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Italy, Family-Style: 36 Hours in Rome with Kids

BABBLE-TREVI-BIG-434x578ROME, Italy — Finding your way around the cobblestone streets of Rome is delightful when traveling with children. After all, when the kids lose interest in the sights of the Eternal City, it offers them their all-time favorite food groups to consume: pizza, pasta, and ice cream. Nothing will make a family visit to Italy more delightful and easy to manage than taste treats for the youngsters.

Hands down, the first place to visit in Rome would be the Coliseum. Kids should know that gruesome gladiatorial and wild animal fights took place free-of-charge as a form of public entertainment in ancient times. The Coliseum was completed in AD 80. What movies mean to us in the 21st century is equivalent to what gladiator combat was to the masses in the 1st century.

Next up, hop on just about any public bus in front of the Coliseum and head back into the center of town for a stroll over to the Trevi Fountain. Rome’s largest and most famous fountain was built in 1762. Kids will enjoy the tradition of throwing coins into the fountain and making a wish. It’s particularly lovely after dark when the fountain is illuminated by banks of flood lights. During the afternoon hours, grab a light snack in the neighborhood and then walk over to the Spanish Steps, located in one of Rome’s most exclusive shopping areas. Settle down on the Steps and watch the colorful parade of people go by.

Depending on your time frame and the ages of your children, it can be quite a challenge to visit popular places of interest. But you should be aware that several popular tourist destinations throughout the world, ones that notoriously have long lines for admission, generally run a bit lighter later in the afternoon. The kids and I have been incredibly fortunate to have visited St. Peter’s Basilica — home to  one of the world’s greatest collections of Classical and Renaissance art including the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms — on several occasions. And since each visit to St. Peter’s Basilica occurred late in the afternoon, the lines to enter the facility were considerably shorter, resulting a surprisingly less waiting time.

When traveling around the city with its lovely and extensive mix of ancient and modern, you must remember: Rome was not built in a day — and you won’t see it all in 24 hours. Pace yourself, see what you can, and embrace the beauty of Italy’s magnificent capital.

Photo Credit: Ann Weeks

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