Rome with Kids: A Complete 3 Day Itinerary

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Ever wondered, “is Rome kid friendly?” European cities don’t get much more magical than Rome with kids. There are tons of fun and historic activities, it’s super walkable, and, let’s be honest, there’s gelato after (or in place of) every meal. Kid (and adult) heaven! There are so many things to do in Rome with family that it’s hard to narrow down the list for a perfect Rome itinerary. Here’s a perfect three-day itinerary when visiting Rome with kids!

How Long Do I Need to Visit Rome With Kids?

If you’re wondering how many days in Rome with kids, three days is a nice amount of time to be able to see quite a few of the main attractions. Of course, you could spend years exploring, but three days in Rome gives a nice overview and allows you to eat some great food.

Plus, then you’ll hopefully still have time in your schedule to visit a couple other Italian cities, as well. We had three days for our kids’ first visit in the summer of 2018, and we absolutely loved visiting Rome with kids. (Here’s how we kept under a budget of $4,000 – including flights – for 6 people for 2 weeks.)

There are so many options for things to do in Rome in 3 days, but below are some of our very favorites in Rome for families. It’s a Rome itinerary that will allow you to see the highlights of the city without being so exhausting that you don’t enjoy your visit.

Best Places to Stay in Rome With Kids: Family-Friendly Rome

When planning a family vacation to Rome, three of the best areas to stay in with kids are the Historic Center (Centro Storico), Trastevere, and the Vatican City area. The Historic Center, with its proximity to iconic attractions like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon, offers convenience and the opportunity to explore ancient Rome on foot. Trastevere is a charming, family-friendly neighborhood known for its lively piazzas, delicious gelato shops, and beautiful Santa Maria in Trastevere basilica. Staying near Vatican City allows easy access to the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel, making it an ideal base for families interested in history and culture. These areas offer a mix of family-friendly accommodations, excellent dining options, and plenty of parks and open spaces for kids to enjoy.

What to Pack for a European Vacation: Minimal Packing Essentials for Families

Especially with a big family, it’s important for us to pack minimally so we don’t feel totally overwhelmed when we travel. Here are some of our favorite minimal packing essentials for families!

  • Merino Wool Base Layers, Socks, & Sweaters: Here are my favorite base layers to use as pajamas or to layer under clothing in cold weather. I also really love this stretchy merino silk v-neck under clothes or as a top, especially in warmer weather. All our favorite merino wool base layers and wool socks are linked HERE!
  • Diaper Belt Bag: I absolutely love this little bag because it holds so much but is really compact and easy to wear with a variety of outfits. You can use the code PASSPORTFAM10 for 10% off.
  • Packing Cubes: I love packing cubes for keeping things organized, contained, and compact. These are my favorite expandable packing cubes, and I also love these.
  • Lightweight Women’s Pants: I absolutely adore these pants for travel because they’re SO comfortable, fold super small, and dry in a flash. More about why I love them HERE.
  • Lightweight Packable Coat: I love this lightweight packable parka because it is really warm and good for layering, and folds into a bag a little bigger than a water bottle when not in use. My kids have also used these coats for years and they’re excellent because they fold up easily but are warm and layer well. They have a big line of them for the whole family.
  • Shoes: I often only take one pair of shoes – either my favorite white sneakers or my beloved black Chelsea boots. More about both shoes HERE. For my kids, we really love Keen shoes because they’re durable and waterproof. For summer, we love these sneakers or these close-toed hiking sandals. For winter, we love these boots.
  • 40L Backpack: I love this kids backpacking backpack because it’s roomy, easily fits in most carry on requirements on airplanes, and fits really comfortably. (My 6 year old uses the smaller 18L version, and my 3 year old uses the even smaller 12L version.)
  • Pop Up Tent Baby Bed: We’ve had this super lightweight baby travel bed for over a decade. We love it so much because it’s so lightweight and fits easily in a suitcase without having to take a bulky and heavy pack n play.
  • Lightweight Folding Baby Carrier; I absolutely love this baby carrier because it’s supportive but still lightweight and weighs about a pound.

For more packing ideas here’s what I packed for:

MAP: Best Things To Do in Rome With Kids

See THIS MAP to view all the stops on our 3-day Rome itinerary with kids!

Best Things To Do With Kids in Rome: 3-Day Rome Itinerary

Here’s how our family would spend three days visiting Rome with kids, including what to doing in Rome with kids and the best Rome activities for kids!

3 Days in Rome with Kids Itinerary: Day 1

  • Colosseum
  • Lunch in Celio neighborhood
  • Roman Forum/Palatine Hill
  • Sora Margherita for dinner

Colosseum with Kids

Hit the ground running on your Rome itinerary by visiting the Colosseum with kids. Make sure you buy tickets in advance, and try to get an early time slot before it gets crazy crowded. We paid just a tiny bit extra to get a short tour. The tour was only about 30 minutes, which was perfect as far as things to do in Rome with kids, and we learned some interesting facts. Plus, what kid doesn’t love having headphones? If you’re interested in something more comprehensive, check out this Colosseum and Ancient Rome tour.

Spend about 2-2.5 hours here walking around, exploring the various levels and areas, and talking about gladiators nonstop. I was surprised by how much my kids loved imagining here – it’s one of the very best things to do in Rome with kids.

After finishing up at the Colosseum, head out to go find some lunch. We liked the Celio neighborhood that’s sort of on the back side of the Colosseum (opposite the Forum). Even though it’s very close, it was quiet and calm and perfect for sitting outside and enjoying a meal.

Roman Forum with Kids

After lunch, wander through the Roman Forum and go up to Palatine Hill for a great view. There are some great tours that include the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It’s a lot of history in one day, but the climb up and through the ruins make it fun for little ones. Plus, the sites are so close to each other that it’s worth doing them both in the same day and a must-see for 3 days in Rome with family.

The hill also tends to be less crowded on top than the Forum below. There’s a nice garden maze that’s fun for kids to explore. There’s lots of space to run around and burn off some energy without risking running into thousands-of-years-old columns. 😉 Plus, there’s some nice shade at the top.

Dinner in Rome with Kids

Finally, finish the first day of your Rome itinerary with kids by heading over to Sora Margherita in the Jewish Ghetto for dinner. The fresh pastas are amazing and the waitress we had was the most Italian person I’ve ever met – she was feeding the kids by hand within seconds of us being seated. Make sure to get the cacio e pepe (a Roman specialty – eat it as many times as you can while here) and the fried artichoke. (Make reservations in advance.)

After dinner, go crash into bed! There are tons more potential additions to the list of things to do in Rome in 3 days, but it’s worth getting some rest on your first night. Visiting Rome with kids can be exhausting and everyone will surely sleep well tonight.

Rome with Kids Itinerary: Day 2

  • Trevi Fountain
  • Pantheon, San Luigi dei Francesi, Piazza Navona, Gelateria del Teatro
  • Campo de’ Fiori market
  • Borghese Gallery & Gardens
  • Come il Latte gelato

Trevi Fountain with Kids

Get up bright and early and head straight to the Trevi Fountain. If you manage to make it early enough, you may even avoid some crowds! Either way, grab a coin to toss with your right hand over your left shoulder. Try (but possibly fail) to keep your kids out of the fountain, but do let them drink out of the many ancient drinking fountains. If you push the right spot, it will shoot up like a modern drinking fountain! Even though it’s touristy, it’s still one of those really fun things to do in Rome.

Pantheon and Piazza Navona with Kids

No Rome itinerary would be complete without the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Despite often being crowded, they’re still some of the best things to do in Rome in 3 days for their awe-inspiring structures and history. While you’re in this area, be sure to stop into the church San Luigi dei Francesi, which has a set of 3 moving Caravaggios of St. Matthew. It might not be top of mind when considering things to do in Rome with kids, but the nice thing is that it’s not a full museum – it’s just a few pieces of art! Perfect for a short visit when traveling to Rome with kids, or to trade off with a friend or partner.

If you need something kid-friendly and air conditioned, the little Gladiator Museum in Piazza Navona is worth a short stop. Our kids loved looking at all the armor! It won’t take you long, but it’s fun for little ones if you need to stop and cool down. Don’t forget to grab some gelato at Gelateria del Teatro.

Lunch In or Near Campo de’ Fiori  Market

From there, head over to Campo de’ Fiori market, which is bustling and fun. Grab some lunch and eat it picnic-style as you sit or wander. Fresh fruit will make a perfect treat. If you want a bigger meal, try Roscioli just down the way, which has fantastic handmade pasta.

Borghese Gallery with Kids

After lunch, head over to the Borghese Gallery. If you were smart, you got tickets well in advance. If you procrastinated (like we did), then you may want to rearrange your day to try to get there right at opening. There’s a decent chance you’ll get in if you visit early in the day (we did). We arrived first thing in the morning and didn’t have a problem purchasing tickets.

It gets very busy (and unlikely to get tickets) later in the day, especially during busy season. The Borghese was one of our very favorite things to do in Rome in 3 days as well as one of the best museums with kids in all of Europe, so it’s worth the effort when visiting Rome with kids.

Before heading in, stop at the gift shop to pick up the I Am the Artist book. It has about 15-20 works of art with just the right length description for preschoolers/early elementary kids. Plus, then they get to color in their version later! This is the museum from which my kids learned and remembered the most, and this book was a big reason why, and was largely responsible for why the museum topped our Rome itinerary. Plus, having a set number of pieces to find really helped focus our time and help us to not feel overwhelmed. It was one of our favorite things to do in Rome with kids!

Borghese Gardens with Kids + Gelato in Rome

Even if you don’t get in, the gardens are delightful and are one of the best places to visit in Rome in 3 days. You can rent bikes, take a carriage ride, or just meander. In fact, if you don’t want an art stop, I’d highly recommend spending the afternoon in the Borghese Gardens – there are several playgrounds and lots of room to run and play for little ones. There aren’t many places better places in Rome with kids.

Walk over to the area near Como il Latte gelato, our very favorite gelato in Rome (and likely all of Italy). Grab something for dinner first, or just…have gelato. 😉 I mean, when in Rome…

Rome with Kids Itinerary: Day 3

  • Vatican Museums/St. Peter’s
  • Trastavere

Vatican Museum with Kids

Head over to the Vatican bright and early. (Make sure you reserve tickets in advance. This tour includes the Vatican and Sistine Chapel.) While it’s sure to be crowded and hot, it’s still incredible and is a must see on the list of things to do in Rome in 3 days. Be sure to pace yourselves, though. Unless you are a museum superhero, you should be in there no more than 2-3 hours, or everyone will be grumpy and exhausted. It is, in my opinion, on the can’t-miss list of things to do in Rome, but we definitely had to set some limits for ourselves so the Vatican with kids stayed a positive experience.

We enjoyed doing a tour when visiting the Vatican with kids, but it’s doable without. Audioguides are accessible and informative, and everything is well-labeled if you just want to google along the way. Be prepared for sensory overload – there is just So. Much. (Incredible) Art.

Don’t miss the Raphael rooms, the Sistine Chapel, and stop into St. Peter’s Basilica. (I really liked this blog post on 10 must-sees in the Vatican Museums.) No one batted an eye at our little ones (we’re certainly not the first ones to visit Rome with kids). But we still appreciated the small courtyards and open spaces where we could take a quick break when needed. 3 days in Rome is exhausting for kids AND grownups!

Trastavere for Wandering and Dinner

Spend the rest of the day wandering around the darling neighborhood of Trastavere. Take in the atmosphere, eat, and, of course, get gelato. (Are you seeing a theme here?) You’ll see lots of tiny and charming restaurants as you wander. Consider finding a pizza-making class that will be fun for all ages. I’ve heard it’s one of the most fun things to do in Rome and we were sad to not be able to schedule one in!

Other Places to Visit in Italy With Kids

With only 3 days in Rome, I’d highly recommend spending some more time in Italy with kids and traveling to a different part of the country.

For a first visit, we love going North – the mountains are beautiful, or you could spend some time in the amazing city of Florence (check out all these Instagrammable places in Florence!). Or if you’d like to see some beautiful scenery and beaches, check out this guide to Cinque Terre. You can’t really go wrong when traveling to Italy with kids (or kids-at-heart)!


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