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8 family-friendly adventures in the heart of Rome
While it might be tempting to leave the kids at home while traveling abroad
There are immeasurable benefits to experiencing the Eternal City as a family. With its extensive ancient edifices, jaw-dropping art and sculptures, and heaping helpings of fresh pasta, there are countless things to do in Rome—the trick is approaching the city in kid-tested segments. From Colosseum tours dreamed up by childhood education specialists to heart-pumping bike excursions through the Italian capital, these adventures delight sightseers of all ages.
Things to do with younger kids (7-12)
1.The Colosseum’s gladiatorial stadium in the heart of Rome is an endless font of fascination for aspiring classicists. Bypass the lines during an interactive family tour that utilizes role-playing and visual props to bring history to life. The geniuses at City Wonders collaborated with an education expert to craft this hands-on experience that paints a vivid picture of the emperors and gladiators who once graced the Colosseum stage.
- Leave ancient Rome in your rearview mirror and speed toward Italy’s contemporary art scene during a family art tour of the National Gallery of Modern Art with Tikido. A personable guide ushers you through galleries chock-full of wonders by Cézanne, Degas, Duchamp, and Giacometti. Tiny critics are made to feel like insiders as your guide explains the curation process with powerful storytelling. After your museum-going experience, soak up some sunshine at the Villa Borghese gardens, a neighboring urban oasis.
- Inside a 17th-century castle, InRome Cooking offers kid-approved cooking instruction with a chance to concoct Roman-style pizzas. Venture inside the fresco-adorned dining room with your littles and channel your inner pizzaiolo—or pizza maker—to make melt-in-your-mouth pies. The resident chef loves working with children and even has appetizers waiting so the minis can munch while they wait for their pizzas to cook. Following dinner, walk off those carbs with a stroll past the Pantheon under the light of the moon.
- With its vast grid peppered with prominent relics, getting around Rome can be a challenge. Let the experts at Carrani Tours handle the details aboard a hop-on hop-off bus that makes stops at 9 iconic destinations—from the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore to the enclave of Vatican City. Depart the chariot at stops that call to you, before ending your experience with a classic meal at the Hard Rock Cafe—an entertaining eatery with something for everyone.
Things to do with older kids (13+):
- Tuck the little ones in and treat your teenage historian to an evening out hosted by Rome Your Way Tours with access to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. As the daytime crowds die down, a guide leads you through the preeminent art collection amassed by Popes throughout the centuries. End the night at the Old Bridge Gelateria where you can satisfy your sweet tooth with treats like Nutella gelato, yogurt with fresh honey, and frozen strawberries.
- Take the road-less-traveled and head to the Catacombs of Rome with Walks of Italy, for a captivating look at the city’s first Christian tombs. Adolescent sightseers are fascinated to discover the subterranean channels carved out of volcanic rock, and immaculate frescoes—including the world’s oldest depiction of the Virgin Mary—offer additional intrigue. Back in the heart of Rome, refuel at CHE PASTA! over a hearty plate of ravioli or gnocchi, delivered swiftly to order.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day—its sprawling 496 square miles (1,285 sq km) of relics attest to that. Turn the city into your playground during a guided bike tour with Italy Segway Tours. Adolescents revel in the freedom of two-wheeled exertion, while educational stops at the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Castel Sant’Angelo ensure teens end the tour with a bevy of newfound knowledge. Your skilled guide even finds a way to their hearts with a well-deserved gelato stop before the adventure comes to a close.
- Is it just us, or does the mere mention of Rome make our stomachs rumble? With so many things to do in Rome, you’d be wise to schedule a culinary tour with a local guide. The pros at Secret Food Tours Rome know just where to lead you and your budding gastronomist, ushering the group to under-the-radar pizzerias, specialty meat-and-cheese shops, and of course, gelaterias. At Campo de’ Fiori, your guide teaches kids about how everyday Italians shop for fresh produce in the open-air market.
With so many kid-tested, parent-approved options out there, Rome promises eternal fun for the whole family. Which of Rome’s destinations sound most enticing to you?
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