Rome is chaotic, noisy and sometimes unbearably hot. During all of this, it teems with whizzing vespas, honking horns and busy streets. City break with kids? Tell the parents at the nursery or school and they’ll probably think you’re mad. But you’re not. Taking kids to Rome does take a bit of planning, it’s not going to be a repeat of the trip you made 5 years ago sans kids, but it is going to be fun. Here are our top tips:
Double Decker Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour. Get your bearings and a taster of the major sights with a hop on, hop off bus. Plus, did we mention Rome is built on 7 hills – that can be quite a challenge if you’ve got toddlers that refuse to sit in a buggy or if you are carrying a bub in a sling.
“I am Gladiator” – if only for one day. After a trip around the Colosseum make time for Gladiator School. In a 2 hour session you’ll don tunics, get an introduction to Roman history, a description of life as a Gladiator and learn the basic techniques of gladiatorial fighting. Dodge swinging sandbags, duck circling beams and take part in one-on-one battles with foam swords. Brilliant!
On that note, standing in lines in the sun is not fun whether you have kids or not. Always check in advance and buy on line.
Pantheon. A perfectly intact ancient site, open every day, cool inside and relatively speedy to get into. It’s got to be a winner. Casa Howard via Sistina is a 10 min walk away.
Piazza, piazza. We love Italian piazzas – car-free (but watch out for buzzy vespas) and a perfect spot for kids to run around and blow off a bit of steam. Our favourites are Piazza Navona (we like to imagine chariots racing around), decorated with gorgeous fountains and busy with fun, street performers (and don’t miss Tre Scalini’s magnificent “tartufo”, a super indulgent chocolate ice-cream truffle made from 13 different types of Swiss chocolate). Our other favourite is the huge Piazza del Popolo, once the gateway to the Eternal City and another perfect coffee & gelato pit stop. Both Casa Montani and Crossing Condotti are well under a 10-minute walk to the Piazza del Popolo.
Campo de’ Fiori. Rome’s oldest open-air market teems with fresh food and colourful fruits, it’s a great place to feel like a local and for kids, buying some sun-ripened tomatoes and figs, ham and bread is a fantastic cultural experience – and makes for a very tasty picnic.
St. Peter’s & The Vatican. Buy tickets in advance and go during the week to miss the largest crowds. Top tips are to head straight to the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel.
Gelato. Italian gelato is one of our all time Rome highlights and we aim to taste test as many as possible whenever we are there – we recommend you do the same!
We’ve a great children friendly collection of luxury and boutique hotels from apartments in Barcelona, rural retreats in Puglia or safaris in Africa. Oh and of course, if you are travelling without them, then we’ve a fabulous child-free collection as well as hotels for you to get completely off the beaten track, or indulge in a spa retreat.
And if you’ve stayed in one of our fabulous hotels then send a #Digital Postcard. Log in (or join us), create a postcard using our stack of professional images and then get your friends drooling over your holiday by sharing on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. Read what other travellers are sending here: #DigitalPostcard. Be a social traveller!
Mypootle: See you on line soon!