The tour starts off innocuously enough, with a visit to a museum about the lives and beliefs of the Capuchin monks. The crypt is famous for its ossuary where the bones of hundreds of monks have been artistically arranged in six rooms. Even the light fixtures are made of bones. Some of the monks appear to be mummified. You can look at some images on google here. If you turn left at the Spanish Steps you can get a great view over Rome before you explore the gardens.
Even in winter the gardens were green and pretty, and the kids found a carousel to ride on which kept them happy. Hiring bikes is the best way to get around the park. The Villa Borghese itself is now an art gallery with words by Raphael, Caravaggio and Titian and is highly recommended. Tickets for Villa Borghese gallery must be reserved in advance. A great square for children, Piazza Navona is a short walk from the Pantheon. Kids will love the three fountains in this piazza. When we visited there was a rather small Christmas market, and a carousel which was of more interest to the kids.
Piazza Navona is famously a place to sit and people watch although we bought gelato from a counter in a restaurant and were then not allowed to sit and eat it outside under their heaters. So be careful where you get your gelato from! This little-known palace has been in the same family for generations and is still used by the current Prince Pamphilj and his family. You can also take a tour of the private state apartments which are still used by the family. The palace was practically deserted when I visited — it was lovely to have the place almost to myself. I was fully prepared to be disappointed by the Trevi fountain.
All I knew about it was that it was famous, and busy, and that everyone goes to see it. So, dutifully, off we went. The Trevi fountain has recently been renovated and every inch of it was sparkling white, the blue sky reflected in the water. It was much better than I expected.
The kids enjoyed throwing the obligatory coin s into the water. The Spanish Steps is a famous meeting place for Romans. The girl had fun practising outlandish poses for photos a future star of Instagram in the making and both kids loved the brass Christmas tree that was halfway up.
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Nearby the streets are filled with designer shops, so if shopping is your thing, this is the place to come! If you want to take a day trip from Rome you could easily squeeze the above sights into 4 days you can see what we managed each day below. This will leave you with a spare day to take a day trip. See why below! Other possible day trips include the ruined city of Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast. When planning our itinerary I kept finding fantastic tours and experiences for children.
A perfect add-on to your Colosseum tour would be to spend a couple of hours learning how to be a Roman Gladiator. This is going to appeal to kids young and old alike. Get more information and book your tickets here. Getting kids involved in making their own food is a great idea. By taking a foodie tour the kids will be able to learn about their favourite foods and enjoy them afterwards. Take a look at a suggested tour here. We were very tempted to take a family friendly Vatican tour.
But these tours come highly recommended for kids aged about 4 and above. Take a look at some of the available tours here.
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For energetic and slightly older children you could take a day to see the Appian Way. This is an ancient original in parts Roman Road which stretches through the Italian countryside for several miles close to Rome. As well as the bike ride, the Appian Way also has ancient catacombs to explore and some tours also take in the Baths of Caracalla.
You can take a tour or you can hire bikes independently. The sights in Rome can be a little overwhelming for children. To get smaller kids interested in Rome you could take family friendly tours of the most famous monuments and places. The tour guides are usually very good with children and will keep them engaged. You could look at books about Rome just before your trip. We have a lift-the-flap book of ancient Rome which went down well click the link below to buy it.
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Our nearest town in the UK was originally built by the Romans so we talked to the Cub about how they got to Britain and a little about what they did when they arrived. You can also get kids to play I-Spy while walking around; there are plenty of things that pop up all over the city that your kids can look out for. See how many times they can find the letters S. Family trips never normally go as planned with small children and we find that our schedule often changes at the last minute.
Often after a planned activity our kids are quite tired, or we get a meltdown and we have to change our plans. We also meandered about the streets close to where we were staying in Cavour, visited Piazza Venezia, and had a leisurely lunch.
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We had a late start and could also have included the Pantheon and Piazza Navona as they are easily walkable from the Trevi Fountain stop. We were planning to use our second day of our Bus Tour ticket to get to the Vatican City but opening times were different, so we changed our plans and decided to do the Vatican on Day 5. In keeping with our Kids and Compass tradition, one of our kids got sick.
The boy had a temperature overnight.
Capuchin: Picture Book (Educational Childrens Books Collection) - Level 2 (Planet Collection)
He is not a sickly boy — at home he is literally never ill. See our previous, cancelled trip to Rome and our trip to Paris. We went for a gentle walk in the morning and then the husband took them back to the hotel to chill out in the afternoon, leaving me to explore by myself.
Day 5 was our Vatican day. This was really lucky as we got to see the Sistine Chapel and the Gallery of Maps with nobody else in them.
Our favourite places were the Colosseum and Vatican City and the Lego shop. Take a look at this suggested 3 day itinerary for Rome. Day 1: Colosseum and surrounds in the morning; see some of the central Rome attractions like Piazza Navona, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain in the afternoon. Day 2: Early morning start at the Vatican. Staying as near as you can to the centre of Rome is best. We stayed in a hotel just next to Cavour metro.
Related Capuchin: Picture Book (Educational Childrens Books Collection) - Level 2 (Planet Collection)
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