Context Travel's Petulia Melido is our go-to resource for fantastic family guides in London, but this Italian-born mama is an equally good advisor on exploring Rome with children. She returns frequently to her home town and recently shared her favorite spots for sightseeing, park playing and gelato eating. Follow her advice to experience la bella vita toddler-style, and check out Context's amazing tours for your next visit to London, Rome or beyond.
"Definitely Il Gelato di Claudio Torce. My family lives five minutes away from the original location of this amazing gelateria, but if you don't want to venture to EUR, you can taste Claudio's gelato in their more central venue, right by Circus Maximus and the Caracalla's Baths (Il Gelato – viale Aventino 59 Roma). Claudio Torce' offers all-natural, artisanal, ingredient-driven gelato and has a choice of circa 70 different flavors, all amazing."
"Rome in the Summer can be amazing but also exhausting. Allowing for some downtime and maybe some swimming will make all teens (and parents) a lot happier. Some hotels in Rome have outdoor pools. One of my favorite place is the rooftop pool at the Radisson Hotel. Grown ups can have a drink while the younger ones cool off in the water. If you are looking for serious swimming space, the Piscina delle Rose in EUR is open every day all day and it's an olympic size pool, with a resto/bar attached and lots of sporty activities going on daily. Don't forget your sunblock and prepare for some serious people watching!"
Lunch Near The Sights
"When I am in the center, I have a couple of old time favorite that never fail to impress me, my friends and our little ones. Near the Colosseum-Forum, I like to stop at Dall'Anto. This tiny little place serves specialties from the North of Italy. They are small dishes, perfect for a snack or a light lunch, but everything is made beautifully and using organic flours. My little one loves farinata: a pizza like dish made with chickpeas flour and served in slices. If you have a sweet tooth, they also serve delicious neccio, a crepe made of chestnut flour and filled with ricotta. Delicious! The other is Ciampini. Located in the lovely Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina it's perfect for a stop during a shopping trip or a passeggiata. My little one runs around in the piazza while I sip the best ice-tea with granita in the world. Anna Julia loves the mini ice-creams from Ciampini. Fragoline di bosco (wild strawberries) and Marron Glace' are her favorite flavors!"
"We have two favorite we always visit when we go back home. The first is the Museo Montemartini, just south of the Piramide metro stop. It's a display of ancient statues in the surreal setting of a former public electricity plant, never crowded and perfect for little ones to familiarize themselves with concepts like architecture, sculpture and space awareness. Continue for a walk in the S. Paolo Basilica park or Testaccio for a coffee and cornetto. The second is the Scuderie Papali. This museum is set in the former papal stables, on top of the Quirinale hill, opposite the President's Palace. They always have great exhibitions and related children activities, but also the building itself is a pleasure to explore. The steps leading to the first floor were designed for horses, and kids love running up and down those shallow but long stairways! Also, there are fantastic viewpoints of the city. If the kids get restless you can take them to the glass wall and play with them at spotting all the monuments of Rome."
Dinner With The Locals
"I would say step away from the center and venture in neighborhoods where you'll find locals. Testaccio, Garbatella but also Monteverde are great places to go. Our favorite places are La Gatta Mangiona in Monteverde and La Torricella in Testaccio. They are pretty much always open and the food is always fab."
"Believe it or not, but having small children is your secret weapon in Italy! walk around a market, sit at a cafe and free fruit, treats and cornettis will be handed to your little ones even before you order/buy anything! Small children are almost divinities in Italy, so relax and enjoy. In addition to that, piazze and nasoni. A piazza can be an amazing playground, with lots of run around space, generally a couple of fountains and other kids running. Nasoni are the old, traditional drinking fountains you will find at every corner in Rome. Teach your kids how to drink from them, make them taste how delicious water is and give their first Latin lesson by helping them decipher the omnipresent SPQR."
Parks to Escape the heat
"Ostia Antica is a great archaeological park, just 20 min south of the center via train from Piramide. The large Mediterranean pine trees offer plenty of shade and you can pack a picnic and explore the ruins of the Roman port town, collect pine nuts (to crack open and eat!) and stay cool!"