Among Rome’s precious array of tourist attractions, there’s a variety of places that are perfect for a day out with the kids. In fact, several of the city’s treasured landmarks offer little ones the opportunity to travel back to ancient times to learn about some of the most significant moments in the history of the world.
Here, we’ve rounded up a list of the best things to do in Rome with kids, including interactive gladiator experiences, fascinating tours of the Colosseum, and scenic strolls in idyllic gardens. Take a look!
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The 9 Best Things To Do in Rome With Kids
Regarded as one of the best attractions in rome, the Colosseum is the perfect destination for children to learn about the Eternal City during ancient times. Built nearly 2,000 years ago under the rule of emperor Vespasian, this massive oval amphitheater — the largest ever built —, used to host gruesome gladiator fights, animal hunts, public executions, and even reenactments of naval battles.
A bucket-list Colosseum experience for families with kids is the arena floor tour. First, visitors will access the amphitheater through the famous “Gladiator’s Gate”, a side entrance formerly used by gladiators. Then, they’ll embark on the legendary arena where fights were held and which is closed to the general public, and soak in amazing 360-degree views of the Colosseum.
Another Colosseum section that kids will love exploring is the less-explored underground section. This is the place where gladiators were held captive tensely awaiting their fate, and where the animals were kept before they were released during the shows.
Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 1
The Roman Forum
In the Roman Forum, kids will be able to catch a glimpse of ancient Rome in all of its splendor and glory. Once the heart of the city, the site was home to several temples and monuments, and it used to host a variety of activities such as elections, public speeches, open-air markets, criminal trials, and gladiatorial combats.
While meandering through the forum, kids will be dazzled by the site’s immense well-preserved ruins, including the Senate House, which hosted several political events, the Temple of Saturn, dedicated to the god of agriculture, and the Arch of Titus, commissioned in 81 AD by Emperor Domitian to honor his brother, emperor Titus.
Address: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6
As soon as they step foot in the Pantheon, the little ones will travel 2,000 years back in time. Flaunting the title as the best-preserved building of ancient Rome, the structure was first built as a temple during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), and then rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian in 126 AD.
There’s an array of impressive details that captivate kids’ attention while visiting the Pantheon. The building flaunts a massive domed ceiling that is almost half the length of a football field, and monumental tombs, including that of the artist Raphael and the former Queen Margherita.
Aside from providing visitors with a sneak peek of Rome’s history, the Pantheon dazzles thanks to its impressive architectural features. The building flaunts a rotunda with a massive domed ceiling — the largest of its kind when it was built —, monolithic Corinthian columns made of Egyptian granite, enormous bronze doors. Inside, there are tombs of notable personalities such as Raphael, the painter, and the Renaissance architect.
Address: Piazza della Rotonda
Contrary to what many believe, The Vatican is a great place to visit in Rome with kids. Aside from boasting a variety of historical and artistic treasures, it’s the smallest state in the world by both area and population, so there are plenty of features that’ll spark the curiosity of the little ones.
The secret to visiting The Vatican with kids is knowing what sites are worth exploring in there, so the little ones don’t get overwhelmed during the tour.
Start by exploring the ample St Peter’s Square, a large and breezy piazza where kids can freely wander. Then, head over to the achingly beautiful St Peter’s Basilica, built during the 4th-century over the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle, and one of the most spectacular masterpieces of Renaissance architecture. There, be sure to show the little ones beautiful La Pietà, Michelangelo’s famous marble sculpture, and to climb up to the dome for the most show-stopping views of Rome.
Your kids are guaranteed to also have a great time at the well-manicured Vatican Gardens, and the Egyptian Museum, where they’ll see mummified heads, hieroglyphic inscriptions, and animal statues. Also, don’t forget to stop by the Sistine Chapel to catch a glimpse of Michelangelo’s splendid ceiling.
Address: Vatican City
Fontana di Trevi
One of the most photographed places in Rome, the Trevi Fountain is guaranteed to leave your kids in awe. Standing 86 ft high and 161.3 ft wide, this majestic fountain is a true masterpiece of Baroque architecture and dazzles visitors with its dreamy sculptures of mythological creatures and allegorical figures.
The central statue of Oceanus, the God of water, being pulled by a chariot drawn by seahorses and accompanied by tritons, is simply breathtaking.
According to legend, the Trevi Fountain has magical powers, and it’s believed those who toss a coin into the water will one day return to Rome. No wonder why this is the most famous fountain in the world!
Address: Piazza di Trevi
Nestled in a valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, Circo Maximo (Circus Maximus) was the largest stadium in ancient Rome. With a total capacity of 300,000 spectators, this mighty stadium used to host an array of competitions were carried out, such as legendary chariot races, and equestrian shows.
While there are only a few ruins left in Circus Maximus, it’s possible to take part in an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tour of the site. The 40-minute immersive experience reconstructs the site through all its historical phases and allows visitors to marvel at the seating tiers (cavea), the Arch of Titus, the shops (tabernae), and the Circus in the Middle Ages and in modern times.
A must during a family trip to Rome!
Address: Via del Circo Massimo, 00186
Villa Borghese Gardens
A visit to the Villa Borghese Gardens is a great bet for whenever the kids need a relaxing break far from the crowds. Dubbed the “green lung of Rome”, this lush idyllic park covers 80 acres, which provides a gorgeous setting for a variety of family-friendly activities. Visitors can explore 3 miles of scenic nature paths, boat in the artificial lake, enjoy a picnic under the canopy of the trees, or simply lay on the grass.
Address: Piazzale Napoleone I, 00197
The Gladiator School of Rome
If you want to make the kids extra happy, a two-hour Roman gladiator training at the Gladiator School is a must. Offered in collaboration with Gruppo Storico Romano, the course allows children to wear real armors and simulate battles with teachers, who are members of the Historic Group of Rome.
Address: Via Appia Antica, 18
Pompeii Day Trip
A day trip to Pompeii is one of the best things to do with kids in Rome. Located near the coast of the bay of Naples, within a 2h40 drive from the Italian capital, this archaeological site is truly something special.
While exploring Pompeii, kids will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius — one of the deadliest in European history — that left the entire city covered under meters of ash and pumice.
Interesting sights include excavated ruins of streets and houses, as well as artifacts, and even skeletons of former Pompeii residents.
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