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Rome is a great place to bring toddlers or babies as they won’t complain about being bored like older kids will. Although your younger kids will be more willing to go along for cultural visits, you will still need to give them time to play and be kids. The problem is that Rome is so jam packed with history and culture that there isn’t much space left over for parks or playgrounds. We walked countless miles during our week in Rome and scoured the internet looking for places for our kids to play. We managed to find a few places, but it wasn’t easy.
Here are the places we found for our kids to play in the tourist areas of Rome:
VILLA BORGHESE GARDENS
Near the Spanish Steps, the Villa Borghese Gardens is your best bet for a good place to take your children to play. With nearly 200 acres of well-treed parkland, several playgrounds and a Biopark (zoo), your children will have many reasons to love repeat visits to this park. Our kids had a great time exploring the park on foot and on a rented 4-seater bike.
We found two playgrounds in the park:
The first is a large, traditional playground with swings, a slide, a teeter-totter, spring rockers, climbing nets and more. This is a popular playground which will give your child a chance to play with some local kids.
The second is a unique playground with wooden structures, such as little huts and vehicles. Our kids had a great time climbing and exploring here. This playground is right next to Casina di Raffaello, which is a recreation center for kids with a book & toy store. They were also kind enough to let us use their washrooms.
Near the Vatican, Castel Sant’Angelo is a 2nd-century castle which is a cool place to visit in-of-itself. They have long since drained the moat which used to protect the castle and replaced it with a well-treed park. You will enjoy the unique setting and the small piece of greenery in a very busy city, but your kids will love chasing pigeons and a chance to play at the playground.
This park is a bit off the normal tourist path, but it is well worth a visit – in fact, it was our favorite outing while in Rome! This spectacular park is home to several well-preserved aqueducts dating back to around AD52. This park is full of pathways which your kids can run up and down while you marvel at these massive structures. After you get your fill of the aqueducts, reward your kids with a stop at the small, but fun playground on the way back to the Subaugusta metro station.
Do you enjoy a family bike ride? Explore the Aqueducts Park and the Appian Way on a family-friendly bike tour.
When you buy admission to the Roman Forum, you also get admission to Palatine Hill. This hill is one of the legendary Seven Hills of Rome and is a wonderful mix of archaeological ruins and green spaces. This area is typically much less busy than the Forum below and is a great place to let your kids run around and burn off some energy, especially if you’ve just finished dragging them to the Forum (which they probably won’t find exciting). Our kids enjoyed looking for green parakeets in the trees, running around the garden maze and climbing on anything they were allowed to.
TIBER RIVER PATHWAYS
When your kids need to burn off some energy and you have no options nearby, take them to the shores of the Tiber River. There are wide walkways along both sides of the river which makes it a great place to let them run wild. Your kids will love chasing pigeons, looking for ducks, waving at rowers in the river, talking to other pedestrians (mostly Italians who love kids!), etc. Just be careful of people on bikes and some broken glass here and there.
PARCO DEL COLLE OPPIO
The entrance to this little park is just across the street to the North East of the Colosseum. It’s a great place to let the kids run around or to sit down for lunch and rest your feet. As you follow the path up from the entrance you’ll pass a number of fountains, a beautiful garden with rows of flowering trees, and platforms looking out over the city. But for the best view, don’t forget to turn around and take in the Colosseum behind you as you walk.
Parco Del Colle Oppio is stroller friendly, and the kids will appreciate that there is a playground featuring swings, a jungle gym, a slide and a few other pieces. There’s also a concession stand near the center of the park that sells food and drinks.
(Thanks to our friends Jake and Dannie for this great recommendation.)
Despite how widely we walked in Rome, I’m sure we missed some great places for kids to play. If you found one we don’t mention, please share it in the comments below so everyone can benefit. Thanks!