Where to stay in Rome with kids
April 9, 2012 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Thinking of going to Rome later in the year (me + Mrs Croc + 2 kids, 7 and 10) for a few days. Any advice welcome on locations to stay and things to see that will appeal to kids.

We did a similar trip to Paris a few years ago and combining kid things and grown-up things made it a great week. We stayed in a rented apartment which made it much easier to relax in the evening, but we'd consider a hotel. So more specifically: any recommendations for a rental, or family-friendly hotel?
posted by crocomancer to Travel & Transportation around Rome, Italy (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: We used a site called Cross-Polinate when we stayed in Rome a few years ago. We found an apartment right near the Coliseum and it was great, (this was the specific apartment if you're curious.)

We used the same site for apartments in Florence and Venice. We had no problems and it was the easiest part of our trip. Highly recommended.
posted by zueod at 1:47 PM on April 9, 2012

There is a zoo in Rome: Bioparco although I did not see it in many guidebooks. There are lots of typical animals and also a pack of African Wild Dogs.
posted by soelo at 2:28 PM on April 9, 2012

Get the kids to watch some films set in ancient Rome before they go, take them to the library and get them some books on ancient Rome that feature the colisseum.

There are some sites with loads of wild cats you could see in passing, perhaps someone else could be more specific?
posted by biffa at 3:49 PM on April 9, 2012

We have been to Rome as a family for Christmas for several years - stuff happened so our mixed-religion family needed a break from traditional Christmas, and Rome is the perfect place, now my kids, who have grown into teens, complain if we aren't going.
Even outside the holidays, I think kids will enjoy Rome. Mine really enjoyed exploring the ruins at Forum Romanum (at least a full day) and trying to imagine how things were back in the day. We read about it at night in the hotel room, and brought books with images of the past. My girls enjoyed Saint Peters and the Vatican, which surprised me. Again, a whole day is required. Also, everything in Rome is family-friendly: food is great, people like children, and there is space for children in the sense that they are expected to participate. It is also very safe for children. We all love Campo di Fiori, where the kids can run around while the adults enjoy their coffee at a café. Another favorite is the Trevi fountain. Banal, but lovely. Last time, we just wandered about, even to some really strange places Why did we even go here?? No, it was fascinating, but we spent a lot of time during the evenings reading together and watching films like Roman Holiday, so the kids were prepared. On Piazza Navona are two of the world's greatest toy stores. My kids understand we can't afford it all, and are just thrilled to look around and choose a tiny thing for taking home. That would depend on your finances or pedagogy.
We haven't seen this yet, but it's on our list.
It seems like there are tons of great apartments rather than hotel rooms. We have been limited in our choices by having a family member who is wheel-chair bound, so I have no personal experience of apartments with children. Twice, I've been on longer stays in Rome without children and in apartments in Borgo and Villa Borghese. Both amazing experiences.
For your shorter stays, I'd go for proximity to Piazza Navona and maybe Pantheon, or Trastevere.
Food can be very expensive and very cheap, even close to major attractions. Often the less expensive places are more child-friendly. As a rule "snacking" is extremely expensive if you are close to a major tourist attraction, so it can pay to go into a real restaurant, even if it seems absurd, and they will treat your kids nicely. So don't imagine bar-food is cheap, and avoid anything fast-food, its really bad quality. Some bars outside the tourist areas have "Tavola Calda" - a hot lunch which is very fair in price.
posted by mumimor at 4:06 PM on April 9, 2012

avoid anything fast-food

Not anything, the toilets in McDs were among the best in Rome when I was there, so use them quickly, get in, get out, don't buy anything. Spanish Steps ones were very good, and crowds there so easy not to feel conspicuous.
posted by biffa at 4:20 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I thought this was pretty fascinating, and I'm sure the kids would be engrossed.
posted by btkuhn at 9:25 PM on April 9, 2012

The wild cats biffa is talking about are likely at the Area Sacra dell'Argentina also known as Largo di Torre Argentina. It houses a shelter for feral cats (and I saw lots more around town) and I think that is a good suggestion. The first link says you will only see a few during the day, but I saw probably close to 50 of them. Some were missing a leg, but they'd been patched up and were getting around normally. The area itself is lower than the surrounding sidewalk and few cats venture high enough to interact with the spectators. There was one that was sleeping near the top of a stairway, but it ran as soon as I got within petting range. Here is a picture that I took of the ruins.
posted by soelo at 1:56 PM on April 10, 2012

Correct link to Largo di Torre Argentina
posted by soelo at 1:58 PM on April 10, 2012

It might be good to bring along books, games, or snacks for the line to the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter's Basilica. The wait can be 2-3 hours sometimes, because obviously it's one of the sites most travelers have on their list to see.
posted by kettleoffish at 3:20 PM on April 10, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions.
posted by crocomancer at 7:29 AM on April 23, 2012

« Older The curtain is dropping and I need a new partner.   |   careerFilter: ... Another fallen engineer! How do... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.