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Rome with kids - Plan your visit

Coming to Rome with kids?

Find out the best way to visit Rome with children, whether toddlers or teenagers, and find out all the cool things to see and do with them.

Also find out what's free and discounted!

Piazza Adriana Rome CarouselThe carousel of Piazza Adriana takes its name from the mausoleum built by Emperor Hadrian. To the park’s designers, kid's amusements such as carousels conflicted with their vision of the park as a peaceful oasis in urban life. Yet it's still in use and considered a popular addition.

Rome with kids - The best way to visit

In nearly 20 years of helping visitors plan their stay in Rome - from our B&B guests to friends and family - we have had the pleasure of experiencing Rome with kids of nearly every age and interest-level.

We almost always hear the same questions about travelling to Rome with children, so on this page, we'll answer:

Rome for kids - by a Roman

Parts of this page were written by Alessandro, who shares his memories of what it was like to grow up in Rome in the 1960's and 70's.

Is it ok to eat out with kids in Rome restaurants?

Rome restaurants with kids

This is one of the most popular questions we hear about visiting Rome with kids.

I suppose it's because people are not sure what to expect in Rome restaurants, and how well children are tolerated by Italian diners.

I have two words: Rest easy.

Dal Toscano Restaurant RomeAt one of my favorite Sunday-lunch spots, Dal Toscano, families bring everyone and enjoy the long Sunday lunch. Here we have babies and toddlers and grandparents to entertain them!

In general, Italians tend to love children.

They dote on them and give them lots of leeway to be kids.

Children of all ages are welcome in most restaurants in Rome and other parts of Italy.

Depending on the age of your child, you can ask for a high-chair (seggiolino in Italian) if you need to.

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Eating Out in Rome - Children's Menus

Sometimes you will see a "Children's menu", but most often, you won't.

Many Italian children just eat what grownups eat, Roman cuisine.

typical menu in romeEating out with children in Rome should be relaxed and easy. Don't worry about the menu. Just ask the waiter for whatever your child is craving.

If you are looking for simpler fare, check the menu for the Contorni (side-dishes) section.

You'll find veggies and usually roasted potatoes. 

Most places will be happy to make you a simple spaghetti with plain tomato sauce (or if your child eats cheese, try the traditional Roman pasta dish cacio e pepe, which is just cheese and black pepper - a delicacy!)

Cacio e Pepe pastaCacio e pepe is a very popular dish with kids. It's the Roman version of Mac n Cheese!

Street Food in Rome

Besides enjoying a sit-down meal in a Roman trattoria, you may also want to enjoy some typical street-food.

This includes pizza by the slice, supplì (rice-balls), gelato, and lots of other delicacies.

One excellent way to have fun with kids in Rome is to go on a street-food tour with them.

You will all enjoy it, and get to know something about Roman culinary traditions to boot!

What are some of the best activities in Rome for kids?

There is something to do in Rome for kids of all ages.

What you plan to do can depend on whether you are visiting Rome with toddlers, pre-teens, or teenagers.

Elyssa speaking 

When my sister and I were little, aged 3 and 5, our parents drove around Europe in a VW van (sorry I don't have pix, this was pre-instagram.)

And they said, "We are only going to visit zoos and parks."

They did not take us to any museums or archeological sites.

They said we loved it, and they did too.

You can do this in Rome.

We have a huge amount of green space, and lots of large, beautiful parks all over the city.

We also have a zoo.

So if you are in Rome with small children, and want to follow in my parents' footsteps, you can.

Besides visiting parks and gardens, depending on their ages and also their interests, here are our recommendations for the best things to do with kids in Rome:

Visiting the Colosseum with Kids

After visiting this amazing monument over the years with visiting friends and family, including kids of all ages, here are my tips:

  • The Colosseum is not a great place to bring a stroller. If you use a stroller and need it for visiting other stuff later, I recommend bringing a lightweight, fold-up one that you can easily carry.
  • Consider limiting your visit to just the Colosseum. Your ticket includes a visit to the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill. And while I am a huge fan of these sites, in my experience, children under say 16 or so, get tired/lose focus once they've done the Colosseum. The Colosseum itself doesn't take much more than an hour, but there is getting there, standing in the security line, and then touring the monument itself. It's fantastic, but after that, usually kids seem to want to do something else. Like eat
  • Obviously, you all should be wearing the most comfortable shoes and clothing you can. I strongly urge you and your kids not to walk around Rome in flimsy flip-flops.
  • Since now you must book a date and time for the Colosseum, I recommend going first thing in the day and getting this "out of the way." This way, you can use the rest of the day for other activities, or for just wandering around.
  • Bring a water bottle. You can fill up around Rome, and also inside the Colosseum.
  • Because the best part of visiting the Colosseum is hearing the history and the stories, I really recommend you visit with a knowledgeable and fun tour guide.

See an Old-fashioned Puppet Show

Alessandro speaking - Towards the end of the 1950s, a little-known puppeteer of Neapolitan origins opened his own "box" in the main square of the Janiculum hill, with the name "Il Teatrino del Gianicolo."

I remember (as if it were now) almost every Sunday in Autumn, I used to go with my dad to see the shows for kids my age (I must have been 7/8 years old, no more.)

The journey in the dark blue Fiat 124 Special from Termini to the Gianicolo seemed infinite and infinitely beautiful: the trees that changed various shades of yellow, orange, red, purple and brown, the austere torsos of the statues of the heroes of the Roman Revolution, in contrast with the cloudless blue sky.

Those Sundays in October in Rome, where a simple park became a magical place, are indelibly imprinted in my memory.

And so, licking a fleck of cotton candy while dad is enjoying his espresso (yet another) we move towards the theater, where suddenly a female voice announces "attention, the comedy is starting" ...  the curtain opens and the show of Pulcinella and his companions begins!!

At the end of the show, the crowd happily cheers. 

This is how a man tells of this memory of the puppets and the Teatrino del Gianicolo. Which for 60 years filled that square with kids' laughter.

In 2020 and 2021 the stage of the Gianicolo sadly shut down, due to both the death of the founders (Carlo and Agnese) and for COVID-19 restrictions. 

But now the grandson is running it again so rest assured, "Teatrino di Pulcinella" is back to to bring joy to kids and adults alike!

Gianicolo Puppet Show Gianicolo HillPuppets at the "Teatrino del Gianicolo". From 1959 onwards, it became part of the evocative and historic panorama of Piazza Garibaldi on the Janiculum Hill

Il Teatrino del Gianicolo is the oldest of its kind in Rome.

Related to the Italian Commedia d'Arte (the regional Comedy masks of Pulcinella, Pantalone, Brighella, Arlecchino etc.), for his artistic merits the former President of the Republic C.A Ciampi, rewarded its founders with the title of Knight of the Republic.

Where: Belvedere of Piazzale Garibaldi on the Janiculum hill

Hours: Sundays and Holidays, hourly from 11 HM until 05 PM. About 40 minutes

Cost: Free although a small (1€) donation is recommended

Watch a cannon go off

As with the Teatrino in Piazza Garibaldi, this park holds another sweet memory from my childhood.

Our parents at least once a month during the spring (and usually on Sundays) took us kids to the panoramic terrace of the Janiculum Hill.

As far I was concerned, the only reason I was willing to climb that hill was because of the first gelato of the season!

Shortly before noon, the baritone voice of my dad Antonio pronounced "your ice cream can wait ... there will be a bang soon ... let's go!”

The emotion this stirred in me managed to prevail over my disappointment of having to wait to get my vanilla gelato.

The leap I gave when it happened!!

I remember the white cloud that came out of the bronze mouth of the cannon, pushed back by the recoil - and the consequent applause of the cheering crowd.

On the way back home, I asked my father, with the naivety of my 9 years, what the cannon was hitting and what damage it did every day!

My father (who was at the time in active duty in the Carabinieri ) told me that it fired "blanks", just to inform Rome's citizens that at that precise moment noon had struck.

Janiculum Rome. The firing of the CannonIt’s a tradition that has lasted for almost a century and a half. Noon is announced in Rome with a cannon shot fired from a rampart below the large terrace of the Janiculum Hill.

So what’s the story of the Cannon of the Gianicolo Park?

It really doesn’t go along with its surrounding: lush gardens; stunning views; monumental architecture; a memorial dedicated to those who gave their young lives for the independence of Rome.

The remains of the war headquarters during the besieging by the French and the Austrians; marble busts of those who fought as heroes with Garibaldi's army; an equestrian statue of Garibaldi, the hero of two worlds.

And finally, a lighthouse, donated to the city by the Italians of Argentina on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of Italy and to commemorate Rome as the capital (19 September 1911). 

So, although standing in a historical area with a formidable cultural patrimony, this cannon, to locals, evokes mainly good memories.

The cannon shooting tradition dates back to Pius IX who, in order to avoid time confusion, instituted this tradition in 1846.

Initially, in 1902-1903, the cannon was fired from the towers of Castel Sant'Angelo. Then in 1903 it was fired from Monte Mario. 

As of 1904, under the Belvedere del Gianicolo, at 12 noon, three soldiers every day load a blank howitzer and fire a shot. 

Where: Piazza Garibaldi, Gianicolo Hill

Hours: Every day at noon sharp

Cost: Free

Go Cycling in the park

Rome is not well suited to bicycle travel by virtue of its scary traffic and mostly uneven and cobblestone streets. 

However, the Mobility and Parking Services (especially during the pandemic) worked intensively to expand the bicycle network by developing bicycle routes, installing bicycle racks, and introducing a wide range of electric bicycles for rent.

Rome boasts the distinction of being the greenest city in Italy, with a vast number of public parks, nature reserves, and archaeological parks.

Villa Borghese Park is a great location for kids and their parents to ride a bike.

You can also enjoy a ride in a cycling cart: It's made to seat up to four people, but as an adult, you can do the majority of the pedaling if needed.

Rome. Cycling in the parksAt Villa Borghese Park there are companies with a convenient and affordable solution for year-round family bike rentals.

It's easy to rent a bike from one of the many rental operations around the park.

Or take a themed bike tour delving into architecture, local food, neighborhoods and history.

San Carlino Puppet Theater

The San Carlino Puppet Theater is located in the heart of the Villa Borghese park.

This is the perfect place for families to explore and play!

Although entirely indoor, the venue has large spaces for the kids to intermix, where the natural light coming from the high ceilings and large windows illuminates the stage, linking the theater to the surrounding nature and its colors, like a framed painting.

Where: Villa Borghese, Viale dei Bambini

Hours: Saturdays and Sundays  10:30AM- 1:30PM and from 2:30PM to 5:30PM

Cost: Adults (from 14 - 65) 9.50€ online or 11.00€ at the theater booth,  Kids (3 - 14 ) and over 65, 8.50€ online or 10.00at the theater booth

Explora Museum

Rated the No. 1 children's museum in Rome, Explora Children's Museum is the perfect playground for kids.

The Museum is located within 90,000 square feet of innovative, interactive exhibits for kids, from 0 - 12 years of age.

Rome Explora Museum for children"Explora" the Museum for Kids in Rome is the first private non-profit Italian Children's Museum. It is a permanent structure dedicated to children, schools, and families active since 2001.

Where: Former Atac Tramway Warehouse, in Via Flaminia 80, 00196 Rome

Hours: Thursdays-Fridays 3:00PM-6:45PM. Saturdays-Sundays 10:00AM- 06:45PM.

Cost: Adults 9,00€ - Kids from 1 to 3 years old 6,00€

Can children ride the Metro/Bus for free in Rome?

Kids 10 years old or younger ride Rome's bus and metro system for free and must be accompanied by an adult.

Children older than 10 will need to purchase a valid ride ticket before riding on any of ATAC vehicle.

Folding strollers are allowed on public transportation in Rome free of charge.

What discounts do kids get at Rome sites and museums?

The Vatican

Kids can definitely visit the Vatican Museums and depending on their ages, you may want to consider doing a tour designed for kids, or maybe just a turbo visit to keep them from getting bored or tired.

  • Kids between 6-18 years of age pay 8€ entry + 4€ booking fee.
  • Kids under 6 years of age enter for free.

Saint Peter's Basilica and Saint Peter's Square are free for everyone.

Kids can climb Saint Peter's domeThe cost is 8€ to take the stairs or 10€ to take the elevator halfway. The second half has no elevator option. There are no discounts for anyone to climb the dome.

The Colosseum

At the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, everyone under 18 is allowed free entry.

This pricing rule is valid across all state sites in Italy and includes sites and museums such as Palazzo Barberini, Castel Sant'Angelo, and Pompeii, for example.

Private museums make their own rules. Your kids could go free, pay full price, or anything in-between.

I'd suggest to carry a valid ID (at least a photocopy) to prove their ages if necessary.

Should you get the Roma Pass for a child?

If your child is under 18, it's probably not helpful to get the Roma Pass for them. It's certainly not much of a savings.

  • At museums, monuments, and archaeological sites run by the State of Italy, admission is free for everyone under 18. Usually for people aged 18 to 25, the ticket is 2 Euros. This includes the Colosseum.
  • At museums, monuments, and archaeological sites run by the City of Rome (Comune di Roma) admission is free for everyone under 6. Usually children aged 6-18 have a reduced entry fee. This includes the Capitoline Museums.
  • Children under 10 travel free on public transportation in Rome as long as they are accompanied by a fare-paying adult.

What's the best area to stay in Rome with children?

If you are planning a trip to Rome with your kids, you may be wondering what neighborhood to stay in.

There is so much to do in Rome for families – including museums, sightseeing, and of course, public parks.

One great piece of advice I read from NYT journalist Danielle Pergament is this: if you are travelling with small children, book a hotel near a park or playground.

This will help on arrival day with jet-lag, but also during your stay, as you will have an easy way to entertain your baby or toddler, and tire them out so they'll sleep well.

There are so many choices depending on what you plan to do on your trip.

Explore the different Rome neighborhoods with our guide.

Where can you take your kids to a swimming pool in Rome?

Summer temperatures in Rome can be frightfully hot and you’re desperately trying to keep your kids entertained... take them to a pool. 

Rome offers many family-friendly pools, as well as water parks to spend a day of water-drenched fun!

Piscina Delle Rose

Large olympic-size outdoor pool that offers swimming and canoeing lessons, and where loungers and folding beach chairs can be rented.

EUR District -  Viale America 18/20 – Tel. 0654220333

Open weekdays 8 AM – 8 PM; weekends 9 AM – 9 PM

Club Lanciani Nuoto 

Dazzling pool located in a Tennis Club, featuring great amenities to enjoy swimming and going out into the sun. Furthermore, there is a fitness center and hot tub available for workouts and relaxation, respectively.

Tiburtina District - Via di Pietralata 135 – Tel. 064181401

Open weekdays 08 AM – 08 PM; weekends 9 AM – 9 PM

Circolo Valentini

Neighborhood family-run sports club, featuring a nice pool. 

Bufalotta District - Via della Marcigliana 597- Tel. 067120207

Mallia Sporting Club

Balduina District - Via Pantaleone Rapino, 18 – Tel. 0635346493

Piscina Appia Country Club

This pool located not far from the Archaeological Park of Appia Antica includes a landscaped and partially shaded deck, locker rooms, and plenty of little accessories that are perfect for kids.

Roman Appian and Pignatelli Aqueducts - Via Appia Pignatelli, 454- Tel. 067180137

Piscina Domar Sporting Club

Small yet completely renovated swimming pool and kids area.  Surrounded by open green space, this pool is perfectly enjoyable for both adults and families with kids.

Portuense district - Via Portuense, 761/B- Tel. 066557159

Vigor Sport Center

This Sporting Club, featuring more than 1 swimming pool, is tucked a little off the beaten city’s paths and welcomes an eclectic mix of locals every summer. Starring a bar in the pool area and an indoor restaurant.

Collatino District - Via Grotta di Gregna 100 - Tel.064060509

VillaTalenti Sport Club

Rome’s latest entry, this park-pool is beautiful, shining like a quite oasis amid leafy Talenti Park in east Rome. 

Montesacro district - Via U. Fracchia 8 - Tel.+39 3353059552

ACQUAPARK

Acquapark is a true cooling-off oasis that is spread over an area of ​​90,000 square meters. The numerous swimming pools (one of which is Olympic size), the water slides of all heights, the water games, the areas designed for children, the sandy beach and the one with grass, the soccer field and the beach volleyball… it is impossible not to find an attraction tailored for your kids.

North West Outbound -  Vicolo del Casale Lumbroso, 200- Tel.+39 06 6618 3183


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