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Trastevere and Ripa with Kids

Having shoved the big hits into the itinerary for the previous few days, our third day was another marathon walk, but a more relaxed one – no timed entries, lots of gelato. We left half the day unplanned to mop up anything we couldn’t cram into the previous two days, with the main attraction being the Leonardo Da Vinci museum first thing in the morning. 


Leonardo di Vinci museum (Mostra Leonardo di Vinci) 


Confusingly, there are several di Vinci experiences across Rome but we earmarked this one specifically due to its hands on exhibits to involve the kids, and it worked a treat. Tickets are €9 for adults, €7 for children 5-18 and under 5s are free ( The kids really loved it, actually using and building a number of di Vinci’s inventions! Max (8), who flits between wanting to be an inventor, anatomist, artist and engineer found it all totally inspiring! Even Willow (2) enjoyed the bridge building. One of the exhibits displaying the water-related inventions is on a little pool over an underground water source which also features a few tombs - this pool is built right on top of one which you can see through the still water! We spent around 1.5 hours here and loved every minute! It’s worth mentioning that there is a “treasure hunt game” involving VR headsets and following clues around which educate not just on di Vinci but on Rome as a whole. We really wanted to do this, but it is timed entry and we needed a more relaxed day. It’s also €45 per player so a bit out of our range this time! 

Campo de’ Fiori Market 


We had read that this wasn’t a particularly genuine market, so we hadn’t planned to explore much, but the kids did enjoy the bustle of activity and browsing a bit as we walked through. We watched a dude spiralising carrots and courgettes into huge buckets and when Quinn (5) remarked how awesome it was, the wonderful guy gave her a carrot for free. It doesn’t seem like much but it’s always special when a genuinely kind soul gives a gift, she was made up! The highlight for most of us were the cheeses and beautifully bright coloured pastas on offer. 


Largo di Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary 


After walking down the quaint Via dei Giubbonari (munching carrots (?)) we arrived at our next random kid focused stop; The Largo di Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. This square houses the ruins of several temples and the Pompey’s Theatre, which was likely the scene of the assassination of Julius Caesar. In the early 1990s, a group of volunteers started caring for the numerous stray cats that inhabited the ancient ruins! The sanctuary provides shelter, food, and medical care to hundreds of cats, ensuring their well-being and safety. Be warned though, the whole area stinks like the world’s largest (and most beautiful) litter tray. Still, the kids loved it, and we spent around 20 mins just walking around the perimeter spotting the kitties! 




We then crossed the river to explore the beautiful neighbourhood of Trastevere. There isn’t much to “do” here, it’s really all about taking in the atmosphere, eating, drinking and, of course, getting gelato! You’ll see lots of tiny and charming restaurants with people taking in their aperitivos as you wander. You could join them, or if you wanted to do a pizza-making class, or perhaps this very awesome looking mosaic class (here), then this is the place for it. I’ve heard it’s one of the most fun things to do in Rome and we were sad to not be able to afford to partake (at almost $270 for two people!). 


We headed straight for lunch at Suppli, one of the well-researched cheap, authentic options predetermined before we left. Be sure to pan your time in Rome to visit the area not on a Sunday as it’s closed. We couldn’t recommended it higher; we were here for the “suppli” itself, but came away with pretty much one of everything on the menu. Supplì are oblong, breaded and fried risotto balls, cooked in ragu, often stuffed with mozzarella ball at its centre. Wow, it’s unreal. Outrageous pizza as well at amazing prices too, we only spent €16.80 for all 5 of us! Again, this place is takeaway only so we walked down to Piazza San Cosimato playground for a picnic. 

This square isn’t the most beautiful by any means but it had a lot of character, we ate our suppli in the playground, which had a cute toy and book exchange, a cool Simpsons mural, a market and a famous gelato place, Fata Morganas. After a play in the park we got a double scoop cone each and sat in the 18-degree sunshine, and then proceeded around in a loop to take in the alleyways with shuttered windows and grape vines climbing up the doorways on the way to Piazza Sant Egidio is scenic but what I love about it the most is the touching statue of a homeless person, represented lying on a bench in tribute to the community’s work with the homeless.

At this point, we were going to edge west to reach the botanical gardens and Villa Farnesina if we had time. The gardens have plenty of green and car-free space to run around in, (there isn’t much in Rome we noticed!) and the Villa houses stunning Raphael frescos, but we didn’t really have all the time and money and prioritised the di Vinci museum instead. If you do head that way, make sure to walk some of Trastevere’s Vicoli (tiny quintessentially Roman tiny cobbled streets). Get lost around Vicolo del Piede, Vicolo del Cinque or Via Titta Scarpetta.

Ripa and Aventine Hill


The last area for our walking tour of Rome was Ripa, which started when we walked across the bridge to the circus maximus. As huge Civ V fans, Andrew and I are always hoping to tick off a city-state or national wonder from the game (and Rome is full of them!). The kids ran around for a bit while we rested our feet for a spell. How they still had the energy to run I will never know!!


We then turned south to the Aventine Hill area. As the name suggests this is a fairly steep walk up! We took some glorious photos of the city from the orange garden (Giardino degli Aranci) on the way to the priory of the knights of Malta for the famous Aventine keyhole. This is an amazing view through a door on a walled passage of the church gardens where St Peter’s Basilica is perfectly framed by hedgerows within the keyhole of the door. Not sure if it was planned that way, but it is one of those rare and special sights. A busker played an acoustic guitar quietly nearby, it was lovely. And with that, every stop on our mission was ticked off, it was 5pm and time to head back to our flat (and to collect our car for our road trip to Versuvius and Pompeii the following day!).

In Summary 


We really enjoyed the Ripa and Trastevere neighbourhoods. We found them much quieter areas (fewer tourist crowds and pretty much zero traffic and sirens) and enjoyed our sunny walking through markets and cobbled streets. 

Today was ridiculously cheap for the amount we crammed in, and again can't recommend the food highly enough!

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