Are you looking for the best Rome itinerary with kids? In this guide we tell you what we think is the perfect way to spend five days in the eternal city with family.
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Best Way to Get around Rome with kids
Before we get onto specific itinerary options for families visiting Rome, we first thought it would be useful to look into some of the practicalities of visiting Rome as a family. For instance where to stay and how to get around.
Our favorite way to get around Rome whether we are traveling with kids or not is on foot. Rome is one of the world’s best cities for walking in. For this reason we recommend walking as much as possible on this itinerary.
Most of Rome’s attractions are pretty central which makes it easy for walking. However if you are traveling to Rome with a toddler or baby you may want to pack an umbrella or a travel stroller. There are lots of cobbled streets in Rome and you will have to fold your stroller on public transit so you need a lightweight and portable stroller.
Bus tours, the hop on hop off type are very common in Rome. In fact there are several companies that offer this in Rome, although most offer very similar routes.
There are lots of different ticket options such as one and two day passes, as well as options for adding other tourist attractions entrance fees in with your ticket i.e. vatican city entrance.
Whether or not this is worthwhile will really depend on how much walking you are happy to do.
It is a great way to see a city and get your bearings but also to get from a-b quickly while seeing some of the city’s better sites.
I would not recommend doing this in the peak of summer as it is likely going to be too hot for your baby to be on the top deck and it is likely to be very busy.
You can book your tickets here!
Public transit in Rome is my least favorite of getting around the city. It is often crowded and if you are traveling to Rome with a toddler or baby you will have to put the stroller down to board.
Public transit options include bus and Metro but really I try and avoid using these for the majority of our Rome itineraries.
Best Time to Visit Rome with kids
Rome is one of our favorite cities in the world and we have had the fortune to visit in every season. And the truth is every season has something on offer.
We love visiting Rome because of the relatively low crowds and the beautiful Christmas trees and festive spirit.
Spring and Fall are great because of the weather, not too hot and not too cold which makes it perfect for walking around and sightseeing.
If I had to pick my least favorite time to visit Rome with kids I would have to say summer. All of Italy can be hot in Summer, but it can be oppressively so in Rome in July and August. For this reason if you can avoid summer I would recommend it.
Where to eat in Rome with kids
Normally I will have a list of restaurants for cities for the best places to eat for families. However this really isn’t necessary for Rome.
Everything Rome serves is family friendly with pizza, pasta and gelato being kid staples.
We just recommend going into places with a tourist menu as these aren’t usually of the best quality and not places local Italians or Romans would eat.
Also if you are traveling with smaller children who need a high chair we recommend takng a travel one with you as it is not easy to find high chairs in Italy generally.
Where to Stay in Rome with kids for this itinerary
As this is a 5 day itinerary, we recommend staying in the city center. This will allow you access to restaurants but also the ability to see some of the great Rome tourist attractions lit up in the evening. For instance seeing the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps at night is an absolute must!
This is much easier to do if you are staying somewhere central.
5 day Rome Itinerary with kids
This Rome itinerary with kids has been written to cover all of the major Rome tourist attractions such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, Vatican City and more.
Now while you can try and freewheel a Rome itinerary we do recommend trying to have a relatively structured itinerary. The reason for this is because the queues at the major attractions get very long. We therefore recommend buying skip the line tickets in advance as this will reduce your waiting around time with children.
Also this itinerary assumes that you are traveling with children of a certain age. If you are visiting Rome with a baby or toddler then this post may better organise your Rome vacation.
Note: the order of days of this itinerary are purely for organisation purposes. Feel free to move the days and organise your time to fit best with your plans.
Day 1 – Colosseum and Gladiator School
If there is one Rome attraction your children are likely to have heard of it is the Colosseum. We recommend buying skip the line tickets as the queues here get very long.
We also recommend aiming to get there in the morning as it is nice not to be outside in the sunshine during the worst heat of the day.
It is worth noting that there are also lots of family friendly tours of the colosseum which will help make this amazing site more accessible to children.
I recommend allocating a whole morning to taking in the colosseum with kids.
After lunch we recommend trying out Gladiator School.
There are lots of itineraries for Rome that follow a morning at the Colosseum with a trip to the Forum. However we do not recommend it.
Though both are included in this itinerary, and although they are adjacent to each other we find that it is too much for children to take in all in one day.
Which is why we dedicate the afternoon to the more active activity of Gladiator School.
Gladiator school is located on Via Appia and is a great living history activity. Children and adults will dress up as gladiators and learn some fighting techniques.
Although the activity is lots of fun, your children are sure to learn something too and is a great way to back up the learning that happened in the morning at the Colosseum.
Gladiator school is an activity that must be booked in advance. Click here for more information.
Day 2 – Forum and Pizza
For your morning activity we recommend heading to the Roman Forum. The Forum is the ancient ruins of the market place and heart of Roman Rome.
There are lots of great ruins to see but if you are visiting with kids we really recommend joining a family friendly tour of the Forum to make it accessible to children and bring history truly to life.
Just be sure to check that the tour you select doesn’t also include the Colosseum otherwise you will be doubling up on visiting. Else be sure to tweak this itinerary.
We always recommend visiting the Forum in the morning as there is very little shade at the Forum. Therefore it is best to visit first thing in the morning to avoid the worst of the sun.
After you have finished at the Forum we recommend an activity for the afternoon. One of our favorite activities with kids in Rome is a pizza making class.
There are lots of available classes however this one comes highly rated. This is another activity that is essential to book in advance so be sure to check out the details here.
Day 3 – Vatican, Castelo Angelo and Borghese Gardens
For any visitor to Rome the Vatican City is an absolute must. However how much time you spend here will largely depend on the age of children you are traveling with.
If you are traveling with very small children or toddlers then you may want to stick with visiting just St Peters Square and the Basilica.
The museums and Sistine chapel while beautiful would not hold the interest of small children and are quite expensive to enter. For this reason we recommend staying to the free sites at the Vatican.
However if you have older children and would like to visit the museum and the Chapel we recommend going on a family friendly tour to make it more accessible.
Top tip: we recommend visiting first thing in the morning to beat the crowds and the queues. For a full post on visiting Vatican City with kids check out this post.
Family friendly Vatican Tours need advance bookings – click here for prices and availability.
Also a fun thing to do is to climb to the dome of the basilica. However if you plan on doing this I recommend doing so earlier in the day as it is quite strenuous and you won’t fancy the climb at the end of the day.
Note: if you plan on visiting the Vatican City it is essential that you respect the Vatican city dress code which requires modest dress and keeping your knees and shoulders covered!
Alternative: if you are traveling with littles we recommend instead of doing the Vatican Museums heading to the nearby Castelo San Angelo.
To get to the impressive castle you cross an impressive bridge lined with statues. You may recognise it from the film Angels and Demons.
The castle has a long and notorious history as it was used as a papal fortress. Older children will enjoy learning about teh bloody history and secret tunnels. While littles will like running around and heading to the terrace for the amazing view.
Day 4 – Day Trip
If you have five days we think it is well worth heading out of the city and on a day trip. There are many easy day trips that are great to do with kids but our favorites include:
- beaches such as Sperlonga and ostia lido
- Ostia Antica Archeological park.
- Orvieto – a beautiful nearby hilltop town.
We have suggested these day trips as they are all feasibly done by train from Rome. Though there are great day trips that use a car, trust me if you are new to Rome you will not wanting to be driving.
It may be the eternal city but it is not an easy driving city so we recommend first time visitors sticking to train day trips.
To end the day we recommend heading to Borghese Gardens which is particularly great for toddlers and small children. This is a large park with boating lake and museums. However young children will enjoy the many playgrounds.
Parents will love the view!
Once you are finished at the park we recommend heading to the exit at the Spanish steps. It is a great place to get family photos and then head down into Piazza Navone for a lovely al fresco dinner.
Day 5 – Hop on hop off bus tour to main site
To make sure you get to see the rest of the big attractions in Rome we recommend jumping on board the hopp on hop off bus tour. This is a convenient way of seeing everything with littles.
Most of the bus tours have stops near to the main attractions such as:
My kids love the Pantheon. This church was designed by the emperor Hadrian in 120AD. It is one of Rome’s best preserved buildings and operates today as a church so remember to dress modestly.
The main surprise is that on the inside there is a hole in the roof or an Oculus.
It is great if you can visit when it rains as the water floods into the building.
For more information on what to do on a rainy day in Rome check out this post.
This is a short walk from the above and is a great place for kids to stretch their legs as it is pedestrianised.
It is a great place to grab a gelato and people watch while grown ups will love the fountains.
This is perhaps most famous fountain. If you can visit first thing it is easier to get photographs as this is one of the busiest places in Rome to visit no matter the time of year.
You can’t visit the fountain without throwing in a coin and making a wish which is a sure fire hit with the kids.
Churches are everywhere in Rome. If you are traveling with kids chances are they won’t want to visit everyone however some of our favorites are:
- Santa Maria in Trastavere and
- Santa Maria del Popolo
FAQs about this Rome itinerary with kids
Should we buy the Roma Pass?
The Roma Pass is a card that grants you access to many of the main Rome attractions. If you plan to visit lots of places without a tour it can be a cost saving.
However many of the family friendly tours include entrance so you need to make sure it is worthwhile for you.
Do you have more questions about this Rome itinerary with kids? Then drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.