What to do on a Hot Summer Day in Rome with Kids
Updated: Feb 23
9 kid friendly activities in the urban oasis, Villa Borghese.
Near the top of the Spanish Steps lays an Oasis from the hot streets of Rome called Villa Borghese. I first visited this large park with my husband before becoming parents and fell in love with the tranquil atmosphere in contrast to the busy streets of Rome. When we returned to Rome for the first time with our daughter a couple of summers ago, Villa Borghese was high on my list of things to do. What was once a private vineyard and "party villa" on the edge of Rome is now a large family-friendly public park home to the following highlights. (Click on the links to find the locations in the park via google maps. You will find a suggested itinerary at the bottom of the page.)
Pose for a picture in the Terrazza del Pincio. A terrace with fountains overlooking views of the Colosseum and Vatican.
Rent bicycles to explore the park. Try the multi-person bikes with a canopy; some come with a little motor. They are so much fun for the family and a great photo op. There are multiple locations bike rental locations throughout the park.
Enjoy a ride on the park's Merry Go Round.
Play at one of the two playgrounds. The first one is a popular park with local kids with swings, tetter-totter, and more. The other playground is located next to a Recreation Center for Kids, La Casina di Raffaello , housing a bookstore, activities and a playroom for ages up to three
See a film at Cinema Dei Piccoli. With 63 seats it is the world's smallest purpose-built cinema. They usually play children's movies during the day, sometimes in English. Check the website to find the movies playing and look under the Colum "Lingua" for "Inglese sub. Ita." You can buy tickets online too.
Grab a bite to eat or a gelato at one of the cafes sprinkled throughout the park like Pic Nic located a short distance from the Villa Borghese Museum.
Book an appointment to enter the Galleria Borghese Museum and take along my Villa Borghese Museum Scavenger Hunt . If you love art, this is a must-see and the scavenger hunt will bring meaning to the artwork for the kids. This stunning villa turned museum preserves the masterpieces of Antonello da Messina, Giovanni Bellini, Raffaello, Tiziano, Correggio, Caravaggio and sculptures of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Canova. Tickets and visiting time must be booked in advance, visit the website for more information.
If you include the zoo or museum with your visit, you could spend almost the entire day there. My Ideal itinerary would be:
2 hours in the morning: Pending your kid's age & interest either the Zoo or Museum.
Lunch at the Museum Cafe or at Pic Nic.
Afternoon: Explore the rest of the park via a rented multi-person family bike.
Evening: Grab dinner close to the Spanish steps located near one of the park entrances. Once the sun starts to set many of the tourists disperse from the Piazza di Spagna and you and the kids can enjoy a gelato while taking in the beauty of the steps and the fountain of the sinking boat, the Baracaccia. (Believed to be by Pietro Bernini, the father of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of the artists featured at the Galleria Borghese Museum and featured in my Villa Borghese Museum Scavenger Hunt.) Bringing your day full circle.
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