When my daughter was nine months old, we took her to Europe for a three week holiday. Originally we had epic plans of travelling through Scandinavia and ending up in Belgium, but we quickly realized that was a terrible idea. In the end, we settled on Rome and Amsterdam.
Rome with a baby may intimidate some due to the massive crowds and cobblestone streets, but after spending a week there, I can tell you it was easier to navigate than I imagined. Italians LOVE babies, so wherever we went, Scarlett was getting a lot of attention! Here’s how to do Rome with a baby without going insane.
Transportation in Rome
Although you can get to Termini station which is in the middle of Rome easily from the airport via train, I recommend booking a private driver. The obvious advantage of hiring a driver is convenience. At about 55 Euros each way, a private driver isn’t cheap, but the driver came with a baby seat and was able to drop us off at the door of our apartment.
If you choose the train from the airport, it’ll only cost you 14 euros per person for the 30min journey. Alternatively, you could take a bus for 5 euros, but that’ll take about an hour. You also need to factor in the local bus or metro once you arrive at Termini as well as dragging your luggage everywhere.
I personally think paying for the personal driver is worth it when you’re travelling to Rome with a baby.
Where to stay in Rome
Staying in an apartment somewhere in the old historic idea is likely ideal when you’re in Rome with a baby. I personally stayed two blocks west of Piazza Navona which allowed me to walk to major attractions such as the Vatican, Trastevere, Piazza del Popolo, and Trevi fountain in less than 25 minutes. The Colosseum was about a 35 min walk while the Borghese Gallery was a 35min bus ride.
An apartment will cost you about $150 – $225 a night depending on when you’re travelling. The main reason we decided to go the apartment route is that we wanted a little more space and a separate bedroom. We also ensured that there was laundry on site since we knew we would have to wash a bunch of clothes. Finding an apartment was pretty easy since we used booking.com. The site allows you to search both hotels and apartments at the same time. It also gave us a bunch of different filters so narrowing down which apartment we wanted didn’t take very long.
If you end up staying somewhere else in the city, just factor in any additional transportation time and make sure you have access to laundry. There are plenty of places that do laundry for you, but it’ll cost you about 10 euros for each load.
I should also note that pharmacies charge close to $1USD per diaper so it’s in your best interest to bring as many diapers as possible with you. There are a few bigger baby stores that sell cheaper diapers, but they’re outside of the historic area
Getting around Rome
As mentioned, depending on your location, walking is usually the easiest way to get around Rome with kids. There is a subway system with two metro lines, but it doesn’t pass through the old historic area. To get from Termini to the Vatican you can take Bus number 64. Please note that this bus is full of pickpockets.
Since you’ll be in Rome with a baby, you’re probably wondering if you should use a stroller or carrier. We brought both and used both depending on the circumstances.
Many people think strollers are useless due to the cobblestone road, but we used our Maclaren Quest stroller all over the city and our daughter had no problem falling asleep in it despite the bumps. Honestly, it’s surprising how babies will sleep through everything. That being said, strollers are not allowed at certain sites.
We also used a carrier just to give our daughter a break from the stroller now and then. This was most useful when inside tourist attractions such as the Roman Forum. Since every baby is different, just use whatever your child likes. There’s no point trying to force your baby to go into a carrier when you know he/she is just going to scream the entire time.
Things to do in Rome with kids
Honestly, you can do anything you want in Rome with kids. All the major attractions will appeal to them in one way or another. Even though kids won’t understand the history of the Colosseum or appreciate the architecture at some of the Piazzas, they’ll definitely love the people dressed up or the gelato nearby.
Since my daughter was just nine months old, we had to plan our days around her nap schedule. This wasn’t a big deal since we would just go to one site during the morning and have lunch while out. After her afternoon nap, we would go to another attraction (usually something outdoors) and explore until it was time to head back to the apartment.
One other thing to keep in mind when you’re travelling to Rome with a baby is jetlag. We were coming from North American so the time change is six hours. It took our daughter a full week for her to adjust.
Rome with a baby is totally doable as long as you’re realistic with your expectations. It’s unlikely you’re going to spend hours at every attraction and have late-night dinners. That being said, there’s no doubt that you’ll have a great time with your little one.