Kids and Rome, Italy
Rome, Italy is a fascinating place with its archaeological ruins, sites and museums but it’s also a city that is very challenging with a child. Rome is the only city in which a major museum (Museo Nazionale del Palazzo di Venezia) provided my daughter with an audio guide that didn’t match the art she was looking at. When I returned to the service desk to point out the problem, I was told that some pictures were moved (no kidding) and summarily dismissed to continue the self guided tour.
After our first morning touring St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican (pictured above), I decided to take my daughter to the Museo Nazionale delle Pasta Alimentari” (The National Pasta Museum) thinking that seeing one of my daughter’s favorite foods being produced would interest her. Unfortunately, this museum was a total disappointment.
The museum is in a building that resembles a 2-story house with small rooms full of vintage machinery used to make pasta. The self guided tour took my daughter all of 10 minutes to complete and included a museum employee following us to make sure she didn’t touch a thing. Am I the only one that thinks Rome or Italy should have a world-class pasta museum and cost less than $25 (10 Euros for an adult and 7 Euros for a child)?
On our second day, we found the pot of gold: Explora il Museo dei Bambini de Roma or the Children’s Exploration Museum of Rome, which is also known as simply: Explora. Explora is a privately owned non-profit children’s museum dedicated to children 12 years old and younger and is hands down the most fun place for a child in Rome. Located in the center of the city, the museum is a few minutes walk from Plaza del Popolo and Piazzale Flaminio. The closest metro stop is Line A, Flaminio stop (but I don’t recommend Rome’s metro system – the only European metro system my husband – a dedicated subway user – tried once and would never use again).
The museum has two floors: the ground floor and the first floor. The first floor houses the temporary exhibits and has the “Lil’Explorers” area which is for children 3 years old and younger. In addition, there is also has the “Let’s Make Paper Workshop” in the Space Laboratory.
The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday and has a timed ticketing system which allows visitors a 1 hour, 45 minute session to avoid overcrowding; this also allows you to plan a re-visit day later in the week after a tour of the Colosseum or a museum. There are typically four sessions per day at Explora:
Tour 4: 5:00 – 6:45
All tours are self guided based on the philosophy of the museum that children should be allowed to play with whatever piques their curiosity. The session prices vary but are approximately 7 Euros per session (or two sessions at 5 Euros per session). There is a bookshop and a restaurant/cafe (www.tramvi.it) located in the museum.
In August, there are three sessions daily beginning with the 12:00 pm tour. Check the website before going.