Exploring Rome With Kids: 10 Essential Sites

Tourism to Italy is booming! In fact, more than 420 million visitors explored the country in 2017, breaking the country’s tourism record. That’s a 4.4% increase in tourist numbers since the record was set in 2016.

If you’re headed to Rome with kids, you’ll want a game plan. Otherwise, you could miss out on all the adventures that await you!

Keep reading to discover the 10 best things to do in Rome with kids.

With these ideas, you can plan out an itinerary that’s packed full of fun for the whole family! Plan your trip to Rome with these 10 fun places to go.

  1. Explore the Colosseum

If you go anywhere during your trip to Rome with kids, make sure to visit the Flavian Amphitheatre, or Colosseum, first. The Colosseum is one of the most familiar symbols of Rome.

Tell your kids stories of fierce gladiators who fought off ferocious lions. They’ll want to see the famed Amphitheatre for themselves.

Make sure to avoid the Colosseum between mid-morning to 2 pm, when it’s busiest. 

Instead, try to cut your waiting time by reserving a skip-the-line tour. Then, you can explore the maze of tunnels and chambers deep beneath the arena where the spectacles were staged. There, gladiators and wild animals awaited their chance in the area above. 

This subterranean holding area, or the hypogeum, contained cages for:

  • Leopards
  • Bears
  • Lions
  • Elephants

They were used in battle or in circus performances. The arena used an elevator-like system of pulleys—manned by slaves—to lift the beasts up to the arena floor. 

If you plan on visiting the hypogeum, make sure to book ahead for afternoon public access. 

  1. Throw Money in the Trevi Fountain

Consider walking through Rome after dark. When the lights flicker on, Rome’s old stones will glow beneath the light. The fountains will shine, giving the city a sense of magic. 

During your walk, consider stopping for pizza and Italy’s delicious gelato.

Then, head over to the Trevi Fountain. 

It’s almost a right of passage for visitors to stop at Rome’s largest fountain and toss a coin into the water. This custom is based on the legend that anyone who does throw a coin in will one day return to visit the ancient city. Give your child a coin and let them toss one in!

People gather in large groups to test the theory and toss in their own coins. 

The coins are eventually collected and given to a local Catholic charity each year. 

  1. Climb St. Peter’s Dome

If you’re visiting Rome with kids who are younger, you might think the Vatican won’t keep their interest. However, many families climb St. Peter’s dome, which is an adventure in itself. 

Considered Michelangelo’s greatest architectural achievement, the dome is positioned 120 meters above the Basilica. You can either walk the 551 stairs or get a lift halfway up. Once you reach the top, you can take in the sweeping views of the city. 

If you can’t make it to the top, enjoy the view from below. Take fun selfies with the Swiss Guards who are on duty nearby or take photos as a family.

  1. Enjoy the View

Italy is the fifth most popular tourist destination in the world. While many people try these fun things to do in Rome, many also enjoy the city’s sweeping views. 

Try visiting the Vittoriano on Piazza Venezia. There, you can explore the colossal white structure that contains numerous museums and galleries. It also provides a glorious view of the city.

Try taking the panoramic lift to the top and stare at the entire city below!

  1. Run Wild

If your kids need to blow off some steam, head to Rome’s central park, Villa Borghese. 

The 80-hectare oasis is full of kid-friendly attractions. For example, you can visit Rome’s zoo or hire rowing boats and paddle around a small lake.

You can also watch a movie at the Cinema dei Piccoli or take a bike ride together. Once you’re ready to explore again, try some of these great Rome tour options as a family.

  1. Search the Catacombs

Are you children fond of pirate adventures and skeletons? Consider visiting the dark, creepy catacombs beneath Rome. Early Christians used to bury their dead within the subterranean tunnels.

You can only visit the catacombs by guided tour, so make sure to book in advance.

  1. Hit the Road

Get in a little exercise and take a bike ride to Via Appia Antica, or the Appian Way. This legendary road is famous for Rome’s consular highways. During your ride, you’ll see lush green fields, crumbling ruins, and lofty pine trees leading your way.

  1. Peel Through Pompeii

Give your kids a sense of ancient room by taking a train to Ostia Antica. The city was abandoned after the fall of the Roman Empire. Today, it features a bath complex, the Terme di Nettuno, and a preserved theatre. 

  1. Train in Gladiator School

If you’re looking for unusual things to do in Rome with kids, consider enrolling them in gladiator school. 

The museum of Gruppo Storico Romano offers a two-hour class for kids. There, your child can learn about Roman gladiators from historical re-enactors as they bring ancient fighting skills to the present. Your kids can also don their own tunic and leather gloves before learning about authentic gladiator swordplay!

Kids as young as six years old can participate. However, your older children are more likely to get a thrill from this rigorous training. 

There are also all-day programs more suitable for adults if you want to become a gladiator for a day!

After training, you and your kids can take home a diploma to prove you’re a certified gladiator. 

  1. Feast on Italian Food

After visiting the Vatican Museums, make sure to explore the nearby shops and restaurants throughout the city. After all, a visit to Rome with kids isn’t complete without a good meal! Try Pizzarium for pizza al taglio, Venchi for sweet gelato, or Fatamorgana during your visit!

Oh the Places You’ll Go: 10 Essential Sites to Visit in Rome With Kids

Turn your visit to Rome into a full-blown adventure. With this list of 10 sites to visit in Rome with kids, you’re bound to make memories that will last forever.

Looking for more vacation ideas? Visit the Travel and Home Living section of the blog today!