This time seven years ago I was planning a trip to Italy with a baby. Maggie was 6 months old and I told Tom I really wanted to show him Italy and bring our little babe along with us. It was actually a great age to bring a baby abroad because she was still small enough to be totally content with a day in the carrier. I’d put her in the carrier facing out, so she could see the sights. Then, when she’d get sleepy, I’d turn her facing me and she’d sleep for hours. If you’d like to read about that trip (and see how teeny Maggie used to be) visit this post. Since that trip, our crew has grown quite a lot. I’d love to bring them all back to Italy and I am constantly reading about the best places to go and activities for babies and kids in Italy.
One of my favorite travel blogs to read, especially for Italy tips, is Learning Escapes. Marta, the writer, is originally from Italy and now lives in Dublin with her husband and children. They travel the world and it’s fun to keep up with their travels and tips via the blog and her Instagram. Today, Marta is sharing tips on our blog for Visiting Rome with a Baby:
Visiting Rome with a Baby
Rome is a wonderful city to visit as a new parent. It has lovely parks for leisurely strolls, nice weather most of the year and many family friendly accommodation options.
However, Rome is a big, busy city and it poses some challenges to families visiting with a baby. The first time I visited as a mum, my son was 2 month old: I am from Rome and while I now live in Ireland, I still have family there, so I assumed a trip home would be easy. The reality turned out to be a bit different and while I cannot say Rome is difficult to visit with a baby, some tips would have come in handy!
Many trips to Rome and two children later, these are my top tips about visiting Rome with baby, put together mixing insider knowledge and visitor’s doubts.
Rome with baby: when to go
Rome enjoys a temperate climate, but not all seasons have the gorgeous ice-cream weather we tend to associate with the Mediterranean.
By far the best times to visit the city, especially with a baby, are the spring and the autumn. In April and May the weather is mild and sunny, except for the occasional shower, and October is famous for its bright sky and pleasant temperatures.
During those months, you might find yourself reaching our for a light jacket in the evening (and a knitted, cotton cover for the baby) but you will never be threatened by excessive temperatures and you don’t have to worry about your baby overheating.
If you can, avoid the months of July and August. At this time, the weather is unpleasantly hot and the congested urban air becomes heavy and humid. Temperatures rise well over 30 degrees (sometimes up to 38C) and the city is ill equipped for them: air conditioning is not as widespread as in other parts of Europe and mosquitoes rein supreme! They do not carry illnesses, but they are a nuisance and the peculiar breed that infests Rome’s gardens and waters are active both during the
day and the night, giving you no rest. Babies often develop small allergic reactions to the bites, in the from of big, sore bumps: while nothing to worry about, they are a bothersome and they can spoil an evening out. If you are visiting in the summer, I highly recommend bringing a mosquito net for the pram and the cot so you can keep your baby protected without having to use chemicals.
Winters are mild in Rome but bring frequent rain, especially in November and then again in January and February. Humidity makes the city feel colder that the temperature showed on the thermometer, so make sure you have layers and warm blankets for the baby and a solid waterproof cover for the pram or buggy.
How to get around /accessibility
Rome can be described in many ways: beautiful, gorgeous, magical… but also chaotic! Car traffic is very busy pretty much everywhere in town and if driving or counting on the bus to move around you are likely to find yourself stuck in traffic for hours. On top of this, buses are often crowded and hardly buggy friendly: most of them have very high steps, impossible to negotiate with wheels, and no space is foresees for buggies that have, therefore, to be folded.
If you can, I highly recommend using a baby carrier: this will help you if taking public transport and will also come in handy if visiting archaeological areas such as the forum or the Colosseum. Rome is a pleasant city for a stroll and most area of the city centre worth visiting are walking distance one from the other. For the occasional longer hop, taxis are a good option but be ware about the safety regulations: car seats are compulsory in private cars but not in taxis – this means that most drivers do not carry children seats so unless you bring your own, you will have to accept holding your baby on your lap.
If you are travelling with your own car seat, Italian laws require them to rear facing and placed on the backseat of the car.
Where to find baby equipment
Baby equipment and first necessities are easy to find in Rome: most big supermarkets stock baby essentials such as nappies, formula, baby food and cups, while medications and high-end baby lotions are sold at the pharmacies.
Eating out with baby in Rome
Breastfeeding is common and widely accepted in public. You will notice people will rush to help you as soon as they see you with a baby or young child: family in Italy definitely comes first! Restaurants are also usually family friendly: not all of them have high chairs suitable for babies but they are getting more and more common. Both restaurants and cafes will easily warm up baby food or you or pour a glass of milk if asked. Just be aware that the quality of the milk in Italian cafes is quite fatty (it’s what you need to cappuccino foam) and might be different from what you are used to at home.
Where to stay in Rome with baby
Rome has many family friendly areas but two are my favourite, for family visits.
Historical centre: the historical city centre of Rome gets the top spot because of its proximity to almost all important sights. Staying here means you can walk everywhere and don’t have to worry about public transport: the accommodation in this area is abundant and varied and worth stretching the budget for. Look for hotels near beautiful Villa Borghese for easy access to a green space.
Porta Pia, Villa Torlonia: this is, by far, my favourite part of Rome for families. It is about 20 minutes by bus from the city centre (buses from here are usually local and not crowded) but it is green, beautiful and full of facilities for kids including beautiful parks and playgrounds. I recommend this area for longer stays and if you want to savour a less touristy, crowded side of Rome.
I hope you find this practical guide useful! If you wish, you can find additional information on what to see and do in Rome with kids on my website: