If you want to take your children somewhere a little more inspiring than the beaches of the various coastal resorts this year, Rome offers a very warm welcome for little people and a great variety of things for them to do. Rome is a surprisingly fantastic place for a family break this year, and not just for the unlimited supply of pizza, the most child-friendly cuisine imaginable.
· Child friendly travel options
Flying is great – but it’s not always great for kids. Apart from the endless sitting about at the airport waiting for the flight to be called, once on the plane, there is little for them to do and they can get tired and cranky. Add to this the pain of pressure changes on their little ears and the whole situation is not such a fun start to a holiday.
While Italy is relatively quick to reach via air, the flights are not as cheap as they once were, and have brought train travel back into favour. Travelling by Eurostar from London to Paris, you can board a sleeper to Rome Termini. While it’s a longer journey, it’s not at all boring and much more fun for kids to endure. With scenery to look at and bunks to sleep in, trains can be a much more exciting start to your break.
Child friendly locals-The Romans welcome children with open arms – unruly ones and all. Blonde kids in particular will enjoy the cries of “Bella, bella!” and the free ice creams that materialise with it. Kids are also treated like little adults here – not least in the classiest hotels or restaurants, plus the Romans are so noisy, your kids’ shouting and laughter will blend in rather than stand out.
Cheap hotels-As with any major capital, there are of course many luxury hotels here that you’d need to acquire a second mortgage to stay one night at, but there are also numerous family friendly, quality hotels that don’t cost the earth. You can visit Expedia for great deals on Rome hotels or look for cheap rental apartments for self-catering freedom.
· Accessible history-Much of Rome is about magnificent ruins and breathtaking art, and children of all ages are bound to find they engage with some part of Roman history along the way – the sheer size and might of the Coliseum is a thrill at any age – and (some) kids will probably take great delight in such historical titbits like the fact that gladiators’ blood was soaked up with sponges to be sold to Roman gentry as a cure for epilepsy. Michelangelo’s ceiling at the Sistine Chapel is sure to enchant at any age, and the chilly catacombs are fascinating and perfect for exploring.
Children’s museums-The Museo dei Bambini di Roma is one of the world’s best children’s museums, and features exhibits of old toys and other interesting nick-knacks. The displays are easy to understand, and guides speak English, making this perfect for a rainy day. As well as the museum there is a great zoo in the city, the Bioparco, where kids can get up close and personal with a variety of animals.