Greek, even if operating in different parts of ancient Europe.
For the next couple of hours we designed, cut, mixed, cleaned and had a blissfully creative and relaxing afternoon.
If you want to get a sense of what making a mosaics entails, have a look here at this guide on how to make a Roman border pattern – it is so interesting and satisfying!
By the end of the class I was rally impressed not just with our creations but also by how much the class held Little Ms E attention.
She loves making so I knew she would enjoy the class but the extra touches of the stories and the real lab made it special for her and turned this fun afternoon in a truly educational one.
I believe this is a great activity for kids who love crafts and I highly recommend especially to children age 6 and up.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our experience in Rome with this kids mosaic class and this review helped you gauge whether this is something your kids may enjoy too.
Safe travels to Rome!
Please note: on this occasion we were guests of Arte as Sole who had us on the workshop in exchange for an unbiased review on our main site learning escapes. We loved the experience so much we now also wanted to share it on this specialized Rome with kids site.