fun things to do with kids in rome  italy - family travel   Travel for Kids


The Eternal City has been going strong for millennia, so there's no end of things to do with kids in Rome! Stroll through timeless favorites piazzas, gardens, museums, crumbly ruins everywhere you look. But while in Rome, do as the Romans do: eat pizza by the slice and kids should sample every flavor of gelato.

Rome Photo Album
rome photo album

Colosseum and Roman Forum

    Centro Storico – Pantheon
    St. Peter's and Museums – Sistine Chapel
    Borghese Gardens
    Around Piazza Repubblica
    Old Appian Way Park Catacombs
Greater Rome
  Ostia Antica
    Day trips
    Tips for Rome before you go and while you're there – getting around, best all-in-one card for museums, convenience stores, fun food, and more.
cats of rome
  Cats of Rome – Fluffy black, white, striped, and marmalade cats like to play in the ruins of Rome. The most well-known locale is Largo Torre Argentina, put we spotted cats around the ancient fountain in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II and Baths of Diocletian gardens.
    Churches – Churches abound in Rome, huge cathedrals, medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, eighteenth and nineteenth century churches, churches tucked into the edges of small piazzas. When you pass by one of the many churches, stop in for a brief look, there's always some interesting sculpture, frescoes, decorated floors and ceilings.
    Basilica San Clemente – Basilica San Clemente is one of the oldest in Rome, but it’s also a time capsule, where kids can step from the 12th century, down to the 4th century, to the 2nd and 1st century, under the streets of Rome. For all the details, read our blog post: Subterranean Rome.
    Another church with unique appeal for kids is the church of Santa Maria della Concezione on Via Veneto. First check out the saying in Latin on the church, "Here lies dust, ashes, nothing." But the real attraction is the Capuchin cemetery, a chapel decorated with the bones of 4,000 monks, lamps made out of bones and wreaths of skulls.
    Carriage rides – In earlier eras, Rome was filled with carrozze, horse drawn carriages. You can take a carriage ride around town – pick them up in the piazza by St. Peter's, Castel Sant'Angelo Spanish Steps, or the Pantheon.
Trevi Fountain

Fountains – Everywhere you turn, there's another fountain in the center of a piazza. Sparkling water gushes and rushes over bigger-than-life sculptures, the fountains in Rome aren't wimpy trickles. Look for fountains in the Piazza Barberini, Piazza della Republica, Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza della Rotonda next to the Pantheon, Piazza del Popolo, fountains in the Borghese Gardens.

    SPQR manhole covers – Most of the manhole covers in Rome are stamped with the letters SPQR, Senatus Populusque Romanus, "the Senate and the people of Rome." While you're walking down the street, keep your eyes peeled for this ancient motto of the Roman empire.
    Take the tram around Rome – Pick up the #3 tram for a ride through Rome, on Viale delle Belle Arti (in front of the Museum of Modern Art) in the Borghese Gardens. A 40 min. ride takes you along the park, through Roman neighborhoods, past ancient walls and aqueducts, right to the Colosseum. You could get off there, or keep on going, past the Circus Maximus, up the Aventine, to Piazza Porta S. Paolo and the Tiber River. (At the Tiber, just get off and take the #3 tram going back to the Borghese Gardens). The tram goes slow, it's pleasant and relaxing, the perfect things for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Roman Aqueducts – The Romans built aqueducts to bring water into town for all those baths and public fountains. The Goths wrecked most of the aqueducts in the 6th century, but parts of the aqueducts remain, scattered throughout Rome.

    The most impressive remnants are next to Via Lemonia (Parco degli Acquedotti, in the Parco Dell'Appia Antica), in the southeast suburbs of Rome. To get there, just take the metro to the Subaugusta stop, and walk four blocks west. Here you can run around the amazing high arches of the Aqua Claudia, as well as the smaller Aqua Felice.
      There's a shorter section of aqueducts at Porta Maggiore in the city center. Take the metro to San Giovanni, walk down Viale Carlo Felice. You'll see one of the ancient gates, and sections of the Aurelian wall, plus a long grassy areas, and a small playground. Keep walking to Porta Maggiore, which has another ancient gate, and sections of the Aqua Claudia and Aqua Marcia.

Fun food


The most fun food is ice cream, gelato, and Rome is chock full of "gelaterias," ice cream stands. Delicious flavors to choose from – ten kinds of chocolate, honey, raspberry, lemon, melon, strawberry, crème caramel, marron glace. One friend said, "My son had four cones a day, chocolate, vanilla, lemon and coconut." Whenever you need a break, order up a gelato.




Have fun shopping for figures of Roman legionaires and gladiators, miniature colosseums, wooden Pinocchio figures, brightly colored alabaster eggs, colorful jewelry and purses.

family hotels rome

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in Rome, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels and apartment rentals in Rome, different styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods near to places you'll want to explore:

Rome family hotels
Rome apartment rentals
family tours rome

The Vatican Museums are filled with the glories of the Renaissance, but just how do you make the Sistine Chapel come alive for your kids? Take a private three hour family walking tour through the museums:

Vatican for Families
Take a private walking tour with a personal guide through the Colosseum and Forum. Begin with the Colosseum, visit the underground training area for gladiators, stroll down the streets of the Forum, past plazas and temples, to Trajan's Column:
Ancient Rome Discovery

Nothing beats Italian pizza, especially when you know how to make one yourself. Here’s an experience that the whole family will always remember. Parents and children will learn how to toss the dough and create delicious pizza with the help of a professional pizza chef in the comfort of a private kitchen.

Make Your Own Pizza
family travel tools rome

Standing in lines waiting to buy tickets in the summer heat is enough to make everyone frazzled, especially the kids. Skip the lines and buy your tickets in advance to the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums and St. Peter's.

Vatican Museum Tickets
Rome is pretty spread out, so a good way to get to know the city is a hop on – hop off bus. 9 stops around the city, including the Colosseum, St. Peter's, Piazza Venezia, and more. Tickets are valid for one or two days and you can board the double-decker bus anywhere on the route.
Rome Hop On Hop Off Bus
kids books rome italy
This is Rome childrens books  
This is Rome
M. Sasek

Take a trip through Rome, old and new – ruins of the Roman forum, Emperor Constantine's foot, Piazza Venezia and the "wedding cake" monument, biggest church in the world, St. Peter's, secret passageways of Castel Sant'Angelo, legend of Santa Maria Maggiore, and more. Whimsical illustrations capture the panoramic history and fun in Rome today, this is a classic. (Picture book)


Century #1: Ring of Fire
Pierdomenico Baccalario

In an exciting fantasy adventure, four kids unearth a secret hidden in Rome – the Ring of Fire, an object older than the ancient Romans. The kids follow a maze of clues around the city, finally reaching the Basilica San Clemente and an underground temple to the sun god Mithra. An original story and wonderful local color. (Chapter book)


Ring of Fire rome adventure fantasy kids
kids books Ancient Rome history  
Ancient Rome (DK Eyewitness Books)
Simon James

Essential guide to ancient Rome – history, the emperors (complete timeline), legionaries, senators and slaves, family life, gladiators and the arena, food and dinner parties, music and theater, gods and religion. Fabulous artifacts, detailed photographs. (Picture book)

For younger kids: Ancient Rome



Take a step back in time and find out how kids lived in ancient Rome – eating at quick food restaurants, indoor plumbing and public baths, shopping at the mall, popular pets (birds), board games, baked clay dolls, and more, and more. (Picture book)


If I Were a Kid in Ancient Rome non-fiction
The Roman Colosseum rome children books history  
The Roman Colosseum
Elizabeth Mann, Michael Racz

Full color illustrations of the amphitheater construction in the first century A.D., and "games" in the Colosseum – wild animal shows and gladiators in hand-to-hand combat. (Picture book)


Tiger, Tiger
Lynne Reid Banks

Twin tiger cubs, captured in their jungle home, are brought to Rome for the Colosseum games. One cub becomes a pet of the Emperor's daughter, the other cub is trained for the arena. Will it be thumbs up or thumbs down, when the tigers meet again? A captivating, exciting story of ancient Rome.
(Chapter book)


historical fiction ancient rome children Tiger, Tiger
who was julius caesar?
Who Was Julius Caesar?
Nico Medina, Tim Foley

Read an illustrated biography of larger-than-life Julius Caesar – daring solider, successful general, great orator, dictator for life, "I came, I saw, I conquered." (Illustrated chapter book)


Mystery of the Roman Ransom
Henry Winterfeld

Fresh from solving the mystery of the bogus soothsayer in Detectives in Togas, seven rambunctious Roman schoolmates have a new problem: why is an ex-gladiator trying to steal their slave and who is behind the plot to murder a famous senator. (Chapter book)


Mystery of the Roman Ransom kids rome
roman diary journal of ilona  
Roman Diary: The Journal of Ilona
Richard Platt, David Parkins

107 AD. Sailing from Greece, Ilona and her brother are captured and sent to Rome as slaves. Ilona is lucky – she tends the baby in the house, explores the city running errands for her mistress, visits the great baths and games in the Colosseum, and even gets a chance at freedom. Captivating historical details. (Chapter book, illustrations)


See You Later, Gladiator
Jon Scieszka, Adam McCauley

Hilarious adventures of the Time Warp Trio, Fred, Sam and Joe, as they are whisked to ancient Rome. Pig Latin, big guys with pitchforks, and thumbs down at the Colosseum – the trio is in big trouble, again. (Easy reader)


See You Later, Gladiator easy reader kids rome
The Roman Mysteries mystery kids books rome  

Four exciting mystery adventures, all set in ancient Rome. Jonathan's search with his three friends takes him into the secret tunnels of Nero's Golden House, he narrowly escapes plague and fire in the Temple of Jupiter, only to wind up in the Colosseum, fighting in the games. (Chapter books)



Mira time travels to Renaissance Rome, where she meets the artist Caravaggio. It's a time of new art and ideas, but there's also the Inquisition. Mira must find the brilliant writer and mathematician Giordano Bruno, who's in prison for heresy. Sights and scenes of Rome, past and present, in this imaginative history adventure. (Illustrated chapter book)


artist sculptor Michelangelo biography kids rome  
Diane Stanley

Life and times of a Renaissance genius – the mega-talented Michelangelo, painter of the Sistine Chapel, sculptor of the Pieta, and architect of St. Peter's in Rome. (Picture Book)


Madeline and the Cats of Rome
John Bemelmans Marciano

Springtime in Rome. New adventures of Madeline, her schoolmates and Miss Clavel, with colorful sketches of fountains, piazzas, the Forum, St.Peter's, Sistine Chapel, and more favorite landmarks. (Picture book)


Madeline and the Cats of Rome
childrens books Rome Antics  
Rome Antics
David Macaulay

Charming sketchbook of Rome, with a bird's eye view. A homing pigeon soars over the Appian Way, circles over the Colosseum, swoops through bridges, passes over terra-cotta roof tops, private gardens and cobblestone streets, then drops from the sky through the hole in the Pantheon, to reach home.
(Picture book)



Delightful adventures of Dodsworth and his friend the duck, when they visit Rome. The duck eats seven scoops of gelato, tries to paint something on the Sistine ceiling (it needed a duck), gathers all the coins out of the Trevi Fountain, and wins a pizza-throwing contest. (Picture book)


Dodsworth in Rome toddlers books
Not for Parents Rome kids history non-fiction  
Not for Parents Rome
Klay Lamprell

Not a guidebook, this is filled with fascinating facts and stories about Rome – lucky fountains, solar panels and fig leaves at the Vatican, spooky stones, food and fashions of ancient Rome, grisly history, street art, and tons more. Wacky and fun! (Illustrated chapter book)


(More children's books on other Rome and Italy pages)