In my effort to find “easy” ways to explore the world with my twins, I’ve been asking family travel bloggers from around the world to write about the toddler friendly aspects of their favorite cities. Marta and Rome Italy with toddlers is next!
Explore more toddler friendly cities:
A bit about Marta, our Rome expert
My name is Marta, I am originally from Rome but in the last few years I have been living in Ireland with my husband and two children, now 7 and 9.
Rome is my home town and has a very special place in my heart: it is the place I called home exclusively for over 30 years and it is also the topic of my college studies: as well as a local mama, I am a Roman history gradate!
I visit Rome with my kids very often, any time school breaks allow it, really. We went there for the first time when my first born was only 6 weeks old and we have visited again and again as my kids grew up into toddlers and now school age children.
We always stay with my parents, in a green leafy area just outside the historical center. It is a perfect area for families who want to spend time sightseeing but also have easy access to parks and shops. It is called ‘quartiere Trieste’, I have included a hotel there in my recommendation at the end of this article.
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What makes a trip to Rome even more special? But to share it with your teddy, of course! We spent a lovely morning with @tourstapsy and their great guides: they showed us the city, told us stories and got us to travel though time – even our teddy had fun 😀 I really feel for big cities like Rome a family tour is the way to go when you have small kids. Do you seek out specialised tours when you travel as a family? #tbin #igers_roma #ig_rome #italytravel #italyiloveyou #tapsytours #kidstravel #welltraveledkids #familieswhotravel #familytravel #lpkids #lppathfinders #familytrip #familycantravel #kidswhoexplore #travelwithtfa #travelingkids #italia_inunoscatto #italiainfoto #italy_vacations #europe_perfection #europetravel #littletravelnotes #littletraveler #littlepiecesofchildhood #prettylittletrips #prettycity #cityview #igers_europe
The perfect day in Rome Italy with toddlers
I like to start a day in Rome with a typical Italian breakfast in a Rome ‘bar’ (=local café’). The children get a large glass of frothy milk they like to pretend is a cappuccino and we share a cornetto, the Italian breakfast brioche. We usually sit down for our breakfast but be careful before you claim a table: in Rome city center, many bars charge more for sit down service and the bill can be really high! If you are in a touristy area, it is safer to ask for your cornetto to take away – this is never a problem and it makes for an easy snack mid-morning.
With full bellies, we usually then head to the park. Rome has many lovely inner city parks with vast areas to run around and, often, playgrounds. One of the most beautiful and famous is Villa Borghese: it has nice climbing frames, a pond where you can spot tortoises and also an indoor play area called ‘casina di Raffaello’, good for a rainy day. Villa Borghese used to belong to the Borghese family and it is great to visit not just for fun-seeking toddlers but for adults too. Here you have some beautiful fountains, the Borghese Gallery (stunning yet small enough for parents to take turns and visit the inside) and some lovely views over Rome.
The park is easily accessible by bus and strollers as it has large paved roads criss-crossing it. There is a nice café near the pond too which makes for an easy lunch spot.
In the afternoon, my kids always demand to go to Explora, the children museum of Rome. This is a wonderful place for kids and my two loved it since they were toddlers. The museum has many interactive installations and a special soft play for under 3s. It is a wonderful place for a rainy afternoon and it also has a nice family restaurant on site with both pizza and healthy options.
If the weather if good, we also often involve the kids in sightseeing. Rome is one of those cities where sightseeing with kids is really easy: all you need is a stroller (or a carrier, cobbled streets can be bumpy!) and take a walk in the city center. Piazza del Popolo is a lovely place both for adults and kids and the Colosseum is also surprisingly good for toddlers: the area just outside it is busy but car free (perfect to run around) and the Colosseum itself is so big even very young kids usually marvel at it!
In the evening, we love going for pizza!
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Rome with kids – insider tip! Piazza Navona, One of the most beautiful and monumental in the whole of Rome (and a must see no matter how little time you have in Rome) is the home of a toy shop with amazing teddy bears – they are life size (some are huge) and always a major hit with kids. You can see the shop ‘al sogno’ in the background. A kiddie stop while sightseeing for culture: works like a charm, every time! #tbin #romeandyou #romeitaly #romewithkids #kidswhotravel #kidswhoexplore #wetraveltogether #RomAmore #unlimitedrome #inrhome #romegreatbeauty #sguardi_sull_italia #benicultirali30 #culturalheritage30 #terrerare #heyrome #romewhatelse #wheninrome #loveyourtimetogether #familytravel #familytravelblog
The best activities for parents with toddlers in Rome
The best place of all for toddlers in Rome is Explora, the children museum I mentioned above, the only museum in Rome that is truly for kids.
Another nice place is the zoo (it is not great but for young children it is more than adequate), but I believe the best attractions in Rome for toddlers are Rome parks.
Villa Borghese is stunning and I also love Villa Torlonia, outside of the center but truly pleasant and equipped with a playground and a nice café.
Another lovely park is Villa Doria Pamphili: this is a large green area with incredible views over St Peter’s dome and a favourite for local families who come here for picnics (the bistrot inside it makes picnic baskets for you!)
Best toddler friendly restaurants and cafes in Rome
Rome does ‘child friendly’ the Italian way and this means you are usually welcome to bring children with you everywhere and restaurants will try to accommodate requests on demand. However, they rarely offer a child menu as such as high chairs are hit and miss.
An exception is ‘da Michele’ which is the restaurant attached to Explora and also Lola, maybe our absolute favourite, both on Via Flamminia, which has a small playground and kids entertainment on Sundays.
Accommodation suggestions and locations in Rome Italy with toddlers
I usually recommend two areas in Rome. If your children are happy to tag along sightseeing, then stay in the historical center. This area is not very green and this can be a downside with toddlers, but makes up for it in terms of accessibility: you will have all Rome main attractions, restaurants and shops on your doorstep! A lovely family hotel I like to recommend here is hotel Kolbe which has a lovely outside too.
If you are staying in Rome a little longer and prefer a taste of more local life, then I recommend the area we usually stay in. It is green and well served, packed with local families and has some nice hotels: one in a great location is hotel Fenix, close to villa Torlonia (park).
The perfect day trip from Rome Italy with toddlers
My favourite family friendly day trip from Rome is to Bracciano. This is a small town on a lovely lake, just outside the city, and it is lovely for kids, who can play and splash in the lake, but also for parents who are sure to enjoy its beautiful streets and castle. We got married on this lake so you can trust that when I say I like it, I really mean it!