Your interactive family guide to Italy as recommended by local mums | Last updated 7 months ago

Rome

Activities for kids

  • The little reader

    Recommended by Chiara Moriconi

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    The little reader is a unique bookshop for children in central Rome. Their aim is to make reading fun for kids whilst providing a space for mums and dads to hang-out. As well as an excellent selection of books in Italian and English, the shop has a well-stocked café serving fresh, American-style cakes and Fairtrade, organic coffee, teas and juices. The shop also hosts regular events for little readers, such as storytelling in both English and Italian.
    Opening hours: Mon – Sat– 10am-6.30pm
    Via Conte Verde, 66b
    www.facebook.com/thelittlereader.it/timeline

    Comments:
    "I bumped into The Little Reader on my way to pick up my kids from school. What a beautiful surprise! Finally, a children's bookstore that has an international feel and a cafe' to boot. There's a cozy couch and lots of books to leaf through while sipping a cappuccino. I have been to this lovely gem many times, often taking my kids (3 and 7 yrs old) to story telling time in English and different kid workshops on Saturday mornings. I love love love this place! I hope it stays in my neighbourhood forever!" (CM, Jan 2016)

  • Bioparco

    Recommended by Laura Clarke

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    Rome’s century-old zoological garden has recently undergone a major overhaul and re-branding, replacing many of the old bars and cages with large open spaces where animals can move more freely, and it now plays an active role in environmental education and the conservation of endangered species. It is home to over 1,000 animals belonging to 200 species and has been refashioned with young visitors in mind, with explanations for children and viewing windows at child level. There is also a special programme of activities for children and it is possible to organise “nature-based” birthday parties all year round.
    Viale del Giardino Zoologico, 1
    tel. 063608211
    www.bioparco.it

  • Explora Children’s Museum

    Recommended by Laura Clarke

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    Children learn by doing at this interactive museum in the Flaminio district north of the historic centre. The pavilion resembles a small town containing a supermarket, bank, post office, fire station, recycling point, vegetable garden and other “exhibits” where children can explore and experiment at their own pace and according to their own inclinations. There is also a programme of temporary exhibitions, workshops and animated readings and it is possible to organise birthday parties on the premises. The museum operates a timed ticketing system with visits lasting 1 hour 45 minutes. Booking is compulsory at weekends, on public holidays and during the school holidays.
    Via Flaminia 80/86
    tel. 063613776, info@mdbr.it
    www.mdbr.it

  • Childrens playgrounds

    Recommended by Laura Clarke

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    There is at least one childrens playground in every large public park or villa in Rome. However, the range and condition of the equipment on offer can vary hugely from one location to another. Here is a list of some of the better kept and equipped playgrounds in the capital:

    Parco di Via di Villa Massimo, Piazza Bologna: small, attractive playground including a trampoline, a good selection of coin-operated rides and a mini carousel.
    Villa Borghese: the playground is located near the lake
    Villa Pamphili (near Vivibistrot, nearest entrance Via Vitellia): newly equipped playground with a good selection of activities for small and older children - very popular at weekends

  • Time Elevator

    Recommended by Julia Fielding

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    Aimed at children, the Time Elevator is a multimedia attraction which offers a journey through the 3000 years of Roman history in less than an hour. For those visiting Rome on holiday its great to give an overview of all the buildings/attractions you will be visiting beforehand.
    Via SS Apostoli, 20 - 00187 - Roma
    Tel. +39. 0669921823
    www.time-elevator.it

    Comments
    "Interesting to get a quick overview of Roman history but don’t go in summer as there is no air-conditioning and it was boiling!" (JF, March 2012)

  • Villa Ada

    Recommended by Susan Avanzi

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    Villa Ada is the largest park in Rome, Italy, with a surface of 450 acres/182 hectares. It is located in the northeastern part of the city.
    The public portion of the park is much larger than the private area. It contains an artificial lake and many trees, including stone pines, holm oaks, laurels and a very rare metasequoia, imported from Tibet in 1940. Entrance to the park is free. One may rent canoes, bicycles, or riding horses. There is a large swimming pool. Since 1994, during the summer the park hosts the world-music festival.

    Comments:
    "It has a few games areas and down by the lake you can rent bikes for children and adults" (SA, March 2012)

  • Parco Nemorense

    Recommended by Susan Avanzi

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    This park in the north of Rome was built by Raffaele Vico (1924). There are all sorts of games for children and is a popular meeting point for parents.

    Comments:
    "Parco Nemorense has a good games area both for little ones and older children. It also has a bouncy castle" (SA, March 2012)

  • Salottino dei bimbi

    Recommended by Susan Avanzi

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    A place for all kids to play, colour, laugh, read, sing, dance and have fun. The morning activities are designed for children ages 12 to 36 months, and in the afternoon for children 2-6years. On Thursday afternoon, there are mother-child activities.
    Via Nemorense 63, 00199 Rome
    +39 0686390365
    www.facebook.com/pages/Il-salottino-dei-bimbiRoma

    Comments:
    "It has afternoon classes such as cooking classes and art classes which my children love. They are also open in the afternoons for general play activities - you can pay by the hour." (SA, March 2012)

  • Family concerts at Auditorium Parco della Musica

    Recommended by Laura Clarke

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    Sunday morning programme organised by the Accademia Nazionale di S. Cecilia, which has its permanent home at the smart new music auditorium designed by Renzo Piano in the Flaminio district in north Rome. Concerts last no more than an hour and feature major conductors and classical works. The aim is to introduce children to classical music in a lighthearted way.
    Viale Pietro de Coubertin, 10
    info@santacecilia.it
    www.santacecilia.it

  • Casina di Raffaello

    Recommended by Laura Clarke

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    Housed in a beautifully restored 16th-century building in the heart of Villa Borghese, this play centre has a full programme of educational workshops, exhibitions, animated book readings and other events for children aged 3-10. There is also a specialist bookshop selling toys and games.
    Viale della Casina di Raffaello (Piazza di Siena), 060608
    info@casinadiraffaello.it
    www.casinadiraffaello.it

  • Cinema dei Piccoli

    Recommended by Laura Clarke

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    Childrens cinema in Villa Borghese, built in 1934 and decreed by Guinness World Records in 2005 to be the smallest building serving as a cinema in the world. The cinema organises film screenings for children, educational workshops, an annual childrens film festival and other initiatives including private parties. There is also an adult evening programme and there are special screenings for the blind and deaf.
    Viale della Pineta n.° 15 (Porta Pinciana)
    (+39) 068553485
    www.cinemadeipiccoli.it

  • Teatro S. Carlino

    Recommended by Laura Clarke

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    Romes historic puppet theatre on the Pincio in Villa Borghese, offering a large repertory of shows, workshops and other activities for children.
    Viale dei Bambini, corner Viale Valadier
    (+39) 0669922117
    info@sancarlino.it
    www.sancarlino.it

  • Ponte Ponente

    Recommended by Laura Clarke

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    Delightful childrens bookshop in the Ponte Lungo area of Rome. Good selection of childrens books, games and merchandise. There is also a varied programme of events including presentations, animated book readings and guided tours of the bookshop, and the owners Anna Rita and Chiara also organise private parties and a childminding service in the bookshop in the morning and late afternoon.
    Via Mondovì, 19-21-23
    (+39) 0645426682
    www.ponteponente.it

  • Ice staking

    Recommended by Elena Kloppenburg

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    Ice skating all year round in this covered skating rink 
    Piazza Antonio Mancini 00196, Roma.
    tel. +39 06.3216542
    www.axelroma.it

    Comments:
    "A little pricey (15 euro for entrance and skate hire) but the kids LOVE it." (EK, Feb 2013)

  • Horse Riding

    Recommended by Elena Kloppenburg

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    Horse ridiing centre. Entance for the pony riding is at viale Maresciallo Pilsudski.

    Comments:
    "Villa Glori has a horse riding centre which you can see from the road below. Its nothing fancy but the kids love it. You can just do rounds in the fenced area or they take you out for a longer tour in the park" (EK, Feb 2013)

  • Orto Botanico

    Recommended by Gaia Lanotte

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    Formerly the private grounds of Palazzo Corsini, Rome’s 12-hectare botanical gardens are a little-known gem and the perfect place to unwind in a lush green, tree-shaded expanse covering the steep slopes of the Giancolo. Plants have been cultivated here since the 13th century, but in their present form, the gardens were established in 1883, when the grounds of Palazzo Corsini were given to the University of Rome. They now contain up to 8000 species, including some of Europe’s rarest plants. You will find an avenue of dizzying palms, fountains, nature-worn sculptures and Mediterranean, rose and Japanese gardens. There are also some beautiful old glasshouses and an impressive bamboo plantation, as well as a garden with 300 types of medicinal plants (Giardino dei Semplici), a collection of cacti, and an aroma garden (Giardino degli Aromi).
    Largo Cristina di Svezia, 24

    Comments:
    "An excellent place to bring toddlers that can run and have fun in a super quiet and protected environment. Adults pay a limited entrance fee of about 4-5 euros but is really worthwhile. You can also picnic there." (GL, July 2013)

  • Borghese Gardens - Bike Hire

    Recommended by Jo Kendall

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    Villa Borghese is the largest park in Rome (148 acres) with a number of buildings, lakes and museums.

    Comments
    "We always rent bikes when we go to the Borghese Gardens - its a fantastic way to see the park. There are lots of wide shady lanes which are perfect for cycling. We ride from one side where they have the museum to the other where you can see Piazza Indipendenza. Most of the paths are flat (apart from a few hills). Villa Borghese houses one of the best collections of renaissance art in Europe so is worth having a look round with older children. In regards to the rental there are lots of different types you can rent such as a family electric bike (always good fun) or a mountain bike, kids bike etc. There are quite a few different vendors and most ask you to leave some ID whilst you take the bikes." (JK, Nov 2013)

  • Villa Pamphili

    Recommended by Gaia Lanotte

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    The largest park in the city of Rome. The villa is divided into three parts: the palace and gardens, the pine forest, and farm. The area embraces more than one district with its nine-km long perimeter.
    Via di San Pancrazio 

    Comments:
    "A seventeenth-century villa with the largest public park in Rome. Kids dedicated playground is limited but the whole park is a beauty for adults and children." (GL, July 2013)

  • Gymboree Play & Music

    Recommended by Marco Fugazzola

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    The Gymboree Play & Music centre in Rome is the first one to open in Italy. The Play & Learn, Music, Art and School Skills lessons are run in English and with English teachers. Aside the main site on Monte Mario the lessons are offered at the Chiostro del Bramante near piazza Navona and the childrens country club Fleming Home in Fleming.
    www.gymbo.it

  • Rome Gladiator School

    Recommended by Evelyn F

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    Master the basics of hand-to-hand combat at a genuine gladiator school on the ancient Appian Way. Youll discover the secrets of Imperial Romes gladiator games, get hands-on with ancient Roman history and have the best fun you can imagine! During your two-hour lesson, your gladiator instructor will teach you how to fight with authentic weapons used by the gladiators of ancient Rome. Lessons are organized and led by members of the Historic Group of Rome who specialize in the re-enactment of Roman life and gladiatorial combat. If youre fascinated by Roman Gladiators but not sure if youre up for it, you can choose to watch friends or family free of charge. Theres a great viewing platform. Visit the website for more information.
    www.viator.com/tours/Rome/Roman-Gladiator-School-Learn-How-to-Become-a-Gladiator

    Comments:
    It was a perfect mix of education and fun. The museum had many artifacts that allowed the participants to have a visual of the equipment used by gladiators, the life of ancient Rome, and the expansion of the empire. The gladiatore, instructor, was excellent and engaged all of the participants to have a good time.” (Evelyn F, Dec 2014)