Rome, also known as the Eternal City, is a spectacular place in Italy and also its capital. This is where you can find the ancient Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City and lots of other incredible landmarks. Rome is the type of place that everyone should visit, and even kids will be amazed by the incredible architecture and attractions, making it the perfect spot for a family vacation.
Although you might not be able to go on wine tours or out to bars, you can spend lots of time exploring a museum or participating in kid friendly Rome attractions in Central Rome. While you are out on family tours around the city, leave your backpacks and bags at a luggage storage facility in Rome. The kids won't be carrying extra weight and can reserve their energy for a full day of exploring!
Go to the Ancient Rome Colosseum
By far one of the top things to do while visiting Rome is to take a trip to the Colosseum. The structure is also known as the Flavian Amphitheater and is one of the oldest and most popular locations in the city. If you travel underneath the ancient roman stadium, you will find the maze of tunnels and passageways where gladiators and wild animals were kept.
This area, which is called the hypogeum, has held everything from leopards and elephants to bears and more. When it was time, the creatures and gladiators would be lifted into the arena using a pulley-like system elevator. You will need to book a reservation for access to the colosseum, except for specific days when it is free.
See the Iconic Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain is a popular tourist attraction in Rome, and visitors shouldn't leave the city without tossing a coin into its waters. This famous fountain was rebuilt in the 1700s but an older fountain had stood in the same place before. This landmark is so popular that an estimated several thousand euros are removed from the fountain every night and used to feed the hungry.
This tradition has been going on for centuries and dates back to Rome's early days, when locals would throw in a coin and wish for safe travels during their journey away from Rome. If you want to do it right, tradition calls for you to throw the coin over your left shoulder using your right hand.
Walk Through Rome's Catacombs
This activity can be spooky and might be best suited for older kids, but is still a fun activity for families. You can explore the catacombs as a family while learning a bit about Roman history as well. There are several catacombs to choose from, although two of them are located nearby and can be visited on the same day if you really enjoy the excursion.
The Catacomb of St. Callisto dates back from the 2nd century AD, and is actually where lots of famous popes were buried. Found just down the road are the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, which once held the remains of St Peter and St Paul.
Climb St. Peter's Dome for an Incredible View
St. Peter's Dome, which is found in St. Peter's Square, is thought to be one of the greatest works done by Michelangelo. The inside of the dome is beautiful, but if you want some fresh air you can climb the 551 stairs to the top of the dome. If you don't want to walk the whole way up you can catch a lift, which will take you half way to the top.
This activity may not be suitable for those who are afraid of heights, as it will take you 120 meters above the Basilica. You can find the dome in the city center of the Vatican.
Go Back to Ancient Times in the Time Elevator Rome
If you or the kids are interested in the history of the Roman Empire you can go back in time to explore Rome in the Time Elevator. This 3D activity is fun for the whole family, and you can learn a lot about the rise and fall of ancient Rome.
The journey will take you back through different eras including the ancient times, the medieval years, the Renaissance, and all the way back to the 20th century of the city. During your adventure in the Time Elevator, you will meet historical figures and experience different smells and sounds with the advanced audio system.
Visit the Spanish Steps
Rome's Spanish Steps are another beautiful place in the city that is filled with lots of fun attractions and activities. There are shops and cafes scattered around the area and it is a nice spot to just relax and appreciate the local architecture.
The Spanish Steps is an iconic place in Rome that holds the title of the widest steps in all of Europe. While you are window shopping or exploring the streets you can grab some gelato, a popular Italian dessert.
Search for Statues in the Piazza della Minerva
This area in Rome is another fun place for families to explore. This place should be on your dream trip list because of all the amazing statues and architecture that you can see. Exploring around the area is free, and most families agreed that the kids loved seeing the ancient ruins.
Some of the popular places here include the foot from a statue of the Egyptian Goddess Isis which is located on the appropriately named Marble Foot Street, or via del Pie' di Marmo. Based on the size of the foot the statue was estimated to be 7.6 meters tall. Nearby is a monument of an elephant which can be fun for kids to see.
Stroll Through the Borghese Gardens
The Borghese Gardens are beautiful and a favorite spot for many local Romans. This is the second-largest park in the whole city and has lots of spaces to relax or play sports and paths to walk.
There are lots of other activities here like an on-site playground, the Bioparco di Roma zoo and weekend pony rides. Families can rent one of the rowing boats to float around the lake or pay to use a bike or Segway if they want to be active.
Learn to be a Warrior at Gladiator School
You and the kids can be a gladiator for a day by taking classes and visiting museums at the Gruppo Storico Romano. Here you can dress up in a classic gladiator outfit with a tunic and leather gloves and wield your own wooden practice sword and shield.
This activity is a great thing to do when you visit Rome and can be enjoyed by anyone over the age of 6. After visiting the Historical Museum you will see artifacts, wear armor and practice battling with other young gladiators in training.
See the Incredible Pantheon
The Pantheon is an iconic structure in Rome that has been around for an estimated 2,000 years now. It was built under the rule of Emperor Hadrian back in 27 BC and is the best preserved building in the city.
The domed rooftop is suspended with support from inside of its walls, which are 42 meters apart in diameter. The roof of this building is truly unique since it has a 3.6 meter wide hole directly in the center which is the only source of light in the whole building.
Watch a Puppet Show at the Theater
A popular attraction among families with younger kids is to catch a show at the local San Carlino Theater. The shows here are fun and creative, and the puppets even interact with some lucky members of the audience.
Another similar experience can be had at the Teatrino di Pulcinella al Gianicolo. This theater is open-air and is found near the Piazzale Garibaldi in the park on Colle del Gianicolo. The shows put on here every morning and afternoon are free to attend but donations are encouraged.
Visit the Egyptian Museum in Vatican City
Vatican City is full of things for families to do, including a visit to the Egyptian Museum where you can see some pretty amazing things. The establishment is found in the Cortile della Pigna and has exhibits with hieroglyphs and mummies that were collected by Emperor Hadrian.
This museum is perfect for kids as it is interesting and not too big. Here you can see sculptures, painted wooden sarcophagi, papyri and more. Other famous landmarks within walking distance include the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.
Attend a Pizza Making Class in the Trastevere Area
Are the kids hungry? This is definitely one of the top fun things to do in Rome as a family. You can book a 90 minute cooking course in one of the family friendly restaurants, perfect for school-age kids and older adults. An experienced Fabiolous Chef will walk you through all of the tips and tricks to help you make your own perfect pizza.
The chef will teach you how to make dough from scratch, and you can choose to add any toppings that you want. At the end of the class, you will get to eat what you have cooked as well a delicious drink and dessert that are included in the meal.
See the Skyline from Piazza Venezia
If you find yourself in Piazza Venezia you should visit the Vittoriano. The building is white and huge and was built as a monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, who was Italy's first king. The building itself is full of museums and art galleries which can be fun to visit as well.
You can take a lift to the building's rooftop which boasts an incredible view of the city located below. You will have to pay for tickets on the lift but it is affordable and a nice activity for families to try during their time in Rome.
Make Your Way to Nero's Golden House
Nero's Golden House was built by the famous Roman Emperor Nero and was later buried by other emperors in an attempt to erase the memory of him. Instead, the building was preserved for over 2,000 years and is now an important part of Rome's history.
Thanks to some recent excavations you can visit the different rooms in the building and see the impressive carvings in the walls of precious stone and gold detailing. This building stands as proof of the emperor's wealth and power.
What are the Best Family Activities to do in Rome?
Best Things to do with Younger Children
Young kids will have a blast living out their dreams at the Gladiator School. Or visit the Pantheon. This ancient temple is incredible and a great stop on your family trip to Rome and is suitable for kids. Don't forget Time Elevator Rome; the interactive experience offered here can be fun for people of all ages.
Best Things to do with Older Children
The catacombs can be spooky and are better suited to young adults, so if your crew is older, this is the ideal way to have fun. Sign up for the pizza making class, a great way to spend an afternoon. Older kids will have an easy time creating their own pizza and can remember the tips that they are taught here too. Teens will enjoy Nero's Golden House as well.
Free Things to do in Rome With Kids
- Colosseum: This attraction is only free on the first Sunday of each month, but if you find yourself in Rome at that time you should take advantage of the opportunity to see the ancient building for free.
- Trevi Fountain: This fountain has always been free to visit, but make sure to bring a few coins to toss in.
- Spanish Steps: There is much to do in the area that can cost you money, but you can explore the Spanish Steps for free.
- Piazza della Minerva: You can take your time roaming around Piazza della Minerva as you can enter the area free of charge.
- Borghese Gardens: Entry to the Borghese Gardens is free, but it may cost money to rent bikes or boats.
Visit Rome with the Family
These are only a few of the things that you can do in Rome with kids, and there is always so much more to discover in the Rome city center. For example, you can check out the Vatican Museums, stop by the beautiful Palatine Hill, be entertained by street performers in the Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona, or visit old churches like the Santa Maria. Some activities that are dedicated to kids like the Explora Children Museum are definitely worth checking out, and if you want to grab a souvenir of your vacation make sure to stop by a local gift shop.