Roman Holiday (kid friendly version)
October 14, 2013 4:25 AM   Subscribe

Next week, my 10 year old daughter and I will be in Rome for 3 days; what should we see?

I haven't been to Rome in over 20 years and my daughter has never been. Obviously we are going to visit the Colosseum/Forum and Vatican, however I am a little wary of dragging my daughter around a succession of crowded ruins and churches. She has a fairly high tolerance for "culture", but I'd like to break it up with something more child-friendly if possible.

Any suggestions? We will be there Wednesday-Friday (not counting arriving and leaving), in case that matters.

Bonus question: what's the best way for us to get around? Our hotel is near the Repubblica metro station, which makes it about a 20 minute walk from the Colosseum and Piazza Navona (according to Google Maps) but makes the Vatican (for example) a bit of a hike. How likely am I too be fleeced if I rely on cabs?
posted by oclipa to Travel & Transportation around Rome, Italy (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
We went last year with our girls. I think we relied mainly on breaks for treats and tourist-y shops to keep them entertained between "culture". To be fair though, they really enjoyed the Colosseum and were generally pretty impressed with Rome.

For the Vatican, I think you can skip a lot of the queue if you buy a ticket in advance online (and print it out).

For getting around - we bought a travelcard. The buses and trams are pretty easy to use and run very regularly through the central areas.
posted by crocomancer at 4:40 AM on October 14, 2013

Pasta Museum
San Crispino for gelato
Ladies who feed the cats near the ruins
posted by Ideefixe at 5:26 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

We just last night got back from a week in Rome with our two daughters that are near in age to yours. They thought the Colosseum was ok (through the jet lag) and the Vatican museums were a pretty big hike, though there were lots of cool things to see.

We pretty much hit the tourist biggies. The Pantheon was a fave, as was Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. Actually, we took a bike tour around the city with Red Bicycle tours (google them) and it was an awesome way to cover a lot of ground and see lots of cool stuff quickly. The operator, Glenn, was great--he set us up with a tandem because my younger had a hand brace and couldn't ride independently. It's a little spendy but we all really enjoyed it. Got to spend a few minutes at Trevi and the Pantheon, got a glimpse of other sites (Navona, Campo Di Fiori, Castell Sant Angelo and St Peters from the exterior, much more.) If you're at all into biking, I recommend. The route is in car free areas for much of the route, but it definitely will help if you're comfortable being assertive crossing the streets or being on the same road as nervy scooter drivers.

Bus worked great for us. Google maps with public transit routes were invaluable. The Roma Pass is a bus pass as well as free entry to many venues (not the Vatican, though) and its 3day length matches your itinerary well... Bus drivers do not check passes though--I think they deserve combat pay just for driving there!--and eventually we just hopped on and off even after our Roma passes ran out. Apparently sometimes busses are spot checked and people can get fined, but we didn't see it. YMMV.

We took taxis a few times and were not ripped off. Restaurants right by tourist hotspots are another story...

Have fun! We did! Gelato tutti i giorni!
posted by Sublimity at 5:31 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Galleria Borghese requires reservations at least a day ahead of time, but these are easy enough to make. Bernini's Apollo and Daphne and David are there, as well as many Caravaggio canvases, and upstairs is a gallery with some terrific paintings. You're limited to two hours, it's memorable but not overwhelming, and afterward you could walk around the huge city park that surrounds it.
posted by Francolin at 9:21 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Trevi Fountain. I'd also suggest the Pantheon (a crowd favorite).

Is she into cooking at all? If so, there are plenty of cooking classes in Rome, and she might really enjoy being empowered by having a new pasta recipe to bring home to friends and family in the States.
posted by juliagulia at 11:38 AM on October 14, 2013

I'm going to suggest the Torre Argentina - a cat sanctuary located in some ruined temples in the heart of Rome. Not only is it one of those "only in Rome" experiences but it is well situated so that you can meander to other cool sites nearby. It's an easy walk to the Pantheon, the Campo di Fiori and Piazza Navona. Honestly, just wander the neighborhood near there and and you can't go wrong.
posted by jezemars at 4:49 PM on October 14, 2013

There is a zoo, Bioparc Roma and it is near the Aldrovandi tram stop.
posted by soelo at 12:55 PM on October 16, 2013

San Crispino for gelato

Next to the Vatican and the Colosseum, this is, in my opinion, the most important part of a visit to Rome. It's hands-down the best gelato in the world. I cringed when I saw tourists eating crap gelato a few steps away from San Crispino, not knowing what they were missing. It's near the Trevi fountain - incidentally a great place to eat the gelato you've just bough.
posted by Dasein at 8:46 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

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