How do you cram in all the best the city of Rome has to offer if you’ve only got three days?
Little City Trips recently interviewed our co-founder and author behind Mama Loves Rome, Marta Correale. On our City Travel with Kids Podcast, Marta shared with us her favourite Rome itinerary for seeing the highlights of the Eternal City on a short city trip.
You can see our full show notes for the podcast here or click below to listen to Marta’s itinerary!
Before travelling to Rome, make sure you check official travel rules and regulations that may affect your trip.
Day 1 Rome itinerary with Kids
Morning: The Colosseum & Roman Forum
An attention grabber from first sight, the Colosseum is undeniably the reason so many head to Rome with their kids; a Modern Wonder of the World and the most famous legacy from the Roman Empire
The Colosseum and Roman Forum are large sites to conquer for little legs so it is best that you pre-book your tickets with a time slot.
Marta recommends you sign up for a specialized Rome tour for children to get the most out of the experience as signage is poor. She also suggests making sure your ticket includes the underground areas and the top tier of the Colosseum, as especially the underground holds interesting areas for kids.
You can see just the Colosseum in 1.5 to 2 hours or add the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and make a full morning 3 to 4 hours. This is one of the best archaeological sites in Italy for kids and one you can be sure your kids will love.
The Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome and the place where the city was born: an exciting one to see for school-age kids especially!
Book family tour tickets for the Colosseum here:
- Family Tour Rome For Kids
- From Coopculture.it (official ticket seller – use the flag on the top right of the screen to select your preferred language for the site)
Lunch: Café Café
Found beside the Colosseum on Via dei Santi Quattro, Café Café offers an informal family-friendly lunch offering a buffet with a great selection of dishes that will please even the fussiest of palates.
Afternoon/Evening: Trevi Fountain area
One of the most beautiful areas of Rome, it is a great tradition to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain but do be warned, it gets very busy!
You may want to wait for the crowds to thin, grab a gelato in the streets nearby and take a stroll through the cobbled streets first.
Return to Trevi as the sun goes down and the lights start to sparkle for the most magical of experiences.
There are plentiful restaurants and cafes to dine in this area – why not try Piccolo Arancio – then get an early night as you’re bound to have tired legs after all that walking.
Where to stay in Rome with Kids
There are plenty of family accommodation options in Rome to suit all budgets, however, there will always be a playoff though between location and cost.
If you only have three days in Rome with kids, it is worth paying more for location over amenities.
Some of Marta’s top recommendations include:
- NH Collection Rome Palazzo Cinquecento (Luxury)
- Le Clarisse al Pantheon (mid-range)
- Hotel Condotti Rome (budget)
Day 2 Rome itinerary with kids
Morning: Pantheon area of Rome
One of Rome’s most famous sites, after the Colosseum! Not only is the Pantheon a beautiful building, but it is also full of fun facts for kids. Nearby, if attention will hold, you can also see the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, Piazza della Minerva and Piazza di Pietra.
Set among ancient Roman ruins, it is a great way to break up a morning of walking through the famous cobbled streets and hidden courtyards of this part of Rome
Lunch: Piazza del Pantheon area
There are plenty of cafés to find in this corner of Rome. One to try is Enoteca Cul de Sac, which is a wine bar welcoming to children and serving nice home made meals and some kids favourite such as lasagna.
Col de sac does offer high chairs for kids however, many restaurants in this area do not.
We recommend you bring your own: you can find a selection of the best portable high chairs for travel here.
Afternoon: Explora il Museo Dei Bambini Di Roma
Rome’s children’s museum is a great place to see and learn.
Not necessarily Rome-specific but plenty of kid-friendly activities and extensive hands-on programs run throughout the week. Most are in Italian but you can check out the timetable for English sessions.
The Museum also includes a soft play area for toddlers, making it an ideal indoor escape for hot and rainy days (good to know if you are heading to Rome in October – November or February – April, when rain does happen!).
You can stay and eat at the museum; they have great pizza slices here!
Day 3 Rome Itinerary with Kids
Morning: Vatican City & the Vatican Museums
What could be more exciting for kids than crossing to another country during your city trip?!
This is the part of your trip you will need to plan most carefully with your family’s needs and interests in mind.
If you decide that you will tackle the famous Vatican Museums with kids, you must be prepared for the crowds. Marta strongly suggested that you book a family-specific guided tour.
It is otherwise a very challenging place to see with kids. Family tour guides know the rooms and exhibits that are of most interest to children and will keep you moving at the right pace, adding in fun activities.
Expect a visit to the Vatican Musuems will take a full morning.
If you decide to skip seeing inside the museums, kids will still enjoy “crossing the border” into St Peter’s Square and seeing St Peter’s Basilica.
As an alternative to the Vatican Museums, you can add a visit to Castel Sant’Angelo (kids may love to know that it is attached to the Vatican by a secret passageway!) If queues are long here, simply enjoy the views and gardens outside instead.
Lunch: Plenty to find in the area of Borgo
The area between St Peter’s and the river Tiber is called Borgo. Here you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants (Marta recommends Borghiciana Pastifico Artiginale), or even sit outside Castel Sant’Angelo with a picnic lunch enjoying the views.
Afternoon: Villa Borghese Gardens
One of Rome’s most beautiful parks this is a great opportunity for kids to run around. As well as many playgrounds and kiosks, you can also rent bikes, boats and visit the zoo, Bioparco di Roma.
Evening: Piazza de Popolo
Near to Villa Borghese, you will find the beautiful Piazza del Popolo. Here you will find plentiful family dining options.
Further family activities in Rome
3 days is great for a stopover, but you won’t be able to dig much below the surface and would be quite rushed through some of these activities.
Top suggestions you could add to make this a longer itinerary and explore deeper into Rome include:
- Ostia Antica – a beautiful archaeological site just outside of Rome, including a historic town and some of the best mosaics in Rome, very impressive even for very young kids
- Sperlonga, perfect for a day on the beach very close to the city
- Lake Bracciano, a great day trip from Rome for lunch in historical village and lake views
How to get around
There is an extensive public transport system although it is not overly tourist friendly, you will likely find you spend a lot of time on foot.
What to pack for Rome
Due to all the walking you will be doing, trainers are an essential item! See what else Marta recommends in our complete packing guide for Rome here or her full family packing list for Italy, should Rome be part of a longer trip.
Remember to pop on over and listen to the podcast if you would like to learn more about all of the places mentioned.
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