Rome and the Amalfi Coast With the Kids!
Before parenthood, traveling was a way to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city. Like most parents who recall the “before kids period,” my husband and I would look forward to sleeping in after an evening out of leisurely dinners. Now, as parents of three little ones – travel has become our way to spend together as a family, making memories that last forever.
On a recent trip to Italy, what we thought would be a huge challenge with three energetic kids, ended up being a wonderful experience. The trip included spending half of our time in Rome with the second half along the Amalfi coast with stops in Sorrento and Positano.
Traveling with young kids holds its challenges. Many parents are intimidated by long-distance travel from the US to Europe. This is why I was happy to have the itinerary set by an expert in family travel. In our case, we used Ciao Italy Tours. Working with a travel agent who understood the challenges of traveling with kids to another country was hugely beneficial. We traveled with a total of six adults and three children, and we truly enjoyed the trip with a different perspective through the eyes of our children.
Looking for a closer trip that’s packed with adventure? Check out, Florida’s Sports Coast Adventurous Family Getaway
Where to Stay
We arrived in Rome at 9 am, and the kiddos were wide awake, which was perfect for settling into our hotel and eating an early lunch.
We stayed at the Star Hotels Michelangelo Roma, which was walking distance to Vatican City and its star attraction, St. Peter’s Basilica. We chose the Star Hotel because of the location, the room size, and the snacks. The hotels in Rome are not filled with indoor pools or game rooms for kids, but there is an international kitchen that serves buffet-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including a vast array of snacks. Children are usually little people of habit, so when traveling internationally, it is always best to seek out hotels that have a few amenities that they are familiar with. The kids ordered pancakes for breakfast, edamame for lunch, and an insane amount of gelato. When in Rome!
We found this hotel to be super kid-friendly because of the room locations. On each floor, four corners of the hall have double doors and within the double doors a corridor. We used this space to park the stroller, and when stuck indoors on a rainy day, the kids played card and board games in this cozy nook. I have to note that because our family is five plus, we automatically reserved the two rooms within this area, perfect for a large family.
What is Nearby
A mid-afternoon walk around town is a great idea when you have tiny tourists, walking shoes, and a reliable stroller. We packed our Colugo stroller (which collapses into a backpack) just for the toddler, and believe me, it’s a game-changer for travel. A quick visit to the Basilica for mass, shopping for gifts, and gelato, of course, can keep everyone happy and entertained, especially when the grounds are like a playground.
There are many steps, and no, there aren’t any baby changing stations, but there are amazing people everywhere that are happy to help you.
My love for Italy comes from the fact that children are allowed to be themselves and eat dinner at any restaurant, go to the beach or playground at any time with their family without restrictions or critics.
4 Things to Do With Kids While in Rome
Sightseeing with a twist — visit as many historical sights as you would like, but keep kids engaged with a scavenger hunt map and a mini camera. Include a coin toss and making a wish in the Trevi fountain. The children will enjoy identifying the location once found, and will definitely enjoy getting a prize received after visiting all of the locations.
Explore the Children’s Museum, Il Museo dei bambini di Roma. It is best to call ahead and reserve your time slot. It does not follow the regular open to close schedule; instead, there are time slots of 1 hour and 45-minute visit intervals, because of its interactive experience.
The playgrounds in Rome are great to experience. The traditional monkey bars and swings in the USA are not the same as in Rome. The kids were able to explore the playground as a new territory because of the knitted circle group swings and winding slides.
Gelato tastings are also a great idea. Every kid loves the authentic Italian ice cream dessert after eating a nice bowl of pasta.
When in Rome: Fun Keepsake Moment Tip
The one thing that I added to our itinerary in advance was a special shoot with Flytographer at the Colosseum. Without the professional photographer who knew where to go to get the best shots of our family, we would not have been able to capture these moments.
From Rome to the Amalfi Coast
With the help of Ciao Italy Tours we were able to set up a car and driver to take us between Rome and Naples. Our next stop was the Amalfi Coast.
Keep in mind: drivers are not allowed to go over a certain amount of hours per day. A responsible luxury taxi service will provide you with knowledge and safe transportation to fit your entire party. As far as language and communication, there’s always Google Translate, but thankfully I was able to maneuver my Spanish into some Italian.
The sunset along the coast on the ride up was magnificent!
While on the Amalfi coast, we stayed at an ancient Monastery, which was converted into a hotel by NH Hotel. The best part was a meditation walk, which lead down to the street level. This walk was taken daily by the monks who worked and lived on the grounds before it was converted into a hotel. The conversion did not take away the history of the property; in fact, the original church pews and sounds of monks worshiping can be heard when visiting the church wing within the hotel.
Get Ready to Eat!
Every meal included a gelato or an affogato Sundae, which is ice cream with espresso poured over, pizza, bread or breadsticks with olive oil and fresh pepper (for dipping), and wine for the adults.
You’re able to visit both factories and shops to purchase gifts, and we found one of our favorite paper shops La Scuderia del duca (for custom paper gifts) where we will continue to buy from thanks to online shopping!
Our favorite playground in Amalfi was right in front of the beach. Our hotel had the most gorgeous infinity pool that the kids loved to swim in, but we also loved going to the beach.
We quickly formed a daily routine that included swimming in the pool then walking down to the playground to enjoy the tire swings and stationary see-saws and collecting gorgeous rocks from the beach.
Travel Tips to Rome and the Amalfi Coast
Traveling internationally this summer? Here are our tips for long-haul flights with kids
• If your flight is longer than five hours and you have very little ones, try to book an overnight flight so they’ll (hopefully!) sleep and you won’t spend hours walking the aisles
• If sleeping does not happen, pack activities and snacks as mini goody bags or the latest blind bag surprises for the kiddos to open (as needed)
• Remember to pack a change of clothes for everyone (including yourself) in your hand luggage. Accidents happen, and sitting in wet or dirty clothes during a long flight is unpleasant
• Come up with a game plan with your partner ahead of time so you can each have a little nap or watch a movie. Trying to negotiate this mid-flight can lead to arguments!
• Don’t limit screen time or snacking on long-haul flights — it’s not the time to worry about your parenting scorecard. “Whatever works” is our mantra for flying with kids!