Two days in Rome with family: itinerary + all you need to know to plan a trip

by marta

Two days in Rome with family: discover the best things to do in Rome in two days with family, our recommended hotels and restaurants in our family-friendly 2-day Rome itinerary.

The name of my site, Mama Loves Rome, gives it away: I love visiting Rome as a family.

I have talked before about the many things you can do in Rome with kids and I have shared all my best tips for planning a trip to Rome with children.

However, I have never shared a family-friendly itinerary for 2 days in Rome and today, I want to remedy it!

Entrance to the Roman Forum seen from the Colosseum, Rome

Today, I will share my favorite itinerary for two days in Rome with the kids.

If you are visiting as part of a multigenerational group, you may also want to this my guide about visiting Rome with kids and grandparents.

It covers ways to divide and conquer, should the sightseeing wishes of family members differ too much from one another.

Two days in Rome with children: challenges + how to use this itinerary

One of the most significant challenges, when deciding what to see in Rome as a family, is not the lack of things to do but their abundance.

If this is your trip to Rome, you may easily find yourself trying to fit way too many things in the time you have.

While Rome City center is relatively compact, with only two days in Rome you need to prioritize.

Today, I will share my recommended itinerary to see Rome in two days with family if you are in the city as a first-time visitor.

If you are returning visitor, I recommend joining me on Facebook instead: on there, I run a free private group about exploring Italy with kids – click here to request access. Once in, you can ask me and the other parents in the group all their tricks and suggestion to make the most of your time in Rome and Italy.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission.

Where to stay to Visit Rome in two days with family

If you only have two days in Rome, finding accommodation in the city center is paramount. You will be in the best location to have all main attractions nearby and limit transport time.

Hotels I love for a weekend stay in Rome City center are:

Hotel Kolbe: 4-star hotel with modern rooms and a nice restaurant, perfect for all types of travelers, including families with kids. Ideally located close to the Colosseum and the Forum.

Le Clarisse al Pantheon: 3-star hotel with clean rooms and a family apartment in a lovely location close to the Pantheon

Palm Suites by Palazzo Manfredi, Small Luxury Hotels of the World: 5-star family suite with views over the Roman Forum, part of Palazzo Manfredi Hotel.

View of central Rome from Terrazza Caffarelli

Two days in Rome with family: itinerary

Morning Day 1

I love to start my Rome itineraries with the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

The three attractions are beside one another and you need 3 hours – up to a whole morning to visit.

Find out guides at the following links:

Children in Rome Colosseum

The best tickets for Ancient Rome are:

Ticket Info and Purchase link DescriptionBest ForDrawbacks
24h – Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine HillStandard Entry Ticket by Parco Colosseo (Colosseum ticket office). BudgetNo arena access, Poor cancellation policy, currently only available for purchase 30 days before your visit
24h Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill entry ticketEntry ticket by Colosseum ticket office including access to the arena (no underground)BudgetPoor cancellation policy
Full Experience Ticket with arena and underground of the Colosseum plus Roman Forum, Palatine HillTicket by Parco Colosseo (Colosseum ticket office) including access to underground Colosseum areaBudget access to the undergroundPoor cancellation policy, only available for purchase 1 month before your visit, no live guide
Colosseum Underground educational tour in English + Roman Forum and Palatine Hill TOP PICK Ticket by Parco Colosseo/Coopculture for access to underground Colosseum areaBudget tour of the underground Poor cancellation policy, only available for purchase 1 month before your visit, VERY hard to get as quickly sold out
Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Priority Entry Ticket TOP PICK Sold by GetYourGuide, this includes priority tickets to the main Colosseum area and access to the Roman Forum/ Palatine Hill Standard access with good cancellation optionAccess is to selected areas only (the arena is included). Only bookable 1 month before your visit. No live guide
Colosseum entry + surrounding area walking tourSold by Tickets, includes Colosseum entry (no tour) Standard access tickets with the addition of a walking tour to the surrounding area More expensive than access only tickets, it is a good alternative if the direct tickets are old out
Express Colosseum Tour by LivToursTOP TOUR! Express but comprehensive small group or private tourIncludes access to the arena and live guideHigh price point for high quality tour experience
Rome Colosseum for kids TourTOP TOUR FOR KIDS! Guided tour by MariaclaudiaToursSpecialized experience with live guide – budget friendlyDoesn’t include an underground area
Colosseum and Ancient Rome family tour for kidsGuided tour by Kids Raphael Tours and events, included Colosseum main arena area Specialized experience tailored to kids’ needsPrice point, doesn’t include underground area
Colosseum and Roman Forum Tour for kidsComplete Guided Tour by LivTours including option to access the arenaSpecialized experience tailored to kids’ needsPrice point, doesn’t include underground area
Rome Colosseum Gladiator Tour for Kids and FamiliesGuided tour by Pink Umbrellas, includes access to the Forum and Palatine Hill Specialized experience tailored to kids’ needsDoesn’t include an underground area

Top tip! Tickets for Ancient Rome include a visit to the Colosseum and one access to the Roman Forum / Palatine area. Access to the Colosseum is timed and you choose your slot at the time of booking.

Access to the Forum and the Palatine Hill is not timed and you can enter once in the 24 hours following the time of your Colosseum visit.

If you are traveling with small kids, it can be worth taking a break at the local park in front of the Colosseum and get them playing in the playground before tackling the Roman forum.

The park has simple yet nice play frames and swings, a nice coffee kiosk and it is one of Rome’s best photo spots. A great place for all ages!

Have lunch in: Via dei Santi Quattro/ Via Celimontana. Cafe’ Cafe’ (casual, mediterranean) and Naumachie are both good options.

View of the Roman Forum in summer

Afternoon day one

I recommend you spend the afternoon of your first day seeing Rome’s highlights such as piazzas, cobbles streets and landmarks. To to that, I recommend one of two options:

With small kids, children who can’t walk long distances and for guided experience, opt for a Golf Cart Tour of the city center.

A golf cart tour is a fun way to see the city with a guide and a fantastic way to cover long distances without having to walk much.

While not a budget option, it is a brilliant way to maximize your short time in Rome and see the best of the city in just an afternoon. My favorite Golf Cart Tour in Rome for families is this one by LivTours.

With older kids, children who don’t mind to walk or for families on a budget, you can see stunning and significant part of Rome on foot and in that case I recommend to focus you time between Piazza Venezia and the Pantheon.

From the Colosseum, it is a short walk to these attractions and you can easily see:

The Trajan Column: one of the most interesting and peculiar columns in Rome, this is a tall column with carvings that tell the story of Emperor Trajan’s war triumphs in the II century AD.

Seeing the columns only takes a few minutes but it is interesting and beautiful. Since the carvings tell a story, the column has been dubbed ‘the first film in history! You can read here >>> all about Trajan’s Column

Vittoriano: Vittoriano is the tall, white building overlooking Piazza Venezia. The monument is unique in appearance and beautiful to visit. Access to the first and second terraces is free and the views are fantastic!

The monument initially celebrated Vittorio Emanuele King of Italy and now it is also the Altar to the Fatherlands, memorial to the unknown soldier, and exhibition space.

You can read here >>> all about Vittoriano

Vittoriano Rome

Capitoline Hill: The Capitoline Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome.

On its top, you find a stunning Renaissance Piazza by Michelangelo (Piazza del Campidoglio), a beautiful terrace overlooking the Roman Forum, and the Capitoline Museums, one of the most beautiful ancient art museums in the city.

To see the piazza you only need a few minutes, the time mainly depending on how long you stand mesmerized by the view!

If you want to visit the Museum, I highly recommend you book in advance and plan up to half-day here.

You can find official museum tickets here. If you have Percy Jackson fans, you may want to treat them to this tour instead.

Piazza del Campidoglio Capitoline Hill Rome

Pantheon: The Pantheon is one of the most beautiful and peculiar monuments in Rome. It is itself worth a visit but it is also located in a fantastic area. I recommend you plan the rest of your day so that you have the time to explore and take in the sights.

Things not to be missed here and easily encountered in the Pantheon area are:

The Pantheon itself – find here >>> our guide to the Pantheon

Piazza della Minerva, famous for a statue by Bernini representing a small elephant and for the stunning church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, with the grave of Beato Angelico and a statue by Michelangelo.

Pantheon facade and fountain Rome

Piazza di Pietra, a wonderful, scenic piazza with the remains of the temple of Hadrian. If you can catch a table in one of the cafe terraces here, this is a lovely place for a break.

I believe it is one of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome!

This area is also close to Via del Corso, which has lovely shops, and many of Rome’s famous cobbled streets.

For a late afternoon drink with older kids I recommend, you book aperitivo at the Divinity Terrace in Via di Santa Chiara, one of the best rooftop bars in Rome.

For dinner, I recommend you make your way to Mimi and Coco on Via del Governo Vecchio.

This will also allow you to catch a glimpse of Piazza Navona at night, which you will then visit properly the following day.

Day 2 morning

If you have never been to Rome before, I believe you should spend the morning of your second day visiting Vatican City.

Vatican seen from Ponte Sant Angelo with statue of angel in the foreground

The big decision you have to make when planning two days in Rome with your family is whether you visit the Vatican Museums or you skip them.

The Vatican Museums are stunning and they are also where you find the Sistine Chapel.

They are a must-see for art lovers however, they are very big so your plan for the day will change significantly depending on whether you go or not.

If you want to visit the Vatican Museums, I recommend you plan here an entire morning. This will allow you to see the Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica (including Michelangelo’s Pieta’, one of the most famous statues in Rome) and St Peter’s Square.

The best tickets for the Vatican are:

  • Official entry tickets are here: you can choose between entry ticket only / guided tour
  • Family Tour of the Vatican Museums, info here: A pricey option, but a great one to engage kids with a traditional museum with no interactive exhibits.

Early morning Vatican Museum tickets: great for early risers, this can be a good option to beat the crowds.

Top tip: no matter how you visit the museums, it will be tiring: I highly recommend planning some downtime after your visit. The area of Castel Sant’Angelo is nearby and a good option as it also has a nice outdoor area to relax / for kids to play.

If you decide to skip the Vatican Museums, I recommend you come to Vatican City anyway and spend your time visiting stunning Piazza San Pietro, possibly St Peter’s Basilica.

Then I would recommend you book a visit to Castel Sant’Angelo.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome

Castel Sant’Angelo is the ancient Mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian, over time turned Papal Castel and Fortress.

It is a fantastic place, one of the most beautiful monuments in Rome, and it is perfect for families as it can be enjoyed by kids, parents and grown-ups in general.

You can read here >>> all about Castel Sant’Angelo here. You can book a guided tour here.

Lunch: for lunch, I love the area of Borgo. Pastificio Borghisana is a lovely, casual place with great food at good prices.

Afternoon Day 2

On the afternoon of day two, I recommend you visit the area of Piazza Navona and slowly make your way back to Rome City center proper.

The best way to visit Piazza Navona neighborhood with kids is by a self guides scavenger hunt, an experience we recently tried ad adored!

The scavenger hunt is organized by the local Museo Mostra di Leonardo and it is perfect for primary school kids, teenagers and adults.

It starts at the museum, where you get an iPad with a map and clues and allows you to discover the area in your own time and at your own pace.

At the end of it, you return to the museum, visit the exhibition of Leonardo Machines, which is great for kids and interactive, and you get a prize for winning the hunt!

You can find info and tickets here.

You can also just visit this area on foot.

In this area, you will find Rome’s cobbled streets, pretty shops and several interesting family attractions including:

Piazza Navona: the ancient stadium of Emperor Domitian, now one of the most elegant and beautiful piazzas in Rome, graced by work by Masters such as Bernini and Borromini.

Kids will love running around here and the toy shop Al Sogno is always a success with little ones too!

Adults will be mesmerized by the FOuntain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome!

Find my guide to Piazza Navona here

Piazza Navona Rome in summer

Mostra Leonardo: this ‘mostra’ is a permanent exhibition of machines and designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. It is hosted in Piazza della Cancelleria and it is interesting for kids and adults.

It is also small enough to easily be included in a two-day Rome itinerary for families without taking away from must-see sites.

I recommend it especially to families with children as it adds a moment of interactive play on a day otherwise primarily devoted to pure sightseeing.

You can find my review of the Leonardo exhibition here or find prices and tickets here

Welcome to Rome: this is a permanent exhibition about the story of the city of Rome and a great place for school age kids.

Inside the museum, you find 3D light reconstructions of Rome’s main landmarks, with explanations on how they came to be and a you can watch a short movies with a quick history of the city’s birth and development.

This is a lovely, informative experience for kids and a great way to get some rest after all the walking!

You can find info and tickets here

Campo de’ Fiori: Campo de’ Fiori is a beautiful square in Rome with stunning medieval aspects and now filled with cafes and terraces popular for aperitivo and lunch.

The square is interesting to see, pleasant to visit and lively: not to be missed is the statue of Giordano Bruno, who died at the stake here and who now looks over the square form a pedestal in its center.

Via dei Giubbonari: Lively street just off Campo de’ Fiori with nice shops.

Largo di Torre Argentina: This is a large Piazza that you are likely to pass while walking in this area. In its center, you find an archaeological area (currently closed to the public) famous for being where Julius Caesar got murdered.

If you have kids who love cats, the archaeological area hosts a cat shelter: you can pop in for a cuddle!

Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain: before the end of day two in Rome, you should see the last two Rome must see sites you most likely have on your Rome bucket list: the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.

These two attractions are free, close to one another and only required a handful of minutes to visit, so they are perfect right after dinner, at sunset, to even as last stop of the day.

Dinner: nice dinner places for this second day are La Ciambella (Via della Ciambella, Pantheon area), Il Chianti (beside Trevi – good quality but rather busy).

If you are looking for a casual place that is good for kids, you may also like the food hall at the top of La Rinascente, which has a pizza place as well as a nice aperitive terrace and a Japanese/Brazilian fusion restaurant.

Two days in Rome with family: must -have

I highly recommend you have the following items with you:

Comfortable walking shoes – in Rome, you will walk A LOT. You can find here>>> my recommended shoes for Rome travel here.

Your bookings/reservations: electronic confirmations on your phone / QR codes are usually accepted

Your Green Pass /Vaccination Card or equivalent, if applicable at the time of your trip

Suitable attire for churches / Vatican – you can read here >>> all about the dress code for the Vatican or more, in general, find here >>> how to dress in Rome.

A reusable water bottletap water in Rome is delicious and free

A baby carrier and a stroller for your little ones. You can find here >>> my tips for visiting Rome with a baby or toddler

You can find my full packing list for Rome in each season here.

I hope you enjoyed my recommended itinerary to see Rome in two days with family and it helped you plan your stay. Safe travel planning!

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