The Essential Rome And Naples Itinerary For Your Family

Prepare for your family trip of a lifetime through the heart of Italy with our Rome and Naples itinerary. From the breathtaking wonders of Rome to the unique charm of Naples, this itinerary is your guide to an exceptional and unforgettable trip. 

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ROME

Rome, Italy

Day One

Borghese Gardens 

Start your day in one of the most beautiful green spaces in Rome. There are bikes to rent, numerous walking paths, and a nice pond where you can rent a rowboat for a relaxing ride. For families, it’s a great place to let the kids run around freely and there are also playgrounds at the park. 

Borghese Gallery 

Within Borghese Gardens sits one of Rome’s best museums. The Borghese Gallery was built in 1633 to hold the art collection of the Borghese family. Since 1903 it has operated as a museum and now holds the works of some of the most well-known artists such as Bernini and Caravaggio.

The sculptures were the highlight for us. This can be a popular attraction so purchase your tickets ahead of time to ensure that you get the time that you want.

Pincio Terrace

Once you finish in the museum, make your way west through the park so that you can reach one of the best overlooks in Rome. Built on one of the 7 hills of Rome, this terrace provides an expansive and spectacular view.

You can easily descend the stairs off of the side of the terrace and it will bring you to a piazza.

Piazza del Popolo 

Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo

This piazza holds the historic northern gate of Rome at the north end and the Basilica di Santa Maria in Montesanto and Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli at the opposite end. This is a magnificent piazza that has three main streets heading out of it from the south. 

Follow Via del Corso to Via dei Condotti (for the best view and approach) to reach… 

Spanish Steps 

The most famous steps in Rome are a short walk from Piazza del Popolo. You can’t sit on them anymore but that doesn’t take away from the beauty of the area which includes the entire Piazza di Spagna and the Barcaccia Fountain.

Altogether it makes for a great spot to see. While you can sit on the steps, you can walk to the top of the steps for an amazing view back down into the piazza.

Trevi Fountain 

Trevi Fountain Rome, Italy

Follow the streets and side streets to the most popular fountain in Rome. This fountain is a Baroque masterpiece that sits in the Piazza di Trevi.

It’s such a unique experience that you should visit it twice. Once in the morning and then once at night. It’s one of my favorite spots in Rome.

Pantheon

Pantheon in Rome, Italy

Built some 1600 years ago, this engineering marvel still stands and is amazing to visit. You’ll enjoy not only the structure itself but its fabulous piazza and fountain as well.

While in the Pantheon, make sure to get your selfie directly under the Oculus. Also, notice the size of the massive doors at the front of the Pantheon.

You can purchase your tickets to visit the Pantheon here.

Piazza Navona 

This piazza has not one, but three fascinating fountains. The design and detail of each fountain is a marvel.

The atmosphere is amazing with such a large oval-shaped piazza and the buildings surround the space.

Day Two

Colosseum 

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

The Colosseum is one of the most visited landmarks in Rome, so make sure that you purchase your tickets ahead of time so that you can avoid the massive lines. The whole family benefits from avoiding lines!

Once inside you’re in for an unforgettable experience. With so much of the Colosseum intact it is an awesome experience to walk its halls and corridors.

There are several tours available that give you an even more in-depth look at the famous arena.

Palatine Hill/Roman Forum 

Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy

You won’t have far to go as Palatine Hill and the accompanying Roman Forum is just a few steps from the Colosseum. It’s best to purchase a combination ticket or even a ticket that includes an audio guide to Palatine Hill.

While this area is fascinating it has little in the way of signage and/or explanation, so some type of accompanying guide will help explain what you are seeing.

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument

We were amazed that it seemed that no matter where you were in Rome, you saw this monument. It’s enormous and stands out with its bright white facade.

There is a terrace at the top of the monument that you can access which will give you a magnificent view of Rome.

Just across the street lies your next stop.

Mercati di Traiano Museo dei Fori Imperiali  

This site is impressive in its collection of ancient artifacts including items from everyday Roman life. This is all held within the ruins of Trajan’s Market. There are also exhibits about the life and activities of ancient Romans.

Day Three

Campo de Fiori 

Take some time to enjoy this lively market. It’s a great place to find local foods, flowers, and other goods. It’s good to get there early since it closes in the early afternoon, so morning is perfect. This will be a great place to find a souvenir.

Jewish Quarter

Once you visit the market you’ll wander over to the Jewish Quarter to visit a neighborhood full of history and culture. Like most of Rome, you’ll enjoy walking through the narrow alleyways as well as enjoying authentic Jewish-Italian food. This area is full of shops and is known for its lively atmosphere.

Vatican City 

Take the walk along Via Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and cross the Vittorio Emanuele Bridge across the Tiber River to reach Vatican City. Crossing its borders means that you’re technically in another country.

This area holds some of the most prolific works of art in the world. Before you even enter any buildings, you’ll find that St. Peter’s Square is an artistic work in itself. The Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica are the two main points of focus. 

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

You can book your tickets to the Vatican Museums here. St. Peter’s Basilica is free to enter, but if you want a tour, you can purchase tickets here.

There are also plenty of other options for tours in Vatican City that are quite interesting. These can provide more background info and details about these outstanding buildings.

Castel Sant’Angelo  

Exiting Vatican City through the main entrance/exit Via della Conciliazione will bring you to Castel Sant’Angelo. It’s here that you can explore a castle that contains centuries of Roman history.

This structure was originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian but has transformed itself many times throughout the years. And all of that history is here to explore.

Castel Sant'Angelo

Be sure to check out the rooftop terrace for an awesome view of Vatican City and Rome. It’s not as popular as many other sites in Rome, but it was one of our favorite places to visit.

Day Four

Baths of Caracalla 

The Baths of Caracalla provides a unique opportunity to experience ancient Roman life in many aspects. This location was a central point of social life, exercise, and other recreation.

It’s a massive site that is still an architectural wonder. Like many sites of its size, be sure to wear comfortable shoes because it will be a lot of walking. This is one of the best-preserved bath complexes of the ancient world so there is a lot to see.

Once your tour is complete you can head in the direction of the Circus Maximus and take the bus over the river to the Trastevere neighborhood.

There are several options to choose from, but perhaps the best option is to take the bus to either the Ponte Sisto or Ponte Garibaldi, get off, and walk across the bridge into Trastevere.

You get a nice view down the Tiber River and a peek at the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Tiber River in Rome, Italy

Trastevere  

This is one of the most charming neighborhoods in Rome. Of all the neighborhoods to spend an afternoon in this is probably number one. For families, there is even a playground in Piazza di San Cosimato.

The atmosphere here is undeniable. As the afternoon progresses to evening there is a definite buzz and excitement in the air that is still family friendly. Take time to find a cozy cafe or gelateria and enjoy the area.

Also be sure to see Basilica di Santa Maria and the piazza, which is often a lively area full of people.

If your legs and lungs are ready make the hike up Janiculum Hill for one of the most awesome panoramic views of Rome. 

Also, you can visit Villa Doria Pamphili which is an immaculately manicured park. This is another great place for amazing views and a peaceful place for a walk.

ROME TO NAPLES

Traveling from Rome to Naples is an easy connection. Several fast trains leave from Termini in Rome that will take you to Naples in about an hour.

The train arrives at Napoli Centrale station in Naples, after which you’ll have to make your way to Garibaldi Metro Station. This will give you access to the metro to transport you around the city. 

You can check out our handy guide for traveling from Rome to Naples here for more detailed information.

NAPLES

Naples, Italy

DAY ONE

Napoli Sotterranea

Book an underground tour of the city of Naples for a unique view of the city and its history. You’ll discover aqueducts, tunnels, and war shelters among many other things. It’ll give you a fascinating view of Naples.

Once the tour is completed head over to the plaza which is also home to the Palace of Naples.

Piazza del Plebiscito

Piazza del Plebiscito

This massive piazza is the largest in Naples. It’s a grand location that includes the Royal Palace of Naples and the Basilica di San Francesco di Paola. Over the years, this piazza has been the site of celebrations, festivals, and many other notable events.

Royal Palace of Naples

Walking directly from the plaza you can enter the Royal Palace of Naples. It’s noted for its amazing architecture, culture, history, and overall opulence. Taking a tour of the palace will take you through the throne room as well as the royal apartments.

After completing the tour of the palace head south through the piazza and down via Cesario Console until you reach Via Nazario Sauro.

Via Nazario Sauro

Take a long stroll alongside the waters of the Bay of Naples and enjoy the amazing views that it provides.

This promenade stretches down past the castle and looks out over the bay with Mount Vesuvius providing the background. Along the way make sure to stop for the Fontana del Gigante.

Castel dell Ovo

Castel dell Ovo

Currently, the castle is closed, but when it’s open, this medieval structure is a great place to explore. With its panoramic views and excellent location this iconic landmark is a great place to visit. 

Villa Comunale di Napoli

Amidst the hustle and commotion of the city sits a remarkable green space that’s perfect to relax in. Families will enjoy the fact that it has a playground. This is a great place to visit at the end of a busy day seeing the city.

DAY TWO 

Pompeii or Herculaneum

These sites are just 30 minutes outside of Naples by train. It’s simple enough to make your way to Napoli Centrale and a direct train to your destination.

It’s probably enough to see one or the other, but some people have enjoyed both. Pompeii is the more popular and the larger site so allow plenty of time to see as much as you can.

There is a lot to see but not a lot of information to explain what you’re seeing so having an audio guide or some other type of tour guide would be helpful.

Pompeii, Italy

You can purchase your Pompeii tickets with an audio guide here.

You can purchase your Herculaneum tickets with an audio guide here.

There is also no shade so it can get quite hot in the summer, so dress and plan accordingly.

Bagno Elena

After spending the entire first part of your day on your feet, take some time to relax. Bagno Elena is a great city beach that is perfect for families. There are good changing facilities, the water isn’t very deep and the waves aren’t too strong.

We found the entire area to be clean and easily accessible by bus. You’ll likely be taking the 151, the 140, or maybe a combination.

DAY THREE

National Archaeological Museum Of Naples

The National Archaeological Museum of Naples is a great companion visit to either Pompeii or Herculaneum. This museum holds many artifacts that were found at the two sites.

It’s here that you can get a deeper understanding of the history of the region. But this museum is more than just for this region; it also holds a lot of Roman and Greek artifacts as well.

Once you’ve completed your time at the museum, you can head to the heart of Naples. You can do that by making your way to Via Santa Maria di Constantinapoli and taking either the 147, 184, or 201 going east. Or you can make the 15-minute journey by foot.

Centro Storico/Spaccanapoli

Streets of Naples, Italy

The central area of Naples is full of life and activity. A great way to experience it is by walking down the lively Spaccanapoli, the most popular street in Naples.

It’s here that you get a full picture of the wonderful architecture, markets, shops, and restaurants in the historic heart of Naples. This is a great area to try out their world-famous Pizza Margherita. You can visit the popular L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele or any of the other great pizzerias in the area.

We tried a couple of pizzerias in this area and it was great every time we had it.

ENJOY ROME AND NAPLES

A journey to the heart of Italy is an amazing experience highlighted by two of the most intriguing cities in Italy. Your trip will certainly be filled with fun, amazing sites, and spectacular food. As you prepare what sites you want to see also be sure you know what to pack. Check out our article about what to pack for a trip to Rome to be fully prepared for your trip and make sure you save money with our essential guide for visiting Italy on a budget.

Author

  • Jeremiah Pittmon

    Jeremiah Pittmon is a published travel writer and photographer from Cleveland, Ohio. Passionate about exploring the world with his family, he finds inspiration in all types of travel. Through his blog, smilesonarrival.com, and social media channels, he shares captivating experiences and valuable tips for families who love to travel.

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The Essential Rome And Naples Itinerary For Your Family
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