60 Amazing Things to Do in Rome with Kids
1. Visit the Colosseum with kids
Can there be anything more iconic in Rome than the Colosseum? The adventure starts inside the Colosseum where you can sit down and explain just how the Colosseum works. Thanks to the historically accurate renderings of the Colosseum, gladiators and the hustle and bustle of Roman life over 2000 years ago, the kids will discover original and exciting aspects of the amphitheater that really make the monument come alive.
Please note that for safety reasons the Coliseum can accommodate up to 3.000 people at once.
This could lead to delays in access to the site, even for pre-booked visitors.
2. St. Peter's Basilica with Kids
St. Peter's Basilica is the holiest of Catholic shrines: a church built atop the tomb of St. Peter, the first Pope. It is imposing in the Italian Renaissance and one of the largest churches in the world. On the top of the Basilica are 13 statues, depicting Christ, John the Baptist and 11 apostles.
Admission is free but lines may be long. Consider arriving early in the morning and booking a guided tour that bypasses the public line. You can visit the Michelangelo-designed dome (for a fee), which involves either climbing 551 steps or taking an elevator and climbing 320 steps. The climb is rewarded with a wonderful view of Rome's rooftops.
3. Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain with the kids
The fountains of Italy were built to show the people of Rome where the fresh water supply was located. They used this water for drinking, bathing, and cooking. The people of Rome would bring their buckets to the fountains and collect water to take back to their homes.
Today, the water is recycled, so you cannot drink out of the fountain (like the original Romans); however, if you look closely on the steps of the fountain, there is a pipe. This cast-iron pipe can be used to fill up your water bottle and to drink just like the old Romans did. Find the pipe and fill up your water bottle!
4. Visit the Pantheon with the kids
The Pantheon is a Roman temple built during ancient Rome to honor the pagan gods of Rome. The first Pantheon was built in 27 B.C. by Marcus Agrippa but in 80 A.D. it was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian but burned again in 110 A.D. after being struck by lightning. Hadrian had the Pantheon rebuilt, and today it is the most preserved building of ancient Rome still in existence. The Pantheon is a circular building with large columns made of granite at the front. The Pantheon has been used continuously since it was built. From the 7th century on it has been used primarily as a church. It is possible that the Pantheon survived barbarian raids at a time when other ancient Roman monuments were being destroyed because it had become a church in 609.
5. Walk through the Roman Forum with kids
The forum is an open air archaeological site sitting that sits between the Palatine and the Capitol hill, two of the 7 hills Rome is built upon. The excavation lies a bit lower than the current street level and this characteristic means that it gets battered by the relentless Roman sun: at lunchtime or in the height of the summer it becomes a true furnace, with no water or any shade to provide relief!
6. Piazza Navona with kids
Piazza Navona is one of the largest and most beautiful piazza squares in Rome with three impressive fountains, including la Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi with its large obelisk at the centre.
Surrounding the square are restaurants and street artists, painters and musicians who add a lively atmosphere to the scene.
7. Sistine Chapel
The Most Famous Frescoes in the World, Michelangelo’s Creation of Man. Have the kids look for a depiction of the human brain in this painting. You'll notice (hopefully) the cloak around God has the shape of a cross section of the human brain. Apparently, this symbolizes God giving man intellect. I highly recommend a tour guide for this place.
8. Vatican Museums don't have to be boring for kids
The Vatican Museums contain masterpieces of painting, sculpture and other works of art collected by the popes through the centuries. With over 2000 rooms and nine miles of art, these vast buildings within Vatican City can be overwhelming. It really helps to prepare kids ahead of time with some information about the major works of art they’ll see.
9 & 10. Climb the Spanish Steps with Kids and check out the Piazza di Spagna
The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna (“Spanish Square”) at the base and Piazza Trinita dei Monti, dominated by the Trinita dei Monti church at the top.
It was built in order to link the Spanish Embassy (the primary site of Spain’s influence in Rome) and the Trinita dei Monti Church (under patronage of the King of France).
The Spanish embassy was located in the plaza at the base of the steps, so the plaza became the Piazza di Spagna (“Spanish Square”). The name then carried over to the steps. It is especially beautiful in spring, when pots of blooming azaleas are laid out on the Spanish Steps. The Piazza di Spagna is found in one of the most popular neighborhoods of Rome, near the high streets Via dei Condotti, Via Frattina and Via del Babuino, which houses several impressive seventeenth and eighteenth century villas.
If you walk down Via del Babuino, you’ll arrive at Piazza del Popolo. In the centre of the square is the Flaminio Obelisk, one of the tallest obelisks in Rome, which was housed in the Circus Maximus.
11. Castel Sant'Angelo
The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant'Angelo is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum.
Unlike the Colosseum, Vatican, and Forum, kids are let loose at Castel Sant’Angelo. Inside, kids can run along the fortress walls, checking out battlements, a catapult, cubbies from which to shoot arrows…the works. Further inside, you can walk the interior hallways and imagine guards and knights, torches and prisoners in chains.
12. Capitoline Hill with Kids
The Capitoline Hill is the smallest and most important of the seven hills of Ancient Rome. As the political and religious heart of Rome the hill became a symbol of Rome's reign as Caput Mundi, capital of the world.
The Capitoline echoes with famous events in Roman history; it was here that Brutus and the assassins locked themselves inside the Temple of Jupiter after murdering Caesar; here that the Gracchi plotted and died; here the triumphant generals overlooked the city for which they fought; here that the Gauls, creeping to the Citadel, were let in by the infamous Vestal Virgin Tarpeia, daughter of Spurius Tarpeius, who was later the first to die on the rocks. Political criminals were murdered by being thrown off the steep crest of the hill, to fall on the dagger-sharp Tarpeian Rocks below. When Julius Caesar suffered an accident during his Triumph, clearly indicating the wrath of Jupiter for his actions in the Civil Wars, he approached the hill and Jupiter's temple on his knees as a way of averting the unlucky omen (he was murdered six months later).
13. Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy, were the city's second largest Roman public baths, or thermae, likely built between AD 212 and 217, during the reigns of emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla. They were in operation until the 530s and then fell into disuse and ruin.
The Baths of Caracalla (terme di Caracalla) are some of the best preserved ancient buildings of the Roman times. The baths provided two basic functions for the ancient Romans, most of the population of Rome lived in crowded tenements without running water or sanitary facilities and the baths provided much needed sanitisation facilities, and as a bonus a great opportunity to socialise and network at all levels.
14. Piazza Venezia
Piazza Venezia or Venice Square is a square in Rome located where four major roads meet. These roads are the Via del Corso, Via del Plebiscito, Via di Teatre Marcello and Via dei Fori Imperiali. Through these four roads, Piazza Venezia is also known for its chaotic traffic. Piazza Venezia is located at the foot of the Capitoline Hill. It owes its name to Palazzo Venezia.
Palazzo Venezia building was commissioned by Pietro Barbo, who later became Pope Paul II. The building was designed by the architect Francesco del Borgo. He started its construction in 1455.
Then Palazzo Venezia has served as Embassy of the Republic of Venice, and was used by the Austrian ambassador. The Italian government took over the palace during the First World War. Today Palazzo Venezia is a museum of Medieval and Renaissance art, Museo di Palazzo.
15. Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo is a large urban square in Rome. The name in modern Italian literally means "People's Square", but historically it derives from the poplars after which the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in the northeast corner of the piazza, takes its name.
To get some of the best views of Rome, climb the steps from Piazza del Popolo to the top of Pincian Hill.
16. Rome Gladiator School
Train to be a gladiator at a school in Rome. Suitable for children and adults both, you will live like a warrior for 2 hours, wearing the gladiator tunic and mastering the skills of swordplay – safely of course.
After an introduction to Roman history, learn the basic techniques of gladiatorial swords fighting. Each session includes a description of life as a gladiator and top tips on techniques with Roman weapons.
17. Enjoy Villa Borghese gardens with the kids
Villa Borghese is a landscape garden in the naturalistic English manner in Rome, containing a number of buildings, museums (see Galleria Borghese) and attractions.
In 1605, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V and patron of Bernini, began turning this former vineyard into the most extensive gardens built in Rome since Antiquity.
The garden contains a replica of the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre built in 2003. Beside the 1911 Exposition's villas, there is the Exposition's Zoo, recently redesigned, with minimal caging, as the Bioparco, and the Zoological Museum.
For a fun active day, you can hire bikes at multiple locations through out the park and at the Giardino del Lago you can hire rowing boats to paddle around a small lake.
18. Visit the world's smallest cinema!
Easily missed in the Villa Borghese gardens is Cinema dei piccoli - the world's smallest cinema ...apparently confirmed by the Guinness World Records. Inside is a one project with an impressive 63 seat. During the day can see movies for kids and at night it has a surprisingly good selection of European movies for adults.
19. Galleria Borghese with with kids
The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. At the outset, the gallery building was integrated with its gardens, but nowadays the Villa Borghese gardens are considered a separate tourist attraction. The Galleria Borghese houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities.
20. Ancient Rome Walking Tour - including Coloseum, Roman Forum, & Palatine Hill
Avoid the long lines outside of some of Rome’s most popular ancient attractions and get skip-the-line entry to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
The tour is led by professional guides who will explain the history of Rome and introduce you to some of the most notorious Roman emperors.
21. Take the kids to visit Rome’s best toy shop
Wood is their passion here! At Bartolucci they are artisans and handle it with creativity and imagination to realize original products, exquisitely made in Italy, which always inspire smiles and new emotions.
Over the years, the creativity of Francesco Bartolucci, together with his artistic staff, took inspiration by nature and animals in making everyday items, such as watches, photo frames and coat racks, designed to decorate all living spaces with joy.
In 1981, Francesco began his new adventure by carving his first Pinocchio and the rest, as they say, is history.
22. Eat Rome’s most famous export - Carbonara
Okay, I know, this is a bit of contentious matter but some argue that the Carbonara pasta sauce is originally from Rome. When the American troops came to liberate Rome and help feed the masses, they brought with them eggs and bacon rations. The locals mixed these with local pasta and the carbonara was born.
Want to know the best place to get it? Check out this article with some great tips >
23. What kid doesn’t like Gelato?
It’s almost impossible to get bad Gelato in Rome but for the best place to go, read this great list >
Try them all and tell us which one was the best!
24. Learn how to make a real pizza with the kids
Take a 90-minute pizza making lesson perfect for all ages class at That’s Amore restaurant, just a few steps from the Trevi Fountain. A Fabiolous Chef will guide you through the Italian tradition of preparing pizza dough from scratch, provide techniques and tips on making the best dough, and teach you how to garnish your pizza properly.
Choose your own ingredients to top the pizza with whatever you like and experiment with various recipes.
After the class you’ll get to eat what you’ve prepared and discover whether your skill level is now that of a real pizzaiolo.
This hands-on, family friendly class is a fun and delicious experience for students of all ages! The program ends after dinner at the restaurant.
25. Your kids will love learning how to cook a real Roman pasta
The typical cuisine of Rome, the so-called ‘Cucina Romana’ has some legendary pastas amongst its repertoire. Carbonara anyone? In fact, the eternal city has gifted the world 4 of the most delicious pastas: Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, Amatriciana & Gricia (three of which are unashamedly laced with that oh so Roman ingredient, guanciale, that is produced abundantly in the countryside surrounding Rome). They are hearty dishes made unique by their liberal dusting of Rome's answer to parmigiana, the mightly 'Pecorino Romano'.
Each of them has garnered a cult status- they are bold, delicious and characterful. In a way, they reflect the very nature of Roman culture. However, only a fool will tell you these dishes are easy to master! In truth, they are harder than they look. This is why every trattoria in Rome serves them- when Romans go out to eat they are generally not looking for a new and exciting dish- they are on the lookout for the most perfect Carbonara or Cacio e Pepe because, let’s face it, there is nothing more sublime and delicious. Local Chefs are measured in their ability to do these dishes well.
26. Watch a true Italian puppet show with the kids
In the park on Colle del Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill), near Piazzale Garibaldi is a traditional open-air puppet theater, Teatrino di Pulcinella al Gianicolo. Clearly it doesn’t have a roof so if it rains it does not work. You do not have to buy tickets or pay at the entrance (but a few coins don’t hurt). It has no timetable (depends on how many children there are) but the stories always have the same characters.
27. Go to the market with the kids
The Campo de’ Fiori (Field of flowers in English) is one of the main squares of Rome. It is lively both during the day; with its flower, fruit and vegetable market, and by night; when the terraces are packed with people. Unmistakable is the fragrance of bread and pizza just taken out of the oven from the “craftsmen” of “Forno Campo de’ Fiori”.
28. Ostia Antica
The ancient Roman city of Ostia was originally situated at the mouth of the river Tiber, some 30 kilometres to the west of Rome. The shoreline moved seawards, due to silting, from the Middle Ages until the 19th century. Ostia is still lying next to the Tiber, but at a distance of some three kilometers from the beach. Ostia is Latin for "mouth", the mouth of the Tiber. The river was used as harbour, but in the Imperial period two harbour basins were added to the north, near Leonardo da Vinci airport. The harbour district was called Portus, Latin for "harbour".
There you will see the remains of Ostia, now a ghost town of Rome’s ancient port because after the fall of the Roman Empire everyone in town packed up and left their businesses, homes, and life they once knew in search of a safer place that could provide a new way of life when Rome was no longer the center of the Ancient world. In Ostia-Antica you can wander the abandoned streets and buildings for hours. This might be a great place for a tour.
29. Rome Twilight Walking Tour and Gelato Tasting with the kids
Start your tour in Piazza Navona, less of a plaza than a grand outdoor art gallery. You’ll learn about the political intrigues surrounding Bernini’s Fountain of Four Rivers as well as some of the artistic in-jokes that he carved into the stone.
Next, you’ll head into our favorite site in Rome; the 1,900 year old Pantheon. In the early evening this marvel from Antiquity is much less crowded than during the day and your guide will take full advantage of the serenity to tell you about the history of the iconic dome.
After your visit of the Pantheon you’ll stop off for a scoop of gelato – Italy’s legendary answer to ice cream — included in the price of the tour. Next, you’ll stroll to the iconic Trevi Fountain. Your friendly, expert guide will explain the history and lore of the fountain before instructing you on how many coins to toss in depending on what wish you are hoping to fulfill (throw enough in and you might meet your soul mate!)
Finish your evening stroll at the famous Spanish Steps. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck fans will recognize this spot from ‘A Roman Holiday’ - here they bumped into each other.
30. Museum are not just for oldies, visit Rome’s best museum for kids
There are so many museums to take the family to but Explora is Rome’s official museum for kids. This hands on museum for the whole family is the perfect mix of education, fun and mahem. You can even celebrate your birthday in this place!
31. Watch “real” football with the kids
Some would say that the Italians true religion is football (soccer for you aussies and yanks) and Rome has it’s own saints, A. S. Roma. There is no better place to see Roma at its best and watch true Italian passion than in Stadio Olimpico. Weather you follow football or not isn’t really relevant, the atmosphere alone makes this a “not to miss”.
32. Pet a cat with the kids
As you will probably learn as you walk around, Roman cats have always found shelter amongst the ancient ruins in the city. The numerous postcards there of cats sitting on stumps of old Roman columns, cat napping on the foot of an emperor's statue, or just lounging near the Colosseum testify to the deep rooted image cats have in Rome. If your kids love cats, the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is the perfect place to visit. Torre Argentina is home to 130 feline friends, sheltered amongst the oldest temples in Rome (400-300 BC). Seven days a week volunteers, feed, clean and look after them. Visitors are always welcome to look around, visit the cats and browse the CatShop or adopt one of the cats at a distance ... all to help our little friends.
35. Rome Crypts and Catacombs for the kids with strong stomaches for the morbid side of things
Rome's underground burial chambers and crypts cover a period of history that predates Christianity and post-dates the Renaissance. You’ll never believe what lies beneath Rome until you and the kids see it for yourself!
This 3.5 hour tour takes you below the city and back to a time when Christianity was considered a cult, and its members were executed as heretics and buried as martyrs. The long corridors of the Roman Catacombs house hundreds of burial chambers, from modest single sites to extravagant family tombs.
The biggest surprise of this tour, however, is the Capuchin Crypt. The recent addition of an official museum here means that your first encounter is with Caravaggio’s magnificent canvas called St. Francis in Meditation. You’ll see relics from the life of St. Francis and some of his followers here as well.
You’re sure to agree that the real star of the show is the crypt itself, decorated with the bones of 4,000 Capuchin monks. See a real skull and crossbones, and chandeliers made of human vertebrae!
36. Test the kids' metal at Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth)
Legend says that if you are a liar and place your hand inside Rome’s Bocca della Verità, a marble face known as the mouth of truth, you’ll lose some fingers.
This medieval myth became a well-known part of the Roman culture and is popular even at the present times. Many parents encourages their kids not to tell a lie and threaten them that if they lie they will be brought to the huge disc.
Even today, historians are still not certain about the origin of the disc nor about the original purpose. Some say that the face of the disc was that of Oceanus, the pagan god of the sea. Some say that the disc was actually a drain cover or manhole cover used in the Temple of Hercules Invictus, which is located just nearby the area where the huge disc is situated.
Interestingly, you now have to pay small charge (about three euros) for the privelege of taking the mock picture of the kids fingers in the mouth. The news outlet, La Repubblica concluding that, in times of economic crisis, even liars have to do their bit.
37. Learn how to make Gelato, biscotti or tiramisu
After a twirl through Rome’s ancient piazzas and cobblestone streets, turn your attention to another of Rome’s wonders…gelato. With flavors ranging from traditional to specialty, classic Italian gelato is as delicious as it is culturally significant!
Perfect for kids and adults, locals and visitors, this cooking class is all about “la dolce vita”. You will have the amazing opportunity to customize and create classic Italian gelato with your favorite flavors. One scoop or two? Choose from fresh fruits of the season, like Tuscan strawberries or lemons from Sorrento, deep-green pistachios, high-quality dark chocolate from Perugia, or the always lovable Nutella. Whilst your gelato is freezing, you’ll learn how to make either Italian biscotti, the perfect partner to gelato, or choose to make the most quintessential Italian dessert, the fabulously rich tiramisù.
38. Eat a true Roman pizza with the kids
The pizza that is rarely found outside Rome is the pizza bianca, a white pizza that is oblong. It has no tomatoes and it is often topped with fresh oil immediately after it comes out of the oven. It is a simple dough (there is no "official" Roman style of pizza dough) sprinkled with salt and fresh rosemary.
39. Take a trip back in time with the kids
The Rome Time Elevator is an exciting journey that involves all the senses. Thanks to digital-mechanical and stereoscopic technologies you can go back in time and learn more about history, science, art and nature: a great launch pad to the most exciting explorations of our time.
It’s an original and funny way to present a scenic trip in the major historical moments of the City and its artistic treasures to the audience. It’s the perfect way to complete the city and its monuments tour. Time Elevator Experience carries and projects the viewer towards the most significant events from a totally unique perspective, experiencing in first person a virtual contact with historical figures who have marked the main stages of the epic of Rome.
40. Did Nero burn Rome?
The Domus Aurea (or ‘golden house’) has one of the most historically exciting stories in Rome, starting with the decadent excesses of Nero and inspiring Renaissance artists such as Raphael to a new style of art.
Nero is famous for his self indulgence of course. According to folklore the Emperor fiddled while Rome burned. There were of course no fiddles in first century Rome, and historian Suetonius merely says that the Emperor watched the flames from a tower while singing a song about the razing of Troy. Other historians have argued that Nero had the fires set himself, using the Christians as scapegoats, and thus setting in chain centuries of persecution.
The Domus Aurea is finally open to visitors again, albeit it in a restricted and limited fashion. The controlled atmosphere inside means that the temperature is always around 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), with 100% humidity - you're strongly advised to take a coat, jacket or pullover with you at any time of the year!
41. Take a day trip to Pompeii & Amalfi Coast