Summer is approaching fast and Rome, Italy is the ideal place for families with kids to spend their holidays. Rome’s rich archeological, artistic and cultural heritage are so remarkable that Rome’s historic centre has been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage site. Rome is a wonderful and very safe place to visit with kids, with lots of fun and informative family oriented activities bound to keep the troops entertained. What are the secrets behind a memorable Roman trip with children? Get every family member involved when planning your trip to Rome, keep your schedule loose as there are so many things to do in Rome, and to get the most out of your Roman Holiday when in Rome allow quality time at quality venues to enjoy Rome at your kid’s pace. Here is Italytravelista‘s list of child friendly activities and sights to be visited in/around Rome that will keep the whole family happy and entertained without breaking the bank!
Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
When you look down at the Roman Forum from the terrace on the Capitoline Hill you see the center of the world and the world’s biggest and most ancient jungle-gym. Kids can hide behind the 2000 years old ruins, run on the grassy mounds near the temple of Julius Caesar and have fun at the Farnese Gardens, the first botanical garden in the world. Remind your kids that all the palaces in the world are named after the Palatine hill because the Emperors built here their Palatial houses.
In the Colosseum tell your kids the tales about gladiators and wild beasts. Manned elevators could bring up to 1,000 warriors at the same time or else hundreds of hungry lions…or both! Superb engineering went into the Coliseum. 50,000 spectators could be seated to enjoy the ugliest show of all: death to men and beasts. Tell your children the thumbs up or thumbs down that originated here as the Emperors decided freedom (up) or death (down) for the gladiators.
Kids will love a day at the Gladiator School and learn how to become a Roman gladiator. During this two-hour lesson, a gladiator instructor teaches kids and adults how to fight with authentic weapons used by the gladiators of ancient Rome. Lessons are organized and led by members of the Historic Group of Rome who specialize in the re-enactment of Roman life and gladiatorial combat.
The Baths of Emperor Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla were the largest thermae in the world when completed in 217AD whilst today is a huge playground largely neglected by the hordes of tourists where to enjoy a sunny day with the dramatic Roman ruins in the background. A short stroll from the Caracalla’s Baths leads to the very off the beaten path museum of the Walls of Rome. Located just inside the Porta San Sebastiano kids can march along the Aurelian Walls, just the way the ancient Roman Legionaries used to do.
Early Christian catacombs
There are 69 catacombs on the outskirts of Rome and thousand of tombs but only 5 of the catacombs are open to the public. These underground dark labyrinths are spooky enough to delight and perhaps even frighten most kids!
The Mouth of Truth (Bocca della verità)
Remember the scene with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in the film Roman Holiday? For fun show the kids the original lie detector which is located in the portico of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin, one of my favorite medieval churches in Rome. According to a medieval legend if you put your hand into the mouth and tell a lie you’ll be bitten!
Church of the Immaculate Conception or Capuchin Kript
A spooky place which just might fascinate the older kids! The bones and skulls of thousands of Capuchin monks have been crafted into decorative tableaux. No photos allowed and small donation is appreciated by the friars.
Piazza Navona Square
The joyous curves of this sensuous square typify baroque Rome with masterpieces by both Bernini and Borromini. In 86 A.D. Emperor Domitian built a long U-shaped stadium here and since then Piazza Navona Square has served as a glorious outdoor theater. There is much street entertainment going on in this beautiful square including mimes, puppet shows,caricaturists and painters. A great spot for a tartufo ice cream gelato.
Saint Angel’s Castle
Castel Sant’Angelo is just like Rome, layer upon layer, building upon building. This is the most magnificent of all the Roman Imperial tombs that became a fortress in the Middle Ages, a Papal Castle in the Renaissance, and a museum today. Kids can visit the papal prison complete with winding dark scary corridors, secret passageways, real cannons and cannon balls. The view from atop the castle is terrific!
Above Trastevere on the rim of the Janiculum Hill in front of the statue of Garibaldi, is one of best places to view Rome. Pony rides and merry-go-round are near. A puppet show in Italian runs every afternoon and donations are welcome. At noon sharp kids will be amused by the firing of a cannon just below this lofty square, a tradition dating back 100 years when it signaled lunch time for the workers.
Villa Borghese Gardens
Cardinal Scipione Borghese did for Rome what the Medicis had done for Florence. Villa Borghese was the show-place for this 17th C. artistic flowering. The cardinal invited Jacob More from Edinburgh to landscape this vast area. The English style park is 4 miles in circumference and contains statues, green trees, bike friendly itineraries and a small lake. After a tour of the Borghese Gallery these gardens are the perfect spot for a family picnic.
Rome’s playgrounds for young children
Rome offers various opportunities for a day out or nice break from ancient ruins and baroque churches. Villa Celimontana, right up the street from the Colosseum, Villa Ada, to the north of central Rome, and Villa Pamphili, the largest park in Rome not far from the Janiculum Hill, are the perfect spots to enjoy walking, biking or perhaps a soccer game with the local kids. Again perfect for picnics.
Leave the Eternal City behind for a day on your family Roman holiday and visit Tivoli to enjoy Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’ Este with its impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music. Peek into Roman antiquities at ancient Rome’s port at Ostia or visit the hilltop town of Orvieto with its fabulous 14th century Roman Catholic cathedral and Etruscan underground passages.
“For a great selection of places to stay with discount prices visit Rome Hotels for more information.”
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Ciao from Rome:-)
Since 1997 Nancy Aiello Tours specializes in private family oriented Rome and Vatican tours led by friendly and entertaining official Rome tour guides designed to satisfy the curiosity and attention spans of the whole family visiting Rome.
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