If you are visiting Rome, you will most certainly want to plan a trip to the Vatican, officially its own country but only a 15 minute drive from the historical center of Rome. The grounds are extensive, the crowds relentless and the art collection boundless, so a trip to the Vatican definitely requires some planning, particularly if you are with children.
Top Tips for Visiting the Vatican with Kids:
- There are a number of steps in the Vatican so it’s imperative to use a baby carrier instead of a stroller. Strollers are not even permitted inside St. Peter’s Basilica but you will be directed to where they can be left for free.
- Only small bags are permitted so take the absolute minimum you need in your diaper bag.
- Baby change facilities are located near the coat check outside the Basilica.
- I don’t recommend doing a tour with kids under 4 as the tours are long (at least 2.5 hours) and unless you are going after hours (these are new, and very expensive tours), very crowded. The only advantage of a tour is that you can skip the line which at peak times can be 2 hours long. If you do decide on a tour, make sure that your meeting point is in Vatican city itself rather than a pickup at the hotel. This way you can ensure you use your time well, and don’t spend it making stops to pick up other tourists.
- If you see one thing inside the Vatican, make sure it’s the Sistine Chapel.
- There are a ton of restaurants around the Vatican but you can expect them to be very touristy.
- St. Peter’s Basilica to me is the most beautiful church I have ever seen (it’s also free) so don’t be too encumbered by the logistics. Remember to acknowledge its beauty and history.
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