Tips for Visiting Rome with Kids in Winter

Prices, crowds and temperatures drop in Italy’s famed capital city during the off-season. Got your heart set on a Roman holiday, family-style? Here are some tips for visiting Rome with kids in winter.

Tips for Visiting Rome with Kids in Winter

Take advantage of winter crowds and prices.

Crowds of tourists in Rome are next to nothing during winter. Additionally, many lodging and flight options are offered at a discounted rate. Of course, there’s a reason for this: chilly weather.

If you go to Rome in the winter, be prepared for rain and cold. During our January visit, daily temperatures hovered in the mid 50s (Farenheit). The weather isn’t bone-chilling but it could feel quite biting when the rain kicks in, especially if you are envisioning a warm Mediterranean vacation. Since my family knew it was going to rain most of the time, whenever the skies cleared we rejoiced at the sight of the sun.

A little rain beats dealing with overcrowded attractions and the blistering heat of the peak summer season. Rome’s monuments look especially majestic when glistening with a coat of rain, so skip the long lines. Pack umbrellas and warm clothing for a winter visit instead!

Chasing pigeons at St. Peter's Square

Chasing pigeons at St. Peter’s Square

Pace yourself and make time for play.

Rome is filled with ruins, monuments, and museums to explore. I suggest giving yourself at least three solid days to explore this easily navigated city, on top of your travel days. Especially when visiting Rome with kids, it’s important to pace yourself.

You could fill every moment of every day with another historical site to see, but it’s important to take time to play too. We took a break from the history lessons and spent one morning at the local children’s museum,  Explora il museo die bambini. This provided a wonderful chance for our three young children to touch, explore and learn in a space designed just for kids.

Explora il Museo dei Bambini - children's museum in Rome

Explora il Museo dei Bambini – children’s museum in Rome

Stay in an apartment.

For a family with young children, a short-term rental apartment was perfect. We found a kid-friendly apartment through House Trip, an online holiday rental company sort-able by location, with plenty of user reviews. A House Trip hostess arranged for our airport pick up and return, and even had toys and groceries waiting for us when we arrived.

If your budget is tight, booking a rental outside the city center typically means lower costs. As long as you stay somewhere within walking distance of a Metro stop, you can easily reach the attractions for which Rome is renowned.

Travel Baby rental stroller at the Colosseum

Our rented stroller at the Colosseum

Rent travel gear.

If traveling to Rome with a baby, toddler or young child—you may want to rent baby travel gear for your stay. Our double stroller exceeded the weight limit on our discount airline. Thankfully, I found Travel Baby. Owners Marco and Daniela rent everything traveling families could possibly need in Rome, from high chairs and strollers to cribs and bedding. They even offer babysitting!

Nancy Aiello Tour guide at a Roman fountain

Our tour guide, Vincenzo showed my oldest how to properly drink from a Roman fountain

Let a guide show you the sites.

If your time in Rome is limited or you just want to get a more complete understanding of Roman history and culture, consider booking a tour. We spent our first day exploring Rome with Vincenzo of  Nancy Aiello Tours. Since my boys were yammering about gelato, Vincenzo modified our walking tour to include a stop at an incredible gelateria near the Trevi Fountain. He combined just the right amount of education with fun to keep our whole family happily entertained for three hours. Starting our Roman adventure with this tour gave us a better feel for the city’s layout, while showing us some of the highlights of Rome.

Visiting the Pantheon with our tour guide, Vincenzo

Visiting the Pantheon

Involve the kids.

Get kids excited about their trip to Rome before you leave home. Read children’s books about the Eternal City like This Is Rome by Miroslav Sasek of the “This Is” series, or teach them a few words of Italian with the adorable children’s language series, Little Pim.

We bought the guide, Rome Reconstructed on our second day, which brought our trip to a whole different and exciting level. Our 5-year-old took up the role of tour guide with his new book. Purchased at a street vendor’s stall, this book is available in many languages and comes with a short DVD. Fold-over pages depict the original Roman ruins, compared to what they look like today. Our son was so excited to point out the Colesseum the first time he saw it!

Rome Reconstructed book, great for kids!

Our 5-year-old tour guide with his “Rome Reconstructed” book

Just go!

In a stroke of luck, my husband spotted some extremely cheap flights to Rome from our adopted hometown in the Netherlands. The catch? Our flights were in just 10 days. We always wanted to go to Rome, but that’s the kind of trip you could spend a lifetime planning! With three boys age 5 and younger, we worried that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our last-minute trip to the Eternal City. It turns out, our Roman adventure was one of the best (and easiest) trips we’ve ever taken as a family.

Have you visited Rome with kids? Do you have any tips or questions? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Nomadic Travel Mama: Thank you to Travel Baby for hosting our stroller rental and Nancy Aiello Tours for hosting our tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.

All photos by Farrah Ritter.

About Farrah Ritter, The Nomadic Travel Mama

Farrah Ritter is an adventure-seeking mama to a 4-year-old son and twin 2-year-old boys. Her family of five moved to the Netherlands in October of 2012. Originally from Michigan, she and her husband relocated to the South in 2006 and jumped over the pond with their boys in tow. She blogs at The Three Under when she can and is looking forward to documenting and sharing their European journey with anyone interested in travel with multiple small children. An Instagram and Twitter junkie (@Momofthreeunder), Farrah loves to see perspectives of others and experience the beauty of old towns and historic places.

Comments

  1. It looks much more pleasant visiting Rome in winter! We spent 2.5 days in August prior to a Mediterranean cruise a couple of years ago and the heat was something else!

    • It was really great! It’s the sort of thing you might not think about doing at first, and to be honest, it didn’t even cross my mind until my husband mentioned the cheap flights. We’ve been to Paris in the peak of summer and THAT was miserable. We like cool weather vacations!

  2. It’s amazing you were able to score such a great deal, and the lack of crowds looks like a perfect. I didn’t realize that you can arrange the hotel pick up, toys, groceries, and all that with an apartment rental – so cool! Oh, and I love that you guys braved a tour guide with kids. I’m often scared to do that.

    • I know it! And YES. Our host at the apartment was wonderful. She has been doing this for 10 years, and has 3 kids- she knows exactly what you need. The tour we took was so great- I specified the ages and concerns, and Vincenzo knew exactly how to tailor it to our needs. They really helped us get the most out of our brief 3 days to explore the city :)

  3. We LOVE off-season travel as a family! Nothing beats low crowds and low prices! We do it all the time. Great post on the benefits and considerations!

    • Thanks! It’s funny, another reason I really like traveling off season is simply the temperature. I’d rather have a little drizzle or at least have to wear a coat than sweltering. Of course, I’m older now though and appreciate that. It’s nice to think of a vacation as not ruined even if it rains!

  4. What neighborhood did you pick for your apartment rental? I’m currently planning a (summer) trip to Rome and we prefer apartment rentals so if you were happy with yours, would you share the details?

  5. I am planning a trip to Rome with my family in vacations. I think it is very difficult to travel with children. Any member tell me some best places that are best to stay there for families. And also some places that are best for children.

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