Our round up of fun things to do in Rome with kids and teens: must see sites, children museum and Rome attractions for kids to add to your family trip to Rome.
Rome is a wonderful city to visit as a family.
Rich in history, green spaces and of course copious amounts of pizza and gelato, it has a lot to offer to children and their parents and is a fantastic multi-generational destination almost any time of the year.
Rome is my hometown and today, I share my list of the best things to do when visiting Rome with kids.
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AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN ROME WITH KIDS
Explore the Roman Forum and the Colosseum
Ancient Rome sits at the center of the modern city and is a wonderful place to explore with kids.
Start with the Colosseum and then take your time to take a stroll in the nearby forum: you will get a fantastic sense of how Rome used to be and how it evolved over time.
Visit the Emperors’ palaces on the Palatine
Where did the Emperors live, did they have a castle?
The best way to answer this question is to climb up to the top of the Palatine hill, just above the Roman forum, and stroll along what remains of Augustus’ palace.
Make sure you go on a sunny day for the biggest visual impact!
Look at the sky from inside the Pantheon
Can you look at the sky from inside a church? If the church in question is the pantheon, you can!
Originally built as a temple to all deities (pan= all theon= deities) the Pantheon is nowadays a church and captures the imagination of children thanks to the round hole in the centre of its roof called ‘oculum’.
Go early in the morning for a crowd-free experience. Extra bonus: entrance to the Pantheon is free.
Spy St Peter’s dome from a keyhole
At the top of the Aventine, on of the 7 hills of Rome, lies a small square with a large black door protecting the institute of the Maltese Knights.
Get the kids to spy through the keyhole and enjoy their delighted surprise. The keyhole frames perfectly one of the most breathtaking landmarks in the eternal city: St Peter’s dome!
Take a family friendly walking tour
An easy and fun way to explore Rome is letting a professional guide you around this incredible city.
A tour our kids loved was this one by Tapsy Tours, a whistle stop guided tour that is the perfect introduction to Rome.
Play truth and dare at the mouth of truth
Do you know the movie ‘Roman holidays’, the scene when Gregory Peck pretends to have his hand bitten off but a whole in the wall representing a mouth?
That whole in the wall exists and the kids find it equally scary and hilarious.
Cross an international border into St Peter’s square
The Vatican is a state within a State and entering St Peter’s square effectively means crossing an international border, something kids tend to get exceptionally excited about.
Once inside the square, make sure they stand on the round markings on the pavement: thanks to Bernini’s genius, they will see the columns disappear!
Get a private your of the Vatican museums
The Vatican museums are not particularly kid friendly but the Sistine chapel is incredible and some of the works of art truly breathtaking.
The best way to make this visit fun for kids is to get a private tour that is specific for families.
Go to Explora, Rome’s children museum
Scientists in the making, lovers of trains and tiny tots will love a visit to Explora, the children museum of Rome.
Here you can play in a soft area (for under 3s), learn about hydraulic machines and even drive the Italian high speed train ‘freccia rossa’.
Visit a cat colony
Rome loves cats and special legislation is in place to protect the strays, who can live safely and well fed in the so called ‘cat colonies of Rome.
If you want a cuddle, a great one is in Ostiense, beside Rome’s pyramid
Learn to make pizza
A really fun activity for kids in Rome is to learn to make pizza in a real pizzeria.
Play in Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese, in Rome city centre, in one of the capital’s most beautiful parks.
Here you have the zoo, playgrounds and a small pond with rowing boats for hire.
Visit Centrale Montemartini (museum)
What happens if you use an old electric plant and use it to host ancient statues?
This was the question behind the creation of the Centrale Montemartini museum, an old industrial space now converted into a museum with ancient Roman statues, mosaics and more.
This is a very peculiar space and one of the best things to do in Rome with kids on a rainy day.
Explore Castel Sant’Angelo
Rome is more famous for churches than castles but the one castle the city does have is pretty impressive.
Kids love the view above the river Tiber, the massive piles of cannon balls on the castle’s terraces and the secret tunnel that connects the castle to St Peter’s (closed, but you can see its entrance).
No trip to Rome can be complete without a generous dose of gelato.
Find here our recommended addresses and what makes gelato different from the ice cream you have back home.
Visit Rome Botanical gardens
Rome has beautiful botanical gardens located in Trastevere, just across the river from the main city centre.
These are a great space to explore with kids and a real hidden gem: for the most fun, give your child a camera to capture images of the most curious and impressive species.
Be a giant in Galleria Spada
While walking in the yard of the Spada Gallery, in Rome, you will soon find yourself in front of a long corridor framed by two rows of columns.
Nothing special with it until you get one of the staff members of the gallery to walk along it and turn into a giant!
This trick is the result of forced perspective, an optical illusion crafted by its clever creator Borromini
Catch a view
Rome is build on 7 hills and this means there are several locations from which you can enjoy a great view over the city.
Some of my favourite with kids are giardino degli aranci, on top of the Aventino , the terrace at the top of Vittoriano (Piazza Venezia), Campidoglio hill and the dome of St Peter Basilica.
Discover the mosaics of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Mosaics can be mind blowing even for young kids and Rome has some outstanding ones to capture their imagination.
An easy place to see them is Santa Maria in Trastevere: enter outside service hours and get close to the altar for the best view.
Have a picnic in Villa Doria Pamphili
Villa Doria Pamphili is one of the largest parks in Rome and a first favourite green space for locals and tourists alike.
Bring your own or get hold of a lovely picnic basket from the park bistrot for a perfect day out with views over the city.
Cycle along an ancient aqueduct
Older kids will love cycling along the ancient Roman aqueducts along via Appia. The road is bumpy but the view spectacular and unique.
Visit the spooky crypt of the Capuchins
Older children and teenagers tend to love the odd and somewhat disturbing Capuchin crypt, decorated with skulls and bones.
Explore layers of history in San Clemente
Rome has an long history and a place where you can see how different events and times followed one another is the incredible church of San Clemente.
The church exists over several levels: the lower one is the most ancient and dates back to Roman times while the most recent one, at street level, dates back to the VI century.
Visit Ostia antica
If you want to get away from the crowds, learn history and get some fresh air, make sure you plan a day trip to Ostia Antica a wonderful open air museum perfect for adults and children of all ages
Get adventurous in Rome’s catacombs
Older, adventurous kids may enjoy a trip to Rome’s catacombs.
Rome’s catacombs expand for hundreds of kilometers under the modern city: while safe to visit, make sure the kids (and you!) never leave the side of your guide as you will get lost.
Taste Rome’s incredible Jewish cuisine
If you have a young foodie in your travel party Rome will turn out to be a real treat.
You will get your fix of pizza, pasta and gelato of course but make sure you also get them to taste the amazing Jewish Rome cuisine.
The best place to do so is the area of the old ghetto and the thing to order are artichokes. Make also sure you taste desserts as they are truly special.
See the she-wold on the Campidoglio hill
The symbol of Rome is a she wolf feeding two children: Rome’s founder Romolo and his brother Remo.
You can see her depicted in many parts of Rome but the best place to get acquainted with her is on the Campidoglio hill: challenge your kids to spot her (she is outside, free for all to see)!
Smell the flowers in Rome’s rose garden
Rome has a small rose garden perched on the slope of the Aventine hill.
The garden is lovely in spring and has a gorgeous view over the palace of the emperors just in front.
Explore a pyramid
You don’t have to go to Egypt to see a pyramid.
If you are happy with an ancient roman reconstruction of one, Rome has you covered!
The Rome pyramid is in the area called Ostiense and it is a fun place to visit in Rome with kids. Younger kids will also enjoy the small playground just in front.
See street art in Ostiense
Rome is not particularly famous for street art but there is some and you can spot it best of all in the area called Ostiense.
This is an interesting part of town and very popular to go out at night too, something you may want to consider if vising Rome with teenagers
Look for the elephant in the piazza
Rome is full of statues of animals but no one is more peculiar than the one depicting an elephant in piazza della Minerva.
Small kids will enjoy seeing the little elephant while older kids are sure to appreciate the humor hidden in its history.
Run around Circo Massimo
At the bottom of the Palatine hill sits the Circo Massimo, the ancient Roman chariot racing stadium.
Nowadays the ‘circus’ is just a large, poorly kept space, but offers stunning views over the Palatine and is perfect for running safely around
Learn the legend behind the Fountain of the 4 rivers
Rome is full of legends and secrets and one of the better known is about the fountain of the 4 rivers in Piazza Navona.
Why does one of its statues look so scared? The clue is in the fountain but you can check your guess here.
Check out ‘Welcome to Rome’
Virtual reality and 3-D reconstructions of ancient Rome are at the centre of a new museum called Welcome to Rome, in Corso Vittorio.
The visit is short but impressive: adults and kids get an audio-guide explaining the different installations and a small cinema shows regularly a short movie on the history of the city.
Take a family friendly mosaic class for kids
Kids age 6 and up might love taking a mosaic class with a real artist.
This is a wonderful art based activity for kids in Rome and perfect for primary school age kids and teenagers
Throw a coin into the Trevi fountain
Do you want to come back to Rome?
Then you simply must throw a coin in Trevi Fountain: tradition says if you do so, you are sure to return to the Eternal city, something sure worth a penny!
Drink up from Rome’s small fountains
One of Rome’s most distinctive traits are its small fountains. They are everywhere in the city and offer free, fresh drinking water.
Tell your child to put their hand under the water and block the flow and wait for the giggles!
Spot the difference between the twin churches of Piazza del Popolo
Are your kids good at spotting differences?
Then they may enjoy the view of the twin churches in Piazza del Popolo, sitting beside each other.I’ll give you a clue: enter both churches as the answer is indoors!
Climb up the Spanish Steps
The famous Spanish steps are one of the most iconic sites in Rome but not particularly exciting for kids.
To make them more appealing to little ones, bring some change and get a small toy from the many street vendors for a few minutes of fun.
Check out a column that tells a story
How did you tell stories to posterity without a blog, a video, or even pen and paper?
You carved on stone, of course! This is exactly what some of the columns in Rome do: check out how it worked in Piazza Venezia, at the entrance of Trajan’s forum.
Marvel at the massive baths of Caracalla
Did you know Romans loved baths?
They did and they were not afraid to invest time money and work into creating immense structures to soak in water. Check out the Terme di Caracalla to learn about this but also to enjoy one of the most beautiful stretches of ancient Rome.
Explore fairy houses in the Coppede’ district
Want to see a house that looks out of a fairy-tale book? Then head to the Coppede district to discover a whole area of fairy looking buildings.
Built at the beginning of the 20th century, it is unique in Rome and fun to visit with kids for the peculiar animal shapes of the decorations.
See the portrait of every Pope in San Paolo fuori le mura
Ever wondered how many Popes existed and what they looked like? Wonder no more!
Head to St Paolo fuori le mura, a stunning basilica worth visiting for its architecture, and you can see their portraits lined up from the very first one to the current, for centuries of history!
Take a stroll in Trastevere
Gorgeous Trastevere is a treat at all ages.
Younger kids will love spotting the cats while older kids are likely to enjoy the many food joint and the several street performers that take hold of the streets especially in the late afternoon / evening.
Go to the pond at EUR
Rome is famous for its past but there is an area that showcases some interesting, newer architecture: Eur.
Head here if you are interested in experiencing an often overlooked part of the city and bribe little kids with a stop at the local pond!
Check out Rome zoo
Rome zoo sits inside villa Borghese and it a fun place for small kids to play and see animals.
Less impressive than others in Europe, it is nonetheless pleasant to explore and it is beside the Galleria Borghese, so parents of younger children can easily divide and conquer if a stop at the museum is off the table for the smaller in the family.
Learn history in Palazzo Valentini
You can learn about how Rome evolved in this family friendly museum in Rome is devoted to the ancient history of the city and hold reconstructions, drawings and miniature of what the city would have looked liked.
Marvel at the art in Galleria Borghese
Famous Galleria Borghese is worth a visiting at all ages.
The collections is breathtaking and while kids may not find it interesting as such, there are some statues that may catch their attention.
Should they really not be into it, the massive park around it will take care of keeping them busy a good while.
Get a hop on hop off bus tour
Want to see Rome but the kids are exhausted?
Then a hop on off bus tour can be just what you need. There are several available suitable for all ages and interest
Catch an outdoor concert
If visiting Rome in summer, make sure you check out the many outdoor concerts taking place in the city.
Roman families hide indoors during the scorching days but do emerge at night even with little kids. Get a list of what’s on in Rome each week at the local newsagent.
I hope you enjoyed this round up of things to do in Rome with kids small and big! Safe family travels.