Thursday 2 October 2014

Rome as a City for Toddlers

Rome is a beautiful city, with so much history and culture that it is just asking to be explored.  Holidaying with toddlers isn't quite the same though and with a three year old, a 19 month old as well as a growing bump, we saw Rome in a different way.

Explora Museum

There is so much to take in, that Rome can be an overwhelming city for toddlers.  We were keen to break up the days with activities that gave them freedom, and ultimately wore them out enough that they would sit through a nice dinner! After some internet research, we found a place called Explora children's museum, and we booked a session on the day it was most likely to rain.

Rome with toddlers, family friendly rome

This was probably one of the best deicisions we made, and if you ask Dylan he would tell you it was the highlight of his holiday.  Located centrally, but down a quiet street, you enter the museum at set times (10,12,3 or 5) and have one hour and 45 minutes to explore.  The museum is toddlers paradise, and reading the reviews on trip advisor it is perfect from baby to around 7 or 8 years.
There is so much to do that you could easily visit more than once if you have time.  There is plenty for role-play lovers, including a very extensive kitchen, a bank with cash machines and a fantastic supermarket, with shelves and fridges stocked full of food, and a proper till with scanner too.


There was a fire engine that children could climb in, and from the back they controlled a number of water experiments.  Everything was routed in science and recycling, with an upstairs full of scales, puzzles and experiments perfect for children.  Downstairs they had plenty of sensory sections, animals home and a place you could grow pretend vegetables.  There was a table for the craftier kids for junk modelling too, although we sadly never made it that far.

This was the perfect afternoon for both boys, and they played happily alongside and with children from other countries, not letting a language barrier get in the way.

The Colloseum

Archie was having a nap when we visited the Colloseum, and so we decided to take a tour.  It meant we skipped the queue for tickets which was around an hour when we arrived and it has such a fascinating history it was great to really understand more.  Suprisingly, there are actually lifts built inside, so the building is buggy friendly, and Dylan loved learning about the gladiators and fighting, although he too took to the pushchair for a snooze half way through.  

We were inside about an hour and there was a brilliant book shop, especially if you have older children who are interested in the Romans.  There were plenty of activity books, sticker books and great resources.

The Vatican City

Unfortunately we didn't get to visit the sistine chapel or Vatican museum as the queues were too long, and we made the mistake of going on a Wednesday when there is a papal audience and it is therefore busier.  Ideally this is somewhere to visit first thing in the morning as it is much quieter, but even without going into the buildings, it is worth a visit.

The large square is a great place to let little people stretch their legs, and my two were not the only ones chasing the pigeons.  The architecture is stunning, and we sat and chatted about what we could see.  There is also a tiny post office which is the perfect place to send a postcard.  I let Dylan pick them himself as there was only a small selection and we sat and wrote them right there together.

The Pantheon

We only spent a short while here, as it was a religious building and they therefore ask for quiet inside which is not something my boys consider their strength.  The square outside is quite busy too, so isn't a great place to stop, but definitely worthwhile seeing.

Elsewhere and Travel

Rome is a stunning city and we spent plenty of time exploring on foot.  The metro system is extensive and cheap, but not particularly buggy friendly unless you choose your stations wisely (much like the London underground in that respect).  There are buses and trams, but we chose to walk everywhere as we had brought a double buggy with us and it paid off.  We discovered piazas that were spacious and full of intracacies that kept the children amused and us happy, and there were always cafes to stop at for ice cream too.   Be aware that if travelling in Rome when pregnant, you won't get any special treatment.  The only time I was offered a seat on a Metro or bus was by a fellow tourist.  Similarly I was never offered help with the buggy when taking it up or down stairs despite a very noticeable bump.


Although we tend to eat pasta as a main meal here, for the Italians, it is the first of two courses, and pasta is followed by a meat dish, such as steak, roast chicken, or fish which doesn't come with a side.  Whilst this felt strange to us, it was perfect for the littlies as children's menus were not common.  The smaller sized pastas were perfect for them, or we bought them a pizza to share.  Ice cream was easy to get hold of wherever you are and we treated ourselves regularly.  Even in the last week of September, it was 24-28 degrees and it helped cool us down after a day exploring.

Although Rome isn't a traditional city to visit with young children, it was a great holiday for us, and we found our own way to explore and enjoy the city.  We stayed outside the main city, at a Canvas holiday caravan park, which meant we could alternate busy days out, with quieter ones in the pool and the park.  If you want to read more, check out my previous post on visiting the beach in Rome, and look out for one on the caravan park in the next couple of days.


  1. The Explora museum looks fantastic - I wish we had something like that nearer to home! I love that you managed to find a way to see all the big sights even with little ones in tow, I loved the Colliseum, though it was smaller than I expected, and the Pantheon is great, especially if you go on a day when it's raining and you can watch the rain come through the roof!

  2. WOW - The Explora Museum looks and sounds amazing, i can totally understand why Dylan would have enjoyed it so much. The boys look so happy and full of joy xxx

    Vikki xxx
    Love From Mummy - UK Parenting Lifestyle Blog

  3. Looks like such a lovely holiday. It'd never have occurred to me to take the little ones to Rome but i guess there really is so much to see and do plus the food and gelato is just a child's dream! Thanks for sharing the post on the blogger group for me x


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