Rome is a city that will appeal to art aficionados and history buffs. However, it’s important to keep your viewpoints in check and take a look from the perspective of your kids and spouse when planning a Rome vacation with your family. There is the challenge of keeping the little, restless minds of children occupied in a city filled mainly with historic relics when visiting the city with family. So, how do you combine heritage with fun?
A trip to Italy’s capital can be an exciting, fun, and educational experience for children and apart from Renaissance and ancient architecture and museums, the city has plenty to offer. Here’s a sample itinerary that offers lots of family-friendly things to do in Rome.
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- Day 1 – Rome City Tour
- Day 2 – Italian nature, wildlife, and heritage
- Day 3 – Explore Vatican City
- Day 4: Set out for a change in scenery
- Day 5: Live the Dolce Vita life!
- Accommodation options in Rome
Day 1 – Rome City Tour
Colosseum – Roman Forum – Trevi Fountain – Palatine Hill
On your first day in Rome, get acquainted with the Eternal City. Arrive at the airport and check into your hotel. Rest for a bit if needed, before heading to view the finest monuments of Rome.
The magnificent Colosseum is the perfect place to begin your sightseeing tour of Rome. Visit this ancient arena to marvel at its beauty, then make your way to Palentine Hill to get a glimpse at a stunning panorama of the city of Rome from atop this hill where the Ceasars used to have their palaces.
The tour continues with a journey to visit more ancient ruins such as the Circus Maximus, Roman Forum, Arch of Constantine, and the magnificent Pantheon, an ancient Roman building updated to be a Christian church.
Lastly, set forth to the Piazza di Spagna and Spanish Steps and stroll along to reach Trevi Fountain. There’s no better way to end your first day in Rome than at the Trevi Fountain, an iconic Roman landmark that serves as a tribute to famous sculptors Nicola Salvi, Pietro Bracci, Filippo Della Valle, Giovanni Grossi, Andrea Bergondi, and Giuseppe Pannini, all of whom contributed to its creation. After you have had a chance to soak in its beauty to your heart’s content, you return to your hotel for your overnight stay.
If you are feeling famished and feel the need for a quick meal, then take a break and stop at any restaurants along the way. The route offers a wide variety of restaurants such as Buddy Veggy restaurant and cafe, and Trattoria Luzzi. Armando Al Pantheon is a family-run restaurant serving classical Roman dishes since 1961. You can also witness an exquisite street food corner at Supplizio, a recommended choice if you are looking for a unique place to eat.
Day 2 – Italian nature, wildlife, and heritage
Bioparco di Roma – Explora Children’s Museum- Villa Borghese – Borghese Gallery and Musuem – Villa Medici – Campo de Fiori Market
After breakfast, you will first visit the lush vegetation of Bioparco di Roma, a zoological garden that the little ones, as well as the adults, will love to explore and spend some time admiring the fauna and flora.
It is worthwhile to take a detour to Explora – Il Museo del Bambini di Roma (Rome Children’s Museum) if you are traveling with children. For kids, this is a fun-filled spot where they can have their fair share of delight.
Next, visit one of the most picturesque gardens in Italy – Villa Borghese. Here, you can visit two famous art museums within walking distance, the Borghese Gallery and Museum, and the Museo Carlo Bilotti.
Later, discover one of the most magnificent complexes of Rome – Villa Medici.
Enjoy a refreshing visit to the Campo de Fiori Market in the evening and explore the local scene while strolling through the market. Stay back to see the place transform into a bustling nightlife scene and sample some exquisite Italian favorite dishes when you spend your time here.
Flambar offers a great menu of pasta, salad, bread, and wine at a very reasonable price. Another charming place where you can enjoy delightful Italian meals for the best price is Coso Ristorante. There are many well-known restaurants that you can check out as well, such as Ristorante Nino, Mirabelle, Osteria da Fortunata, and Vladimiro among others. Do not forget to treat yourself and your family to the famous Italian Gelato from Sweety Gelato at Campo de Fiori Market once you have had a hearty meal.
Day 3 – Explore Vatican City
St. Peter’s Basilica – Sistine Chapel-Vatican Museum – Vatican Garden – Castel Sant’ Angelo
On your third day in Rome, visit the smallest country in the world. After breakfast, spend time exploring Vatican City and its attractions. Enjoy a visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel to see Michaelangelo’s classic work.
St. Peter’s Basilica – the world’s largest Roman Catholic church – is a must-see on any Rome tour. Visiting Vatican City in the morning will allow you to avoid long lines at the attractions since the destination is crowded most of the time. When visiting the Vatican, keep in mind that there is a dress code. Miniskirts, short dresses, shorts, or bare shoulders are not permitted inside St Peter’s.
Take a few minutes to admire the Vatican Gardens after your Vatican City tour, then head back to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure exploring Rome as you wish.
Nearby Vatican City you can visit the breathtaking fortress of Castel Sant’ Angelo which sits on the banks of the Tiber river.
Feeling hungry after strolling in the Vatican? Grab a bite at Il Ciociaro and Pizzarium Di Gabriele Bonc. You should also check out Il Bar Sotto il Mare for delectable Italian seafood cuisine.
Day 4: Set out for a change in scenery
Bomarzo – Orvieto
The fourth day of your trip is the perfect opportunity to take a day trip from Rome and leave behind the historic heritages for a short time. There is no denying that Rome is a beautiful city, but it is just a glimpse of what Italy has to offer. A day trip to Bomarzo & Orvieto from Rome is a charming way to see a different side of Italy.
Located a bit over 1 hour away from Rome, Bomarzo which is home to the Garden of Bomarzo will be an instant hit with kids and tweens. This 16th-century park is filled with mythological and fantasy sculptures and is hugely influenced by Mannerist works of art.
As you continue on your journey to the rustic countryside of Orvieto, you will find a quaint hill town full of cobbled alleys, mosaic-covered facades, and vineyards. Discover the labyrinth of underground tunnels and grottos belonging to the Etruscan era when you explore Orvieto Cathedral and the underground grottos. At the end of the day, you will return to Rome and check into your hotel.
Stop for lunch at a few amazing restaurants along the way, such as Trattoria dell Orso, La Pergola Orvieto, and Antico Bucchero, which serve amazing Italian delicacies and truffle specialties.
Day 5: Live the Dolce Vita life!
Villa Doria Pamphili – Trastevere – Tiber River Cruise
As you bid adieu to Rome on your last day, cherish the memories you will make. After breakfast, head to an Italian cooking workshop with your family to learn tips and tricks to make Italian dishes and sauces perfectly. Then, spend a few moments in the lush gardens of Villa Doria Pamphili. This is one of the most refreshing, greenest places in Rome to visit if you are looking for some relaxation.
In the afternoon, head to Trastevere – one of the best-kept secrets of the Italian capital. Discover this colorful neighborhood and enjoy a delicious journey through the flavors of Italian cuisine as you explore it. There is also a wide range of souvenirs to choose from at this enticing destination.
A relaxing scenic cruise on the Tiber River is the perfect way to conclude your Rome visit and enjoy an exceptional view of the stunning city of Rome. Take some Instagrammable pictures before you head back to the airport to catch your flight back home.
Best restaurants to check out at Trastevere
- Le Mani in Pasta – One of Italy’s finest restaurants for an upscale Italian dining experience.
- Da Enzo – Try their classic dishes -braised whole artichokes.
- La Tavernaccia da Bruno – This is an excellent spot to indulge in sumptuous slow-roasted non-vegetarian dishes.
- Pizzeria Ai Marmi – This is one of the best places in the city to try traditional pizzas baked in wood-fired ovens, and made with fresh ingredients.
- Fatamorgana Trastevere – This is a fantastic place for families to dine together. This restaurant is quite famous for its gelatos.
Accommodation options in Rome
There is no dearth of accommodation choices in Rome. Where to stay in Rome obviously depends on what your plans are. As for the type of accommodation, you would like to stay in during your Italy holiday, that would entirely depend on the budget that you have. To get the maximum out of your family trips to Rome, it is better to stay in the city center so that you are closer to the most prominent tourist attractions and that getting to and from the city center won’t be a hassle. Here are a few recommendations of city-center hotels in Rome.
For luxury experiences:
- Palazzo Montemartini Rome – near Central Station.
- Sina Bernini Bristol – Near Trevi Fountain
- St. Regis Rome – Near Central Station
- Grand Hotel Plaza – Near Spanish Steps
- Anantara Palazzo Naiadi -Central Station
For budget-conscious travelers:
- Rome Times Hotel – 10 minutes from Trevi Fountain
- Hotel Varese Roma– Near Central Station
- Palazzo Navona Hotel – Near Pantheon
- Hotel Quirinale – Near Central Station
- Hotel Impero – Central Station
Prati – As there are fewer crowds and less noise in this quiet district near Vatican City, it is ideal for families. Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria is one of the best luxury hotels located here, and if you are looking for a chic stay at a reasonable rate, you should consider Palazzo Cardinal Cesi, Hotel Dei Mellini, and Hotel Amalia.
Best tips for families visiting Rome
- A good time to visit Rome is during the spring – from March to May. Rome has pleasant weather, fewer tourists, and lower prices during these months.
- Getting a visa is one of the aspects of travel planning that can be daunting, especially when planning a family holiday. Visas for Italy can easily be obtained in many destinations, and most countries do not require a visa to visit Italy for tourism. It is however necessary to verify that you are from a visa-exempt country to take advantage of this benefit. For example, Emiratis living in Dubai do not need a visa to visit Italy for 90 days. Nonetheless, if you are a citizen of another country living in Dubai, you need to contact an Italy visa Dubai consultant to help you obtain an Italian visa for your Roman holiday.
- Be sure to check the days of your Rome sightseeing visit. The Vatican City is closed on Sundays. In Rome, most museums and sightseeing attractions are closed on Mondays.
- It is best to space out the itinerary and give enough breathing space in between sightseeing because it can get overwhelming quickly, especially if you are traveling with kids.
- Book your tickets in advance for your shortlisted attractions in Rome. You might have to wait in long lines if you plan to buy tickets on the day you intend to visit.
- Visit Rome during the weekdays when the crowd is less and the place has a more spacious feel.
- During your time in Rome, alternate historical tours with fun trips to maintain the right balance. With its historic grandeur, Rome is a city that will awe young visitors and inspire them to learn more about it.
- The city is well-known for its traffic snarls, so individual and guided tours are better than hop-on-hop-off tours. Take frequent breaks on a walking tour to rest the little feet of young visitors before moving on to the next Rome attraction.
- If possible, book accommodation in the city center. Even though they cost more than suburbs, they are worth it when you consider the amount of time you save on traffic.
With a mish-mash of historical landmarks and outstanding cultural aspects that celebrate the good life and wonderful food, Rome is a delight for wanderlusts. Rome is truly a unique city for its Renaissance heritage and preservation of a whole separate country within its borders. Besides having the charm of medieval times, Rome and its surroundings are also buzzing with cafes and trattorias with delicious food, which makes saying ciao to Rome difficult after your holidays.