You will love a week in Rome with kids! Rome is one of the world’s most iconic cities and is literally bursting at the seams with world class cultural attractions.
Rome isn’t all just museums and churches… there are tons of great things to do in Rome with kids. You’ll have no problems creating a fun & balanced Rome itinerary for your family vacation.
The secret to a happy family vacation in Rome is to make sure everyone has something they enjoy each day. It’s easy to overlook the needs of children while traveling, but even a small effort goes a long way. Kids are more likely to behave at the Vatican if there is a promise of a visit to a Rome playground or gelato afterwards.
7 Days in Rome with Kids
- How to Get into Rome with Kids
- Where to Stay in Rome with Kids
- Rome with Kids – Day 1
- Rome with Kids – Day 2
- Rome with Kids – Day 3
- Rome with Kids – Day 4
- Rome with Kids – Day 5
- Rome with Kids – Day 6
- Rome with Kids – Day 7
- Tips for Walking Rome with Toddlers
- Visiting Italy with Kids
Still working on your Italy Itinerary with kids? Here is our 4 week itinerary for Italy with some suggestions for a 2 week Italy Itinerary and a 10-day Italy Itinerary with kids.
This post contains compensated links.
How to Get into Rome with Kids
The Rome Airport is a 30-minute drive outside of central Rome. When traveling with kids, it’s often difficult to find a way to get your kids safely from the airport to the Old Town without car seats. Taxis and Ubers will not have car seats and taking an airport bus with kids is often a pain in the butt.
We are big fans of private transfers when traveling with kids. Your driver meets you at the gate with your family name on a sign. He’ll walk you to your private car with your pre-reserved child seats already in place. It’s an affordable luxury after a long day of flying with kids.
If you’d prefer to take the Rome airport train or the airport bus to central Rome, read our post on Getting from the Rome Airport to Your Hotel.
Where to Stay in Rome with Kids
The best area to stay in Rome with family is undoubtably in central Rome. Old Town Rome is where the best restaurants, shopping and the majority of the things to do in Rome with kids are located. The downside is that accommodation in central Rome can get very expensive, but it is large enough that you’ll be able to find some Rome accommodations which meet your needs and budget.
We rented a two-bedroom Airbnb in Rome just a few minutes walk from Piazza Navona. Our Rome Airbnb was close enough to walk to the main Rome attractions, but also far enough away to be quiet. It had tons of great Rome restaurants, multiple grocery stores and shopping within easy walking distance.
We chose to stay at a Rome Airbnb as we enjoy the family-friendly amenities like separate bedrooms, a kitchen and laundry facilities.
If you would prefer a kid-friendly Rome hotel for your Italian family vacation, we personally use and recommend using Booking.com as their Top Picks for Families search filter makes it easy to find good family-friendly accommodation.
Here is what we did on our 7 days in Rome with kids. We hope you find some things to do in Rome with your kids!
Rome with Kids – Day 1
We woke early on our first day in Rome with kids as we were a little jet lagged after our long flight to Rome from Canada. In our experience, this is an excellent opportunity to get out early and see popular sights before the crowds arrive.
With our 20-month old son in his backpack carrier and our 4-year old daughter on foot, we set out to see Rome for the first time.
We love walking on the first day somewhere new as it allows us to get the lay of the land. We give some of our tips on walking around Rome with toddlers below.
Our first stop was Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most beautiful and popular piazzas.
We arrived at Piazza Navona with our kids around 8am and we seemed to be the only tourists around. With the early morning sun illuminating the fountains, it was a magical first experience in Rome. We spent time soaking in the beauty of Piazza Navona while our kids chased pigeons.
We got to the Pantheon with our kids a few minutes before it opened. One of the things which makes Rome with kids so much fun, is there’s no shortage of stuff for kids to climb on (no antiquities please). What kid doesn’t love walking on top of a wall?
Visiting the Pantheon with kids at opening time was great as it was not very crowded. We let our kids out of their backpacks as we walked around and admired the beautiful domed ceiling, columns and sculptures within the Pantheon.
While we soaked in the culture at the Pantheon, our kids had fun doing down dogs on the marble floor. It also didn’t take them long to figure out the place had great acoustics, so they started to make loud noises and laughed at the echoes they made.
We had to try and shush them, but man they thought it was funny, and no one really seemed to mind… Italians love kids!
Afterwards, we sat on the steps of the Fontana del Pantheona, a fountain in the piazza in front of the Pantheon, and had a little snack.
Largo di Torre Argentina
One of the great things about exploring Rome on foot is the unexpected discoveries along the way. On our way from the Pantheon to Campo de’ Fiori, we stumbled across Largo di Torre Argentina, a large archaeological site with the ruins of four temples.
In any other city in the world, this would be a main attraction, but in Rome, it is largely overlooked.
A visit to Largo di Torre Argentine is a fun thing to do in Rome with kids who love animals. These extensive Rome ruins are home to many cute stray cats, thanks to the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. And of course, more pigeons to chase…
Campo de’ Fiori
Campo de’ Fiori is a great thing to do in Rome with kids; it has everything you’d expect in a Roman street market; fresh fruits and veggies, pasta, flowers, wine and souvenirs. Italians take their food quality very seriously and it shows – I’ve never seen tomatoes that were so red!
Italians love kids! The vendors at Campo de’ Fiori love interacting with your kids, making this a special Rome activity for them.
Unless you are a big-time shopper, Campo di’ Fiori is a reasonably quick attraction. Campo di’ Fiori is surrounded by cafés and restaurants, so it’s a good place to come for lunch or a cappuccino.
Family food tip: Try the pizza at Forno Campo de’ Fiori in the NW corner of the market. Some say it’s the best pizza bianca (a very popular street food) in Rome.
Our morning walk around Rome took 3.5 hours and we walked 3.7 miles / 6km.
Kids need time to play even while traveling, so after nap time we decided to take them to the Villa Borghese Gardens park. The famous Spanish Steps were on our way, so we decided to stop there first.
We arrived at the Spanish Steps at 3PM and it was very crowded. From the Barcaccia Fountain at the bottom to the very top of the Spanish Steps, people were everywhere.
We’re not really into crowds, nor just sitting around, so we slowly climbed the Spanish Steps, took some pictures, enjoyed the views and then left to go to the Villa Borghese Gardens park.
Villa Borghese Gardens
All families should find time to visit Villa Borghese Gardens when in Rome with kids. It’s the the only major park within walking distance of Rome’s historic town center. Villa Borghese Gardens is well-treed, making it a great activity on a hot day in Rome.
We entered Villa Borghese Gardens in the southwest corner and immediately started seeing lots of families riding four-wheel bikes. This looked like such a fun thing to do in Rome with kids, that we tracked down the bike rental shop and got one of our own.
Talk about a cheap kids activity in Rome – a four-seater family bike rental only cost 12€ per hour. The kids sat up front where they had their own “steering wheel”. Our bike had safety buckles for the kids, but we noticed that some of the other rental bikes didn’t, so be careful if you rent one.
The kids absolutely loved our four-seater bike rental in Villa Borghese Gardens! They laughed so hard and had a great time ‘steering’ the bike. They waved at everyone, who always waved back, making the experience that much more special for them.
As for us, we enjoyed finding such a fun thing to do in Rome with our kids. Plus it was a great way to explore the huge Villa Borghese Gardens in a short time.
Along the way, we stopped at a playground near Casina di Raffaello to let the kids play. Casina di Raffaello is a recreation center for kids and they were kind enough to let us use their bathroom.
Other fun stuff for kids to do in Villa Borghese Gardens includes a train, a zoo, several playgrounds and tons of pigeons to chase.
Our afternoon outing took approximately 2.5 hours and we walked 3.5 miles / 5.6km.
Meal tip: Sometimes you just don’t want to take your kids to a restaurant. Some of the best takeaway Italian food we had in Rome was near Villa Borghese Gardens. It’s a little hole in the wall called Pastificio Guerra. It was affordable Italian takeout and very good.
Rome with Kids – Day 2
We were so excited to visit the Roman Colosseum with kids.
Backpacks are not allowed inside the Roman Colosseum, so we guessed this meant that backpack carriers would not be allowed either. So we set out on foot with our daughter walking and our son in the Ergo carrier.
Again, walking the streets of Rome with kids is so fun – you will be rewarded with endless discoveries. The stretch of road from the Altar of the Fatherland to the Colosseum is especially fun for everyone. There are Roman ruins all along the road, fun street art and even ‘scraps’ of marble columns the kids will love to climb on.
Wow! Despite being one of those iconic buildings that we’ve all seen in pictures a million times, the Roman Colosseum doesn’t disappoint in person.
When visiting the Roman Colosseum with kids, watch them closely. The walkways are quite narrow and are often filled with tour groups who are not paying much attention to where they are going. Everything inside the Roman Colosseum must look so much fun for kids to climb, but not surprisingly there are lots of “Do Not Climb” signs throughout.
Our kids had a lot of fun exploring the Roman Colosseum, climbing everything they were allowed to. The importance and beauty of the Rome Colosseum was lost on our kids, but it’s fair to say they were really impressed and had a fun visit here.
Rome with Kids Tip: There is a free water bottle filling and cell phone charging station just outside the Colosseo Metro Station.
Our daughter did great walking from our Airbnb to the Roman Colosseum. By the time we left the Colosseum, we had already walked 4.6 miles / 7.4km, so we decided to take a local Rome bus back to our apartment.
The bus was VERY crowded, but was a nice treat after so much walking. From door-to-door, it took us about three hours to do this outing.
After 36 very busy hours in Rome with kids, we were already itching for a little peace and quiet in nature, so we set out to walk Janiculum Hill.
The Janiculum Hill walk is across the river, just south of the Vatican. This easy walk in Rome starts here and ends here at the beautiful Fontana dell’Acqua Paola in the trendy Trastevere neighborhood.
Janiculum Hill is a pleasant kid-friendly walk which follows a tree-lined path through some parks and plazas. The views of Rome below are worth the climb alone, but there are also some interesting sights along the way including a beautiful large fountain, a carousel, statues and a park full of white marble busts.
The Janiculum walk is approximately 1.5 miles / 2.4 km long and has an elevation gain of 200 feet. The walk took us about 45 minutes from end-to-end.
Rome with Kids – Day 3
We arrived at the Roman Forum with our kids before it opened, so we explored the nearby Palatine Hill. One of the Seven Hills of Rome, Palatine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of the city.
Visiting Palatine Hill early in the morning is a great thing to do with kids in Rome as they can run around this well-treed natural area without worrying about the usual hordes of tourists.
Our son loved watching the green parakeets eating flowers off the trees and our daughter enjoyed running through a garden maze. The views of the Roman Forum are excellent from the various viewpoints on the hill.
Next, we walked back down the hill to explore the ancient government buildings of the Roman Forum. This area was much busier than Palatine Hill, especially along the Sacra Via.
We were impressed by the ruins at the Roman Forum, but the kids were less impressed. They had more fun running around on Palatine Hill.
If we were to do it again, we’d visit the Roman Forum with kids first as it’d be less busy and gets the ‘boring’ stuff out of the way. Then we’d ‘reward’ the kids with some playtime up on Palatine Hill.
After nap time we could tell the kids were tired, so we did their favorite thing to do in Rome – chasing pigeons at Piazza Navona. Being mid-afternoon, Piazza Navona was much busier but we didn’t mind as this Rome activity was for the kids.
We capped it off with a visit to Frigidarium, our favorite gelato place in Rome. If only we would have had this post on finding the best gelato in Italy, we could have spent so much more time taste testing the best gelato!
Rome with Kids – Day 4
Rome Family Photo Shoot
Early this morning we met up with Jake and Dannie, two very talented family travel photographers for a family photo shoot near the Roman Forum. The photos below are examples of their outstanding work.
We were lucky to be in Rome with kids at the same time Jake and Dannie were there. If you’d like you own family photo shoot while in Rome, you can arrange a private photo session.
There are some amazing activities in Rome for kids which combine culture and outdoor activities. We wanted to cycle the Appian Way with kids, so we were happy to find Jake and Dannie did as well.
After our Rome photo shoot, we all hopped on the 118 bus to Eco Bike Roma. This Appian Way bike rental shop is located near the entrance to Via Appia. We chose them as they had 7-speed rental bikes with child seats and helmets for the kids.
After a short section with lots of traffic, we passed through the Appian Way entrance gate. The next 2 miles of cycling the Appian Way with kids was very tranquil with only the odd car or bus going by.
We turned our rental bikes around at that point as it seemed to go back onto a busy road again. Besides, we wanted our kids to have a chance to get out and play with each other. Cycling the Appian Way is a great thing to do with kids in Rome if you want some physical activity outdoors.
Tiber River Walk
It’s very important to give our kids time to play every day. We hadn’t found a Rome playground yet, but we had noticed the Tiber River had wide walkways along its banks. We thought letting the kids run and play along the Tiber would be a fun activity for the kids.
The Tiber River walkways are not widely used, so there was tons of room for the kids to run and play. Both sides of the Tiber River have wide walking/biking paths. One side is cobblestone (and seems to be less used) and the other is paved and much busier.
A Tiber River walk may seem like an unlikely thing to do in Rome with kids, but our kids had a great time. Just be sure to watch out for people on bikes and for occasional pieces of broken glass.
Rome with Kids – Day 5
The Trevi Fountain is one of the most beautiful sights in Rome. Kids will likely miss the appeal, but a little culture wouldn’t kill them, right?
We arrived at the Trevi Fountain with kids at 8:40am and it was already noticeably busy. There were still spots open near the Trevi Fountain for the kids to play and get some decent pictures of the family.
We enjoyed the stunning beauty of the Trevi Fountain, while the kids simply enjoyed sticking their fingers in it and getting wet.
There’s a famous legend that states if you throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, it will ensure that you will return to Rome in the future. Guess who forgot to bring any coins?? Sigh…
By the time we finished at the Trevi Fountain it was around 9am, so we stopped by the nearby Spanish Steps again. This time the Spanish Steps were much less busy and we had a chance to actually enjoy it.
When they are not crowded, the Spanish Steps are a great activity for kids in Rome. The kids had a lot of fun climbing the steps themselves and interacting with the always-friendly Italians along the way.
Villa Borghese Gardens
We love visiting Rome with our kids, but it is incredibly busy and tiring. After 5 very busy days exploring Rome with our children, we were craving more trees.
One of our kids favorite things to do in Rome so far was Villa Borghese, so we wanted to take them back for more play time in the park.
It was a Sunday, which is always a great time to go to Italian parks with kids as that is when the locals also show up with their kids. After a few cappuccinos and pastries at La Casina dell’Orologio, we walked to the beautiful Il Giardino del Lago (Lake Garden) where the kids enjoyed listening to local buskers play music and looking at the birds in the water.
A quick potty break at Museo Carlo Bilotti (complete with live piano music!) was followed by some much needed playtime at a playground. Our morning was finished off with a quick walk through Piazza del Popolo on our way back to our Rome Airbnb.
Our morning journey took us roughly 3.5 hours and we walked 6.2 miles / 10km.
Rome with Kids – Day 6
We love mixing culture and with outdoor activity. The Rome Aqueduct Park is a perfect blend of the two and was our favorite thing to do in Rome with kids!
It takes about an hour to get to the Aqueduct Park via bus & metro from central Rome, but it is worth the effort. Dating back to AD 52, these ancient superstructures are an amazing sight.
Set in a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers, the Aqueduct Park is an excellent place for a family walk in Rome the kids won’t soon forget. Even if your kids find it boring, you can buy them off with a visit to the playground at the end.
Starting and ending at the Subaugusta metro station, we walked 2.6 miles / 4.2km in about two hours.
Rome with Kids – Day 7
Our intention was to start our day with a visit to the Vatican Museums, but when we got there 30 minutes before opening, the lineups were already huge. Not a great feeling…
Given we’d have to wait in the Vatican Museums ticket line and then again to check our backpack carriers, we made the difficult decision to skip the Sistine Chapel (a great reason to come back to Rome! Oh wait… we forgot coins to throw into the Trevi Fountain… oops!)
We really should have bought skip-the-line Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel tickets like everyone else!
Disappointed, we headed over to St. Peter’s Basilica. We had to go through an airport style security check, but we were allowed to keep our backpack carriers on through the process. St. Peter’s Basilica was awe-inspiring and even the kids seemed to have a good time, likely due to the fact we were there early enough to let them walk.
Next up was the climb up the Dome, which was designed by Michelangelo himself. We love climbing domes! The 551 steps to the top weren’t too bad (took about 15-20 minutes) and the views of St. Peter’s Square and beyond are well worth it!
Afterwards, the kids had a great time running around St. Peter’s Square, chasing pigeons, climbing on the buildings and watching the water in the fountains.
Rome with Kids Tip: Normal backpacks and strollers need to be checked before going into the Basilica, but backpack carriers are allowed inside. We were even allowed to bring them on the climb up the dome!
We love this post about a visit to Vatican City and will definitely have it on our list for next time we visit Rome.
Castel Sant’ Angelo
For our final afternoon in Rome with kids, we walked to the park surrounding the imposing Castel Sant’ Angelo. The park is in a really cool setting as it occupies the space which used to be the castle moat.
There is a lot of grass and trees in the Castel Sant’ Angelo park, but best of all was the discovery of a nice playground for the kids. It’s not shaded though, so bring sunscreen or a hat.
Check out these additional Rome travel tips!
Tips for Walking Rome with Toddlers
Most of the streets are cobblestone, so bringing a stroller to Rome is not a good choice. We had good success carrying our kids around Rome with our Deuter backpack carriers.
If a street in Rome has a sidewalk, and not all do, it will often be very narrow with only enough for one person in single file. Many of the Rome streets have a “sidewalk” painted on the road.
As a parent, this was often pretty scary as there is a lot of traffic in Rome. We didn’t have any safety incidents, but we were constantly watching our kids to make sure they didn’t stray from the painted walking lane.
There are many useful tourist sign posts around town which have maps with your current location, suggested walking routes and nearby attractions.
Visiting Italy with Kids
- Florence with Kids
- Pisa with Kids
- Lucca with Kids
- Cinque Terre with Kids
- Kid-Friendly Cinque Terre Bike Ride
- Taking the Train in Italy with Kids
- Island of Elba with Kids
- Rome with a Baby or Toddler
- Cinque Terre with a Baby or Toddler
- Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast with a Toddler
- Venice Italy with a Baby or Toddler