To travel to Rome with kids takes some planning. It's best to alternate a museum or cathedral with the zoo, a gelateria or an amusement park. Feel free to add your own experiences and help other families on vacation experience Rome to the fullest!
This is a long read with dozens of tips for visiting Rome with kids. We have divided it into:
- Tips for very small children
- Tips for 5-11 year olds
- Tips for teenagers
- Address list of amusement parks, theme parks and playgrounds
- Address list for toy stores, fashion for kids, specialty stores
- Address list for eating out with kids
- Address list for miscellaneous things to do
Rome with kids: Tips for TINY TOTS
When traveling to Italy, just know that the youngest of kids want to chase pigeons in the piazzas (squares), play in the parks and eat gelato – not necessarily in that order. So, we like to suggest our favorite spots for kids to romp. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be escorted into a museum and enjoy some of the sights there as well.
Parks in Rome
Villa Borghese - Our number one child-friendly destination! Especially just above Piazza del Popolo on the Pincio Hill…Here, you’ll find a merry-go-round, a rowing pond, pedal carts for the whole family, and the Zoo. There’s even a sort of “train” to take you around.
Villa Celimontana - Not only hosting jazz music every night during the summer, with light food and drinks – during the day, you’ll find a luscious park with a children’s play area and pony rides, too.
Not far is another playground nearer the Colosseum that is also fun for kids..
Or for those staying right in town, the Circus Maximus never disappoints. Our favorite hotel, Hotel Kolbe has a private garden where kids can play safely, just a stone’s throw from the Circus Maximus.
Explora is a hands-on learning center located close to Piazza del Popolo
In the heart of Villa Borghese is the Casina di Raffaello, a tidy villa where you’ll find toys and activities, too. A good place to go on a rainy day.
Up above Trastevere on the Gianiculum Hill, aside from getting a glorious viewpoint, there’s a small puppet theater where kids can enjoy old-time antics.
Tips for visiting Rome with kids ages 5-11
Yes, you read that right. Some children fall in love with the transportation options going around the city. Here are our favorites (forget the city buses, which are an adventure in itself for some, but generally, I don't recommend them):
Tram No. 03 - Takes you pretty much “everywhere” if your kids are in for a ride for a loop around town.
City Sightseeing or Bus 110, Hop-on / Hop-off buses - This is a terrific way to see the city, getting off at all the major sights and covering a lot more terrain without having to drag your kids from place to place. The ticket also gives you free transport on public buses (!) and the metro (subway) system. But don’t bother with the tiresome audioguides - they barely work anyway - and just sit back and enjoy the sights.
Tiber (Tevere) Boat - This operates off of Ponte Sisto near Trastevere, going down to Ostia, with other ad hoc operators offering short trips running toward the Castel Sant’Angelo. The problem is…no one fully knows when they’re actually in operation. So, Caveat Emptor!
Train to Ostia Antica - Always a favorite with kids and in just 20 mins you’re there, leaving from the Ostia Lido station right near the Pyramid. Tickets are just €1.50 for anyone over 12. From there, the beach is nearby with beach clubs you can enter for the day (or access public beaches, but no umbrellas and lounge chairs) if you get off at Ostia Lido or Castel Fusano.
* Let us know how we can arrange a family-friendly tour guide and activities like cooking for Ostia and some of our small, user-friendly museums around Rome! Or, a “sketch hunt” of animals around the Pantheon too! Contact:
Activities in Rome Center
Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition of all his machines and more! Near Piazza Navona / Campo dei Fiori in Piazza della CancelleriaTickets & info: https://www.mostradileonardo.com
Cat Sanctuary in Largo Argentina (also close to Pantheon)
Castel Sant' Angelo - Go up on the roof and down in the dungeons (extra ticket needed) for some good fun around Hadrian’s Mausoleum turned Castle.
Multimedia Rome Experience Show -A new show near Piazza Navona, but we haven’t seen it just yet (stay tuned for our review) located on one of the main streets of Rome, Via Vittorio Emanuele.Tickets: https://welcometo-rome.it
Pyramid Tour - The tours are offered rarely, but well worth it. Not so far from Circus Maximus • Ask us to book tickets
Villa Borghese - Up on the Pincio Hill, you can find go-carts and Segways and bicycles for rent!
Activities on the Appian Way (Via Appia Antica)
Yes, this is Rome, too, and an ideal adventure for relaxing out of the heat of Rome with kids.
Slightly outside the city walls, it’s a wonderful way to get out of the hustle bustle of Rome and enjoy a different Italian experience.
Museo della Mura - Here, you can venture inside the actual walls of Ancient Rome, to what was once a fortified defensive post protecting the city. From here, you can walk up the Appian Way (or grab a quick bus - be sure to download the Citymapper app) and you’re on your way! You can eat at trattorie along the way, or just stop in a cool garden for a cold drink.
Gladiator School - Always book in advance
In Spring and Summer, you may be able to catch a glimpse of an Ancient Roman village setting up in the Circus of Massenzio (Massentius) along the way! Especially on April 25, the day we choose to celebrate Rome’s founding.
The Catacombs - There are various options here: San Domitilla • San Sebastiano (very small) • San Calisto (organized group tours in your language)
Renting bicycles / horseback riding
The Butterfly House https://www.lacasadellefarfalleonline.it/info
Aqueduct Park: See the ancient aqueducts - a lovely place for a photo shoot! [Ask us to set up a sunset shoot for your family!]
Rome with kids: Tips for teenagers
Aside from visiting museums and gaining some knowledge and enthusiasm on life in ancient Rome, or the artists and patrons who made it great over time, there are some older kid-friendly things to do in and out of Rome. Be sure to look at the listing above, too, as we have many overlaps!
Dome of St. Peters - Not for the faint of heart! But climb up and enjoy the view….
Catacombs (see above)
Cappuccini Monks chapel - Also not for the faint of heart…Right on the Via Veneto, you can see the skeletons of thousands of friars put to use as interior décor…
Bike rental in Villa Borghese or on the Appian Way (We never recommend bike / cart rentals in the Rome City Center)
Riding down the Via Appia or down by Ponte Marconi along the Tiber River
Multimedia light show at Trajan's Forum Shows nightly starting at 9pm lasting 40 minutes.
Activities outside of Rome
EUR Adventure Park (Metro Subway accessible) https://www.eurpark.it
EUR Lake, for boat rentals, gelato, good eateries and a public pool (Piscina delle Rose) and more!
EUR Lunapark amusement park
Cinecitta' World amusement park / movie studios
Rainbow Magicland (Valmontone)
Tivoli Terme / Baths - large cool pools to spend the day and really cool off!
ASK US! To book a day out or a MOSAICS LAB or COOKING COURSE • VISIT an ART RESTORATION Lab • Do a Sketch Tour or Photography lesson around Rome
Special dates to enjoy when in Rome with kids:
- April 25 - Rome birthday celebrations
- June 29 - Fireworks display in front of Castel Sant’ Angelo to celebrate the Feast Day of Saints Peter & Paul
- Estate Romana - stalls and eateries extending along the Tiber River and Isola Tiberina all summer long*
*These events were closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is unclear if and when they will reopen.
theme parks and playgrounds
Oasipark: Open daily from 9:30 - 20:00, closed between 13:00 - 15:00 on weekdays. Admission free. 5000 m2 Fun for the whole family.Via Tarquinio Collatino 56/58 00175 Rome
Hydromania:, Large Water Park near Rome. Open: daily from May - September.Vicolo del Casale Lumbroso, 200, 00166 Roma RM
Ancient Rome Park: Visit the website (which is a bit cluttered and only partially in English) to find out what's on the program. You can also book for the Gladiator school here.Via Appia Antica 18 - 00179 Roma
Bioparco: The Rome Zoo is located in Villa Borghese Park is one of the oldest zoos in Europe and houses over 1,000 animals.
Open: daily from 9 to 17.00 (winter) and 18.00 (summer). Admission from €13.50 for an adult and €11.50 for children over 12 years of age or taller than 1 meter. Children shorter than 1 meter are free.
Book in advance to get better rates. At the box office (last minute and space available) tickets cost €9 and 65+ year-olds on Wednesdays pay only €9.
Tiber Village: Rome also has its "Urban Beach," an artificial beach along the banks of the Tiber near the Ponte Sant'Angelo called Tiber Village. Open: mid-June to mid-September between 10:30 and 20:00. The pool closes at 6:30 pm but the bars and restaurant remain open for the popular "happy hour". Ideal for escaping the heat of the city. (Not known if this will reopen in 2022). Just don't try going in the river! It is extremely dangerous.Ponte Sant'Angelo, 00186 Roma RM
Concerts for children: The Auditorium Parco della Musica sometimes has special concerts for children.Via Pietro de Coubertin, 30, 00196 Roma RM
Casina di Raffaello: Located in Villa Borghese, especially for young children (ages 3-10) a paradise to play outside and inside (if it rains) with a theater and other creative workshops. Open: Daily (except Monday) from 10 to 19.00. Outside free, inside 3 € entrance.Viale della Casina di Raffaello, 19, 00197 Roma RM
Toy stores, fashion for kids, specialty shops
Polvere di Tempo: A store in the Trastevere neighborhood full of curiosities like a warehouse for Harry Potter movies. A paradise for small (and big) globetrotters.Via del Moro, 59, 00153 Roma RM
Campo dei Fiori: In the Piazza Campo dei Fiori, daily except Sunday from 8am to 1pm. Open air market of vegetables, fruits, clothes, cheese, flowers and masses of Italians all ready to admire your kids and/or dogs.
Pinco Pallino: Via Vittoria (closed) This is the ultimate store for little princesses but it has unfortunately closed due to the pandemic. The brand is still available in outlets and online.
Al Sogno: a historic toy store in the capital. The store is located in one of the most beautiful and famous squares in the world, Piazza Navona, in the beating heart of Rome, a destination for every tourist and visitor. In the store, time seems to have stood still. You will be taken into an enchanting and amazing world, a world inhabited by dolls, fairies, gnomes and fantasy figures. You can visit the museum and the doll and toy hospital, which are open non-stop from May to October from 10:00 to 22:00.Piazza Navona 53, Rome.
A.S. Roma: Football fans, this is the official online store of A.S. Roma
Eating in Rome with kids
Il Forno: On the Campo dei Fiori, next to the La Carbonara restaurant, one of the best pizza (and delicious bread) bakeries in Rome.Piazza Campo de' Fiori, 22, 00186 Roma RM
Buccianti's: near the Pantheon, one of Rome's most famous ice cream parlors. A visit to Rome is not complete without an ice cream at this gelateria.Via Giustiniani, 18A, 00186 Roma RM
Tre Scalini: restaurant & gelateria in the center of Rome on the famous Piazza Navone, especially known for its desserts and ice cream menu (or for parents - truffle dishes).Piazza Navona 28, Rome
Other attractions in Rome
Largo Argentina cat sanctuary: Petting and viewing cats, English-speaking volunteers explain. Donations appreciated.
Colosseum: Of all the many sights, we will just mention this one, the list would get too long for this article. Many families prefer to admire it from the outside.
Roma Archaeologica Card: Rome with kids can still turn out to be financially challenging, but buying a multi-ticket for most of the sights in advance will save money and you won't have to stand in line. (Check if it is again avalaible on line). Or else ask us:
Fountains: Other than the Trevi Fountain, there are masses of fountains that children love. But remember, no matter how hot you are, it is strictly forbidden to put your feet (or fingers!) in the water – and there is a hefty fine if you get caught.
Christmas Nativity Scene: If you're in Rome with kids in December, be sure to take them to see the most beautiful nativity scene in St. Peter's Square.