Visiting Rome with kids: all you need to know

by marta

All you need to know about visiting Rome with kids. Complete travel guide to Rome for families with child-friendly attractions in Rome, best family accommodation and practical travel tips – by a Rome mama!

Rome is fantastic to visit with kids.

A large city with plenty of attractions and entertainment options, Rome has something to offer to every age, including its younger visitors and their parents.

If you are looking for the perfect blend of culture and fun things to do for kids, Rome is your ideal family vacation destination!

Family in front of Rome Colosseum

If you have small kids, you will enjoy Rome’s many parks and green areas.

Older kids will be wowed by the Colosseum, the history of the city and the many famous Rome landmarks they will recognize from movies and school.

All ages will enjoy Rome’s delicious food (gelato, pizza, carbonara…!), shopping opportunities and Rome’s beautiful weather.

Visiting Rome with kids, however, also poses some challenges.

A large and busy city, Rome has a lot of traffic and an overcrowded public transport system.

It is also not very digitalized, meaning some info is not readily available online or is not updated or in Italian only.

This is why I wrote this complete guide to Rome with kids!

I am a Rome mama and Rome history graduate, and I know very well how the city works, what it offers to its visitors and its challenges. In this guide to visiting Rome with kids, I pour all my best tips for visiting Rome as a family to take the stress away from your travel planning.

If, at any stage, you want more personalized help, pop into my Facebook Group Travel Italy with Kids, and you will find me and many more like-minded parents ready to help (for free!)

Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Why visit Rome with kids

There are many reasons why I recommend you visit Rome with kids.

  • Rome is a city with things to do for kids and parents alike, meaning nobody has to compromise, and everyone can have a good time
  • Rome has fantastic historical attractions, perfect for a vacation that mixes education and fun
  • It’s pizza and gelato central but also is a foodie paradise for more refined palates
  • It has beautiful, mild weather most of the year
  • It has a plethora of accommodation and tour options for families
  • It is central to visit the rest of Italy and makes a perfect first stop on a family trip to Italy
kids in front of Rome Colosseum
My kids looking at the Colosseum in Rome

Challenges for families visiting Rome with children

The main challenges facing families visiting Rome with children have to do with traffic and mobility.

In particular, you may find that:

Rome is not stroller-friendly.

Cars are parked everywhere, including pavement technical for pedestrians only, and there are cobbled and potholes that make the stroller ride bumpy.

See below our tips for visiting tome with a stroller and find here >>> our tips for visiting Rome with toddlers.

Rome is busy, so you need to book accommodation and attractions well in advance.

Below, you find our recommended hotels for families in Rome and also our favorite booking engine for flexible bookings

Rome is a large city with a lot of traffic and erratic public transport service – read below the best area to stay to avoid long commutes and out guide to bus and metro in Rome should you stay a little away from the center.
Ready to plan your trip to Rome with kids? Let’s go!

Visiting Rome with kids in 2021: need to know

Please find here >>> official info about travel rules and regulations that may affect your ability to enter Italy at this time.

Please be advised that access to cultural venues and indoor dining is currently subject to showing the ‘green pass’ or other equivalent documents: this applies to anyone over 12. Find info here.

The best time to visit Rome with kids

The best time to visit Rome with kids is the early autumn (September, early October), followed by late spring (May-June) and Christmas.

Find my month-by-month travel guides to Rome here.

Autumn and spring are the best time in Rome for sightseeing, and they are the best times to enjoy Rome parks and playgrounds and Rome’s beautiful piazzas and gelato places.

Children admiring view over Rome on a sunny day
Children admiring view over Rome on a sunny day

Christmas in Rome is a fun time for kids as the city has pretty Christmas trees, lights and some Christmas markets that can be fun to explore.

Older kids and teenagers may enjoy the excellent shopping opportunities that Rome offers at this time. Find here >>> our guide to Rome at Christmas

The worst time to visit Rome with kids is the month of August.

Rome in August is very hot, humid and full of mosquitoes.

It is also a time when locals leave the city, but tourists abound.

So with kids, Rome in August is not ideal: if this is the only time you have to visit, find here my >>> guide to Rome in August to learn how to make the most of this month.

How many days to see Rome with kids?

I recommend you spend in Rome with kids a minimum of three days and ideally five or more.

Because of the many things to see and how beautiful and busy Rome is, anything less than three days will leave you stretched, and it can prove overwhelming for the children.

Five days Rome with kids are much better.

However, you can make the most of Rome no matter how much time you have.

Find ideas on how to make the most of your time in Rome in the following family itineraries:

Two days in Rome with kids
Three days in Rome with kids
Five days in Rome with kids

Where to stay in Rome with kids: best areas and hotels in Rome for families

The best area to stay in Rome with family is the historic city center: ‘Centro strorico.’

This is a large area, but no matter where in the center you are, you will find yourself within walking distance to all the main Rome attractions.

This makes it an excellent place to stay with kids as you will be able to avoid busy buses and metro, which are not kid-friendly in Rome.

My favorite places to stay in Rome with kids are:

Piazza Navona / Pantheon area

This is a very central area in Rome, full of hotels and restaurants. My favorite hotels in this area are:

Le Clarisse al Pantheon – value choice with nice family rooms and an option for a family apartment too

Iconic Hotel Pantheon Hotel – luxury option in a fantastic position in the center of everything

Find here >>> my list of recommended hotels in the Pantheon area

Near Piazza Navona, a good family hotel is also Palazzo Navona, just beside the piazza

You can find here >>> my complete list of favorite hotels in Piazza Navona area

This area has the advantage of being ventral and beautiful; however, it has a downside for small children: the lack of green spaces.

Piazza Navona Rome in pink early evening light

Colosseum area/ Monti neighborhood

Staying close to the Colosseum is perfect for families, especially if you have ancient Rome as an essential step in your itinerary.

As well as putting you in the ideal position to visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, this area is also close to the rest of Rome city center, has excellent restaurants and lovely green spaces for some downtime (Oppian hill and Villa Celimontana).

I recommend you find a hotel very close to the Colosseum for convenience and beauty. Check out Palm Suites and Mercure Centro Colosseo (this one has a pool, perfect for summer!) or find here >>> my list of recommended hotels near the Colosseum.

Villa Borghese area

Villa Borghese is the largest park in Rome’s city center, and it is my children’s favorite place in Rome.

It is also the place where you find the Borghese gallery. Art-loving parents will love it too!

Depending on where ner Villa Borghese you pick your accommodation, you will find yourself closer or farther away from the center, but all areas work for families.

In particular, I recommend you look at Aldrovandi Residence City Suites (luxury), great hotel with a pool, just in front of Villa Borghese and the zoo.

Trastevere district

Trastevere is a large area on the ‘other side of the river Tiber from Rome historical center.

It is a charming area, with small streets and many restaurants.

It is particularly recommended for families with older kids who may enjoy the slightly later nights.

If saying in Trastevere, make sure you stay close to the river or the commute into town can become too long. You can find here >>> my list of recommended hotels in Trastevere.

Vatican area

The Vatican area is very large and, depending on the exact location of your accommodation, might mean a long commute into the center.

I recommend you only pick a hotel here is you can stay close to the river: Le Meridien Visconti Hotel is a good choice.

Trieste area

This area is a little out of the center, but it is terrific for families with kids as it is green and residential. I highly recommend it if you are in Rome with kids for a slightly longer stay. A nice hotel here is Mercure Corso Trieste.

Rome attractions for kids: are Rome family tours worth it?

Family tours in Rome tend to be pricey, and they can be invaluable to discover the city with ease. However, you do not necessarily need a guide for everything.

The guides on this website give you all the tips you need to visit Rome’s main attractions on your own; however, there are some instances and some attractions where a specialized family guide for kids can be handy.

These are:
You have a limited amount of time in Rome, for instance, one day, and you want to see a lot as this is your only time in the city. In that case, a guided family tour of the city center will be invaluable.

You want to visit the Vatican museums with kids: I highly recommend a guided tour for this one as the museum is a nightmare with small kids.

Read why and how to avoid mistakes here >> how to Visit the Vatican Museums with kids.

You want the tour to have something fun, such as a fun means of transport (golf cart); I do not recommend driving in Rome, but it is nice not to have small kids walking for hours.

My daughter and I during a guided Tour in the Vatican Museums

Best Family tours and kid-friendly activities in Rome

Family tours in Rome we like are:

Colosseum and ancient Rome family tour for kids by Kids Raphael Tours and Event
Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Tour for kids by Private Tours of Rome
Vatican museum tour for families including Sistine Chapel by Kids Raphael Tours and Events

Rome highlights Golf Cart Tour by LivItaly – one of our favorite providers of kids’ tours in Italy!

Pizza making class in Rome for kids by Global Dream Lab – perfect activity for a rainy day, find our review here!

The best things to do in Rome with kids

I have a long list of things to do in Rome with kids here <<< but here is an overview of some you are likely to want to include in your Rome itinerary:

Colosseum with kids

No need for introductions on this one; this is the one Rome attraction kids sure to want to see!

You can find here >>> my tips for visiting the Colosseum with kids

The Colosseum is beside the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill: you can visit them on your won, or opt for a family tour that includes them.

My recommended family-friendly tour of the Colosseum archaeological park is this one

Villa Borghese (Borghese Gardens)

A fantastic park in the center of Rome with playgrounds, bike rentals, rowing boats, playgrounds and more. Find here >>> my guide to the Borghese Gardens.

Top tip! Villa Borghese hosts the famous Borghese Gallery and Rome zoo. They are close to each other and you can easily divide and conquer, taking turns to visit the gallery/stay with your kids, should they not be up for a museum visit.

Explora – children museum, a perfect activity for kids in Rome when it rains. Find all info here

Explora children museum of Romereview
This is the water and mechanics area of Explora children museum of Rome

Museum of Leonardo Da Vinci’s machines – an interactive exhibition of Leonardo’s machines kids love. Read our review here or get your tickets here.

The cat sanctuary of Rome – a lovely stop for kids who love cats. You can learn why cats are protected in Rome and where to see them in our guide to the cats of Rome

Domus Aurea – Emperor Nero’s ancient palace, now an incredible underground Roman dig!

Read here >>> our review of the Domus Aurea with kids

Circo Massimo Experience – a fun way to explore Circo Massimo, tome’s ancient chariot stadium with the use of augmented reality glasses! Learn about it here

Children in Circus Maximus Rome

Pantheon – the best-preserved ancient Roman building in the world, kids love the high and mysterious hole in its ceiling.

Learn how to visit and fun facts about the Pantheon for kids here

Pantheon Rome

St Peter’s dome climb – an exciting activity for daredevils who want to feel at the top of the world! From here, you catch one of the best views over Rome.

Access to the dome is ticketed: get tickets here

Need to know: there is more to see in Vatican City than the dome and the Vatican Museums but, with kids, you need to prioritize what to see. Find all the info you need in my guide to Vatican City for kids.

Piazza Navona – Piazza Navona is one of Rome’s most famous and beautiful piazzas.

Kids love it because of its ample space and a fantastic toy shop with life-size teddies called “Al Sogno”! You can find here >>> my complete guide to Piazza Navona with kids.

Little girl in Piazza Navona in Rome

Castel Sant’Angelo: Rome’s castle is one of Rome’s most child-friendly attractions (think cannons, turrets and even a secret passage to the Vatican!) Read how to visit and why we love it here.

Find here >>> my guide to visiting Castel Sant’Angelo with kids

Trevi Fountain – no one can come to Rome and not throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain! Bring small cash as kids will likely want to throw more than one! Learn why and how here

Spanish steps – one of the most iconic sites in the whole of Rome!

Small kids won’t have much to do here, but the Borghese Gardens are nearby, and older kids will love the photo op.

Find here >>> my guide to the Spanish Steps

Woman and two kids on Spanish Steps photographed while visiting Rome with kids in summer
My children and I on Rome’s Spanish Steps with no tourists

The mouth of truth: if you have seen a roman holiday, you will know this one!

You put your hand in the mouth of a monster, and if you have a pure heart, you are ok, while if you are a lier, it will chew it off!

Catacombs and Via Appia Antica – the catacombs are a network of long tunnels under the city of Rome, and they can be very exciting for kids to visit.

Visit by guided tour only: get tickets here

They are suitable for older kids (no strollers) who won’t get disturbed by the mention of death: the catacombs are ancient cemeteries, so while some kids love them, others may find them intense.

Rainy day activities for kids in Rome

Some fun activities for a rainy day in Rome are:

Have chocolate in Rome’s chocolate factory

Visit the Museum of Leonardo’s machines

Visit a child friendly museum in Rome

Visit one of Rome’s children bookstores (some have titles and activities in English too)

Visit Rome’s catacombs

Where to eat in Rome with kids

Rome is full of restaurants, and you will have no problems finding places to eat in Rome with children, even if you may not see kids’ menus or family spaces at first glance.

Pasta dish - great family friendly restaurants in Rome

Rome restaurants usually do not have a kids’ menu as such.

However, they are generally able and willing to make smaller portions, or whatever is on the menu for your kids (careful: usually the price stays full!), or they can make a simple pasta with tomato sauce or butter and parmesan on request.

Many of Rome’s traditional foods are kid-friendly, so you may also be able to order for your kids Rome specialties such as saltimbocca alla Romana or Pasta alla gricia.

Rome restaurants sometimes have high chairs and sometimes do not, there is no rule about this, even if I have noticed more and more of them to be well equipped for their younger guests.

However, please be aware that space is at a premium in many cases, especially in the city center, so don’t expect large play areas or equipment for kids. Even coloring crayons are somewhat a rarity!

Rome is child-friendly because it welcomes kids but not necessarily because it offers special things to them.

Family restaurants with children’s play area and specialized menus are exceptions. Some we love are Lola and the Pizzeria at Explora.

You can find a list of good family-friendly restaurants in Rome’s city center here.

Where to get the best gelato in Rome for kids

Rome has more gelato parlors that you can sample in a lifetime, but they are not all as good as one another! You only want to get gelato in those with ‘gelato artigianale’ (i.e. artisan gelato).

Some we love are >>> find our list of best gelato places in Rome city center here.

My daughter eating gelato in Rome
My daughter eating gelato in Rome

Where to eat the best pizza in Rome for kids

Good pizza is easy to find in Rome and you do not need special addresses to please your pizza-hungry kids. However, there is no doubt that some pizza places are better than others.

If you want a real foodie experience in Rome for kids and adults, check this guide to the best pizza in Rome.

Parks and playgrounds in Rome

Rome has many beautiful parks and several playgrounds.

Pond in Villa Borghese Gardens Rome with small decorative temple overlooking the water
Pond in Villa Borghese (Borghese Gardens), Rome

While the playgrounds are often not very modern or well kept, they are excellent for a kid-friendly stop

Find here >>> a list of Rome playgrounds close to Rome attractions.

Rome parks come in all shape and sizes. Some are small, local green areas and some a re beautiful villas you can spend a whole day in.

Find here >>> my guide to the best parks and gardens in Rome.

Using public transport in Rome with kids

Rome has a vast network of public transport consisting of buses, metro, trams and urban trains.

Public transport tickets are combined, which means you have one ticket for all these options: kids under 11 go free.

You can find my complete guide to using public transport in Rome with kids here.

Essential things you need to know about using buses and metro in Rome with kids:

Rome buses are not stroller-friendly.

You have a high step to get on board, and you always need to fold your stroller. Always opt for a carrier!
Buses can get very crowded: make sure you always board off-peak times to avoid feeling like a sardine in a can.

Not all metro stations in Rome are stroller-friendly or accessible. While the metro in Rome is helpful for longer distances, I recommend you only use it off-peak and with older kids to avoid stress.

Rome buses offer an erratic service. Do not rely on them if you need to get anywhere in a hurry.

Taking a taxi with kids in Rome: car seat rules

Taxis are an excellent way to move around Rome with kids. First, however, you need to be aware of car seat rules.

Car seats are not compulsory in taxis, and they are not provided.

Taxis will take children without a seat in town and longer distances, such as the ride between the airport and town. This stretch involves a high-speed road. I highly recommend you bring your own child seat.

Find here >>> my favorite kids’ booster car seats for travel

To get a taxi in Rome, you can flag one on the street, ask your hotel to call one or use the app Free now, which also allows you to pick the type of car: handy if you have a large family.

The best airport to getting into Rome with kids

Rome has two airports: Fiumicino Leonardo Da Vinci (FCO and Ciampino (CIA).

Fiumicino is the bigger and better-equipped airport: many international flights come here, and the airport is well connected to the city by taxis, buses and train.

The train is the cheapest option for families as one child is free if traveling with an adult (two adults and two kids only need two tickets).

You can find here >>> my complete guide to getting from Fiumicino airport to Rome.

Departure hall at Fiumicino airport Rome
Fiumicino airport in Rome

Ciampino is the smaller Rome airport and the one for budget airlines.

There is little here for kids, nothing actually, so this is not a great place to get stuck into for hours if your flight back is delayed.

It is, however, closer to Rome city center and connected with cheap transport that includes, bus, bus+train, and taxi.

With small kids, a taxi is by far the best option, followed by the bus.

You can find here >>> my complete guide to getting from Ciampino to Rome city center here.

Buying baby gear in Rome

You don’t’ need to load up on baby gear when visiting Rome with little ones as the city has many shops with all you may ever need.

Baby gear in Rome is available in supermarkets and pharmacies. The two things I recommend you bring to Rome from home are a carrier and a stroller.

Baby carriers I like for Rome are:

Baby Bjorn Classic carrier, my favorite for very young babies

Baby Bjorn mesh, great for visiting Rome with a baby in summer

Ergo Baby 360, excellent for babies and toddlers, with several carrying positions

I do not recommend bringing a hiking baby carrier: the metal frame of these may cause problems when passing security at Rome’s main attractions and it is too bulky to be comfortable on buses and metro.

If you are carrying one with your for other destinations in Italy, you may consider adding an unstructured baby sling to your luggage: it is not bulky and much better suited to the busy streets of Rome.

Using a baby stroller in Rome

Rome is not a stroller-friendly city. Cobbles can prove hard on lightweight strollers with small wheels, transport is not geared towards accommdating pushchairs, and not all attractions are accessible.

However, having a baby stroller in Rome is handy: you will find yourself walking a lot in Rome and a stroller will be invaluable for nap time on the go.

Strollers I like for Rome are:

What to pack for visiting Rome with kids

Aside from your basics, l I recommend you pack:

  • Baby carrier
  • Stroller
  • Insect repellent for summer
  • Baby sun screen
  • Water bottle
  • Very light clothing for summer
  • Warm clothing for winter, including a waterproof layer
  • Essential baby medicines (commercial names ar different in Italy, habng your won will redice stress if you find yorself in need for baby parcematoml on the go)

Find here >>> my complete Rome packing list <<<.

Resources and best books about Rome for kids

Rome is more fun if your kids know some fun facts and stories about it.

On this website, you find some resources. Follow the links to find:

Fun facts about Rome for kids

Facts about Vatican City for kids

List of ancient Rome’s Gods and Goddesses and their symbols

Symbols of Rome kids can look for in the city

Great books about Rome for kids

I hope you enjoyed this guide to visiting Rome with kids and it helped you plan your family vacation in Rome. Safe travels!

Rome with Kids Family Guide: pin this!

Two children at Rome Colosseum with text: Rome with kids: Absolutely everything you need to know, family travel guide

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