Traveling to large cities presents families with the challenge of trying to enjoy a vacation while minimizing the number of times the kids complain about being tired or bored. Rome, though not necessarily a child-focused city, is a child-friendly city that provides families with ample opportunities to keep children engaged.
Balance Sightseeing with Play
Rome is home to some of the best art and history museums in the world, however, museums are rarely at the top of a kid’s list of favorite things to do. To make sure you are able to see Raphael’s breath-taking frescoes and Caravaggio’s masterpieces, provide children with an incentive for good behavior. There are plenty of parks throughout Rome where families can take a break from museums and children can run off some of their energy. After seeing Bernini’s expertly carved statues in Galleria Borghese, for example, rent bikes or have a picnic in nearby Villa Borghese. Relax from touring the historic city center with a visit to Rome’s largest park, Villa Pamphili, located just a short tram ride from Piazza Venezia. A hike up to Janiculum hill will reveal one of the best panoramic views of the city. Arrive around noon in time for the kids to enjoy the daily sight and boom of the cannon being fired and let them enjoy a few minutes of play at the nearby park before lunch.
Visit Kid-Friendly Monuments
Some monuments in Rome, though not specifically designed for families, are more family-friendly than others. Whereas museums discourage rowdy and rambunctious behavior, children are given a little more freedom at sights such as the Colosseum and Roman Forum. These outdoor monuments enable kids to be a little louder and excited as they explore. Children can run around with a degree of freedom in the Roman Forum as long as they stay on the paths, and the number of sights to discover within the Forum itself provides a great opportunity to turn a tour into a scavenger hunt.
Attend a Football Game
Football is one of the most important aspects of life in Italy. Enjoy some quality time together as a family at a game while immersed in the songs, chants, and overall atmosphere of this part of Italy’s culture. Rome’s Stadio Olimpico is the home field of both S.S. Lazio, representing the Lazio region, and A.S. Roma, representing the city of Rome, thus giving you and your family ample opportunity to catch a match during your visit. High-caliber teams from around the world such as Chelsea F.C. and Atletico Madrid come to Rome to play against Italian teams, meaning your family might be able to watch their favorite team play in the Eternal City.
Spend the Evening in a Piazza
Rome’s family-friendly side is most evident every evening in neighborhood piazzas. While parents sit and chat on nearby benches, children run around freely playing tag or football, so spend your evening like a true Roman and take part in the tradition! Some piazzas like Piazza San Cosimato have play structures for climbing, sliding, and swinging whereas others like Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere or Piazza Trilussa are frequented by musicians, magicians, fire twirlers who are sure to wow your kids.
When in doubt, give them ice cream. With a gelateria on nearly every corner, there is always an opportunity for a pick-me-up to keep parents and children smiling! Look for gelaterias with signs that contain the word “artigianale,” meaning handmade. These gelaterias will have freshly made gelato using local ingredients and seasonal fruits. If you walk into a gelato shop and see gelato displayed in tall, elaborately decorated towers, or if the flavors are fluorescent in color, these are signs that the gelato is more processed and made with artificial ingredients.