Things to do with kids in Rome
Sorry grown-ups there are some things in Rome that are best done young. See the eternal city through fresh eyes with our selection of the top family-friendly activities in Rome. Get ready to have fun!
Escape the crowds and the queues at these secret sights:
- See three countries and their capitals through one tiny keyhole at the top of the Aventine Hill. Peak through and you will see a garden path that leads to the Vatican. On the walk up don’t miss out on the orange tree gardens!
Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta
- For a journey through time head to the Basilica San Clemente where you can still see a 2ndcentury Mithran temple and the remains of a Roman house two floors below ground.
Via Labicana, 95; Mon-Sat 9-12:30 and 3pm-6pm, Sundays and holidays 12pm-6pm; 5€ full, 3.50€ reduced.
- Experience ghostly thrills in the crypt of the Capuchin monks. The skeletons of around 4,000 friars are kept in the catacombs under the 17thcentury church. Not for the faint of heart!
Via Vittorio Veneto, 27; every day 9am-7pm; 6€ full, 4€ reduced.
Watch your kids perk up with these lively activities:
- You can rent boats, bicycles, segways and rollerblades at the Villa Borghese gardens and whizz around its beautiful green paths. For an overview of the park’s main sights hop on the miniature train which runs everyday from 10:30 till sunset.
Metro Popolo/Spagna, 20€ per hour for a quadricycle seating six.
- While you’re in Villa Borghese, head to Bioparco. The zoo has 222 different species and a special butterfly greenhouse until July.
Piazzale del Giardino Zoologico; everyday 9:30-18:00; 15€ adults, 12€ until 12 years old, free for a children under 1m.
- Beginning in April, Rainbow Magicland theme park, with its 35 rides and 3 theatres, is a full day of fun for the family. Located 45 minutes drive from the center of Rome, it is also accessible by train and shuttle bus.
Valmontone; From April 15th. Full ticket 35€, reduced 29€ and kids under a 1m go free. magicland.it
- If your kids crave a challenge, head to the ropes courses at EurPark Adventure, a short walk from the Palasport metro. A dozen courses are rated according to difficulty, with multi-lingual instructors on hand to review safety procedures. Or try your hand with a bow and arrow.
Parco Carlo Ciocci, Piazza Pakistan. Open Mon-Sun, 10am-8pm. Entry fee €12 for kids, €18 for adults; archery priced separately. eurpark.it
Who says learning can’t be fun?
- A fun and educational alternative to the long museum queues, Time Elevator is a multi-sensory cinema experience, complete with moving seats, flight simulators, wind and rain machines and 3D glasses. The “time machine” will take you and your little one back to ancient Rome time for a half hour of adventure and antiquity, or to the age of dinosaurs, to learn about the making of mankind.
Via dei Santi Apostoli, 20; everyday from 10.30am – 7.30pm. Ticket €12, reduced €9. time-elevator.it
- Vigamus is a museum dedicated entirely to video games. Along with a history of gaming, the museum offers the chance to play retro arcade games and experience a virtual reality in 3D.
Via Sabotino, 4; Tue – Sun 10am to 8pm; adults 8€, kids 5€. vigamus.com
- Just for children, Explora is a totally interactive museum near Piazza del Popolo where young visitors can learn about history, society and science.
Via Flaminia, 80/86; Tues – Sun 10am – 5pm; 1 -3 yr olds 3€, 3+ 7€, children under 1 Free. mdbr.it/en/
- Finding a museum program that engages children is not easy in Rome, but Art and Seek fills that gap. The non-profit group leads children through various exhibitions around the city, discussing the art in ways kids can relate to, followed by a hands-on art activity. In English or Italian.
Tours meet at the museum featured. Timings vary, but most take place at 4 or 4:30 pm on Saturday or before noon on Sunday. Entry fee €15 per child; includes art materials.
Best city workshops
Learn something cool in the eternal city:
- Cinecittà offers workshops and daily guided tours for families, revealing cinema secrets from the most famous of Italian film studios.
Via Tuscolana, 1055; every day (except Tues) 9.30am-6.30pm; Exhibition Family ticket for 2 parents and 2 children 25€ and Guided Tour Family ticket 45€. cinecittasimostra.it/en
- Don’t just go see art in Rome – make it! The Casina di Raffaello in the Villa Borghese is a museum dedicated to kids between the ages of 3 and 10 every weekend using workshops, activities, and a large game room.
Villa Borghese; Tue-Fri, 10am-6pm; Sat-Sun 10am-7pm; Full 7€, reduced 5€. casinadiraffaello.it
- Ever wondered what it would be like to be a gladiator for the day? At Rome’s only Gladiator School, just off the ancient Appian Way, you can take part in a two-hour lesson and train to become a true little warrior.
Via Appia Antica 18, prices vary, reservation required. gruppostoricoromano.it/en
Need a break from all that adrenaline? Take a moment to chill at one of these spots:
- The Little Reader is a bookshop, library and café all rolled into one. The shop also hosts events for little readers, such as storytelling in both English and Italian.
Via Conte Verde, 66; Mon – Sat from 10am – 6.30pm. thelittlereader.it
- During the warmer months, everything comes up roses at the fragrant Orto Botanico, or botanical gardens of Rome. Take a stroll through the beautiful greenery and see over 3000 species of plant life.
Largo Cristina di Svezia, 24; 9am – 5.30pm (November-February) or 6.30pm (March-October); Adults €8, under 11’s €4, under 5’s free. ortobotanicoitalia.it/lazio/romalasapienza/
- Up the Janiculum lies the green, hilly expanse of Villa Pamphilj Park, a bigger, less crowded alternative to Villa Borghese. The park offers playgrounds, paths for jogging and biking, fields for soccer and frisbee, streams, a pond full of turtles, and a museum, the former country house of the Pamphili-Doria family. Stop by Vivi Bistrot for hummus, barley salad, burgers, or organic chicken nuggets for the kids.
Multiple entrances on Via di San Pancrazio, Via Aurelia Antica, etc. Open daily, 7am-sunset. Free entry.
- Add some music to your day! Sala Santa Cecilia at Auditorium Parco della Musica hosts many family friendly concerts, often on Sundays, with live classical music and a friendly atmosphere.
Viale Pietro de Coubertin, 30; check santacecilia.it
AUTHOR NOTE: Special thank you to Lara Bruan and Tej Rae who contributed reviews