Rome is perpetually dialed up to 11, from the around-the-clock buzz of scooters to the wow-worthy ancient ruins. This high-octane energy may not seem family friendly, but Rome offers endless options for kid-sized fun—as I’ve discovered over decades of taking kids from toddlers to teens sightseeing.
When my sons were younger, they loved Rome’s over-the-top fountains, and the city’s traffic-free squares and parks offered plenty of space to let off some steam. As they got older, they were drawn to iconic sights such as the Colosseum and Sistine Chapel that they studied in school. And the 24/7 diet of pizza and gelato is a hit for all ages. Here’s how to make lifelong memories in three days.
Wear light clothing for Rome's balmy temps, but dress modestly for St. Peter’s.
If you only have time for one thing, make it Trevi Fountain.
Start your visit with an overview of top sights without tiring out little feet. A walking (or e-bike) itinerary can work for older kids, but families with younger visitors should opt for a Vespa or Ape Calessino (similar to a tuk-tuk) adventure. Most tours stop at a scenic overlook—ideal for snapping a family photo.
Next, delve into Rome’s cultural treasures. The Colosseum is usually a hit with kids, especially if you visit with a guide. Most Colosseum tours include a stroll through the adjacent Roman Forum. Both are accessible via metro.
Pairing a sightseeing tour with a hands-on workshop. This afternoon, opt for some active fun: gladiator wannabes can train at Rome’s Gladiator School; history buffs can learn the art of Roman mosaic; and budding artists can create a masterpiece on a sketching tour. (Our family has done these three activities over the years, and loved them all!)
No visit to Rome is complete without dipping your toes into Vatican City, but what you do depends on your family's ages (and stamina). Even young tots are impressed by soaring St. Peter’s Basilica and love climbing to the top of the dome for views of Rome. School-age kids can appreciate the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel—skip-the-line tickets and a family-focused guide are a must.