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Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

Hampshire ,England
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Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

Ok so we are all booked to come end of August. Anyone want to share what works with a small child in terms of sites?

For example in Barcelona Parc Guell was OK but the hop on hop off bus was the worse way to get there and he was too fed up to enjoy it. In Paris,he loved the Louvre but it was too big and he just wanted to run around but Sant Chapelle (?) was perfect and he loved the intricate detail and spent time looking and drawing the inside.

So basically what works best with all the usual sites. Happy not to see everything this time round and enjoy the city slowly if anyone has a good plan for that .

New York City, New...
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1. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy


8 year old boy (or me, for that matter):

Do not go to the Vatican Museums - hot, crowded - a misery all the way around especially at that time of year.

Try to go to the outdoor sites (Colosseum, Forum, etc) early in the day before the heat/humidity gets too much; save indoor sites for afternoon when it is hottest outside.

Borghese Park is a good option for a young child.

You will get a lot of good advice from parents who have taken their kids there -

(But, really, don't go to the Vatican Museums)

Brussels, Belgium
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2. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

See …mrandmrssmith.com/2009/… and www.travelforkids.com/Funtodo/Italy/rome.htm but I think you can already apply your previous experience with Paris to sights in Rome.

If he found the Louvre too big, the same will apply to the Vatican Museums and St. Peters, although he might like the Swiss Guards. He'll probably like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi fountain, the Castel Sant Angelo (although it's a bit forbidding), the Bocca della Verita, maybe the catacombs and perhaps the classical sculpture museum in the Palazzo Nuovo (Campidoglio), if only for the big foot (http://www.flickr.com/photos/39911172@N08/3664254640/). There's also a view of the forum from the Piazza del Campidoglio, whether he enjoys visiting that would depend on how much he knows about Roman history and maybe how imaginative he is.

Edited: 17 June 2012, 23:42
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3. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

Gelato.  Early and often.  When you finish your list of sites to see, you could do some research on whether there are any well liked gelato shops nearby or along the way.  As you probably know there are a ton of different flavors, so I keep this list (chosen randomly from The Google) in my iDevices so I know what the selections are.


Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

Some of the things that I have planned to see for my 4 days in Rome with kids:

Time Elevator

Coliseum with tour guide

Piazza Navona

Campo de Fiori

Trevi Fountain

Palazzo Valentini


Borghese Gardens – bike ride

Borghese Gallery

Spanish Steps

Capuchin Crypt

Taylorsville, Utah
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5. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

I would get a guidebook with pictures and let him pick out some of the places he would like.. I would skip guided tours and let him poke around himself at his own pace. If you do decide to go to the Vatican Museums, let him pick in advance the things he would like to see and do not try to see everything. See a few of the exhibits and move on.It is hard to say what he would like because kids are different. I think the key is letting him have a say and do it at his pace.Do some research in advance so you can explain to hi the signifigcnce of what he is seeing at his own level.

Hampshire ,England
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6. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

Thanks everyone that's helpful.

Hampshire ,England
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596 posts
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7. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

limey just looked at the reviews for the Time Elevator on here - think we will be avoiding that then!

Austin, Texas
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8. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

Did three days in Rome last week with an eight year old and will spend two more days at the end of our Italy trip. Our son HATED The Vatican. It was so crowded and boring to him. I hear it is even worse in August. If you have to go, I suggest you take the short route. He liked the Colosseum and enjoyed listening to the free audio guide we downloaded onto our iPhones. He liked running around at Palatine. By the time we got to the Forum, he was OVER it and wanted to go home. So be sure to break up the trip into small chunks. Go back to your hotel and take breaks. He was also fascinated by the Capuchin Crypt aka "The Bone Church".

We always get great compliments on our son's behavior, however, he turned into a monster in Rome. I attribute it to being tired and jetlag. It took about

48 hours for him to adjust. On day two (the day of The Vatican fiasco), he went to sleep at 8 p.m. and didn't wake up until 9 the next morning. Always carry a

lot of snacks and water. Be prepared to stop and rest often. And if all else fails, GELATO!!!

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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9. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

The Villa Borghese gardens are great for kids. You can rent bikes, go-karts, or bicycle carts. There is also a puppet theatre, although I've never managed to catch a show.

Of the three sites included in a single ticket, the Palatine Hill has more shade and greenery than the Roman Forum or the Colosseum. There is usually not a ticket queue here, so you can avoid the queue at the Colosseum by buying your tickets here. In any case, with a child, I wouldn't take a guided tour of the Colosseum. There are lots of signs explaining the site, in Italian and English. If your son doesn't have the patience to read them, you can read them and explain what he's seeing. The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are less well explained, but a guided tour may try the patience of a child. If it's very hot, I would skip going inside the Colosseum. The first time I did that, during a heat wave in August, I just took a quick look around and fled.

I agree with skipping the Vatican Museums. If you do go, I would go to the Egyptian Collection, and skip the Sistine Chapel.

If you go in the late afternoon, you can usually enter St. Peter's Basilica without waiting in line, and it will be relatively uncrowded at that time of day. It closes at 6. I think this is worth seeing even if you skip the Vatican Museums. There, you can see Michelangelo's Pietà statue, and other great works of art.

Some museums that my granddaughter has enjoyed are the Villa Farnesina and the Barberini Gallery. The Villa Farnesina is set in a lovely garden and has impressive frescoes on walls and ceiliings, including some by Raphael. The Barberini Gallery, unlike the Vatican Museums, is pleasantly cool in the summer, and has a wonderful collection of Italian art from the middle ages to early modern times. There is also a truly amazing ceiling fresco there. The gallery provides padded benches so you can lie down and admire it.

I haven't taken my granddaughter to the Doria Pamphilj Gallery yet, but I'm sure she'd love it. It's a sumptuous Renaissance palazzo, still owned and partly inhabited by descendants of the Doria Pamphilj family, with the family's eclectic art collection hanging on the walls. There is an excellent audio guide narrated by a member of the family. He mentions roller skating in the halls of the palazzo with his cousins as a boy.

The Janiculum Hill is a great place to go for a cool breeze in the evening. There are some carnival-type kids' rides there, and a large inflated slide.

Ostia Antica usually appeals to kids. I bet he'd enjoy seeing the ancient Roman public toilet. He can sit on the seats of the ancient theatre, stand behind the counter at the ancient bar, and climb to the upper stories of an ancient apartment block.

He might enjoy a visit to a catacomb; i suppose it depends on the child. At least it's cool underground in the summer!

The Basilica of San Clemente has two earlier levels below; one is an earlier basilica with a "comic-strip" type fresco showing an episode in the life of San Clemente, complete with dialog balloons. On the lowest level, there are some ancient Roman buildings and a Mithraeum.

The Church of Saint Peter in Chains has Michelangelo's large and impressive statue of Moses. All of the churches in Rome are free to enter., and many of them have world-class art.

The Pantheon is an absolute must, and, since it's a church, it's free to enter. Put your camera on delayed shutter release and set it down on the drain below the oculus in the center of the dome, for a really dramatic shot.

Try to see the outdoor sites early in the day or in the late afternoon. Wear hats, and bring a water bottle, which you can fill at the many water fountains. Take a nap after lunch, as Italians do, so that you won't be outside in the hottest part of the day.

Hampshire ,England
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10. Re: Good, bad and Ugly for 8year old boy

Many thanks sassybee - the reality of travel with children. I can't remember how many places of importance we've been to and gone round in 15 minutes. And how many parks, trees and "interesting" bits of pavement we've had to spend hours at!!

bvlenci - I can see why you are a destination expert!!