How can I keep my children engaged during a Vatican tour?
If you’re planning a trip to Rome with a young family, you might be worried about your little ones getting bored or restless as you tour any of the many historic sites in the Italian capital. After all, ancient churches, art galleries and busy tourist sites aren’t exactly the most child-friendly environments.
However, travelling with young children can actually be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience, even when visiting sites that a child might find, for lack of a better word, boring. In the following guide, we’re going to give you some of our top tips for keeping your little ones engaged during a Vatican tour, and how to deal with any problems that you might encounter during your trip. Let’s take a look!
Are children allowed in the Vatican?
Yes! The Vatican is very much a family-friendly tourist site, with millions of families bringing young children to visit every year. There’s no age limit on entry, so everyone from newborn babies to elder grandparents are welcome!
How can I keep my kids engaged during a Vatican tour?
Have realistic expectations
One of the first things we’d encourage is that you set realistic expectations for your children’s engagement in the tour. As we already mentioned above, sightseeing old historic sites isn’t exactly the most child-friendly activity, but with some planning, you can make it enjoyable for them. If they’re old enough to understand you, give them a quick talk beforehand and explain why good behaviour is key when touring the site – why not incentivise them with the promise of a delicious Italian gelato after the tour?
Kids and young toddlers can be quite demanding, and they won’t hesitate to kick up a fuss just because you’re in the Vatican! Make sure to come prepared with lots of different reinforcements, such as cuddly toys, snacks, dummies or pacifiers, as well as books or tablets to keep them occupied if they get bored. Don’t forget to bring earphones if you’re going to be giving them a phone or tablet to play with – you don’t want any noise to disrupt your tour.
Don’t be afraid to keep things short
Young kids have short attention spans, so taking a tour of the entire Vatican might not be the best idea. Instead, focus on just a few key sites that are particularly interesting to children and take your time there before moving onto the next spot. Shorter tours also tend to be less expensive, which can help if you’re on a budget.
Switch things up
One of the best things about being on vacation is that you can throw all the rules out the window – you’re in Rome, after all! Rather than taking a traditional group tour during the day, why not take a nighttime Vatican tour? Many tour guide companies – such as ours! – offer moonlit Vatican tours for those looking for something that little bit special. Kids might be more engaged if there’s a unique or out-of-the-ordinary aspect to things, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
Opt for a private tour
When in Rome, don’t forget that there are a number of various tour options available for visitors. If you’re really concerned about your children’s engagement level on the tour – or, for example, your children are very young – then it might be worth opting for one of many private Vatican tours. This way, a guide will be able to tailor the content to your family’s needs and interests, and you won’t need to worry about other tour-goers getting upset at the odd tantrum or telling-off.
Explore with them
Let your kids explore the Vatican on their own terms! Give them a camera to snap photos of what they’re interested in, and encourage discovery through fun activities such as a scavenger hunt. Alternatively, you could also look into taking a family-focused tour of the Vatican, which will give you and your kids a chance to learn more about the area in an engaging environment.
Finally, remember that sometimes things don’t always go as planned when it comes to tours with young children – so be prepared to go off-route if need be, and remember that it’s important to take breaks when they need them.
Can I bring a baby to the Vatican?
Yes! All ages are welcome to explore the Vatican. That being said, nearby tourists may get slightly irritated if they hear lots of crying during a tour, so be prepared to take frequent breaks outside if your little one gets restless. But don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed about it – we were all crying babies at one point!
Do kids have to pay for a Vatican tour?
Kids can only enter into the Vatican for free if they’re under 6 years old; when it comes to private tours, prices and rates for child’s tickets will vary from company to company.