For our first European City Break with baby in tow we decided to return to a city we have been to many times as a couple and one we love so much – Rome! If you are thinking about visiting Rome with a baby or toddler then this guide is sure to be of help. In it we cover everything you need to know about visiting Rome with toddlers or babies from where to stay in Rome with kids, practical information such as can you use strollers in Rome and where to buy baby supplies to the best things to do in Rome with baby or toddler in tow.
Updated: August 2019
Visiting Rome with a Baby or Toddler – All you Need to Know!
Best Time to Visit Rome with a Baby
We have travelled to Rome in all of the seasons and must admit that we try to avoid the summer. Roman summers get very hot which could be uncomfortable when traveling with a baby (though we have done it) and is also when the city is at it’s most crowded due to the number of tourists that flock to the city. You are far less likely to meet a Roman if visiting in August as most of the residents flee the city.
While Rome can get cold in the Winter, we do like visiting Rome in the Winter especially pre Christmas when the Piazzas are filled with carol singers and festive decorations. Just be prepared to wrap up warm and be aware that there is likely to be some rain on your visit. But don’t worry we have a guide for Rome in the rain.
However our favorite time to visit Rome is to go in the shoulder seasons of Winter or Autumn. The climate is temperate and in the evenings you may need a light jacket but the daytime temperature will be absolutely perfect for exploring on foot.
How to get Around Rome with baby or toddler in tow?
Getting From Rome Airport with a baby
There are several great options to get from the airport into Rome with baby or toddler in tow however in our opinion the easiest way to get from the airport is via private transfer. However for those on a budget you can also get the direct Leonardo Train or take a Terravision Bus into the city. This costs a budget friendly 4 Euros a person and arrives at the Termini Station.
Using Public Transport in Rome with toddler or babies.
This is my least favorite way of getting around Rome with toddler or babies. Rome buses are incredibly crowded which means that it can be difficult to get on with a stroller and if you do you will find yourself packed like sardines on the bus. It may be that the only way to get on is with the stroller folded and the. you and the baby are not guaranteed a seat. After our experiences of traveling on the buses of Rome before having a baby, this is something we have avoided like the plague since visiting Rome with toddlers or babies.
Getting a Taxi in Rome with toddlers and babies
The taxis in Rome are white but are not all that easy to hail especially if you are traveling in peak season. Car seats are not compulsory in Rome so it is hard to find a car carrying one. Your options are to prebook a private transfer at a higher cost or take your own car seat with you. However we find this to be an inconvenient way of getting around in Rome and there try to opt for accommodation in the centre of the city so we can walk to most places. Also, Rome traffic is CRAZY!
Using the Hop On Hop Off Bus in Rome with a baby
We love a hop on Hop off bus! 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. However if you are visiting in Winter or a shoulder season this is definitely a good way to see Rome with toddlers or babies.
You can book your tickets here!
Walking in Rome
Our absolute favorite way of getting around Rome with a baby or toddler. You can take everything at your own place and stop for plenty of coffee or gelato stops! Rome in our opinion is a city made for walking.
Carrier vs Stroller – can you use strollers in Rome ?
One of the worries about any city is will it be baby friendly and I did worry about how easy it would be to use strollers in Rome. Before going to Rome we were told repeatedly – use the carrier and under no circumstances use a stroller in Rome. However I’m not always the biggest carrier fan and I didn’t listen to the advice. I used the stroller throughout our time in the city so I think I am in a good position to answer is Rome stroller friendly?
We walked from the Trevi fountain to the Vatican City and to the colosseum stopping at many piazzas on the way. It was absolutely fine and it easy. The pram survived the ordeal easily and the baby was very content. Now if you are going to use the metro or go into the Vatican, colosseum or museums the carrier is an essential but if you want to walk the city don’t think you can’t do it with a pram. Rome is baby friendly in our opinion?
Eating Out with a baby or toddler in Rome
Not all stereotypes are true but the Italian love of babies and families is one that definitely is. We found that whatever restaurant we took our little too in Rome we were welcomed with open arms. Most restaurants are family friendly though we found the provision of high chairs hit and miss. You could travel with a portable high chair if this is a concern for you.
We found that restaurants were very happy to warm or milk for us or to provide additional side plates to let littles eat from our meals.
A Note on Breastfeeding: This is widely accepted in Rome and shouldn’t be a concern before traveling to the city.
Where to Stay in Rome with a Baby?
For me it is really important to stay central in Rome when traveling with a baby or toddler for ease of getting around. There are many family friendly areas in Rome and some lovely hotels for every budget. Our favorite place to stay in Rome is in the historical centre so you can get to everywhere on foot! We also love staying next to Villa Borghese Gardens as we think this is one of the most family friendly places to visit with a baby or toddler.
Our favorite hotels in this area are:
Luxury Hotel: Westin Excelsior Rome
We always stay here when visiting Rome with our little! It is right next door to Villa Borghese Gardens and is close to main attractions and some fabulous restaurants! There really is no better place for families.
Other great choices are:
Luxury Hotel: Grand Hotel Parco Dei Principi
Again with great proximity to the Villa Borghese Gardens and a pool open to children over the age of 4.
For those on more of a budget you might want to consider:
Hilton Garden Inn Rome Claridge
A four star hotel in a great location to get to the main attractions and the park.
Best Things to Do in Rome with a baby or Toddler and How to See Rome’s Most Famous Sites with a baby!
Villa Borghese Gardens – one of the best things to do in Rome with a toddler
Are I mentioned above – I love staying in close proximity to this whenever I visit Rome with a baby or toddler! The Gardens for me are a bit of a Rome hidden gem and are a great place to stroll with a stroller or let older kids blow off steam. There is also a zoo and boating lake to keep the children entertained! For the more active you can rent bike to travel around the gardens. In my opinion this really is one of the best things to do in Rome with a toddler.
Located near the beautiful Borghese Gardens. This is one of the busier tourist attractions and is not at all stroller friendly with over 130 steps from top to bottom! One for the carrier.
We like to do this before heading to the Borghese Gardens to let the littles blow off some steam or have a nap in the shade.
A definite must for your visit but queues can get crazy especially in peak season! Be sure to book your tickets in advance or book a family friendly tour with skip the queue included!
We found that it is possible to do this with as stroller or carrier so pick whatever you feel more comfortable with.
This is a small but absolute must when visiting Rome. You can enjoy this space in toddler attention span time and there is a lovely piazza with fountains outside for children to play in.
This is also one of my favourite places to visit in Rome when it rains as I love to watch the rain pouring through the oculus (the hole in the roof).
A must on any trip to Rome. In the afternoon this piazza is very crowded so be sure to head there in the morning when traveling with a little.
If you are a first time visitor to Rome, then throwing a coin into the fountain is a must. This is another super busy part of Rome so be sure to head there early. This isn’t a stroller friendly place so you might want to consider taking the carrier here.
If you do head there in an evening our favorite restaurant in Rome, Spiriti e Forme is just around the corner.
The Forum in Rome with a Baby
The Forum is one of my favorite places to go in Rome! To make the most of your visit you definitely need a guide! This is our favorite Forum Tour to do with kids – book here!
Please note: given the uneven surfaces of the Forum it is best to use a carrier
Vatican City with a baby
The Vatican Museums are one of the busiest places n Rome and aren’t the most child friendly in terms of interpretation and activities. However if you want to visit the Vatican with kids (our full guide is here) then I would definitely say it is essential to book in advance and arrive early to beat the worst of the crowds!
If you decide the museums aren’t for you when traveling with littles, it is still worth heading to the Vatican to visit St Peters Basilica.
The queues to get in are long! Strollers in the Vatican City are allowed in St Peters Square however need to be checked before entering the basilica! Another fun thing to do at the Vatican is climb to the top of the dome. If you decide to do this with a baby it is essential you bring a carrier.
Best Family Friendly Tour of Rome
If you would like to do a formal tour of Rome with a baby then this half day tour is the perfect solution!
Where to find Baby Equipment in Rome?
Unlike many places such as the UK and US, the supermarket shouldn’t be your first port of call to do your baby supply shopping. While supermarkets will have a small selection of baby food, nappies etc the place you need for the most comprehensive selection is a pharmacy. There are no chain pharmacies in Rome so each one will have something different so worth trying a few but you should be able to get everything you need in one trip.
Feeding a Baby in Rome
We were over in Europe for a couple of weeks so the idea of flying with food and milk to last the whole trip was not something I wanted to do. We took a few days essentials but managed to pick up everything we need. Baby food is readily available. We found everything from standard fruits to more local specialities such as rabbit and horse which we had to buy.
Ready Feeds, if you are a formula feeder are available but only in some pharmacies. Unlike uk and us the smallest bottle we found was 500ml but great for keeping in your hotel.
In terms of formula, we didn’t manage to find brands like aptamil and cow and gate but there are local equivalents.
For more tips on travelling with formula fed babies check out this post!
Where can you find baby changing facilities in Rome?
One of the things I found when googling was that everyone said that there were no changing facilities and those which were were very dirty. Now I live in a county where changing mats and tables are not a common sight so was prepared to do a change on the fly. But this is much easier if you have a pram than a carrier (see accessibility for more info). While most cafes etc didn’t have changing rooms they were more than happy to make space someone out of the way for you to do a change.
There are also some changing facilities if you know where to find them. Below are a list of all changing facilities in shops I found. If you know more then please let me know and I’ll add them to the list:
– prenatal store via nazionale 45
– prenatal store via della croce 48
– galleria alberto sordi via del corso
I read that some of the larger department stores have as well but didn’t test this and museums and the Vatican (despite below pic) have good changing facilities.
Have you been your Rome – what are your top tips for families traveling to Rome with baby? Is Rome baby friendly in your opinion?
You may also be interested in my post: Reasons why Rome is the perfect city break for families with babies and young children