Last updated on February 17th, 2024 at 05:16 pm
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We had two nights and one full day in Rome between our stay in Lake Como and our Royal Caribbean cruise from Civitavecchia. We’d been to Rome before and had a rough idea of what we should focus on during 24 hours in Rome Italy with teenagers. Read on to find out what to squeeze into your trip.
How many days in Rome is enough?
24 hours in Rome is definitely not enough for your first visit and ideally, you’d spend longer here during your trip to Italy with teenagers.
However, there are times when your visit has to be shorter than you’d like it to be, or it might be a stopover before moving on to somewhere else.
If you have the time, I’d recommend four days in Rome. But if, like us on this occasion, you don’t have that long – here’s what I recommend you do if you have 24 hours in Rome.
When to Visit Rome with Teenagers
Travelling to Italy with teenagers will most probably mean you’re restricted to school holidays. We travelled to Rome in August and my recommendation (if you can help it) would be to avoid travelling during that month. Not only was it stiflingly hot, but it was also super busy – particularly around landmarks such as the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Colosseum.
The area around the Trevi Fountain, in particular, became really clogged up while we were there (mid-morning). Not good for those who don’t like crowds (me!) or teens who are already feeling slightly grumpy. If I were to go again, I’d head there during the May or October half-term holidays – or even Easter.
How to get around Rome
Rome’s city centre is quite compact, and you’ll often find that walking is your best form of transport.
Rome has a metro system with three lines (A, B and C). While it’s quite limited, it’s an option if you have longer in Rome and want to venture further out.
Buses and trams are plentiful and frequent and these can be a good way of getting around.
Hop on Hop off buses can be quite a convenient way to see several sites in one day.
I wouldn’t personally recommend car rental in the centre of Rome due to traffic and the hassle of parking.
Bike and E-Scooter rental is becoming more popular (rent one via Get Your Guide here). You do have to be over 16 years old to ride an E-Scooter – but it’s something that might be popular with older teens.
Things to do in Rome with a Teenager
One thing I’ve learnt from planning trips with teenagers is to try and include them in the planning. This doesn’t always go swimmingly.
Sometimes they don’t know enough about a place to have a view of what they want to do. Sometimes what they want to do is very different from what the adults travelling may want to do. And occasionally, everything you suggest sounds boring to them.
We try to mix things up a bit with some educational visits, some fun stuff, and lots of yummy food (which everyone enjoys)!
Visit the Colosseum
The Colosseum in Rome is one of the most iconic and historically significant landmarks in Italy – perhaps even in Europe. Teenagers and younger children alike will most likely be curious about the Colosseum’s connection with gladiator fights and spectacles involving animals.
The Colosseum was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty in AD 70-72 and completed in AD 80 by his son Titus. The design and architecture of the building are impressive (particularly the trapdoors and tunnels underground). Kids will probably enjoy hearing about the mock sea battles (these only happened once or twice as flooding the floor of the Colosseum with gallons of water didn’t work out well), and gladiatorial conquests. It’s worth booking a guide if you want to hear more!
Make sure you book your tickets to the Colosseum in advance – tickets do sell out in high season. If you do find that you’ve left it too late, however, you can get tickets by booking a combined tour on Tiqets or Get Your Guide. You’ll find lots of different options on those sites.
General tickets include entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine too. Or, for just a few euros extra book ‘The Full Experience’ which includes access to the arena floor.
3 Facts About the Colosseum Teens and Tweens Will Love
- The Colosseum had a unique feature called the “animal elevator” or “lift,” which was used to bring wild animals from underground chambers to the arena floor, adding an element of surprise to the games.
- The word ‘gladiator’ comes from the Latin word ‘gladius’, which means sword. Gladiators are therefore swordsmen. Not all of those fighting in the arena would have had swords – so only some can officially be called gladiators!
- The ‘Colosseum’ is not its real name. Originally, and for a long period, it was known as the ‘Flavian Amphitheatre’- so called as it was built during the reign of the Flavian emperors. During the Middle Ages, the name was changed due to the huge statue of Nero (the ‘Colossus of Nero’) standing at its entrance.
The address of the Colosseum is: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, in Rome
Go on a walking Tour
We booked a combined ticket for the Colosseum and a walking tour. As noted above, this is often a good way of securing a ticket to the Colosseum if they’re all booked out on the Colosseum website for the day you want to visit.
Take a look at these family walking tours on Get Your Guide.
Walking tours often start in or around Piazza Navona and are likely to take you to main sights such as the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Pantheon, amongst others.
Groups can be large and it can be tricky to hear and understand what the guide is telling you through the headphones you’re given. If you can, choose a smaller group option.
Stop for Gelato
If you’re in Italy with teenagers, finding the best gelato places will no doubt be high on your list. Grabbing an ice cream is a great way to break up the sight-seeing, have a rest (particularly needed in the heat) and feel ready to carry on. Here are our favourite gelaterias in Rome:
Neve Di Latte, Via Luigi Poletti 6, 00196 Rome Italy
A popular ice cream shop a little out of Rome’s centre. It has some unusual savoury flavours but if you want to play it safe, go for the pistachio or bitter chocolate.
La Strega Nocciola, Via della Vite 100 Piazza Di Spagna, 00187 Rome Italy
This gelateria is more central (near the Spanish Steps). There’s also a branch in Florence. Fantastic ice cream with all-natural ingredients.
Frigidarium, Via del Governo Vecchio 112, 00186 Rome Italy
Instagram-worthy ice creams worth queuing for (it’s popular)!
Stop by the Pantheon
The Pantheon is the best-preserved monument in Rome, demonstrating just how great those ancient Romans were at engineering. Built in 27 BC, the original structure burnt down just over 100 years later. The building you see is a reconstruction, built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian in AD 118-125.
Entrance to the Pantheon was free until recently. You now need to book your ticket online or purchase one at the venue. Audio guides and guided tours are available.
3 Facts About the Pantheon Teens and Tweens Will Love
- The word “Pantheon” comes from the Greek words “pan,” meaning “all,” and “theos,” meaning “gods.” The Pantheon was built to honour all the Roman gods.
- The Pantheon holds the record for having the largest (unreinforced concrete) dome in the world.
- The walls are thicker than you’d realise – 20 feet thick in fact. All to support that dome!
The address of the Pantheon is: Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Rome
What Else To Add To Your Rome with Kids Itinerary
If you have more than 24 hours in Rome, or you want to do something a little bit different, here are some more things to do in Rome with teenagers:
A Segway Tour of Rome
Teens will love this alternative way of sightseeing in Rome. Our kids have always enjoyed segway experiences. You can arrange a daytime or night-time tour.
Teens will love this alternative way of sightseeing in Rome. You can arrange a daytime or night-time tour. Book a tour with Viator here.
Colosseum VR Experience
Combine your visit to the Colosseum with a VR experience which is bound to boost your teens’ interest! Book a combined ticket with Get Your Guide here.
There are some great family cookery classes in Rome if you and your kids fancy learning to make pizza and pasta in addition to eating plenty of it! I’m pretty sure food will make up a big part of your trip to Italy with teenagers – so what better than learning a few recipes you can recreate together at home?
For those foodies among you (particularly the ones with big appetites), Secret Food Tours offers a walking food tour sampling pizza, pecorino, pasta, cannoli and gelato. We’ve done a food tour with Secret Food Tours in New York and we all loved it.
If your teens or tweens were captivated by the Colosseum and the idea of gladiators, you might think about booking them into a 2-hour Gladiator training session at the Gladiator School of Rome. Traditional clothing is provided and entry into the Gladiator School of Rome museum is included in the price.
The address of the Gladiator School is: Via Appia Antica 18, Rome
For those who have a strong stomach and love a more macabre activity, take a visit to the Capuchin Crypt. It’s definitely one of the quirkier things to do in Rome with teenagers. There’s a museum, an audio guide and then the crypt itself which contains bones, skulls and the mummified remains of monks from the Capuchin order, all arranged in an elaborate pattern.
The address of the Capuchin Crypt is: Via Vittorio Veneto, 27, 00187, Rome
Where We Stayed in Rome
We stayed at Relais Donna Lucrezia, a really special boutique hotel, with suites furnished with the family’s antique furniture. Breakfast is amazing and will set you up for the day. The location is also fantastic, with the Pantheon, Colosseum and other sights within walking distance of the hotel.
I hope this Rome with Kids itinerary was helpful! If you’re planning on a longer stay in Italy with teenagers, take a look at my Lake Como With Kids, What To Do in Montepulciano With Kids or 1 Day Cinque Terre Itinerary – Italy with Teenagers posts.