More than just places for children to play and run off some spare energy, Rome’s parks and gardens offer sights of their own, and a chance to mix with the Romans.
Parents can gain more time for the things they want to see if they allow plenty of time for kids to run off steam in parks and playgrounds. And, especially on weekends, these parks are Rome’s living room, where people gather to enjoy gardens, shows and entertainment.
Nearly every corner of the city has at least one playground. On Oppian Hill, above Nero’s Golden House, is a playground with a handy outdoor café. On the other side of the Tiber River, there is a playground in front of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, as well as in the park that surrounds Castel Sant’Angelo. Don’t overlook the inside of this grandiose tomb-turned-papal fortress-turned-museum. It’s a treasure trove of armor and curious old weapons, with enough of the castle stuff—guard posts, stacks of cannonballs, passageways and lookouts—to keep even antsy little boys occupied while parents admire the opulent frescoes and furnishings.
There are several playgrounds at Villa Borghese, the vast park just beyond the top of the Spanish Steps. Here are rowboats and bikes to rent and pony rides for kids, the latter near Porta Pinciana. Tempt the kids to visit the Botanic Garden by promising them a section made entirely of fragrant plants and a cool Japanese garden.
Bioparco, at the far side of Villa Borghese, is Rome’s zoo, housing about 200 species of animals. Its modern emphasis is on conservation and research, and its exhibits are a continuing work-in-progress as it moves more toward helping visitors understand the relationship between man, animals and their shared environment. On weekends a cute little train circles the zoo.
Several parks have shows for children, including Villa Borghese, where you’ll find the Cinema dei Piccoli, the smallest cinema in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Cartoons are shown to an audience of 63 people Wednesday to Friday at 5 p.m. and 6.30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (Viale della Pineta, 15, Tel. +06-855-3485). On Janiculum Hill every afternoon (except Wednesday) is a traditional puppet show, and Villa Celimontana has an open-air theatre where performances are held in the summer.
A good day-trip to break up a longer stay in the city is to Tivoli, where the emperor Hadrian built himself Rome’s biggest villa and surrounded it with gardens. Villa Adriana is a fine ruin to explore, and the gardens are glorious and filled with places to play. There are fountains to splash in, lots of venues for hide-and-seek and ruins where no guards shoo kids off the stones.
My daughter, a little too old for kiddy playgrounds and pony rides, was completely captivated by the villa and park, in which she created her own world of make-believe populated by gladiators and Roman damsels. Stop at a market or salumeria for a picnic lunch, take a cab to Tivoli (about 30 minutes from Rome), and arrange for a pick-up later. It’s open daily 9 a.m. to dusk.
Themes: Family Travel
Activities: Parks and Playgrounds
Playgrounds in Rome are very rare. The Roman Province has recently installed several playgrounds in the city (Colle Oppio, Piazza san Cosimato in Trastevere, Villa Pamphili, etc there is no list and they do not have a website where they list them - I did give them this suggestion though, recently) other playgrounds have been installed by each Municipality (Rome has 20 of those), there are two little playgrounds in Villa Borghese (address: Viale della Casina di Raffaello and the other one near the lake), others I saw are one at the Auditorium, another one in Via Flaminia..Again not a website to list them all, yet. Ciao!
I have recently created a helpful tool for parents visiting or living in Rome, and the newest feature is a detailed list of playgrounds! Rosi, come visit!
Playgrounds in Rome are hard to find if you're thinking swings, slides, etc. There are none I encountered in the Centro. If you are on vacation, then you can play the way Roman children do; with costumes and confetti in the Piazze. If you are living/staying there for an extended period of time and you need your playground fix, I did find several that were in the outer areas of Rome. 1) Monteverde. There is a small park just near the American University of Rome campus in Trastevere. It has a pond and an playground with swings, slides, etc. It's not stellar, but it's something. They also have a peacock in a huge cage in that small park. I cannot give you detailed directions on how to get there, as I did it from memory and I've been away from Rome for three years now, but I hope this gives you enough to start your search. I usually take the Tram no 8 from Piazza Largo Argentina, get off at the Ministero Dell' Instruzione ( A large grey official building on the northwest side of the street) and walk up the hill. 2) The Rome Zoo just off Villa Borghese has a playground as well as a children's museum. One is free, the other charges. 3) 500 Meters south of the Colosseum. From the Colosseum, Take Via Claudia, which turns into Via dia Novicella. Walk to the right and around Via dia Novicella 12 you'll see the entrance to the playpark area. 4)A bit further is a playground set in Villa Doria Pamphilj again in Monteverde area, northwest of Trastevere. However it is a trek if you are in the Centro, and once you're there the play equipment is about as far away from the entrance on Via Aurelia Antica as you can get, but it is a great nature place for a picnic. All the other playgrounds were north and east of Villa Borghese, and that was too much of a hike for us to go on a playdate. But they were there. Hope this helps and you want those playgrounds, I'll try to hit the maps to see what I can remember.
Where the playgrounds are in Rome I was hoping to find a website that would finally provide information as to where the playgrounds are in Rome... So far, what we have found has been a little haphazard and we feel a bit of insider knowledge would reveal some fantastic places to take small children (under 3s). Unfortunately this article does not provide the answer to this question so I have founded it very disappointing. Can anybody help?