Locals would say that Rome is extremely child-friendly with some lovely areas and suburbs for families to live in. It may seem that Roman children can navigate congested traffic, packed public transport and busy streets like pros before their fifth birthday. On the other hand, for expats with kids, the 'Eternal City' might seem a little overwhelming.
But try not to worry – Rome is a fantastically colourful and cultured place for children of all ages, and with pizza and gelato on almost every corner, delicious treats are never in short supply.
Education in Rome
There's no doubt that expats with children moving to Rome will have a lot to think about, especially in terms of education. There is a fair share of schools in Rome to choose from, including international schools, but like anywhere else in the world, these vary in quality and curriculum. So it's advised that parents consider these factors in order to have an idea of what they want before they start researching.
Parents should look into extracurricular activities as well as whether there are any other expat families at the school. Football (soccer) and tennis are popular, and children may participate in tournaments or competitions, whilst art and music may also keep children entertained and busy.
Entertainment for kids in Rome
When in Rome, do as the Roman mums do and avoid the tourist sites. These can be pricey and, for those with very young children, a bit of a wasted experience.
Most Roman museums are free to all children under the age of six. For EU citizens up to the age of 18, tickets are either free or heavily discounted. Non-EU expat parents should keep an eye out for free admission days. These happen monthly and can be found online.
Roman parks are generally wonderful, especially on a summer afternoon, but parents should always research before they go. Not all of Rome’s parks are in good condition or friendly locations. The Villa Doria Pamphili in the Monteverde quarter is always a fantastic option. Its spacious gardens are great for picnics and ball games, while the 17th-century villa is the cherry on top for art-loving parents. As for playgrounds, the Villa Ada on Via Salaria has well-maintained swings, slides and other play equipment.
For those wanting to take the kids to the movies, there are many English-language cinemas. Alcazar and Baberini are the best. For something much more unusual, treat them to a children’s puppet show at Teatro Verde or Teatro San Carlino. For something with a more educational slant, head to the Central Children’s Library on Via San Paolo alla Regola for English games, books and DVDs.
Parent networks in Rome
Expat parents can engage with each other through the schools or daycare centres their children go to, and there are also social media groups online for mothers and parents in Rome. These groups often arrange meet-ups to socialise and share their experiences, so this is a great way to make friends and meet people in Rome.