Are you going to Rome this springtime? Are you taking your toddler? Here are some must-see places everyone can appreciate in the city that has a bit of a reputation as not being very child-friendly. Is that reputation deserved? Well, let’s find out! Here are a few things you can enjoy in Rome with your toddler.
Considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering, Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world. Made out of concrete and stone, the elliptical amphitheater was able to sit around 50,000 spectators who came to watch animal fights and gladiatorial combats. Emperor Vespasian began the amphitheater project in 70 CE. It was completed during the reign of Titus about ten years later.This world-famous Roman landmark is one of the city’s most visited attractions, so expect a long line and an even longer wait. If you are visiting the Coloseum with a toddler, you can skip the long line for the general entry by joining a guided tour of the site or by booking your tickets in advance online.
Throw a coin over your left shoulder into Trevi Fountain, the legend claims, and you are sure to eventually return to the city. Undoubtedly one of the most photographed sites in the city, the fountain was designed by architect Nicola Salvi and built in 1762. Toddlers will love to throw coins in the Fountain, although they might find it a bit tricky to coordinate the over the shoulder throw!
Built in the 17th century, Villa Borghese was once the private suburban estate of Scipione Borghese, a prominent cardinal and an avid art collector. This estate on the edge of Rome includes a villa with an extensive art collection that Borghese assembled over several decades. The sprawling estate covers about 80 hectares (200 acres) and includes one of Rome’s most celebrated parks and landscape gardens. Designed in the naturalistic English manner and developed from sketches drawn by Borghese himself, the well-maintained gardens now attract art lovers, walkers, cyclists, and picnickers. You can rent bicycles at several points around the park. Toddlers will love the opportunity to run wild and free!
Watch a movie
There is also Cinema dei Piccoli in Villa Borghese, which shows children’s films in the afternoon on Saturdays. The 82 year old cinema is the smallest in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, and seats just 63.
Watch a puppet show
San Carlino puppet shows look fantastic for toddlers. The shows change often, so check online before your visit to Rome with a toddler to see what will be playing while you are there. The plays offer a mix of actors, puppets and live music.
Explora Children’s museum
Here children can become a real train driver for the day, go shopping in the supermarket or scan the products at the till, and many, many other role play activities. There are also interactive displays on things like recycling, an exhibit sponsored by Mercedes to explore bionics, and children can learn about the wind in the Strong like the Wind exhibit. Explora operates a timed-ticket system, and your visit will take 1 hour and 45 minutes. It is near to the Piazza del Popolo, and the other side of Villa Borghese from the San Carlino theatre.
Climb the 136 steps on the widest staircase in Europe. In spring, the the square is covered in flowers, and the ramps to the steps are beautifully coloured with pretty flowers. Toddlers will really appreciate being able to climb stairs and chase pigeons. A possibility all over Rome, but at the Spanish Steps, the pigeons were particularly impossible to catch!
Again, prepare to stand in line if you haven’t bought a ticket in advance. The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel are best experienced via an audio tour. There’s a cafe and gardens to explore too, where there are yet more pigeons to chase, though these pigeons are well fed, with the cafe patrons giving crumbs to toddlers to throw to the birds.
So all in all, is Rome’s reputation as a place that isn’t very child-friendly deserved? Well, we thought Rome was a great place to visit with a toddler. There are lots of churches that are so beautiful inside, and these can be visited with a toddler, but only a quiet one. Otherwise we found the atmosphere of Rome to be welcoming.
There’s so much to see and do in Rome with a toddler! Plan your ideal trip to Rome here.