Italians love babies so even if you need to beg your next-door-neighbour, bring one with you to Rome, they’re like a free pass to everything! Listen up, I’m about to give you the ins and outs of how to do the Rome thing, this mainly applies if you have a little one but there are some gems of advice for the baby-less too.
Italians absolutely adore babies. Because of this it was an amazing experience bringing our Little One with us to this incredible city. Travelling with a baby can be quite nerve-wracking for some people, but I think for most things with plenty of research in advance a lot of the stress can be eliminated. D had to go to Rome for work so we hitched along at the end of his trip for a little holiday, it had been a long summer in the UK and we both needed some kind of break!
This blog is being broken up into different segments to make it easier to navigate your way through the piece. The full itinerary is included at the end too as is the walking tour map we used.
We were lucky enough to have his mum join us for the trip. So after a few comparison websites I found the best route was to go with an Airbnb. An entire two-bedroom apartment on the edge of Vatican City was cheaper than two bedrooms in a hotel. With the apartment we not only had the two bedrooms, we had a living room and a kitchen, which turned out to be a godsend. It meant the Little Lady wasn’t confined to one room and could roam about the apartment semi-freely.
We were also right across the road from a gorgeous coffee place which we got breakfast from every morning, it was €1 for a cappuccino!
I structured a plan for the few days we had but made sure it was flexible. As someone who is possibly a little too keen for organisation it was a lot for me to say this!
We had three full days in Rome, so though we didn’t get to see everything on the list, the Jellybean was the priority and we went by her moods, stopped when we needed to and gave her plenty of chill time in the morning and evenings in the apartment.
We made sure we had ample snacks and water for the Little Lady and brought a packed lunch along so we could let her run around in a shaded spot rather than try and restrain her in a highchair in a restaurant.
- Stay outside of the main tourist hot-spots, though this is a tired piece of advice it’s very poignant. We ate out all but one night because the cost wasn’t horrendous.
- They LOVE babies. The Jellybean got the royal treatment in a restaurant we went to on the first night, she attracted attention from all of the staff, they taught her how to blow kisses and she even got her own free dessert. Did I mention she had only just turned one?!
- Prams are useless in Rome. If you have a carrier bring that, if not, see if you can borrow one. Remember most of the attractions are OLD buildings and don’t usually have elevators available to the public. We saw a couple having to carry a newborn in a pram up all the steps at Castel Sant’Angelo, I did not envy them.
- All of the tourist hot-spots are crazy busy! I’m not talking a few tourists getting in your pictures, I’m talking jam-packed. It was the worst at the Trevi fountain and going through the museums in Vatican City.
- ALL of the multi-passes available; Omni Pass, Roma pass…etc really aren’t worth it.
- We booked nothing. NOT A SINGLE THING in advance.
- Don’t fall for the trap of buying a skip the line ticket for Vatican City, listen up I’m about to seriously make this trip a hella lot easier for you.
- We got approached at the entrance by many poachers who wanted to sell us a skip the line ticket for extortionate prices of €50+, we ignored them all and almost ignored the actual official man who let us skip the THREE-HOUR-LONG-QUEUE all because we had a baby strapped to our chest. We strolled on in, walked up the stairs and bought our €17 tickets.
- THIS PART IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE. The Basilica is FREE to enter, however, after you go through the museums and see the Sistine Chapel, you technically need to queue again to see the Basilica – if you haven’t paid for a group ticket. You are encouraged to follow the ‘Exit’ sign at the left. Now, because my husband is a genius, he also did some research and found out if you follow the groups exit which is at the back right of the room, you can skip the next load of queues and enter the Basilica nice and easy. We felt like some super sneaky ninja spies defying the rules – so badass.
- Give yourself enough time for Vatican City, you won’t appreciate it if all you’re concerned about is getting through it. Also the amount of people that will be there will just stress you out because everyone moves very slowly, the ambling pace however was good enough for the little lady to nod off so I wasn’t complaining.
- We struggled to book tickets for the Colosseum online without paying for a guided tour – which really wouldn’t be ideal with a baby. Instead, after buying the Red Sightseeing Tour Bus ticket, we added on the Colosseum Fast Track when we got on the bus. The queues for these places really are hours long, and this was the best deal we could find. We waited a total of fifteen minutes before getting through security and being inside.
- Take it easy, give yourself plenty of time and try not to over plan things, your child is going to get tired and depending on how old they are they’re not going to want to stay in a carrier all day. We broke up the day by sitting in parks, letting her walk around and allowing her explore.
- Pack PLENTY of water and snacks for yourself and your child. There is nothing worse than a hungry child besides perhaps a cranky Mama to match. This is where the kitchen in the apartment came in handy. We made a packed lunch and brought it with us for the days, which cut down costs as we were in the top tourist attraction places, but it also meant we could eat when hungry and keep everyone happy.
- Despite reading otherwise, most of the restaurants we went to for dinner had some kind of highchair, though I did have to hold her in one place, Rome is definitely becoming more with the times when it comes to dining out with children!
- The driving in Rome is TERRIFYING, lanes don’t seem to be a thing. We got a standard taxi from the airport and I genuinely couldn’t look at the road. We got an Uber on the way back to the airport and the driver seemed to have a lot more consideration for us as customers so I would definitely recommend them over the standard taxi service.
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- Walk along the River Tiber towards shopping district
- Spanish Steps
- Gelato Stop
- Trevi Fountain
- Red Sightseeing Bus
- Vatican City; Museums and Basilica
- Tourist Shop Hopping
If you’ve never travelled with your little one before and would like some more generic airport advice then have a look at my previous post, Travelling Alone with an Infant!