Our review of the Tapsy Tour of Rome: discover what we loved about visiting Rome with the help of Tapsy the mole!
Rome is a city of stories.
Every corner, every monument and cobbled street has secrets to share with the interested visitors and this is what makes the city such an incredible destination for kids.
I love this richness and every time we go, I make a point of teaching something about Rome to my kids.
Rome is my hometown and, as a Roman history graduate, I feel passing on to them my passion for the city is a must, especially now that we happen to live abroad!
However, I find sometimes it is good to mix things up and add different voices to my own.
During our last trip to Rome I was delighted to have the chance to try one of the Tapsy Tours, specialized family tours of Rome.
I was attracted to them by their family proposition and cute materials and I had no doubt their cute Mascotte Tapsy (an explorer mole)would be a hit with the kids.
We took a tour with Tapsy in October this year and this is our review.
Please note: we were hosted by Tapsy Tours on this occasion in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Tapsy tour of Rome at a glance
Meetup and getting to know each other: introducing the characters
We met out Tapsy guide in front of the Colosseum, in the shade cast by the Arch of Constantine.
This was a very convenient meeting point as it is an area well served by tram, bus and metro lines.
The tour started at 9 in the morning and despite the crowds, we quickly found our guides.
They were easy to identify: one of them has the Taspy tour lollipop and, beside her, there was no one else but the mother of Rome’s founders Romulus and Remus, Rea Silvia!
The presence of an actress dressed as a Roman character was a hit for the kids and is one of the peculiarities of the Tapsy tours.
Characters accompany you along your trip and add a touch of fun and depth to the information shared by the guide.
Rea Silvia was the character of choice for the part of the tour covering ancient Rome and the kids really liked her.
She told them who she was, told them the story of her two twin children and how they got left and rescued by a she-wolf and she was the carrier of the ‘magic hourglass’ that got the kids to travel in time back to ancient Rome times.
They warmed to her straight away and later in the day they even managed to get hold of her crown for a photo opp!
Introductions done, the children had their first task: picking an ancient Roman name!
A tour with Tapsy is like a trip back into the past so you need to have a suitable name.
Rhea Silvia suggested some and my son picked ‘Aulus’. My daughter refused and kept her own, a decision our guide was very gracious about.
You can find here >>> a list of 100 Roman names for boys and
here >>> 100 ancient Roman names for girls
Tapsy Tour of Rome First Stop: the Colosseum
The first stop on this Tapsy Tour of Rome was the Colosseum.
The tour we have booked was a tour of the city rather than specific attractions and this means we stayed on the outside of the monument.
This approach was one of the things that made me choose this tour.
The Colosseum is fantastic with kids but I felt a visit inside and then a tour around Rome would have been too much on the same day.
Rather, I preferred to use this tour with Tapsy as an introduction and go inside the Colosseum on a different day.
If you choose this same approach, I recommend you read here >>> my tips for visiting the Colosseum with kids
We had a nice and long-ish stop here and our guide used the Tapsy activity booklet and the a ‘Rome there and then’ book to make the place come to life.
We then walked along the Roman Forum: like for the Colosseum, we only saw it from outside and kept a more in-depth visit for a different day.
Second stop: the Rome Capitoline Hill
Our second stop was the Capitoline Hill, one of the historic seven hills of Rome.
This hill is a short walk down the road from the Colosseum and a very scenic stop.
In ancient times, it was an important religious area in Rome, with temples to some of the most important Roman Gods and Goddesses and, in the renaissance, it was redesigned by Michelangelo.
It is a fantastic place and one of the best free attractions in Rome: I was very grateful to Tapsy Tour for its inclusion in out itinerary!
This was a really fun stop for the kids.
The square is home to a statue of Romulus and Remus, which the kids were prompted to find, is depicted on the Italian 50 cents euro coin, which the guide showed to the kids and is also where we had a well-deserved bathroom and photo stop.
The stop was very much needed as the walk from the Colosseum to the forum is not long but tiring for little legs and the guides made it really special with the use of a Polaroid camera.
My kids had never seen one and they loved seeing the photos come to life in front of their eyes: some things really never get old!
The photos were ready in a matter of minutes and the kids kept them so they could add them to their Tapsy booklet at the end of the day as a memento
Meeting Tapsy – Tapsy Tour of Rome highlight!
The night before the tours I had showed my kids a video of Tapsy the mole uploaded on Tapsy’s Instagram account and the idea of meeting Tapsy in person was very much what kept them going when tiredness started to creep in.
Tapsy didn’t disappoint: we met him just at the bottom of the capitol hill and both my kids loved seeing him and hugging him.
He is a very smiley character and very well dressed.
The kids noticed straight away that he had a tie for ‘special occasions’ like said in the video and they felt special as it meant he had made an effort just for them!
Tapsy was due to hop with us onto a mini van to go to the next stop and Little Ms E asked if he would sit beside her.
Tapsy tried, but maneuvering inside the back of the car proved too hard (poor Tapsy, I felt really sorry for him!) so we settled with him being at the front and us in the back.
He compensated that singing with us songs about Rome he had composed himself. He is quite a multi-talented character!
Stop 3: Piazza Navona
The third stop on our itinerary brought us to Piazza Navona. The piazza has ancient origins but it now shines in baroque splendor.
Our guides made sure the kids noticed the change and they got them to travel in time again all the way to Baroque times with the magic hourglass and even introduced us to a new character.
We said goodbye to Rea Silvia and said hello to la Pimpaccia!
The square is fun to visit with kids and the lack of cars made it a nice and relaxing stop.
Hunger started creeping in for the kids and so we asked our guides to take a small break to head to a cafe, which they kindly agreed to.
Stop 4: The Pantheon
The fourth stop in our itinerary was the Pantheon and this was one of the highlights of the tour for the kids.
More than in any other location, the guides made a real effort to make this stop interactive and the kids quickly found themselves hugging columns to see how thick they are and trying to push closed the Pantheon door, which is remarkably heavy!
They also of course got hooked by the idea of the whole in the Pantheon roof although they were disappointed in seeing that it didn’t rain while we were there – peculiar, since the rest of the week had seen torrential rain pretty much all the time!
Last stop on the Taspy Tour of Rome for families: Campo de’ Fiori
Our last stop was in nearby Camp de’ Fiori where we net our last charterer: a roman baker!
She welcomed us to the square with freshly baked pizza that we devoured in no time.
The kids were exhausted at this point and we had made it to lunchtime so this was a lovely touch and a very ‘roman’ thing to do.
Tapsy tour of Rome Review: our comments
Our day with Tapsy was a fun one and the organization of the tours was amazing in many respects.
The idea of the characters and the hourglass was excellent for the kids and rally made a difference in how they engaged with what they heard.
The presence of Tapsy, both in person and on stickers, lollipop and booklets was a highlight.
My kids were tired at the end of the tour and indeed 3 hours at the age of my two is maybe a little long.
However, Rome is a big city and the length of the tour reflects the desire of the guides to show as much of it as possible even to the time-poor visitor.
The guides put a lot of heart into it and I really want to commend them for it because distilling knowledge about Rome in bite-size, child-friendly chunks really is a hard thing to do!
We want to thank Tapsy tours for the lovely morning and as we said to Tapsy on the day, we hope to see him soon in Ireland!