It may come as a shock to many people that Rome is actually a wonderful place to bring your kids. Not only will you be able to find things for them to do besides walking tours or looking at old art, but the people of Rome are also more considerate toward children. One of the biggest proofs of that is when it comes to those unexpected bathroom needs that kids don’t always think about, many of the restaurants and exhibits will allow the child to go to the bathroom even if you hadn’t bought anything in the store (though it is nice to be courteous with something like that).
Walking Tours, even in Museums
Think you have a kid that runs you ragged and you don’t think they would survive in a boring atmosphere of looking through museums? Well Rome happens to generally require a lot of walking and moving about, even if you just go through the Vatican museum, you are looking at a seven mile tour through a single museum, walking the entire time. As you can imagine, with all the tours of Rome available, especially the walking ones, you can easily end up having a kid you’ll have to carry around half-way through your day. But if you want tours that are less boring and still exhaust them, the crypt exploration tours can be exciting and frightening and manage to catch your children’s interest well.
Plan Your Day
This means depending on what you want to do in Rome, you really need to plan your days out ahead of time, and account for times when your kids will need to be refueled. If you are looking for quick ways to refuel your kids, remember that Gelato (a soft ice cream found all over Rome) is a perfect method of keeping your children’s sugar levels up and many of them can be good for you, unlike many ice creams.
Enjoy the Fountains
A perfect stop along the way all throughout Rome is any of the fountains. Of course there are the famous ones, like the Trevi fountain, but Rome is almost littered with more fountains than there are churches. Not only are these a perfect resting spot, but your kids will have fun with them, many of the smaller fountains let you get in the water, or even climb on some of the designs like animal statues shooting water out. This is especially effective if you arrive in Rome during the summer, because everyone could use a cool-off and you won’t even have to leave the nice day to go inside. Plus you can always toss a penny in the fountains and make a wish.
Kids Museums and Gladiator Battles
If you think you might end up needing a break, or want to exhaust your kids out even more while you can rest, you can always look into the various kid museums that are offered in Rome, which allow your children free exploration of a zone where they can also learn new things. Or if you are looking for something that can involve the whole family, one of the more fun and once in a lifetime experiences would have to be the ‘Gladiator for a day’. This program allows you’ll whole family to spend just a couple hours or the whole day learning the actual moves ancient gladiators in the coliseum would use, and even learning how to wield weapons similar to the ones the gladiators used (No real weapons). This one is especially effective for kids who enjoy mock fighting, because that is what they will get to do.
Book Ahead of Time or During
If you want to get your kids and yourself more involved with the Italian world, then you can also pick up children’s books that have to do with learning Italian so they can say some things in Italian when they get there (and so you will know a few words), or a variety of books on Italian artists or even books about the Italian food you might encounter like ‘Roly-Poly Ravioli: and Other Italian Dishes’. Often times reading books or watching movies ahead of time can get the children more involved in the places they visit if those movies or books mention those places or involve their memory in some way.
Assortment of Items
Don’t forget to keep spray bottles and water bottles on you for your children, there are some stints where the traveling may see only fountains or churches for a while and no place to grab a drink or water yourself down when it is hot. Plus you can fill the water bottles up in almost any fountain.
Also remember that many areas of Rome will require moving up or down stairs and the cobblestones that make up many of the roads in Rome will make strollers more difficult to use. If you think you can deal with having bumpiness at times while pushing it or carrying it up stairs then go for them, otherwise avoid the stroller, especially if you are using it to carry a newborn, you’ll probably just want to go with a carrier instead.
There are plenty of other things you could keep in mind like avoiding the rush times of dinner or lunch when you have kids, since meals are expected to take longer in Italy, especially for dinner. And don’t forget to bring things that will entertain your kids, just in case they want to keep bothering you since they are bored in a certain museum.
Most of all, don’t forget to have fun! That’s what a trip to Rome is supposed to be!
Sarah Murphy has worked in Dublin for the last two years as a blogger, web content manager and marketing coordinator. A journalist by training and travel junkie by nature, she regularly travels to Italy for both business and to experience some of the Rome tours, where she mostly spends her time in search of the perfect gelato.