Think that kids might not love the history of Rome? Then think again. This is a city that can really ignite the little ones’ imaginations. It’s all about selling it to them in the right way. But, with such a huge amount to see, you have to be careful not to tire them out (well, not too much at least).
Remember to take plenty of water, put on the sunscreen and take regular breaks and you can give the kids a holiday they will remember forever.
Which kids don’t like spraying water? And while you’re not really allowed to splash around in the Trevi Fountain, throwing a coin in and making a wish is sure to keep them entertained. You might even manage to impress them just how stunning these works of art are too.
2) Ice cream
Gelato, as it’s known to the locals, is a Roman specialty. With hundreds of superb ice cream parlours dotted around the city, this is an easy way to keep (bribe) the kids on side. Try out weird and wonderful flavours like gorgonzola or balsamic vinegar, or stick to creamy cold classics like chocolate and pistachio. It’s all on offer.
3) Let the kids be the guide
Why not let the kids decide what they want to see most and lead the way. They can even use their imaginations to try and explain what went on in all the incredible buildings around them. Their ideas might not even be as amazing as the real history – such as how the Colosseum was once filled with water and used to recreate naval battles.
4) Pizzas and piazzas
Rome’s car-free piazzas are ideal for letting off a bit of steam. The kids are free to run around safely, and don’t worry about the noise – Romans are renowned for being loud themselves. Head to the Piazza Navona and massive Piazza del Popolo – where they might just learn a thing or two about history too. Of course, all that energy needs replacing, so why not head to the nearest pizza place to top up?
5) Villa Borghese
Kids love parks. But they’ve probably never been to one quite like this before. This huge green space is also home to a zoo, go-karting and an express train. The museums might be a bit advanced, but there’s plenty more in the park to keep them entertained.
6) Set challenges
There’s no better way to keep them engaged than to make something a game. Have them look out for fountains or try and find the letters SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus – which means The Senate and People of Rome in Latin) which are written all over the city. Keep score and declare the winner at the end of the day. Older kids will have fun trying to find symbols, including dragons, lions and eagles, carved in various places around the city.
7) Tell the truth
When in Rome with kids, don’t spare them the details. Explain what exactly the Colosseum used to be for – including all the grisly gladiatorial details. This is sure to interest them and get them asking questions about how and why it happened. They’ll probably understand more than you think and by explaining history properly, you might just get them hooked.
8) The Vatican
Home to some of the greatest art works in human history, you have to take the kids here. They can’t fail to be impressed by the Sistine Chapel – Michelangelo’s ceiling masterpiece. The fact it took him four years to finish is sure to intrigue young minds.
Rome is a very child-friendly city, and Italians love kids. They’re more than welcome in restaurants and at all the attractions. But do be aware that it’s not particularly child organised. You won’t find many nappy changing places or some of the other conveniences you might be used to back home. Bear all this in mind and you’ll have an incredible family holiday.