Rome Colosseum

Family friendly Rome

As a nation, our desire to educate our children, to open them up to different cultures and experiences, to show them the world around us is huge.  Travelling to a city with children is an ideal way to experience another culture however it can be daunting.  The key is careful planning, a bit of downtime and plenty of ice cream breaks! One city we recommend visiting as a family is Rome – here’s the lowdown of one family’s experience:


“Rome!” The children chorused when we told them where we were going on our summer holiday. “Brilliant, we finally get to see the Colosseum”. At the tender ages of eleven and nine, our two were finally going to fulfil a lifelong ambition to visit the eternal city and one of the greatest archaeological and historical sites in the world. They didn’t know how lucky they were.


We stayed at the four star Ariston Hotel, located opposite it`s more traditional sister, Hotel Morgana, and near Rome`s main Termini railway station.  The area is busy and vibrant and is ideally situated to walk to every main site in the city.  Vatican City is a short taxi ride away across the river.


We wanted to cram in as much in as possible during our two days in Rome and the city did not disappoint as a cultural and fun family destination. We were lucky enough to have a week arranged by Lake Bracciano, just north of the city, after our city break so we made the most of our time in Rome knowing we had some downtime to come.  First stop, Vatican City!


We knew the Vatican would be a lot to take in for our two children so we decided to book a private tour guide. We were recommended and recruited a fabulous native Roman, historian and archaeologist – she was amazing. Not only did she pace the tour perfectly, gauging everyone`s interest and energy levels (on a searing hot day) she pulled out every interesting fact possible to engage and interest the children and even stopped for a drink and ice cream at exactly the right moment!


The Vatican is incredibly interesting – a historic and archaeological masterpiece – and you could spend hours there.  Our cicerone guided us perfectly and enabled us to make the most of our Vatican experience. Did you know that Michelangelo had a little dog that he painted into many of his frescos, including the wall of Sistine Chapel?


The Vatican was enough for one day so we headed back to the hotel for some rest before heading out for that much coveted pizza!


Our prebooked visit to The Colosseum was a great success.  Following a self guided tour with handy handsets and lots of discussion about some of the more gruesome historic facts followed by lunch we moved onto the Roman Forum. Rather than walking through the ruins at ground level, we achieved some perspective by looking at the layout of the old city from up above and tried to imagine the hustle and bustle that went on there years ago.  For the first time, the children were able to visualise history and gauge some idea of the magnitude of the Roman civilisation- it encouraged some interesting chat!


Rome is a great walking city so we enjoyed wandering through the tiny, and larger, streets taking in the architecture, the buzz and of course, many gelatos! Our daughter`s favourite spot was the Trevi Fountain, in which we lost several euros, and we were all in awe of the Pantheon and the fact it is still standing – a feat of ancient architecture indeed. We strolled through the Borghese Gardens but weren`t brave enough to let ourselves loose on a Segway! We peeked at the boutique Inn at the Spanish Steps and its enticing Via de Condotti location – sadly there was no room for us but retreating back to the tranquillity of the Ariston was extremely welcome after a long, hot and exciting day of exploration.


Rome is a fabulous city for any age to explore.  We did not cover everything – we could have arranged a gladiator experience or a tour through the Roman catacombs beneath the city – however we tried our best with the time we had and it gave us all a hunger to return.


For more information on visiting Rome or any other city whether with or without children, do pop into the Greenstar Travel office or give us a ring on 01372 462226.


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