Jun 11, 2024 7 min read

Ultimate Travel Guide to Rome, Italy - Attractions For Children

It is well known that Rome is a very attractive and accessible destination for a city break: frequent flights, relatively short distance from home, reasonable prices for flights, and countless tourist attractions.

Children Attractions Rome, Italy

But how friendly is the "eternal city" to its youngest tourists? After spending a weekend there, I found that it’s not exactly at the top of child-friendly cities. Here’s why:

  • If you still use a stroller for your baby during trips, as we do (mainly for the afternoon nap), you will quickly realize that the city’s infrastructure is not the friendliest:
    • Metro stations are not fully equipped with elevators or even escalators.
    • Many buses and trams have narrow doors that are difficult to navigate with a stroller.
    • The roads are often paved with cobblestones, making it hard to push the stroller (and it’s uncomfortable to sit in, too!).
  • The hustle and bustle of tourists at major attractions can be a very conducive environment for easily getting lost… you wouldn't believe how closely my parents watched me.
  • As for the attractions, you can imagine how interested a child under 3 years old might be in looking at ruins, columns, and arches they know nothing about and listening to the history of these structures from hundreds and thousands of years ago.

So, what do you do when you arrive in Italy's capital with a child who is neither too young to sleep most of the time nor old enough to be interested in ancient history and relics? You adapt and tailor your itinerary according to the attractions in Rome suitable for children. Which attractions? We will tell you!

Meet the Freak Bubbles

Naturally, as soon as you arrive in Rome, your steps will lead you to the Colosseum. It’s the most famous attraction here and rightly so. It’s huge, impressive, incredibly resilient, and over 2000 years old. Clearly, it’s something you must see at least once in your life. Moreover, around it are all kinds of other historical remains of undeniable importance and fascinating for anyone passionate about this field.

And if, while walking outside, you’ve managed to negotiate with your little ones for a bit of time and patience from them, things change if you consider buying entry tickets. So, if you manage to visit the interior with the kids, you are truly lucky.

Freak Bubbles is one of the street vendors who captivate passersby with their talents, performing voluntarily for tips left in their box. In this case, the gentleman has the talent to fill the street with hundreds of soap bubbles in a single move, envelop you in a bubble if you wish, and delight children so much that they forget about the fatigue of the trip, the boredom of the ruins, and any other complaints they had.

Near the Colosseum, passing by the Arch of Constantine and continuing on Viale di San Gregorio, you soon reach the place where the largest stadium of Ancient Rome once stood. Circus Maximus is now just a strip of land stretching under the Palatine Hill, but considering that access is free, it can be a perfect playground for kids, an improvised football field, or a large running area for burning off excess energy.

Visit the Park at Villa Borghese

This is perhaps the place in Rome with the most attractions for children gathered together.

Entrance to the Park

What can you do here with the little ones?

  • Befriend the geese and ducks by the lake and feed them (be careful though, as they are quite greedy and might nip at your jacket like they did to mine).
  • Take a boat ride on the lake near the Temple of Aesculapius.
  • Run through the park, collect acorns (even if I thought they were seashells, haha), examine the trees, jump in puddles, and many other fun activities for kids.
  • Play around the time-frozen lions on the esplanade in front of the National Gallery of Modern Art (I was instantly drawn to them, though I admit I was a little scared, even though they are just statues – very well-crafted statues).
  • Visit the Bioparco di Roma zoo (entrance fee is €18 for adults and €14 for children taller than 1 meter) and take a ride on the little train.
  • Visit Villa Borghese or other museums if you are passionate about art, famous paintings, and sculptures.

Explore the Children's Museum (Il Museo dei Bambini) in Rome

Very close to Piazza del Popolo, on Via Flaminia, there is a museum dedicated especially to children aged 0 to 11. Similar to our Knowledge City, built entirely from recycled materials, Explora features a large exhibition pavilion, a free access green play area, a kitchen for educational workshops, a bookstore, and a shop with scientific games, allowing children to observe, touch, learn, and discover a wide range of activities created especially for them through play and socialization with other children of the same age.

The available activities familiarize children with diverse areas such as science, environment, communication, economy, and technology. The Explorers area is designed for the youngest visitors, aged 0 to 3 years.

Access prices vary by age and the visiting hours are divided into four time slots, except on Mondays when the museum is closed. To ensure you fit into the opening hours, we recommend checking the schedule on the museum's website.

Climb High to See Rome from Above

If your children are also fascinated by views from above, then we already have a common passion.

And since Rome is known as the city of seven hills, of course, you find places at heights where you can look out over the city stretching below your feet:

  • Terrazza del Pincio in Villa Borghese park, with a view of Piazza del Popolo and the eastern area of Rome, including the Vatican. It is also a spacious esplanade, perfect for children.
  • The viewpoint at Trinità dei Monti, at the top of the steps rising from Piazza di Spagna, offers a good view of the square, the domes of nearby churches, and the green terraces of the surrounding buildings.
  • Behind the Capitoline Museum (Musei Capitolini), passing under the arch on Via del Campidoglio, you reach a small street with a view over the entire Roman Forum, or what remains of what was once the largest public square of Ancient Rome. Ruins, columns, and triumphal arches transport you to another world, allowing you to imagine what the city looked like in those times.
  • On the roof of the impressive Il Vittoriano monument, built in honor of Italy’s first king, Vittorio Emanuele II. The building now serves as a museum with free entry, and at fixed hours, you can watch the changing of the guard on the steps of the building at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Access to the upper terrace, right next to the giant black horse-drawn carriages overlooking the city, is via a panoramic elevator
  • In the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) offering a priceless view of the Vatican, you can climb partially by elevator and then on foot up 320 steps.
  • On the upper terrace of Castel Sant’Angelo, one of Rome’s oldest buildings, erected by Emperor Hadrian and once the tallest building in the city. The castle now serves as a museum, giving you access to the terrace with a view of the city from the fifth floor. It’s certainly a special experience for children who will imagine a world of princes, castles, and princesses of yore.

Walk Along the Tiber River

Once you reach the castle, it’s the perfect place to start a walk along the river that divides the city in two. The Tiber is crossed in Rome, near its mouth, by numerous bridges, both newer and with many years of history behind them. Among these, the Sant’Angelo Bridge, stretching right from the base of the castle, is one of the most beautiful and renowned here, being entirely pedestrian and offering a view of the Vatican that is one of Rome’s iconic images.

From here, whichever direction you decide to go, you’ll encounter other bridges that add charm to the river.

Take a Photo with Bocca della Verità

Across the river, on the left side, don’t forget to stop by Bocca della Verità (the Mouth of Truth) in the portico of Santa Maria in Cosmedin church. It’s time for a round of fun with legends about lies and liars and a good chance to play the family game "May the nose of the liar grow like Pinocchio’s." Legend has it that anyone who puts their hand in the mouth of the giant figure known as the "Mouth of Truth" will be punished if they’ve lied, and the mouth will close over the liar’s hand.

No one has ever claimed that this happened to them, but a photo with the ancient "lie detector" is highly sought after, as evidenced by the number of people waiting daily in front of the strange monument to touch the face on the wall, sometimes the queue extending beyond the church premises.

Enjoy the Many Squares and Fountains of Rome

I think all children are attracted to water, especially when it falls from a height, makes a spectacle, and is framed by sumptuous statues, intricate designs, and impressive arrangements.

Rome abounds in such fountains, especially in its numerous public squares, so you’re sure to encounter many on your exploration path. Of these, we liked Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, and Piazza del Popolo the most, each bordered by superb buildings, adorned with columns reaching for the sky, and public fountains with sumptuous architectures.

But the most famous remains, of course, the Trevi Fountain, in the small square of the same name, where you must go with the little ones. Not only for the remarkable architecture, the bright white color, the clear water, and the impressive size (it doesn’t look as big in photos as it is), but also for the children’s passion for throwing coins into the water.

About €3000 are thrown into the fountain daily by tourists, and we little ones are undoubtedly the most delighted by this ritual. Moreover, it’s said that coins must be thrown only in one specific way: with the right hand over the left shoulder, to ensure you’ll return to beautiful Rome.

Meet Pinocchio

And if we mentioned Pinocchio earlier, and since we’re in Carlo Collodi’s country, you’ll soon realize that you’ll encounter the charming character in many places in the city, from souvenir and fridge magnet shops to toy stores for children.

One of these shops is near the Trevi Fountain, on a street to the right of the square, where you’ll find a small paradise for kids: with a giant Pinocchio at the entrance, clouds, swings, personalized names, colorful wooden toys, and generally everything that can delight children, moms, and grandparents alike.

Taste Authentic Italian Gelato

Italian food is generally delicious, and your taste buds will surely be happy in Italian restaurants. But if we were to name one treat we don’t give up, regardless of the weather, we would declare gelato our favorite. Whether it’s July or January, you’ll find gelato stands open throughout Rome, giving you the chance to taste the most varied and original flavors.

However, be cautious, as not every place offering gelato is authentic, using quality ingredients that make Italian gelato famous. After some prior research, our top gelato spots in Rome are Gelateria I Caruso and Come il Latte near Villa Borghese, and Gelato San Lorenzo near Termini Station.

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