Rome with kids: things to do travelling in Rome with kids
Gelateria San Crispino – Via della Panetteria,42 – Closed on Tuesday
Stay away from any gelato that looks cute, airy and puffy (like how most look in any Italian/French gelateria). Lots of unsavoury preservatives and stabilizers have been added to create that unmelting candy floss look. The best gelaterias keep their gelato in tins, as much away from air and light as possible because they’re so freshly made and without preservatives, that exposure to these elements will only deteriorate their taste. Next door to the Trevi Fountain you can find Ice Cream Shop “San Crispino” which has been called the best in Rome. Ice creams are made with the finest ingredients, Valrhona Dark Chocolate, real fruits (a rarity nowaday), aged Marsala, hazelnut and pistachio from the best producers… Pricey but worth a go.
Villa Borghese Park
The Villa Borghese Gardens are Rome’s sprawling central park. One of Europe’s most elegant parks, it was created by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 1600s. The park is also home to a few outstanding museums such as Galleria Borghese. The best kids’ zones are near Porta Pinciana,(Top of Via Veneto, Metro: Barberini or Spagna) where you’ll find rental bikes, pony rides, and other amusements. Summer activities at the gardens, sure to be a hit with kids, include hot-air balloon rides and classic Roman puppet shows at Teatro dei Burattini (weekends only). Rome’s zoo, Bioparco, in the northeast section of the park, houses about 900 animals , including the endangered black lemur and pygmy hippopotamus.
Forno del Ghetto
Via del Portico d’Ottavia 1 – Closed Friday at sundown and Saturday.
This small bakery in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto (near the synagogue) has no sign and no tables. You’ll recognize it by the crowd spilling out the door and the slightly burnt pastries in the display case. Everything is a little bit burnt, which caramelizes the sugars just enough to give the pastries a rich, deep taste. Ricotta cake with sour-cherry or chocolate are special favorites, and the biscotti is delicious, but choose whatever strikes your fancy — it’s all wonderful. This is the last remaining bakery preserving traditional Jewish Italian cooking in this shrinking community. You won’t find pastries like this anywhere else in the world. As you bite into a pastry, savor its flavor and the warm community feel of this special place. You can purchase fresh squeezed orange juice at one of the cafes on this street and sit down on a bench to eat your pastry.
Fountains Garden, Villa d’Este, Tivoli (15 min East of Rome)
Tivoli is just outside Rome (East) and it could be a lovely day trip. It is famous for Villa Adriana, Emperor Adriano’s staggering countryside villa and Villa d’Este a wonderful Renaissance villa intended for entertaining with a breathtaking garden composed almost exclusively of water features.
Villa d’Este and its sprays have been our saving grace during the heat wave in 2003!
Hydromania Water Park
Rome has a big water park called Hydromania (pronounced EE-dro-man-EEah), featuring a giant wave pool and what is billed as the “fastest slide in Italy.” There is another water park called Aquapiper near Tivoli, a 15-minute drive east of Rome.
Via SS Apostoli, 20 – Tel 0039 06 69921823 – www.timeelevator.it/
In the center of Rome, a 3D show to take you straight into history. Thanks to 3 panoramic screens, flight simulators and a state-of-the-art surround sound system, you will be projected into the cinema dimension: a deep jump in time through 2,750 years and the most important events in Rome history. A 45 minutes show with hightech virtual projections of the most famous Roman monuments.
Individual headphones in English.
From 10.30 to 19.30, every hour.
Price: Eu12 adults
Eu9 children under 12
More Things To Do in Rome with Kids
Tell kids the history of the Colosseum (leave out the really gory bits for the younger set) and history comes alive for them here. Kids especially love the book of ancient sites with the overlays that you can buy from many of the souvenier stands. Each page shows a picture of what a site looks like now, and then the overlay shows what it looked like in ancient times. Truly amazing and helps the children (and parents!) get a better idea of how splendid Rome truly was.
Explora, Children’s Museum
Via Flaminia 82 – www.mdbr.it/inglese/ – Hours Visits have a timed stop and start. Check the website for details and book in advance. Cost: Children 3-12 7Eu; Adults 6Eu
The relatively new Explora children’s museum is a rarity in Italy… a place designed specifically for kids. This hands on museum has a miniature grocery store, a bus that kids can “drive” and more, making it a great place to play during the hottest part of the day.
Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo)
Circo Massimo is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium. It is the location for the well known chariot race in the 1959 film “Ben Hur” with Charlton Heston. Grab some fresh bread, salami, cheese, juice, a bottle of wine for Mum and Dad and head over to the Circo Massimo for a wonderful picnic. There are many families picnicking here, groups playing casual pick up soccer games, and lots of room for the kids to run around. Not to mention the views of the ruins nearby are outstanding. After the picnic, take a short walk over to the Bocca della Verita’ (Mouth of Truth)!
Just wander around the streets of Trastevere, it is really quaint and beautiful. Let the kids lead the way and get lost together exploring the pretty winding streets.
Cripta dei Cappuccini
The crypt below S Maria della Concezione (Via Veneto, 27) contains the skeletons of hundreds of monks arranged on the ceiling and walls to make decorative displays. Unique, eerie, mysterious, spooky, very, fashinating for children and grown ups.
Bocca della Verita
Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin – Piazza Bocca della Verita’, 18 Have your kids been truthful? Are they brave enough to put their hand in the Mouth of Truth? Legend says if you are a liar the Bocca will gobble down your hand.
Want to take the kids to the zoo…you can, right in the Villa Borghese park.
Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo)
There are puppet shows at the top in the summertime. Amazing views.
Vittorio Emanuele II Monument
Have your kids count the steps as they climb to the top of this monument, known by locals as “The Typewriter” or “The Wedding Cake”. Its close to the Foro Romano and Colosseum, and its so enormous you really couldn’t miss it even if you tried. When you get to the top you are rewarded with a splendid view!
Largo di Torre Argentina
There is a wonderful cat sanctuary here that cannot be missed by animal lovers. The beautiful cats lounging amongst the ruins is really a sight to see.
Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)
Via delle Muratte, 9
Don’t forget to throw your coin in the fountain before you leave Rome, so that you can return one day. Once there don’t miss Ice Cream Shop “San Crispino” in nearby Via della Panetteria,42.