Uncovering the layers of Ancient Rome can be fun for adults. But for children, well, that’s a different story. Never fear, the Eternal City isn't just one big playground for grown-ups. There’s certainly plenty for kids to do too. You just have to be creative and know where to look.
Gelato is always a crowd pleaser among children — Photo courtesy of David Reber's Hammer Photography
A big hit with the kids, is the Explora Museo dei Bambini di Roma (Explora Children’s Museum) on Via Flaminia, 82 near Piazza del Popolo. The museum has created a miniature life-like town where children ages 12 and under can experience what adult-life is like in the big city. From shopping at the supermarket to planting your own garden, Explora has a variety of hands-on exhibits where children can pretend to be adults for a day. While the exhibits and activities are mainly in Italian, children are usually too busy having fun to even notice.
Theatre for Kids
While adults are taking in the breathtaking views of the city skyline from the Janiculum Hill (Giancolo), the kiddos can enjoy the colorful and animated outdoor Teatro di Pulcinella puppet theatre. Shows usually run Monday through Friday from 4-7pm and from 10:30am-1pm on the weekends. Though there’s no cost, a small donation is encouraged.
On the other side of town, is Villa Borghese, the Central Park of Rome. Here, parents can take kids to the zoo or Bioparco at Piazzale del Giardino Zoologico, 1. It’s one of the oldest zoos in Europe and has over 1,000 animals for kids to ooh and awe over. After visiting the zoo, rent bikes at Pincio and head over to the Teatro Stabile dei Burattini "San Carlino" . Here, kids can also watch live puppet shows on the weekends (Viale dei Bambini Villa Borghese, Pincio). Last but not least, there's the Cinema dei Piccoli on Viale della Pineta, 15. The miniature-sized movie theater has only 63 seats and was dubbed the ‘smallest movie theater in the world’ by Guinness World Records in 2005. Children’s movies are shown daily in the early evening.
Christmas Market at Piazza Navona
Around the holidays, the famed Piazza Navona turns into a traditional Christmas market. While parents work in a little christmas shopping, there are carnival rides and games for little and big kids to enjoy. Aside from the rides and the games, children enjoy looking at the unique Christmas ornaments such as the traditional Befana (Christmas witch) and nativity sets for sale.
When all else fails, there’s nothing that saves the day like gelato! Picking up a cono (cone) or a coppetta (cup) of tasty gelato from the world-renowned gelateria Giolitti on Via degli Uffici del Vicario, 40 near the Pantheon or from Il Gelato at Piazza Monte d’Oro, 91/92 near the Ara Pacis Museum which features over 100 different flavors. This will not only light up their faces, but will also earn parents some major brownie points.