Rome has long been on our to do list. As lovers of architecture and history, (and of course good food) we knew that we had to get to Italy. What we weren’t sure of is how “baby friendly” Rome would be. I’ve come across varying ideas of what baby friendly means to people. So, for clarification, here’s what it means to me.
-How walkable is it? Meaning, can I get around without a car. Can I take the stroller or do I need the carrier.
-Are restaurants ok with children? Not necessarily do they have a kids menu, but are places ok with having a baby in them
-Can I find a hotel that offers babysitting/cot service
-Is the area a party zone or can we have quiet nights
So how baby friendly was Rome?
Well first of all, let me start by saying that Italians LOVE babies. I mean, like even though she’s in the carrier pressed up against my chest very friendly Italian women still had no qualms touching and kissing her. Took a bit of getting used to but hey, when in Rome. Sometimes you’ve got to get used to others ideas of personal space. And she is a seriously cute baby, so who could blame them. ;)
Eight days in Rome
We spent 8 days in Rome. Usually we’re more on the budget side when staying in a hotel. But, everything I read said that here it’s important to be central to walk to everything because the public transport tends to be crowded. So that’s what we did. We got a hotel just 250 meters from the Pantheon. From there we were able to walk to everywhere but the Vatican. We could’ve taken public transport there but chose not to. So, super central location!
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We had a late night flight into Rome with Iberia airlines. Since it was late at night we arranged with our hotel to have a cab with a car seat pick us up. That went very smoothly and I highly recommend it!
Day 1 was an early start. Our hotel offered a breakfast buffet so we always began there. Rome doesn’t typically have high chairs so throughout the trip I alternated between stroller (if we planned to eat outside) or our Ergobaby (left the mei tai at home due to its long straps) or I plain old just had to hold her. (Or her dad did. Because you know, holding a baby and trying to drink hot coffee just don't mix. At least not for me.)
Need a travel guide? We used Rick Steves Rome 2016
We brought our baby food and wipes with us so it was just about finding diapers. I went to a couple of grocery stores and found our brand and our size (YAY!). A bit pricier than here in Amsterdam BUT it freed up suitcase space so well worth it. For reference, I saw plenty of jars of baby food here so it’s not something that you would have to bring along either.
The next few days we spent sight seeing at all of the typical spots.: Piaza Navona, Pantheon ,Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Vatican City, Colosseum, etc. Since typically began sightseeing in the morning (babies are natural alarm clocks) there was no one around which was perfect for us. Especially at Trevi Fountain. Which btw is AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL and well worth getting to early before it’s overcrowded with tourists the rest of the day.
One afternoon we headed to the “Orange Garden” for the view since this was recommended to us. It was lovely and well worth the walk.
We alternated between carrier and stroller. I saw plenty of people with umbrella strollers doing just fine. We had our jogging stroller and had no issues with it either. I didn't try to take it into any stores though. I'm not sure how it would work with how narrow the aisles are in quite a few. Speaking of which.
What would a trip be without shopping? Mercator Monti is supposed to be the “hip” flea market. Very tiny with a nice selection and from our hotel we got to walk past Trajan’s Column and Forum which were simply spectacular to see! I tried to stick to shops that we don’t have here in Amsterdam.
You’ll see everywhere “pelle vera” meaning real leather. Whether that is always the case or not, I’ll leave up to you to figure out. When trying to find some cute baby outfits, there wasn’t much as far as I could tell. So we popped into the department store OVS and got a few warm weather outfits for her since it was WAY warmer than I was expecting!
We typically did our biggest meals in the afternoon. Lazy lunches are a thing here and you can easily enjoy 2 hours for lunch. People seem to do dinner late so a 18:00 dinner with the baby meant that places were not crowded and there was no problem having the baby there.
With the great weather we ate a lot out doors and just pulled the stroller up to the table. For indoor dining, only 1 spot had a high chair. The rest we just passed her between the two of us.
Lunch : Alla Rampa
Dinner: Il Sorpasso, Taverna Cairoli
Very walkable with a stroller or baby carrier
Strollers not recommended on public transportation. It tends to get crowded. However, usually someone will give you a seat if you’re wearing the baby.
Jarred food, diapers, and other baby supplies readily available at grocery stores.
Tap water is safe for baby or bottled water (look for the face of a baby on the bottle) is also abundant.
Overall it was a fantastic place to have a family trip! I can’t wait to explore other parts of Italy!!!