Visiting Rome with kids: all you need to know

tips for visiting Rome with kids.

Planning a trip to Rome with kids in tow? Discover the best things to do in Rome with children, the best family hotels in Rome and how to tackle the Eternal city with family in this comprehensive Rome guide by a local mom.

Visiting Rome with kids can be hard.

The city is wonderful but it is also big, crowded and so full of attractions you feel you can never stop without missing out on something.

However, you have a secret weapon for planning a trip to Rome with kids: this guide!

Rome is my hometown. I lived there for over 30 years and now that I live abroad I still go back regularly with my kids.

This gives me the very special advantage of knowing the city like a local but experiencing it with the eyes of a visitor.

This is my guide to visiting Rome with children. I believe by the end of this travel guide, you will agree Rome is not just a wonderful destination for families but one of the best cities in the world to visit with kids!

Did you know? I run a site called Mama Loves Rome that is all about visiting Rom as a mama. If you are planning an extended stay, check it out here, it is packed with info and tips!

RELATED: curiosities and fun facts about Rome for kids and where to learn about them in the city

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The best time for visiting Rome with children

Rome can be visited all year round but the spring and the fall are by far the best time of the year for a family vacation in Rome.

Rome in spring and fall – best for sightseeing and parks

The best seasons for visiting Rome with kids are spring (March to June) and fall (September to November).

At this time, the weather in Rome is mild and mostly dry, perfect for spending time in the park after sightseeing and to cool down with gelato!

Rome in summer – only good if you have access to a pool

The months to avoid are July and August. The heat in Rome in the summer is unbearable and the city shuts down as this is when most of the locals take their annual leave.

At this time, Rome feels like an urban wasteland filled with tourists and the risk of sun stroke is high.

If you are visiting Rome with family in the summer, I highly recommend you choose a hotel with a family friendly pool and plan to stay sheltered or close to water during the hottest hours of the day.

Rome in winter – only fun for kids if visiting at Christmas

Winter is hit and miss in Rome: temperatures usually stay above zero but the city is humid and being outside for long hours can be unpleasant.

This is not a great time to visit Rome with children unless you visit over Christmas, when the decorations brighten up the city, or you have older kids who may enjoy time in indoor museums

To get an idea of what to expect in Rome in each season, you can have a look at our recommended packing lists for autumn/winter and spring/summer in Rome.

Arriving in Rome: the best way to get from Rome airport to the city center with kids

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

Fiumicino is the biggest and better equipped one and the one you are likely to use if coming from the USA or a traditional airline.

Ciampino is smaller and is served mostly by Ryanair flights. 

The easiest way to get from both airport to Rome city center with children in tow is by taxi.

They operate with a flat fee system (see notices outside for current prices, around 45 Euro) and the station just outside the terminal.

They do not carry car seats however, they are not compulsory in taxis in Rome

Fiumicino is also connected to termini by the fast train Leonardo express. Children under 12 go free when accompanied by an adult.

You can find my full guide on how to get from the airport to Rome city center and transport options here

How to use public transport in Rome with kids in tow

The best way to visit Rome is on foot.

Despite being a large city, Rome city centre is remarkably compact and many attractions are a short stroll from one another.

However, if you have a few days in Rome, you are likely to use public transport at least once, may it happen to be the metro, a bus or one of Rome trams.

The network operates with an integrated ticketing system and you can buy one or several tickets at vending machines or newsagents. Tickets must be validated on boarding the bus and showed on request: kids go free.

You can find our family guide to public transportation in Rome here

Top 10 things to do in Rome with kids

From world-famous landmarks to small, hidden corners, Rome has a lot to offer to families travelling with young children.

You can find our full list of 50+ things to do in Rome with kids here but bwlow you will find a selection of the best of the best!

Visit the Roman Forum and the Colosseum

The Colosseum is likely to be at the top of your children’s list of must-see attractions in Rome and it is a great place to explore with kids.

As soon as you arrive in its proximity, your kids will gasp in awe to its size and you would have to be a pretty jaded traveler not to do the same!

The best way to visit the Colosseum with children in tow is with a guided tour.

Over the course of the years, we have tried several tours of the Colosseum and the one we enjoyed the most is this one by Coopculture (incidentally, the cheapest, as offered by the Colosseum management itself).

This is not a family tour but it is kid-friendly and we recommending to families with younger and older children alike

Colosseum tickets usually also include access to the Roman forum.

I recommend making the most of this combined ticket and visit both, making sure you also climb to the top of the Palatine, from which you get stunning panoramic views over Rome.

Colosseum top tier rome
The top floor of the Colosseum,visited with reserved entrance ticket

Check what happens in the Pantheon when it rains

The Pantheon is one of the most famous buildings in the whole of Rome and one that is fun to visit with children due to the huge hole in its roof!

The hole (its official name is oculos) is there by design and adults and kids alike marvel at it, all ages coming together wondering: what happens when it rains?

The answer is simple: the rain comes in!

The proof can be found on the Pantheon floor: get your little explorers to find the draining wholes and enjoy the church while they play spy!

Discover Rome’s beautiful piazzas

Rome is an open air museums and one of the best things to do with kids is to just take a stroll around its beautiful piazzas.

One I love visiting with the kids is Piazza Navona.

This is one of the most beautiful and important piazzas in the whole of Rome but has something special kids will love: a toy shop with life size teddies! 

Other gorgeous spaces you should seek out are Piazza del Popolo, car free, Largo Argentina, which has a cat shelter hosted among ancient Roman ruins, Piazza di Spagna, with the famous Spanish steps and of course Piazza di Trevi, with the famous Trevi fountain.

A fanatic way to discover many of Rome’s most famous piazza is joining a family tour.

One we have taken and hugely enjoyed is this one by Tapsy tour, guided tour of Rome for families that shows you the most famous landmarks of the city in just 3 hours!

Important! It is forbidden to enter and splash into Rome’s monumental fountain. For splashing and drinking, use the small drinking water fountains instead – read all about them here

Piazza Navona fountain of the 4 rivers
Piazza Navona and its gorgeous fountain

Visit the Vatican: St Peter’s square and basilica

A visit to the Vatican is in order when visiting Rome and St Peter’s basilica and square are easily enjoyed by all ages.

Older kids will love climbing to the top of the dome (warning, it’s hard) and kids of all ages love the idea that the entering the square means crossing an international border!

However, the same cannot be said for the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel which are just very hard for kids (our experience here).

If you are thinking of visiting the Vatican museums with kids, I do recommend booking a tour that is family friendly such as this one.

Go to the park

Rome has some amazing parks and visiting them is more than just giving into some playtime as reward after sightseeing.

Most Rome parks used to be villas belonging to the aristocracy and are truly beautiful and historically important, worth seeking out by adults too.

Some you cannot miss are Villa Borghese, a large park in Rome city center (it also has the zoo) and Villa Doria Pamphili which offers stunning views of St Peter’s dome

Go to Explora, Rome’s children museum

Not many know that Rome has a nice children museum, a place not for sightseeing but for exploring. This museum is aptly called: Explora!

This is the only museum in Rome that truly is for kids and a real treat for little ones with options for role play, water-play and many interactive installations to stimulate learning through play.

Explora is the best place to go in Rome with a toddler
Explora Rome children museum

Go castle exploring

One of the most underrated but fun attractions to visit in Rome with kids is Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome’s castle.

The castle is just beside the Vatican (kids will love to learn there is a secret passage between the two!) and is fun to visit for kids since it is the only one of its kind in Rome. 

Parents will love it too as it has amazing views over the city.

Attend a mosaic class for kids

A really fun and educational activity I took with my daughter was a mosaic making class.

This class is offered by a company called Arte al Sole and is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon if you have a child who loves making things.

Over the course of about 3 hours, you are in the company of a master mosaic maker who will teach you all the secret to the mosaic art (the real one, this is not a gimmicky class for kids) and at the end you bring home your own creation!

This is one of my favorite family activities in Rome.

Take a family friendly pizza making class

A fantastic activity suitable for kids of, almost, all ages, is taking a pizza making class.

The one we took was specific for families and took place in a real Roman pizzeria right in the centre of the city.

Eat gelato

Another food-based activity, but how could I not include gelato in a list of must-do activities in Rome?

Gelato tours are available from food tour companies but my best advice is to make your own.

You can find the best places for gelato in this article (and also what makes it different from ice cream).

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

Rome has thousands of hotels and both standard and prices vary widely.

I have a full guide to the best areas to stay in Rome with family, but here are some of our favourites.

Hotel de Russie (luxury): a fantastic hotel with excellent facilities and amazing service. Rooms have air conditioning and mini bar and you can choose between a street or garden view. Kids are welcome and special attentions to them include the availability of cots, high-chairs, mobiles, nightlights and bathroom baby products.

Gand Melia (luxury) Another luxury hotel perfect for families thanks to the large rooms, the extensive gardens and a beautiful swimming pool. A great choice especially if visiting Rome with kids in summer when the temperatures are high and the sun relentless.

Hotel Kolbe (4 star hotel)A four star hotel with s a great location, large rooms, a garden and pleasant and helpful staff.

Hotel Mascagni (4 star hotel) Conveniently located close to Termini Train station, Hotel Mascagni had good family rooms and special attentions for little guests such as cots, high chairs, bottle warmers and complimentary colouring set on arrival.

Hotel Santa Maria (3 star hotel) A good 3-star hotel located in Trastevere, regularly rated as one of the most charming areas of Rome. Originally built as a convent, this hotel has beautiful rooms, a lovely cloister and a very welcoming attitude towards families.

Eating out with children in Rome

Eating out in Rome is easy: most of Rome’s traditional dishes are child approved (pizza and pasta are just an example) and Rome restaurants are not fussy when it comes to serving children.

Rome restaurants usually do not offer children menus but they do make half portions on request and they are usually happy to prepare a simple pasta dish for a child off the menu.

You can find our full list of family friendly restaurants in Rome here 

Travel essentials for a family trip to Rome

For ease of travel when visiting Rome with young kids, I recommend you pack the following essentials:

I hope you enjoyed my local mama’s guide to visiting Rome with kids. Safe travels!

Please note: this post was originally published in 2016 and has now been fully updated (September 2019)

Kids walking in Rome Trastevere

You can now read this article offline and get GPS-guided travel directions to the attractions featured in this article by downloading the GPSmyCity app on iTunes App Store or Google Play.

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35 thoughts on “Visiting Rome with kids: all you need to know

  1. Amy says:

    I am convinced my life won’t be complete until I can just live in this amazing city. I am so envious that this is your “home town”. You clearly have such love and passion for it, as well as great tips from experience! I will agree, off season is so much more enjoyable, November was incredible!

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      I really hope you get to live in Rome for a while (and if you do, tell me!). Some cities really speak to us and Rome seems to have had that charm on you. I love when this happens and I hope some day we can be there at the same time and compare notes in front of a Roman coffee!

  2. Laura @ Sometime Traveller says:

    The Villa Borghese park is a great recommendation – a lovely place to spend an afternoon. And (if the kids are old enough), it’s great to take a rowing boat out on to the little lake to try and spot the turtles!

    • Marta says:

      Oh yes, the turtles! I really like that part of Villa Borghese and often go for coffee there: it’s on the tram line from my house and the tram trip adds to the fun of the day for the kids 🙂

  3. Kevin Wagar says:

    Great guide! I visited Rome long before having kids and was just recently thinking about how I would tackle travel there with my two little ones. I completely agree that the Vatican would be a tough place, but overall I think that Rome is pretty kid-friendly. And there’s the Gelato of course 🙂

    • Marta says:

      Oh yes, gelato and kids (and adults too) are a match made in heaven 🙂 I agree about Rome, and Italy in general, being child friendly: I think the trick is to take some time to visit and not pack in too much, but between food stops and the nice weather I always have a great time there with the kids

  4. Dylan - Family Travel Go says:

    Thank you for writing such a detailed guide! Rome is already on our list of places to visit in the near future and now I have specifics on what to see. I am looking forward to the Pizza. I love all kinds of pizza and I just know I will love the pizza in Rome. I cannot wait to go experience Rome with my family!

    • Marta says:

      Pizza in Rome is just AMAZING! I have it almost every night when I am there and this drives my mum crazy – as an Italian mum, she’d love to cook for the grandchildren, but I need my pizza fix! 😉

  5. Bron says:

    Such a detailed guide with great insight and pics too. I really appreciate the little access tip too! Bron

    • Marta says:

      Thanks Bron! Rome can be a real obstacle course: now that I live in Ireland, which is super accessible, I notice her every step, pothole or narrow passage. But I can see things are improving, so hopefully I can update my post soon scraping off some of the negatives 😉

  6. Liz@worldwidewithkids says:

    In 2 months your wonderful city will be our home too. This guide is fantastic and thank you for being honest abut the negatives. All cities have their shortcomings but I prefer to know in advance.

    • Marta says:

      I can’t wait to hear what you make of Rome once you’re there! I will be there at the end of March and again in early July: we should try have aperitivo together 🙂

  7. evan kristine says:

    Glad kids enjoyed their travels too! I love when people do not give restrictions when it comes to travelling just because they have kids. Kudo to you!

    • Marta says:

      Thank you! What you do on your holiday is quite different, with kids, but I find they don’t hold you back half as much as some people make you believe 🙂

  8. Lisa (Travel Loving Family) says:

    I didn’t realise you were born in Rome Marta:) I visited the city many times when working on the ships, it is an incredible city and I would very much like to return one day with my family. I will keep the children’s museum in mind for as you have recommended I would definitely not wish to take young children into the Vatican! It was bad enough trying to keep track of my cruise ship passengers amongst the hundreds of tourists! This is a great guide. Thanks for linking up to #CityTripping.

    • Marta says:

      I can imagine Lisa! Being a guide in Rome would be my dream and my nightmare: I’d love to show it off to visitors, but the most famous sites can get so crowded it’s unbelievable. I guess my best option is to blog about it instead 😉

  9. Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) says:

    This is an absolutely brilliant guide to visiting Rome with kids. I shall definitely be sharing this one. Some excellent tips here. I’ve been to Rome a few times but never with my children and I’m very keen to show them this wonderful city. #citytripping

  10. Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says:

    An amazing guide to a city packed with historical sights which can be a bit overwhelming for families. I love your tip about drinking the water from the fountains and definitely agree about the Vatican – it’s a busy place! I’ll pin this for when we are ready to explore Rome as a family. Thank you for sharing all your fab insider knowledge and linking to #citytripping

  11. Lenore says:

    Grazie mille! I have been to Rome many times, however am taking the kids in a week! I was overwhelmed, but after this post, I have relaxed a little and have some things to fill in the days we don’t have tours booked. My 9 year old twins love mythology (Greek, Roman and Egyptian) and this city has so much to fill their minds! I am so excited now. A Roma!!!!!

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  14. nettoyeur haute pression says:

    First of all I would like to say superb blog!
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    do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
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  15. Annabel says:

    Thanks for this brilliant post. I’m arranging a trip to Rome with my kids this summer. I know Italy well and I also know that summer isn’t a good idea but we’re meeting Roman friends after a holiday at the seaside in Le Marche so decided to go to Rome before heading home. Anyway, your information will be really helpful for planning our stay.

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      I hope you have a brilliant time in Rome and how lovely about le Marche! I don’t often hear people going there but it’s a lovely area. I often go to Rome in summer now that we have to abide by school holidays and it’s hot but still worth it. I wish you a wonderful holiday!

  16. Emily says:

    This is a super helpful guide, thank you! We are tackling Rome this Easter with our 3 and 1 year old kids and I will definitely take your advice (especially with regards to food, gelato and drinks!)

    • Marta - Learningescapes says:

      I am delighted you found this useful! If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help. You are going at a beautiful time of the year, I hope Rome treats you all very well 🙂

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  19. Regan says:

    Hi Marta, thanks so much for this great guide! … I see that you have several others I should check out too. 🙂 I’m headed to Rome in a month with my (then) 9 1/2 month old son (who’s a very busy crawler) and partner and I’m trying to get prepared. I’ve been there before (many years ago), but my partner hasn’t, so I’d like to make sure he gets to see as much as possible. Not sure how easily we can do that baby-friendly, so any extra advice is would be MUCH appreciated! We live in Dublin too :), but this is going to be our first European city/sightseeing trip with baby. Thanks again for sharing all this great info!

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