Rome is a magical destination for families, but as with any successful trip, the proof is in the planning, so here are our direcor and founder Tom Barber's continued top tips for the perfect family trip to the Eternal City...
Get A Guide
Suggesting you chuck money at the problem isn't the most helpful travel hack, but sometimes needs must. Rome is extremely busy in peak seasons and the queues - something even the saintliest offspring dislikes - can be horrendous, so we absolutely recommend taking a guide for some of the key sites, such as the Vatican Museum (Sistine Chapel) and Colosseum. We will, of course, arrange this, and we only work with the best, both in terms of knowledge and ability to engage with children. Also key is to make sure your guide comes complete with 'skip the line' (or jump the queue in English) passes. Again, completely crucial, otherwise you will find yourself spending most of your time and money on polite conversation with your guide in a queue before you even enter the building in question.
Go to the Gardens
Tramping the streets and piazzas of Rome is fun, but for a change of scene and pace take them to the glorious Borghese Gardens, 200 acres of parks, lakes and woodland (and even a zoo) where you can hire bikes and pedal around. You might want to accidentally on purpose end up at the glorious Villa Borghese itself and take the children in to see some of the finest works by Caravaggio, including the deliciously gory 'David With the Head of Goliath'.
Put It All Into Context
However historically obsessed your children might be, after a while looking at 'rubble' can lose its lustre (even for parents, if we're honest). When visiting Rome with kids, make sure to weave in plenty of time when they're not learning about stuff, but when they are learning, it helps to be able to put what they are looking at into context. Hopefully your children are encyclopaedic on Asterix and/or the superb Roman Mysteries books by Caroline Lawrence, but if not, I'd encourage you to introduce the children to them before you go. While in situ, there are also a couple of excellent books that will fire the imagination (such as Usborne's Inside Ancient Rome) which show what many of the most famous buildings would have looked like in their pomp.
Live Like A Local
I know we trumpet it a lot, but our Concierge service is the secret sauce drizzled liberally on all Original Travel trips, and particularly family ones. We'll recommend the best hotel(s) according to your budget, prebook guides and activities, sort flights (or, increasingly, train tickets) and generally set your trip up so it will be memorable for all the right reasons. That said, anyone who has travelled with children knows what happens to the best laid plans. Enter our Concierges: clued-up locals who live in situ and there to make those crucial last-minute tweaks to your itinerary. Running late (it happens) for a dinner reservation? After some rainy-day change of plan inspiration? Our Concierge can and will help, and it's all included in the service.
Thinking about visiting Rome with kids? Get in touch and we'll be happy to help.