For a city break like Rome with children, there are of course no standard recommendations. Children have different interests at different ages and they usually have no interest in churches and ruins. Here you will find my advice for your family vacation with children in Rome and useful information about attractions, guided tours for the whole family, free travel on public transport and free admission.
Maybe it has already happened to you. You have visited a city with your children and visited all kinds of sights. And what did your kids remember best? The fallen egg or tomato sauce on the face? Here are some tips for you to make the stay in Rome for the kids exciting and entertaining.
It’s important that you don’t plan too much for a day. In a packed program between sightseeing and shopping, the children will opt out. They tire quickly and quickly lose their joy.
Rome with kids · Free travel and free admission
These are the rules for public transport:
Trains in Italy: Free travel up to the age of 4 years accompanied by a paying adult and without own seat. 50% until the age of 12 years.
Public Transport in Rome (ATAC): One child up to the age of 10 years is traveling free if accompanied by a paying adult. Urban transport and important lines
Regional buses (COTRAL): Free travel for children up to 1 meter tall.
Hop on hop off buses: Most providers carry children up to 4 years of age free of charge and offer reductions up to the age of 15. More information about the Hop on hop off buses
Children’s discounts and free entrance to the museums:
Museums of the Municipality of Rome: Free admission for children up to 6 years, reduced admission up to 18 years. The museums of the municipality include the Capitoline Museums, the Markets of Trajan and numerous other museums
National Museums in Rome: Free admission for EU citizens up to the age of 18. National museums include the Coliseum, Castel Sant’Angelo and numerous other museums. List and opening hours of the museums
Attention! At the Coliseum and at the Borghese Gallery you always need a reservation. If you use the Roma Pass, with reservation, at the Coliseum, you pass the queue with your children and get the free tickets for the kids at the ticket office for reserved tickets.
School classes always need a reservation at the Colosseum. More about the tickets for the Colosseum
Vatican Museums: Free admission for children up to 6 years, reduced entrance fee up to 18 years. More about the Vatican Museums
Rome with children · Sightseeing
Schedule only one activity for the morning and one activity for the afternoon. Allow yourself and your children enough breaks and time to rest and relax.
In any case, you should avoid queues. Long queues are a particular problem at St. Peter’s Basilica, the Coliseum, the Vatican Museums and Castel Sant’Angelo. For St. Peter’s Basilica, you can book an audio guide or a guided tour and get the preferred access to the security checkpoint. For the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, you should book well in advance. Castel Sant’Angelo gives you preferential entry with the offers that include the Roma Pass.
Practical are the day tickets with the Hop on hop off buses. After an exhausting visit, just take the bus and rest a bit until you get off at the next destination.
The smaller the children are, the more giant it seems to them. If you visit a basilica like St Peter’s, restrict yourself to a few points, for example, the Pietà, the statue of Peter, his grave and the altar. Take a look at the dome and the papal throne with the mosaic of the Holy Spirit above.
The grottoes of St. Peter’s
The grottoes of St. Peter’s are located on the first underground level of the basilica.
For children the grottoes represent a mysterious world with corners and angles, the sarcophagi, statues and pictures of many popes.
Unfortunately, many Mass celebrations are done in the grottoes and they are then closed to the public, although official opening hours are published.
The access to the grottoes is at the corners of the basilica crossings. The exit of the grottoes (sometimes also used as an entrance) is at the cashpoint to the dome of St. Peter’s.
The dome of St. Peter’s with kids
Take the elevator to the dome and look down from the roof of the basilica to the city and from the inner dome gallery into the basilica. If you want to climb up into the dome, remember that you can not reverse on the stairs and that you may have to carry the smaller children.
Visit the St. Peter’s square with children
Relax after visiting the Basilica on St. Peter’s square. Take a look at the two ancient wells and cool off. Look at the obelisk, which also functions as a sundial. Around the obelisk you will find a windrose with name and characteristics of the winds. Find the center of the Bernini columns! If you stay on it, you can see all the columns in a row.
Take a look at the statues, Peter with the key and Paul with the sword.
Look for the balcony from which the Pope speaks the blessing!
From Porta Angelica you can go along the wall to Castel Sant’Angelo, in which the escape route of the popes from the Vatican to the Castel Sant’Angelo is located. At the Castel Sant’Angelo you will also find a children’s playground.
The Pantheon with its columns and the dome is impressive. Enjoy the shade and coolness in the building. Observe the sky through the dome and how the sun falls into the building. In the ground you will find the processes for the rain water!
The viewpoints are exciting and interesting for children. Just above the Piazza del Popolo is the Pincio. In addition to the wonderful view over the city, you will also find an old water clock and bicycles. You can find there also different kinds of pedal wheels.
From the Pincio you will come directly to the Park of Villa Borghese. There the kids can ride with the pony or you can turn a round in the rowing boat on the lake. With a little luck you will catch the little train that drives through the villa. Unfortunately, the timetable is unknown. Stops are at the Pincio, at the cinema coffee “Casa del Cinema” and at the Borghese Gallery. From there it is not far to the zoo. The round trip takes about twenty minutes and costs 3 euros.
At the end of the Park you will find the Roman Zoo, called Bioparco. The zoo was designed by Carl Hagenbeck and opened in 1911. The zoo makes every effort to teach nature to children. Admission is free for children up to 10 years and a size of one meter, above that they pay 13 euros, adults 16 euros. The train in the zoo costs 1.50 euros.
Interesting is also the Palatine. You will find not only ruins and beautiful views of the Colosseum, the forums and Circus Maximus, but also chickens, rabbits and a botanical plant collection. To visit the Palatine, the ticket for the Coliseum is valid. For adolescents up to 18 years the admission is free.
The catacombs are particularly interesting for kids. Explore the corridors dug for the burials in the ground! In the catacombs it is cool all year round. This is a pleasant refreshment especially on hot summer days!
The city of Rome offers 471 children’s playgrounds with a size between 200 and 500 square meters.
One is located right behind the Castel Sant’Angelo. You can find playgrounds also in the villas and parks.
At Villa Borghese there is a playhouse for 3 to 10 year old children. It is called Casina Raffaello and is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 6pm, on Saturday and Sunday until 7pm. Should you happen to be there, you can have a look, the entrance fee is 7 Euro.
Well-known is also the Explora Children’s Museum on Via Flaminia 82, but to be honest, my children were not really excited about it when they were that age. The entrance to the Explora costs 8 euros, the maximum stay is 105 minutes.
In Rome there is also a park called Luneur with many rides. It is located in the south of the city in the district EUR on Via Cristoforo Colombo. The opening times in winter are from Wednesday to Friday 2pm to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6pm, in the summer daily until midnight. Details can be found in the calendar of the website of Luneur http://www.luneurpark.it/calendario/ . Admission is 2.50 euros, the day ticket for admission and all rides 20 euros. Buses are the lines 30, 170, 714 and 791 stop Colombo / Agricoltura. From there it is a half mile to the entrance at Via delle Tre Fontane 100. It is less than a mile to the Fermi metro stop of line B. At the metro stop is also an artificial lake and a swimming pool, “La piscina delle Rose”.
Spaghetti and pizza, which child does not want that? In Rome you will find pizza and pasta almost every second street corner. The quick fix for the small appetite is the pizza al taglio – cut pizza – you can ask to cut off as much as you want, and it will be paid by weight. my favorite is “Pizza Rustica” in Via Flaminia 24, next to Piazza del Popolo, open from Monday to Saturday 7am to 8:30pm. In addition, there is also a branch of the coffee roaster and delicatessen Castroni. From there you can climb up to the lake at Villa Borghese. Worth mentioning is also the “Pizzeria Romana” in the Via del Governo Vecchio on the way from Piazza Navona to the Vatican, open Monday to Saturday 10am to 9pm.
The pasta specialist can be found between Navona and Vatican in Via della Vetrina, a side street of Via dei Coronari. At “Solo Pasta” you can select your preferred pasta variety and combine it with the daily offer of typical sauces for 5 euros including a bottle of water, the large portion for 7 euros. The opening hours are Monday – Friday 11:30am to 6 pm, on Saturday until 4pm, Sunday is closed. In Via dei Coronari you will also find the Gelateria del Teatro, one of the best ice cream parlors in Rome.
A very cozy typical restaurant with pizzeria in the same area is “Il Fico” in via di Monte Giordano 49, open from 10:30am to 4pm and 6pm to midnight, closed on Sunday.
For sweet pastries my insider tip is the Pasticceria Cinque Lune. It has a small, inconspicuous entrance on Corso del Rinascimento 89, just off Piazza Navona. The small sweet particles like “Monte bianco” – meringue with chestnut cream and cream – or Cassata Siciliana made of green marzipan and ricotta on a biscuit bottom are charged according to weight. The pastry shop is open from Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 9:30pm.
In Rome there are many ice cream parlors with their own production. The ice is made from natural raw materials and partly using organic products. These ice cream parlors offer changing varieties depending on the season.
We therefore strongly advise you not to buy ice cream on the mobile sales van, which is mostly made of industrial production – it is a pity of money. Likewise, you should make a bow around sales points where the ice lights up in all possible neon colors.
An attraction is Sweety Gelato Roma. Here the kids can assemble their own ice cream and it’s paid by weight. The ice cream parlor is located in Via del Biscione near the cinema of Campo de ‘Fiori.
For more information, please visit my post ice cream parlors in Rome
In the museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, you will usually find a very good sanitary situation. The situation is often more difficult in bars, in the metro and in some stations.
From Rome you can easily take the train from the Pyramid Metro Station to Ostia. This line belongs to the city and there is no extra to charge.
The station Lido Centro is centrally located and you can walk from there to a viewpoint that reaches into the sea (Pontile di Ostia). The three other stations Stella Polare, Castel Fusano and Cristoforo Colombo bring you to the southern coastline of Ostia.
Not every hospital in Rome has an emergency department for children. These hospitals are not allowed to treat or accept children.
The three following hospitals enjoy a good reputation. The services are covered for EU citizens by the European Health Card EHIC. Without a health card the services have to be paid by tariff.
Bambin Gesù is the internationally acclaimed children’s hospital of the Vatican. The emergency department is located at the entrance to Piazza di Sant’Onofrio No. 4 on the ascent to Gianicolo, opposite the Gianicolo car park terminal.
First aid is always busy and depending on the urgency of your case, you sometimes have to wait longer.
Ospedale San Camillo
Also the public hospital of San Camillo has an excellent children’s department and the waiting times are not so long.
It is located on Circonvallazione Gianicolense 87 and is easily reached by tram line 8. The entrance to the emergency room is just opposite the stop. The hospital was completely renovated a few years ago, but unfortunately there is no control and some patients think they have to take a souvenir.
The University Clinic Gemelli
Gemelli is also under the ecclesiastical direction. Here, the pope is treated in an emergency, too.
The hospital is located on Monte Mario on the Via di Pineta Sacchetti and can be reached by bus or train.