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Rome Family Vacation Ideas Include Vatican Museums, Catacombs, and Pasta. From icons of the ancient world and classic forms of transportation to Segway tours and memorialized pasta, the city remains eternally remarkable. I have assembled a short list of the best museums in Rome, including the Vatican “Family Tour” as well as eerie catacombs and contemporary venues - each worth a visit.Capitoline Hill View in Rome

My wish is for you to enjoy the very best of Rome one day at a time. The pace will depend on the age mix of your family. My suggestions serve as a starting point because the city can be overwhelming when too many activities are planned. With school aged kids one activity and one gelato stop per day should suffice. The rest of the time allows for one-of-a-kind discoveries not on any official list. 

Vatican Museums – Keep your eyes on the ceiling. You do not have to be a confirmed Catholic to appreciate the beauty of the collections housed within the Vatican. It is the location of some of the world’s greatest art including ancient artifacts, Renaissance masters, modern paintings, bold sculptures, precious books, beautiful frescoes, and papal furnishings. Bonus Points: The Friday “Night Openings” of the Vatican Museums begin in early May and conclude near the end of October. The Vatican Museums also offer tools for families who wish to discover the treasures together. The “Family Tour” includes a clever map and audio guide. My advice – purchase tickets in advance. The museum offers inspiration but expect long lines during popular summer month and Christian holidays. (Vatican 06 698 1662 or www.vatican.va). Find maps, brochures, tickets and information about visiting Vatican sites at the Comune di Roma tourism kiosk on Castel Sant’ Angelo.)Gelato Bus Family Fun in Rome

Musei Capitolini – Giant sculptures and great stories. This is the location one of the largest and oldest public museums of ancient art in the world. Spanning two floors it showcases original works including the Capitoline Wolf, and Bernini’s Head of Medusa. View one of Rome’s original talking statues as well as Ruben’s famous Romulus & Remus Fed by the Wolf. Many ancient ruins may be seen along the defined exposition routes while others can be viewed in the open air on the famous Capitoline Hill. Tip: Booking for individual visitors is available only when purchasing online tickets. If you book in advance you can skip the line by going directly to the ticket window.  (Piazza del Campidoglio 1, Roma. 06 06 08, or http://en.museicapitolini.org/) 

Centrale Montemartini – Where machines meet marble. Not on the mainstream tourism list, this outpost of the Capitoline Museum presents classical art in a quirky way with exquisite marble sculptures set amid the remnants of the old power plant with its diesel engines and giant furnaces. The highlights may be found in the Sala Caldaia, where a giant furnace provides a suitably impressive backdrop for "Venus in the Boiler Room." Here’s the deal. Booking tickets for individuals is only available with online tickets. Booking in advance means by passing the line and going directly to the ticket window. (Via Ostiense 106, Roma.  06 574 8030, 06 06 08 or http://en.centralemontemartini.org)

Catacombs in Rome – An underground maze of Christian history. While this is not for wee kids most teens will find it cool. Catacomb locations are accessible only with a guided tour. The largest and most extensive is San Callisto with more than 22 kilometers of pathways spread amid four levels (Via Appia Antica, Roma. Tel: 06 51 30 1580 or www.catacombe.roma.it). Santa Domitilla offers visitors a glimpse of remarkable frescoes dating from the third century (Via delle Sette 282, Roma. Tel: 06 51 10 342 or www.catacombe.domitilla.it). Sabastiano is the location of the tomb of St. Sebastian and contains stucco-ceiling tombs from pre-Christian Rome (Via Appia Antica 136, Roma. 06 785 0350 or www.frattilazio.it)
   
Explora – Il Museo dei Bambini di Roma Pure fun for little ones. The Children’s Museum of Rome just steps from the Piazza del Popolo connects tykes in the common language of play.  The lively space contains four themed interactive exhibits ideal for young children. Signage is in Italian as well as English and staff members mingle throughout assisting all ages. Tip: Booking ahead of time is essential for weekends and strongly advised on other days. (Via Flaminia 80-86, Veneto & Borghese, Roma. Tel: 06 361 3766 or www.mdbr.it/en.html)Imperial Gate at Colloseum in Rome
  
Nazionale della Paste Alimentari - Pasta is the joy of life. What better place to pay tribute to Italy’s signature food? The National Pasta Museum includes 11 exhibit halls dedicated to showcasing the story of Italian pasta.  Pasta-inspired art adorns the walls depicting pasta and its many purposes.  Photos, prints, and miniatures depict lifestyles and pasta.  Bonus Points: The museum actively supports eradication of world hunger.  (Piazza Scanderbeg 117, Roma. 06 699 1120 or www.museodellapasta.it)

Museo delle Cere – Rome’s Wax Museum near Piazza Venezia. Nothing like Madame Tussaud’s, this funky and slightly weird museum of wax figures in assorted period setting gives visitors a sense of Italy’s popular cult figures. Nine themed rooms display less than perfect wax figures in curious settings but the museum itself is entertaining.  Do you know who Lucrezia Borgia is? Or how about Alessandrro Volta? See Hitler, Lincoln, King Solomon, and Sleeping Beauty not far from Galileo and Marconi. (Piazza dei Santi Apostoli 67, Roma. 06 679 6482 or www.museodellecere.it) 

Museo degli Strumenti Musicali – Shake, rattle, and roll. For any family with young musicians this will be a fascinating stop. It’s a place to see how function, form, and performance work together at the Museum of Musical Instruments. This inspiring museum set in a large field next to the church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme houses more than a thousand rare and unusual music-making devices. From harpsichords, player pianos and music boxes to oboes, bagpipes, whistles, and harps, the collection spans centuries and continents. (Piazza Santa Croce in Gerusalemme 9/A, Roma.  06 701 4796) 

Information researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for theFamilyTravelFiles.com. It is provided as a planning guide meant to inspire. Images by Nancy Nellson-Duac. To avoid disappointment, please confirm details prior to making plans. Copyright 2017.  

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