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Traveling with kids in Rome
Rome for Children
27 Sept 2012
Traveling With Children in Rome
Children love the new and the different. They are excited to explore and learn new things. But equally, they love routine and the familiar. If you are traveling with your children through the Eternal City of Rome, here are some very simple things to meet your child’s need for both excitement and routine.
Hotels. Where your family stays can ease much of the stress of travel. Many families travel when school is out. This means a lot of June through August travel. Temperatures can get uncomfortably warm in Rome in the summer, so coming back at the end of a hot day to a hotel swimming pool can sooth everyone’s nerves and give the kids a chance to blow off steam before turning in. Most hotels that have a pool tend to be a little out of the way, but all have shuttles to the main piazzas and many are on bus lines that loop around city central.
Here is a short list of popular hotels with pools:
Atahotel Villa Pamphili. Via Della Nocetta 105. Near the Parco Villa Doria Pamphili -a large and peaceful green space with playgrounds and running paths. The breakfast buffet is very good. A free shuttle takes the 15 minute drive to the Vatican every hour.
H10 Roma Citta. Via Pietro Blaserna 101. Breakfast buffet is very good. There are many shops and bars close by. 15 minutes by local bus or free shuttle to City Center.
Aldrovandi Villa Borghese. Via Ulisse Aldrovandi 15. Next to the Villa Borghese, a 148 acre park, and near to the zoo. Breakfast buffet is very good. Five minute ride by free shuttle bus to the Spanish Steps.
Gran Melia Rome. Via del Gianicolo 3. Very near to the Vatican. Breakfast is excellent. Free shuttle to Spanish Steps.
Familiar food is also a comfort to children. One doesn’t go all the way to Rome to eat at McDonalds, but after a few days of looking into their plate and not recognizing what they see, some kids need a break. If you wish to combine a trip to McDonalds with Roman atmosphere go to the first McDonalds built in Rome. Just off the Spanish Steps, this McDonalds opened in 1986 to massive protests. It has since won over the Italians by providing a McCafe espresso bar, pastry and gelato bar and adding healthier menu items that incorporate local tastes. Other McDonalds are found in Piazza Barberini, Via del Corso, Piazza della Repubblica and Trastevere.
Traveling with children can also be an added expense, so activities that are free or cheap are nice to find. The Pantheon, jaw dropping in size and appearance, is many travelers’ favorite tourist spot; and it is absolutely free. There are headphone audio tours available at a small price, but many tourists prefer to download an audio tour from the web. http://www.ricksteves.com/home provides 9 audio tours by Rick Steves, including the Pantheon. A bonus, near the Pantheon is the famous Della Palma gelato shop, featuring 100 flavors of gelato and a large display of bulk candy.
Mostly free is the Vittorio Emmanuel II Monument. This stunning white building on the Piazza Venezia is the home of the Museum of Italian Reunification and the Italian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is bursting with incredible statues and is free to enter up to the first level which allows marvelous views of the surrounding area. However, for 7 euros, the trip to the top of the Monument in the glass elevator provides arguably the finest panoramic view in all Rome, including bird’s eye views of neighboring Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Also free is the Villa Borghese Park and Pincio Gardens. Villa Borghese is Rome’s second largest park. It encompasses 148 acres, a zoo, a famous puppet theater, kiddie rides, and a small man-made lake with ducks to feed and rowboats to rent. Pincio Gardens, adjacent to Villa Borghese, has bike and surrey rental shops to allow for the entire family to wheel around the scenic park and escape the congestion and noise of Rome for a time.
With only a little planning, Rome can be a very child friendly city.