Traveling with Teens in Rome

We will be spending three days in Rome next month with my 16 year old daughter and 14 year old son. Does anyone have suggestions for any attractions or tours in Rome that teens would enjoy. Thanks.

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
3073 posts

Assuming museums with Renaissance art are not high on the list... Take a guided tour of the Colosseo. The guide can make it come alive. Walks of Italy does a great job. Take the elevator to the top of the Vittorio Emanuelle Monument just before it closes for an great view of the city. )(I think it closes at 7:00PM. You'll want to double-check that.) San Clemente is a church with three levels: Mithrian, early Christian and "modern" Christian. Fascinating to see how one site have evolved over time. Not far from the Colosseo. There's a nightly event along the Tiber with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Worth a stroll. Read more here. Also fun at night is a visit to Castle Sant'Angelo. Go for the English tour at 10:30PM. Saint Peter's should be seen by everyone, religious or not. It is magnificent. You/they can hike to the top of the cupola if you like, another fabulous view.

Posted by Cathy
49 posts

Even if you have things you know you already want to see and have the days planned, have the teens take turns navigating you to and from the attractions. Our kids (13 and 15 at the time) enjoyed having control of the map and directing us around. They also really enjoyed the Forum and Colosseum, hanging out in Trastevere at the main square in the evening to eat gelato and people-watch, taking the #8 tram to Largo Argentina to see the cat sanctuary, climbing to the roof of St. Peter's. Also visiting the Jewish ghetto -- interesting sites, not crowded, good restaurants - and then crossing the bridge to wander through Trastevere.

Posted by Glenn
Marlton, NJ, United States
59 posts

I have taken my Teenagers to Rome, and going again next April with my 11 year old. To be honest, I went and did the things I wanted to see, as they thought it was great as well. I think I only went to 1 indoor museum though. Keep it outside (assuming no rain). My 12 year old son LOVED Ostia Antica as a day trip, and enjoyed Castel Saint'Angelo. Coloseo is always a hit with the teen agers... and everybody else :-). Glenn

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
4934 posts

They are old enough to use the internet :-) I'd get them involved now by letting each one choose something, then work out an itinerary together. I also think Ostia Antica might be a good choice for a 1/2 day trip.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12686 posts

Put them in charge of completely planning one day. If they are responsible they cannot blame anyone. When our sons were in that age range, they did the planning for about a third to half of what we saw. Even today at nearly 30 they now do all planning and just bring Dad and Mom along to pay the bills. Maybe two sons worked better because of similar interests. oon't know. And I do mean,hands off, it is their day.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
325 posts

I took my 18 year old daughter (at the time) and 17 year old son on trips to Rome within the last couple of years. What they liked was the Underground coloseum tour, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, St. Peters, and Gelato. What they did not like was The Vatican museum, The Palentine Hill, and the Rick Steves audio tours (sad to say, but true).

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
3046 posts

I would limit the amount of tours you do. I would also have them read a few guide books and make a list of the things they really want to see and do. This way you can work in their suggestions when planning your visit. If you do decide to take tours I would book with the official sites. These tours are great and usually much less expensive than a tour run by a private company. I just got back from a 17 day trip and we did 2 tours, one of the colosseum underground and one of the Palazzo Valentini. My kids ( 21 and 18) loved both of them. We spent the rest of the time visiting the sites on their lists and having a great time doing it. Donna

Posted by Marie
Northbrook, Illinois, USA
199 posts

Two years ago we took our three sons, aged 14, 12 and 10 to Rome. I agree - keep the organized tours to a minimum as we were there in August and it's brutally hot. They loved the Sistine Chapel. However, their favorite thing to do was to have dinner outside, walk around and find an ice cream place and then sit in the Piazza dell a Rotunda on the fountain, watching all the people. It was right in front of our hotel. To that generation, it's an internet world and they can google a lot of the museum paintings, etc. that our folks dragged us around to see. Maybe that's why they enjoyed being out and about. Try Piazza Navona too.

Posted by Kristen
591 posts

I second the Ostia Antica suggestion and would also add a tour of the catacombs.

Posted by Miguel
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA
264 posts

Don't worry about it, your in Rome. Who's paying for the trip? They are? Probably not! You are. They'll just have to love being in a outdoor museum, whether they like it or not. The only thing that they will probably find really boring is the Vatican Museum, but you have to go thru it to get to the Sistine Chapel. WOW, the Sistine Chapel! Even they will love it. I found the Vatican Museum really boring and I love antiquities and art. But everything else is short attention span stuff. If they get fidgety, pizza, gelato's and McD's are close by. They'll love Rome. Don't worry about it!

Posted by Mary
Richmond, USA
1 posts

I took both my sons, individually to Rome. One was 12 at the time, the other was 14. They both absolutely loved the city. They had taken years of Latin so loved the ancient sites. But specifically, I would recommend three things beyond the obvious. Go to the Piazza Navona at's touristy but the best street scene. There are street musicians of every style and sidewalk artists and fantastic food and people watching. My son bought a kind of goofy painting that he watched the artist paint and he did the whole negotiation himself. My next recommendation is the Baths of Caracalla. We had not planned to go there, but found ourselves out walking and walking without wanting to stop and then, there they were. There really isn't a lot to do there, but the sheer scale of them, and the fact one can wander freely made them a lot of fun. My last suggestion is the Gallery Borghese. Yes, it's another museum but its small and the sculpture is so exquisite that it bewitches even the most art saturated teen. You do need a reservation for a specific time. Have fun, Rome is my favorite city on earth!

Posted by Allie
130 posts

I just returned from a trip with my 16 year old son and 13 year old daughter. We spent 3 days in Rome. They liked the underground colosseum tour and the top of the Vittorio Emanuele monument. They didn't like the Forum and the Vatican. They didn't want to go inside anything but we dragged them anyway. They loved the salami, prosciutto, and the food in general. We actually had more fun on short (2 hours) guided tours and walks because someone else was talking besides their parents! Luckily we had rented a nice apartment with AC and wifi. We didn't get any international plans for their phones so wifi was their only way to connect with friends at home. After a long day of family togetherness the air conditioned apartment where everyone had a little space and wifi was heaven.