Navigating Rome With A Baby – Tips And Personal Experience
Are you planning to travel to Rome with your baby? If you are wondering how to get by with the different needs of your child and still have a nice holiday, here I am covering everything I came across myself every time I went to Rome city center with my baby, visiting restaurants and doing some sightseeing.
From what’s the best way to wander Rome’s streets with a baby to where are the best places to eat with your family and to change your baby,
Traveling to Rome with a baby – Top tips
Best time to visit Rome with a baby
Choosing when to visit Rome with a baby much depends on what weather you prefer and on how many crowds you are ready to face. While winter in Rome is quite mild, temperatures do reach 3 or 4 °C, even though this is mainly at night. Our baby never got sick in his first winter, but we live here so are free to decide when to go out or stay in. Another factor you should keep in mind is the crowds, that in Rome’s main landmarks are always quite big.
Much depends on your baby then. If you prefer staying home in the cold season, then you would probably come to Rome in Spring or summer. Spring gives us lovely weather, pleasant temperatures sunny days and a beautiful light. Sometimes also some shower, but this more in March and beginning of April. If you come in May/June, weather is lovely.
Summer is hot, sometimes VERY hot. Queues are long and landmarks crowded. Is this too much to bear for your baby? Does he have as little patience as mine? Then probably you should either choose another season or visit lesser-known places in Rome.
Fall is also a nice time to be in Rome as cold hasn’t started yet, it’s not too hot anymore and definitely more quiet than summer. It might rain, but then it gets sunny again!
Choose your hotel wisely
Picking the right hotel and is always important for your holiday. More so if you are traveling to Rome with a baby. First of all, you really need to make sure you are booking a family-friendly Rome hotel where you can request a baby crib or cot, or where they have a baby seat in the local restaurant.
Whether your baby is used to sleeping on his own crib or co-sleeping on the parents’ bed, you want everything in place to make your child as comfortable as possible now that he’s out of his comfort zone.
If you are wondering where to stay in Rome with a baby or toddler, I would probably pick a hotel in Rome city center so if your baby needs some quiet to sleep or if you don’t find anywhere comfortable to change him/her, you can just pop in your own room and do everything in a more relaxed environment.
Last but not least, if you don’t use the ready baby food but you make your own, you might want to make sure your hotel room has a fridge where you can store it and a kettle to boil water whenever you need it. We think Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese and Hotel Lunetta near Campo de’ Fiori offer family-friendly rooms, large, well-equipped and some also interconnecting.
What to visit in Rome with a baby
Villa Borghese. The jewel of Rome’s parks, Villa Borghese offers plenty of green for your picnics and your baby to run (if he/she has started walking already) as well as children’s playground, museums, gardens, a lovely lake, historical sites and the famous viewpoint of the Pincio terrace overlooking Piazza del Popolo. It’s in the very city center so easy to reach both using public transport and on foot.
Villa Doria Pamphilj. This is also a beautiful park, but not in the immediate historic center. You can reach it by bus from Valle Aurelia metro and train station or with a taxi.
Colosseum. If your baby is still 1 or younger, probably won’t have much fun exploring the Colosseum and feeling like a gladiator, but you never know. My baby surprised me in places I would have never thought he would enjoy, such as an archaeological site in Sardinia!
Explora Children Museum. This is one of the top places to visit with babies, toddlers and children in Rome. They have areas for every age with specific experiences depending on how old your baby is. We are planning to get there soon and we will write a full review as it’s meant to be amazing. Check out their website here.
Baby changing in Rome
Carry your baby’s toiletries around
When changing a baby, there are a few necessary items you don’t want to lack in, from toilet paper to baby wipes, water, cotton, towel, baby soap, oil and obviously clean diapers. You might be in need of changing your baby sometimes outside, especially in case of warm weather.
Sometimes public toilets are not equipped with toilet paper and while in restaurants they do have the paper, they pretty much never provide wet wipes.
I suggest bringing the items you usually use for the changing routine to avoid surprises.
Nappy changing in Rome – My experience
I found this a bit challenging for a number of reasons. Not everywhere you will find a changing table so you will have to either do it in the stroller or keep the baby with the same diaper until you go back to your hotel room.
I hate thinking that my baby is dirty and keeps his diaper for a long time. To this, it adds that my son doesn’t like to be dressed and undressed, so changing him is always an adventure. I found places with a proper changing station quite rarely in Rome, so often I had to do it as best as I could in the stroller in the ladies’ restroom or in the car. I became such a pro that I learned to do it with the baby standing even before he started walking. Don’t ask me how, in times of need, you will become very resourceful.
A coffee shop that I found with a nice changing table is the one near St. Peter’s Basilica, in Via della Traspontina at the end of Via della Conciliazione. It’s a pretty touristy place, but with plenty of space and a very handy bathroom for diaper changing. You will likely be visiting the Vatican during your Rome trip, so if you need to change your baby, just take a coffee here and things will get easier.
Other restaurants with a handy changing unit are Il Margutta near Piazza del Popolo and Aqualunae in Piazza dei Quiriti in Prati area.
Browsing Rome with a baby – Top tips and my experience
Pick a sturdy baby stroller
The particular pavement of Rome’s streets, the famous sanpietrini, can be very picturesque, but when you are pushing a baby stroller, you are going to love it a lot less. My suggestion is to travel with a sturdy baby stroller so that it doesn’t shake too much and doesn’t get stuck in between the cobbles or the many potholes.
Walking and using Rome public transport with a baby – My experience
We used public transport in Rome with our baby a few times, mainly the local trains and the tram. So far, we haven’t used the bus as the wait is always long and they are too crowded.
If you take the bus in Rome with a baby stroller, you need to enter from the larger middle door and place the stroller in the center of the bus where is its specific place. If it’s empty, which is not always the case.
We have also used the metro but not every station has an elevator, many not even an escalator. This makes it pretty hard to get up and down. As I mentioned earlier, walking around Rome’s streets with the stroller might not be the easiest thing because of how they are paved, but that’s not the only thing that makes it hard.
Rome is full of staircases, both the city and the metro and train stations. Sometimes its stations don’t have an elevator and sometimes not even escalators, such as the very popular Colosseo metro stop along the blue line B and San Pietro train station.
As a matter of fact, Stazione San Pietro near St. Peter’s Square, does have an elevator, it just never works. I was pretty upset last time I went as we had to carry up and down our stroller to get out and get back in our platform, so I asked someone working there and she confirmed that it hasn’t been working for ages, so I’m not sure when it will be up and running.
My suggestion here? Carry your baby with a babywearing as much as you can. If your baby is too heavy and you don’t feel comfortable wearing it all day, do use the stroller and maybe avoid some places with a lack of ramps or elevators.
Eating out with a baby in Rome – My tips and experience
Choose larger restaurants
One of my very favorite Rome restaurants to go with my baby is Ginger Sapori e Salute in Via Borgognona, off Via del Corso, because it’s pretty large, meaning good space for the stroller, and they have a baby seat my son actually likes. A big plus is the changing table in their bathroom. I’m referring to their restaurant in Via Borgognona, I haven’t been to the one in Piazza Sant’Eustachio with my baby yet, so I don’t remember if they have a changing unit.
Other restaurants where I found plenty of space for the baby stroller as well as his high chair were Aromaticus and the Korean iGio, two of the best Trastevere restaurants. I didn’t change baby D. there so I wouldn’t know about a changing unit.
Book a restaurant in advance
I’m aware that when you are traveling this is not always possible, but when you are in Rome with a baby, some extra planning will make things easier. Choosing your eating place in advance and letting them know that you either have a baby stroller or that you need a baby seat it can be very important.
Many restaurants in Rome have limited space so whether you need a baby seat or space for the stroller, you should let them know in advance. I learned this when we went to one of my favorite pizza places in Rome, La Pratolina. As usual, I booked because it’s always packed, but I didn’t think about specifying that we had a baby stroller. It went smoothly because we went early and the place was still not too packed, but they told me it’s something important to mention when booking.
Have your baby’s food ready
Depending on your baby’s age and whether you have started the weaning, you might want to carry his/her food already prepared. I didn’t use the ready baby food, I always make it myself each time for a few days in the fridge. When we go out for lunch or for the whole day, I heat up what my baby usually eats for a meal and carry it in a thermos for food.
When I get to the restaurant, I ask for a plate and a spoon to feed him. I’ve been using the thermos for foods since I started the weaning and it has made life so much easier as I just need to put the food on a plate but it’s already warm enough.
However, the restaurants I mentioned, such as Ginger e Sapori, Aromaticus and even the Korean in Trastevere iGio have something a one-year-old can eat, not too spicy, not fried and not too salty. We also enjoyed the Margutta, one of the top vegetarian restaurants in Rome, as they served D. a delicious zucchini soup that was off the menu. He absolutely loved it.
Insider’s tip: If you are ordering pasta for your baby, make sure you ask to cook it a little extra as if they make it al dente, it might be too hard for the little ones.
Carry a portable high chair
Almost every restaurant in Rome has a baby high chair, but since they are limited, sometimes it might not be available. On top of that, sometimes they have a seat without the safety belts, so if your baby is still small and has the tendency to jump off his chair like mine, you might want your own portable high chair.
I’m aware it might not that easy, especially if you are traveling by plane with limited space in your luggage, but there are those portable booster seats that can fold and become really thin, so it might be worth seeing some.
Rome restaurants with a baby – My personal experience
Eating out in Rome with a baby was definitely easier when my son was 1 to 6 months old. Around the 7th month, he started to crawl and since then he hates both staying in the stroller and sit on a high chair. This made things a bit hard because I don’t want to let him crawl inside a restaurant so he gets a bit upset. I believe things will be a little more relaxed once he starts walking as whenever he’s tired of sitting, we can take him for a walk.
Food-wise, things are getting even easier as I’ve been introducing always more foods and in an always more solid form. So for example, now at the restaurant, I can order steamed veggies for him, well-cooked rice, pasta on a simple tomato sauce and other foods that are not too spicy or hot.
What to pack for a Rome trip with a baby
In Rome you can find everything and anything you need for a baby. From pharmacies to supermarkets to baby specific stores, here you will find anything you are looking for.
However, it’s always the case that when you realize you desperately need something, shops are closed or too far for you to reach them quickly enough. Here is my personal recommendation of things to pack for a trip to Rome with your baby.
- Clothes. Packing enough changes is paramount as babies get dirty in the most unthinkable ways while eating, crawling, walking and everything in between.
- Diapers. No need to fill your luggage with nappies, just pack for the first days and then in Rome you can find them in pharmacies, supermarkets, baby stores, local shops.
- Baby stroller. Unless your baby is very lightweight, you will definitely need a stroller to wander around Rome.
- Baby carrier. Even for only a few places or a few hours a day, packing a baby carrier can turn in very handy when you are going places with stairs and no elevator.
- Toiletries. You might have your favorite ones, but also for toiletries I suggest you pack the necessary for the first days and buy in Italy whatever you need.
- Biberon and pacifier. If your baby still wants his/her milk and in case he/she uses a pacifier (I never managed to make mine use it).
- Sippy cup. I use a sippy cup with handles since the baby started drinking water on his own and I take it with me everywhere. Super handy, it looks similar to this.
- Paracetamol or other medicaments. If you need antibiotics, Italian pharmacies can sell them only if you show a doctor’s prescription, while other drugs like paracetamol, aspirin and such, can be sold over the counter.