Rome’s bursting with history and no city anywhere has more UNESCO World Heritage sites.
It’s also the ‘Eternal City’ and home to the Vatican, so crowds of pilgrims are added to hordes of tourists – especially at Easter and Christmas. During summer, heat and humidity can feel suffocating. And it’s almost guaranteed, whatever you want to see, will mean waiting in line. All that aside, Rome’s still one of the world’s greatest cities and works for family holidays, with some forward planning.
If you’re travelling with younger kids in June, July and August, think about staying in west coast seaside resorts and visiting the city for days out: beachy Santa Marinella, Anzio and Sperlonga are a short train journey away. Older children and teenagers will cope better with an urban base, just don’t overload on sights, and always remember to book everything in advance and dress appropriately. Sounds strange? You will be refused entry to sacred sites like St. Peter’s if you’re wearing shorts and sandals.
Direct flights from the UK to Rome all year round take just over two hours.
Vatican City and the entire historic centre of Rome are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
As well as its seven famous hills, Rome has dozens of huge parks, garden like ancient monuments and grand piazza – so even in high summer, it’s possible to find some quiet space.
One of the most visited cities on earth, Rome is still as warm and kid-friendly as the rest of Italy and children are welcome almost everywhere.
Rome’s hotels can be outrageously expensive but it’s an excellent city for family pensiones, self-catering apartments, aparthotels and larger Airbnb.
Steer clear of the obvious tourist areas and eating fantastically well on a family budget balances the higher costs of accommodation in Rome.
No other city on the planet does guided tours with such talent, most are fun for kids and themes cover everything from pizza making and gelateria scouting to ancient Roman scandals.
Most of what you want to see in Rome is in the centro storico (historic district). Metro lines A and B are informally known as the ‘touristico’ to simplify the city’s Byzantine transport system. Enormous Roma Termini station is the main hub of the metro and bus network and good for taxis in the evening. Don’t even think about driving in the centre of Rome, the reputation for rule-free chaos is well deserved.
If in doubt, the city centre divides neatly into different quarters (rioni). Get a map, travel from area to area by bus or metro and walk around – there’s never any shortage of gelataria or cafés for pit stops and grand piazza to catch your breath.