Babyfriendly eating in Rome?
March 18, 2012 5:48 AM   Subscribe

We're going to Rome in a month's time, and are looking for great places to eat that won't mind us bringing our baby along. Any other tips for enjoying Rome with a push chair/stroller are also welcome!
posted by Harald74 to Travel & Transportation around Rome, Italy (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would not bring a stroller. The sidewalks are not great for them. Do a carrier instead.
posted by k8t at 6:27 AM on March 18, 2012

My experience, such as it is, of eating in Rome with kids in tow is that you'll be fine, at least in the more family-oriented, less consciously classy places (not that we could ever afford the latter). Romans, in our experience, love kids. I cherish the memory of a waiter in a pizza joint giving my younger daughter (who was about 10 at the time) a handful of breadsticks as if they were flowers.
posted by Logophiliac at 8:41 AM on March 18, 2012

Seconding logophiliac -- Romans LOVE kids. I think your baby will be welcome in most places. And yes, a carrier would be better than a stroller. Don't eat right next to monuments -- almost the only bad restaurants in Rome are right next to a monument (colosseum, pantheon etc). Do go to the jewish ghetto and have fried artichokes in a nice restaurant. Keep your wallet in an internal or front-facing pocket (pickpockets abound). And have a great time!
posted by feets at 11:42 AM on March 18, 2012

OK, thanks guys! We're bringing the baby carrier as well, as per your recommendations.
posted by Harald74 at 1:53 PM on March 18, 2012

I'll offer an argument for the stroller. My wife and I took our baby to Rome and used a stroller along with a bjorn and found the stroller great to use.

The sidewalks may not be ideal but a stroller offers a few advantages. We love to walk all around Rome and a stroller means someone doesn't have to always be carrying the baby. We got tired enough just walking. A stroller also provides a place for the baby to sleep while out so you can use her nap time to have a seat and a drink and a place to feed her when at a spot that didn't have a high chair.

We used a Maclaren stroller which was good because it folded up into a relatively small package that restaurant and cafe owners were generally happy to stick in the coat area when there was seating for our daughter. While a jogging stroller might accommodate the terrain a bit better it would be way too big on the street and could rarely be brought in to a shop or restaurant.

We found restaurants generally pretty accommodating to eating with a baby. We generally picked a restaurant that we wanted to eat at from books/recommendations and then checked it out to see if there was anything about it that would make it a place we didn't want to bring our daughter (too tiny, formal, etc.). One thing that will be nice when you go is that the weather will likely be pleasant so the easiest place to eat and drink will be cafes around the city's piazzas. You'll pay a bit of a premium but the surroundings make it worthwhile.

One other thing that is good about traveling with a baby in Rome is how accessible so much of the art is. A lot of incredible churches that you can just walk into and out and then revisit later if you didn't get a long enough visit. This makes it easier to manage tourism with your baby's moods. You can take turns going in to look at the Caravaggios while your partner wheels around a fussy baby or feeds a hungry baby, etc. This takes the pressure off compared to deciding whether or not to abandon a proposed half-day visit to the Louvre. (I believe the Borghese Gallery doesn't allow strollers.)

Have a great time!
posted by Athanasius at 11:22 AM on March 19, 2012

So we're back! Our Rome holidays were excellent, and bringing the baby was not as problematic as we feared. We did bring our push chair, as it's typical of Northern European push chairs and have very large wheels. It coped OK with Rome's cobbles, but some stretches were a little bit jarring for the baby. Smaller wheels would have been problematic.

All the eateries and restaurants we visited were very accommodating when we tried to bring the push chair in. They moved chairs and tables, and one place even moved other patrons to allow us space. Best resturant visit of the trip: Sacro e Profano. Best gelato: San Crispino.

Push chairs were allowed everywhere we went save St. Peter's basilica (the Vatican museums were allowed). We even got to jump queue some places to use the elevator or special gates.

Romans were all over the baby. Usually an exclamation of Ooohh, bambino! would be followed by minutes of baby talk and exclamations of how sweet and charming he is etc. (He is!) One small note I would add is if you're uncomfortable with your baby being touched by strangers it is difficult to avoid. I think most people tried to judge us by our body language if it's OK to pet the baby, but some people just came up and stroked his hand or something. All were very nice, though, but I can see where this can be less than ideal.

All in all an excellent experience, and my new travel advice for Rome is to bring a baby!
posted by Harald74 at 9:25 AM on April 30, 2012

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