Last year we visited Rome just after Easter. The weather was just what you expect at the cusp of spring: cool in the mornings, warm enough in the afternoon sun to melt the residual winter chill.
If you’ve been there, you already know that it’s a magnificent, historic city with tons to see and do. A few people weren’t particularly encouraging about us making the trip with kids, but we went for it anyway. We survived, and a year after the fact I remember the city’s beauty more than most of whatever my kids were complaining about. Here were some of things that worked for us:
We gave each kid a bag of pennies so they could toss them into fountains and make wishes as we went. It seemed there was a fountain around every corner! We stayed near the Trevi fountain, which was impressive, though it was consistently overwhelmed with tourists.
With our little dudes, the hop on/hop off bus was THE way to get around. It gave them a chance to rest between sights, and we got to catch glimpses of some of the places we weren’t going to visit.
Rowing at Borghese Gardens
It seemed a bit silly, but we all had a good laugh rowing around the tiny lake inside the city’s large gardens.
Playing in the Piazza
The best way to run off a gelato buzz.
We booked a tour through the Forum and Colosseum. While a guide was so helpful in understanding the history and context of it all, the tour was a bit tedious for the kids. They managed and we left impressed.
Let’s Talk Vatican Museum
The Vatican Museum houses an impressive and immense collection of art. Visited by millions, the museum requires visitors to follow a prescribed, winding path through the kilometers of halls. As such, you can’t just cut across to the rooms you want to see if, say, you have small whining children with you. The Sistine Chapel is near the end of the route, and we were properly “shushed” as our children maxed out on patience. Still, I really loved the maps gallery.
Rome is a wildly popular tourist destination. There’s no getting around the fact that you will be surrounded by other tourists everywhere. I highly recommend visiting outside peak summer season! I can’t imagine what it must be like to be crammed into those ancient spaces with loads more people on a sweltering day.
Traveling with children is a perfect excuse to take plenty breaks to try local specialties and soak in your surroundings. A Spritz in this piazza; pizza in that one. Gelato, of course. Cacio e Pepe, the wine, la dolce vita…so much to savor.