Best public playgrounds in Rome

Rome offers a vast number of outdoor public areas provided for children to play, within parks, or as stand-alone recreation venues. Unfortunately many of the city’s playgrounds have been vandalized or are in close proximity to uninviting areas. Here are some of the city’s best.

©EleonoraBaldwin

· Villa Ada This vast play area is just down the gravel path as you turn right at the Via Salaria 273 or 275 entrance to the Villa Ada public park. There are plenty of well-maintained swings, slides, climbing ropes, seesaws and bench platforms. There is also plenty space for bicycles and a picnic area that serves as an open-air birthday party venue. Tip: you can avoid the traffic on Via Salaria by taking the hidden entrance to the park from Via Panama 29, which is behind the playground on Via Panama (see below). A path veers left and down a wooden ramp of steps into Villa Ada.

· Via Panama Take the cycle path down Via Panama off of Piazza Ungheria, and you won’t miss this large enclosed play space. The equipment is fairly standard but there is plenty of it and there is also space for riding bicycles, tricycles and scooters. The pavement beneath the swings and jungle-gyms is in soft weatherproof foam rubber, and the gravel path circling the perimeter of the enclosed play area was just recently redone. This particular playground is a non-smoking, non-dog area.

· Villa Balestra This small park sits perched on the elegant Parioli district’s Monte Parioli hill and provides a splendid view of Rome. Enter the park at the end of Via Ammannati and proceed to the large enclosed play area at the other end of the park. The equipment is new and there are rides for kids of all ages. Next to the play area, parents can relax at the Villa Balestra’s café with outdoor seating and enjoy a coffee or spremuta while the little ones play. There is also a paved basketball court which doubles as a space for riding bicycles and scooters.

· Villa Glori At the north end of Via di Villa Glori, between the newly founded café and the pony corral, is a small play structure enclosed in a sandy patch. Very little equipment, but fun pony rides for just €3,50. For a higher price, kids can take a guided horse walk around the park.

· Auditorium Parco della Musica In an elevated section of the recently founded Concert Hall’s 50 acre park, the fully equipped playground enjoys sunlight until very late in the day, allowing good Vitamin D intake and lots of free roaming playtime. The jungle-gyms, slides and other structures are brand new and the flooring is in soft weatherproof foam rubber.

Image © Roma Every Day

· Casina di Raffaello Playground Constructed at the beginning of 2007, this play area in Viale della Casina di Raffaello is adjacent to the Casina di Raffaello, an activity center (ludoteca) for children aged 3+. The equipment is not your typical swings and slides rather much more innovative and environment-friendly. There are several balance beams and even wooden planks that make music when you jump on them. For small children, there are also a wooden tractor to sit on, logs shaped like sheep and cattle, and 3 little wooden houses to play in. Inside the ludoteca, there are a book and toy store, and a quiet reading space with Italian children’s books and chalkboard tables that little ones can draw on. The child-proportioned bathrooms also provide changing stations.

· Bioparco The Rome Zoo within the Villa Borghese perimeter has a fantastic Noah’s Ark-shaped playground with several ramps, rope bridges, slides and tunnels. The only drawback is that to access the playground area, parents and children taller than 1 meter (3 ft) must pay an entrance fee to the zoo.

· Villa Torlonia This is a recently refurbished play area within an enclosed space in Via Siracusa. Just down the road, on Viale di Villa Massimo, there is another green area with some equipment for younger children (age 2 to 3). You can also take the kids to the Limonaia di Villa Torlonia, a café and restaurant on the other side of the park, and treat yourselves to some excellent gelato.

· Via della Cava Aurelia n.100 This is not inside a park, but is still worth the visit. It is a large enclosed play space with swings, slides and climbing ropes, plus benches where you can sit while the kids play. There is also room for kids to ride their bicycle, tricycle or scooter. Watch out though: this space can get extremely crowded in the afternoon when school is out.

· Villa Celimontana This public park is up the hill at the south end of the Colosseum, walk up Via Claudia, which eventually becomes Via della Navicella. To the right, at number 12 is the entrance. Walk down the beautiful gravel path to the large playground, where kids can also enjoy riding bikes and scooters too.

· Villa Sciarra A delightful small park with a well-equipped children’s playground, and the American Fine Arts Academy and the American University in close proximity. The swings, slides and seesaws are not stellar, but well-maintained. The park also has a pond and a peacock in a huge cage that kids are strangely attracted to. Take the Tram n.8 from Largo Argentina, get off at the Ministero dell’Instruzione (A large grey official building on the northwest side of the avenue) and walk up the hill on Via Dandolo, and turn left on Via Calandrelli, at number 35 is the Villa’s entrance.

· Villa Doria Pamphili This space has its entrance in Largo Botanica, off Via Aurelia Antica in Monteverde, at the end of the park furthest from the Porta S. Pancrazio entrance. The equipment is not breathtaking (just swings and slides), but the surroundings are beautiful, the park is huge and there is plenty of space for riding bicycles and scooters. Kids can look for pine nuts on the ground and crack them open with a rock. “Pinoli” provide a tasty snack.

On the other side of the Tiber River, there is a playground in front of the Santa Cecilia in Trastevere church, as well as in the moat-park that surrounds Castel Sant’Angelo. Don’t forego the interior of this grandiose tomb-turned-papal fortress-turned-museum. It’s a treasure trove of armor and curious old weapons, with enough of the castle stuff—guard posts, stacks of cannonballs, passageways and lookouts—to keep even antsy little kids happy while parents admire the opulent frescoes and furnishings.

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25 responses to this post.

  1. hii,Thanks to share this story . Really Roma’s 12 best public playgrounds is a very fantasitic place for children and its every side enviorment is good for children .Thanks again.

    Reply

  2. Thanks for this information. We’ll be in Rome in July ’12 with a three year. I noticed that most of the playgrounds you listed were on the east side of the city. Do you have any recommendations for places just north of the Vatican? (That’s where we’ll be staying.)

    Thanks,
    Fred

    Reply

  3. Posted by Christine on May 2, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    This is a wonderful list of playgrounds. I’m planning to be in Rome in September and was glad to find your site. Now I know where I can take my son to go run and play:)

    Reply

    • Christine,
      thank you for your comment. There are also many more smaller, neighborhood parks around town. These are just a starting point :)
      Hope you and your son enjoy the Eternal City

      Reply

  4. Posted by kathleen on January 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I went to the church of St. Cecelia and I found no playground. Did I miss it? Looked all around the neighborhood too. Which of the other one’s you list are closest to Trastevere near the Ponte Sisto?

    Reply

  5. Posted by firsttime in rome on November 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Hi,

    we came to Rome last week with a 2 year old and found some nice playgrounds in the Testachio area however i found that parents, caregivers smoke in the playgrounds. did you experience the same in other playgrounds? I told some moms to smoke somewhere else, but got some rude glances. I read somewhere they banned smoking in public places and i am sure playgrounds are part of the public places..

    Reply

    • Hi Firsttime in Rome,
      I was always uncomfortable around smoking caregivers/parents in playgrounds, mainly because many of these folks would leave their butts on the premises… where theirs and other kids played, you know how kids like to rolla round on the ground!!

      Smoking is prohibited in indoor public spaces, like restaurants, cafes, schools, offices, gyms, etc., but not in outdoor situations, and in this case, even if for obvious health reasons and pure common sense one should not smoke around children, it is not considered prohibited in an enclosed space like a playground.
      Crazy, I know. But that too is Rome… a little crazy.

      Reply

  6. Posted by Hendrik on October 25, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Fantastic overview! This information will make our stay in Rome even more pleasurable. Are there also nice (indoor) swimming pools in Rome?

    Reply

    • Hendrick, thank you for your kind comment.
      There are several indoor pools, the first to come to mind are the FIN pool at Foro Italico, Salaria Sport Village on Via Salaria, Urbe Nuoto 90 on Via Tunisi 7a, Acquaniene on Via della Moschea, Circolo delle Muse on Via R. Fauro. For a more detailed list google “piscine+roma” and you should come up with many results.

      Reply

      • Dear Lolamamma,
        Thank you for the info on indoor pools. It’s great to have this information. I wondered if you would happen to know if one needs to be a member of these gyms or pools in order to use them? I know that in summer there are a few outdoor pools for the public, plus those at some of the bigger hotels in the centro for which you can pay a day use fee. For these indoor pools you mention, I was just curious if they are indeed open to the public? Thanks for any info you can provide!

      • Gina, thanks for your comment. Many pools are indeed public, even the ones which belong to clubs that require a membership, they most always include a “daily pass” option.

  7. Posted by Gina on May 14, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Hi Lola, I love your site. Thanks for all the work you put into it. I was curious about the park on Colle Oppio I’ve heard/read so much about. Do you have any thoughts on that one? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Ciao Gina, thanks for your comment.
      A huge renovation/cleanup of 27-acre Parco del Colle Oppio began last in April 2011, but as with all things institutional, who knows when the makeover will be completed.
      It’s a beautiful area, certainly the richest as far as archeology goes, with lots of green spaces, large variety of trees and paths scattered with fallen Roman columns, but at the moment not much in terms of child-friendly facilities. I’m sure part of the plan will be the addition of play areas geared for children of all ages.

      Reply

  8. Posted by Carla on January 3, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    This list is fantastic. Thank You!
    I would love to have some ideas for indoor play areas too.
    Thanks again

    Reply

  9. Posted by Laura on August 7, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you so much for this list! My parents are coming to visit and see some sights and the first place they want to go is Rome! Now I can be sure my little girl gets to have some fun-time in too while we drag her through all the “boring old people stuff!”

    Reply

    • Laura, thank you for your comment. Be sure to check out the other fascinating things you can do with your little one in Rome. Museums, parks, sightseeing, food even that’s suited for kids… there’s so much to see in Rome, and ways to lure younger travelers into appreciating each! Scroll down in my sidebar and see!

      Ciao

      Reply

  10. can this be useful to you? 3000 sq indoor soft playground in Rome. open all year.

    Reply

    • Thank you Dan, I had scouted Looney’s earlier this year, but decided to only go for the outdoor playgrounds, as this was the greater request I had from parents. Maybe in winter, I’ll compile a list of indoor venues. Grazie!

      Reply

  11. there is a brand new BEAUTIFUL public playground directly across from Marymount international school.

    Reply

    • Thank you Gillian! The address is: Via di Villa Lauchli, and the equipment is brand new. There are wheelchair ramps and different fruit trees. It’s part of a 30+ acre public park and it’s definitely worth a visit!

      Grazie Gillian for the tip-off!

      Reply

  12. Thanks for sharing these wonderful playgrounds of Rome, I will bring my grandchild, when she is old enough!

    Reply

    • Thank you Chuck. Parents and child caregivers I speak to always complain about not having a list of playgrounds in Rome… well here it is!

      Reply

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