In Rome, kids play on sites made by emperors, artists, and kings. Here are a few tips for playing with your children as you visit the following awe-inspiring sites that are just perfect for recreating history as it was:
Climbing St. Peter’s Cupola
Storming the Castle
Castle open 9am-7:30pm. Closed Mondays; free first Sunday of every month (expect more crowds). Tickets 10.50; EU citizens ages 18-25 7; EU citizens ages 17 and under, free. Castle park is free.
Floating Above Ancient Rome
The colossal, white marble Victor Emmanuel II monument (Vittoriano) to Italy’s first King (1861-1878) and its cool glass elevator to the uppermost Terrace of the Quadrigae (chariots pulled by four horses) provide a fun, active way to tour with outstanding 360° views over Piazza Venezia, the forums, Trajan’s Markets, the Colosseum and beyond. On the top, kids can use free observation viewers to hunt for Rome’s many sights, but getting there is half the fun.
Before ascending, search for the massive allegorical fountains on either side. These reclining giants represent the seas bordering Italy – the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian (left and right). Clamber up the stairs to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where kids can spy two honor guards, an eternal flame, and the towering goddess Roma, with her sparking background of gold tesserae. Next up is the enormous equestrian statue of King Victor Emanuel. It weighs about 50 tons and 21 workers once had dinner in its belly! Roma was first paired with an equestrian statue (Emperor Marcus Aurelius) on adjoining Capitoline Hill. This mirroring connected the new unified Italy with it’s ancient past.
Take the right staircase to access the back of the monument, and let kids discover the Willy Wonka-like glass elevators that float you up to the top, where the narrow terrace continues that floating feeling. Close-up views of the bronze chariots and triumphant winged Victories coupled with panoramic views over Rome make for a pretty exciting finish. Take a break at Caffè Aracoeli (where you first entered the elevators). It has its own terrace with great views.
Monument and its small Risorgimento Museum are located at Piazza Venezia. Open 9:30am-dusk, free. Panoramic Glass elevator is open until 6:30pm weekdays, 7:30pm weekends. Tickets €7; ages 17 and under, €3.50; ages 9 and under, free.
By J.M. Pasquesi, author of Rome with Kids: An Insider’s Guide, our favorite family guide book for exploring the sights in Rome.
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