Things to Do in Rome with Kids: A Family-Friendly Guide

Our list of family-friendly activities to try in Rome to keep the little (and big) kids entertained

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Tubs of ice cream in parlour

Rome is just as much a city for families as it is for couples seeking a romantic getaway. Family plays a very important role in Italian society so you can bet there’s plenty to keep kids entertained. Our guide of things to do in Rome with kids takes you on a family-friendly tour of The Eternal City, from pizza-making classes and gladiator schools to exploring ancient ruins and climbing a volcano for the more adventurous.

Soak up Rome’s history

The stories of ancient Rome call out from every street corner, enough to make even the most book shy of children want to learn more about the past. Make sure to visit the Colosseum and the neighbouring Circus Maximus. We would be remiss to not also recommend checking out the Pantheon and Bocca Della Veritá. Meaning 'Mouth of Truth', the Bocca is an infamous stone carving which legend has it will bite the hand clean off anyone who lies.

View of the Colosseum, Rome

Treat yourselves to a gelato

Forget the phrase 'no dessert until you’ve finished your greens' because you’ll be forced to eat your own words. It’s simply impossible to walk past a Roman gelateria and not go inside. Ice cream is an art form in The Eternal City best practised by hole-in-wall gelaterias like Frigidarium near Piazza Navona, and family-run shops like Gelateria del Viale on the outskirts of Trastevere. The good gelaterias will have their own twists on the more classic flavours along with seasonal tastes to try.

Learn to fight like a gladiator

Normally we wouldn’t encourage fighting between siblings, but when it comes to learning the art of gladiatorial combat we’ll allow it. When looking for things to do in Rome with kids, look no further than Gruppo Storico Romano. Enrol your children in gladiator school where they’ll be transported back in time to the height of the Roman empire. Donning their tunics and picking their weapon, they’ll be taught the art of combat (and they'll burn off plenty of energy too). Meaning you can enjoy a more relaxing afternoon…until the next gelato sugar rush hits, at least.

Climb St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City

With remarkable homes all over Rome, we here at Plum Guide know a thing or two about how to make your trip an unforgettable one. It doesn’t matter how old you are, no visit to Rome would be complete without seeing the Vatican City. The Vatican is home to several museums - over 20 in fact - so choosing a family-friendly audio guide tour is the way to go. Experience one masterpiece after another with virtual guides who will make the paintings come alive and inspire the little Michelangelos in your family. For older kids, climbing the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is another must. After a somewhat challenging climb, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of Rome from above.

The Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Rent a rowboat in the Borghese Gardens

Looking for some outdoor activity? The next stop on our tour of things to do with kids in Rome takes us to Villa Borghese, one of the largest parks in Rome and central enough that you can easily combine it with a day of sightseeing. Not only is Villa Borghese home to Rome Zoo, but there’s also a little rowing lake with the Temple of Asclepius at its centre. Renting a rowboat is inexpensive and a nice way to relax in the sunshine…until the kids start demanding gelato again.

Make a wish in a fountain

Children love fountains. Don’t ask us why but they do. And they don’t get more impressive than those you’ll find in Rome. Everyone knows about the Trevi, immortalised in the famous scene from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, but it would be a mistake not to visit Piazza Navona. This famous gathering place for Romans near the Pantheon is home to three famous fountains including the Four Rivers Fountain designed by the legendary sculptor Bernini. Fontana dell’Acqua Paola is another must-visit and overlooks Rome from high on Gianicolo Hill.

Learn to make pizza at a local trattoria

Nurture your kids’ creativity at a pizza-making class. Not only is this one of the best things to do in Rome with kids, but the whole family will love learning how to cook a classic dish from the professionals too (yes, even you). There are plenty of pizza making courses to choose from but we recommend heading to the Ghetto di Roma. This tiny neighbourhood, just across the river from Trastevere, is famous within Rome's food scene for its family-run trattorias. Head 'backstage' into the kitchen and learn how to make a pie worthy of any Roman. A skill that will last a lifetime and let your kids make a mess in someone else's kitchen for once in the process.

Take a day trip to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius

Kids both big and small will be drawn to the majesty of Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii. The still-active volcano looms over the UNESCO heritage site, an ever-lasting reminder not to mess with mother nature. Climb Mount Vesuvius in the morning, when the temperatures are lower, then take a guided tour of Pompeii’s ruins. The ancient city is one of the best-preserved examples of urban living during Roman times. Walking through the streets and into homes is an educational and eerie experience.

Ruins of Pompeii, Italy

So there you have it – our family-friendly guide for things to do in Rome with the kids. If that's not enough to keep them entertained, we're sure a day trip from Rome will spark their interest. Wanting to plan your trip? Time to browse our carefully curated selection of family-friendly homes in the Eternal City.

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