Archive for the ‘Sports & Amenities’ Category

Best swimming pools in Rome

Rome can get fiercely hot in summer, and kids really need some respite from the city chaos with some well-deserved splish-splash.

If you’re visiting Rome, and the children need a break between sightseeing monuments; or whether you’re residing in the Eternal City and looking for a swimming day, here are a few among the best swimming pools in Rome.

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Acquaniene (Parioli) Via della Moschea, 130 – Tel. 068084059
Gorgeous olympic-size outdoor pool in newly built sports facility, with huge parking lot, and winter swimming classes in the indoor pool. Open daily 10:30Am to 6:30PM. Entrance fee weekdays €15; weekends €20, includes sun beds and umbrellas.

Centro Sportivo Villa Flaminia (Flaminio) Via Donatello 20 – Tel. 063216484. Immense sports facility with indoor and outdoor pools, fitness and swimming classes, day camp activities, courses and club house benefits, plus large guarded parking lot.

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Radisson SAS Hotel (Esquilino) Via Filippo Turati 171 – Tel. 06444841. Rooftop outdoor swimming pool with a special section for children. The restaurant also offers elegant poolside dining. Entrance fee: Adults €45 Mon-Fri, €55 Sat-Sun / Children 50% discount. Open daily 9AM to 7PM.

Aldrovandi Palace (Parioli) Via Ulisse Aldrovandi 15 – Tel. 063223993. Smallselect city-center boutique hotel, offers a sophisticated, outdoor swimming pool, shaded by palms and canvas umbrellas. Arrive early since space is limited around this mostly grown-up pool. Pricey entrance fees €40 per child, €80 per adult. Open Mon-Sun 10AM – 6:30PM.

Nuoto Belle Arti (Flaminio) at Circolo Sportivo Ministero Infrastrutture e Trasporti, on Lungotevere G. A. Thaon di Revel, 3 – Tel. 063241710. The sports club offers a very pleasant swimming pool for adults and children alike. Entrance fee: €20. Open Mon-Sun 8AM to 8PM.

Piscina Crawl 2000 (Prati Fiscali) Via del Gran Paradiso, 93 – Tel. 0687193752 – Indoor facility that organizes day camp activities, swimming classes and playtime. Open weekdays and Saturday 7:40AM to 11PM; Sunday 10AM to 1PM

Piscina delle Rose

Piscina delle Rose (EUR) Viale America 18/20 – Tel. 0654220333. Large olympic-size outdoor pool that offers swimming and canoeing lessons, and where loungers and folding beach chairs can be rented for €3 and €5 plus an entrance fee of €16 for the whole day, or €14 from 1PM to closing time. Open weekdays 10AM – 10PM; weekends 9AM – 7PM

Isola Verde (Casalpalocco/Ostia) Via di Casalpalocco 89 – Tel. 3931209894 Facility which offers an outdoor Olympic and two swimming pools for children, lined with palm trees and shady canvas parasols. Offers swimming, aqua-gym and water polo classes, plus beach-volley, ping-pong, and foosball. Open daily 9:30AM to 7PM.

Sport City (Spinaceto/Mostacciano) Via Alvaro del Portillo – Tel. 065061995. Spacious outdoor pool where entrance is free, and you can rent a sun bed for €3 and an umbrella for €2. Fun day camp activities for kids ages 4 to 12. Open weekdays 9:30AM – 7:30PM

Centro Sportivo Nadir (Balduina) Via Francesco Bonfiglio, 62 – Tel. 063013340. Beautiful 25-meter pool surrounded by lush grassy lawns and trees. Entrance fees: Mon-Sat €10; Sun. €12 plus sun bed rental €4; folding beach chairs €2,50. Open Mon-Sat 10Am to 5PM. Sunday 10Am to 6PM. Closes 2 weeks in August.

Mallia Sporting Club (Balduina) Via Pantaleone Rapino, 18 – Tel. 0635346493. Outdoor 25-meter pool, with a surrounding expansive sports club. PADI diving certification classes. Open daily 9Am to 6PM (weekdays) and 9AM to 7PM weekends. Fees: Mon-Fri €14 whole day, €10 half day; weekends €15 whole day, €12 half day; plus sun bed rental €5.

New Green Hill (Bufalotta) Via della Bufallotta, 663 – Tel. 0687133810. Chairs and umbrellas are free, while sun beds can be rented for €4. Entrance fee weekdays €10 for the full day; €7 if you arrive after 1PM; weekends €8 whole day; €6 after 1PM. Open daily 9:30AM – 6:30PM

Circolo Valentini

Circolo Valentini (Bufalotta) Via della Marcigliana 597 – Tel. 0687120207. Fiendly, family-run sports club that boasts a large outdoor swimming pool for children and adults. Entrance fees: weekdays €10 all day; €7 half-day; Sat-Sun €13 all day; €9 half day. Open weekdays 9AM to 7PM.

Monteverde Club (Monteverde) Via Santorre di Santarosa, 68 – Tel. 0655285662
Tennis club and spa that offers all manner of classes and water sports, like hydro-bike, aqua-gym, pre-natal swimming, acqua-Pilates and infant swimming for children between 6mo and 3Y. Beds and umbrellas are free; entrance fee: €10 the full day, €8 from 3:30PM; €5 from 1 to 3PM; Sunday €15. Open daily from 7AM to 11PM – Closed the week of Ferragosto (middle of the month).

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Ede Nuoto Club Lanciani (Tiburtino) Via di Pietralata, 135 – Tel. 064181401
Gorgeous pool located in a lush tennis club, which offers lessons, free swimming and children’s summer camp activities. Loungers and umbrellas are free, sun beds for rent. Entrance fee: weekdays €10 for the full day; €8 half day. Weekends €14 all day: €10 half day. Open weekdays 9:30AM – 6:30PM / weekends 9AM – 7PM

H20 Fitness Center Via del Pigneto 108 (Pigneto) Tel. 062753877 A professional swimming pool which offers a great variety of water activities for babies aged 12 to 36 months, children and adults, including free swimming, aqua-gym and hydrobike classes. Free parking and Wi-Fi complete the scene. Open weekdays 8Am to 10:30PM; Sat 9Am to 8PM; Sun 10AM to 2PM.

Hydromania

If the kids get particularly ansty, why not head over to Hydromania? Located on Via Casal Lumbroso 33 in the Aurelio neighborhood; Tel. 0666183183, this is a water park that offers water slides, wave machines, outdoor pools (also one for younger kids), tropical thatched roof bars, shops and a mini-club. Entrance fees: Adults €19, children €14, half-day €14/€12. Open Mon-Sun 9:30AM – 6:30PM.

Another one of Rome’s acqua parks is Zoomarine in Pomezia, where besides dolphin shows, falconry, water slides and roller coasters, there is also a wave pool with sandy shores and floating rafts. Via Zara (Pomezia) – Tel. 06915341 – Admission fees: Adults €27; under 10 and over 65 years €20; kids under 3ft are admitted free. Open daily in summer 10AM to 7PM.

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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.
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©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.

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· 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.

Top 5 Rome Attractions for Kids

Here is a list of my son’s favorite things to do in Rome. He compiled this list, I’m merely doing the typing.

1. At the top of the list of things for kids to do in Rome is Explora, the Rome Children’s Museum (located at Via Flaminia 82). As the name indicates, this is a hands-on exploratory experience for kids, and is divided into four sections–Me, Society, Environment, and Communication–to help children discover their world. Kids can stage a mock TV broadcast, shop in a miniature supermarket or wander around a transparent environment-friendly house. The typical ‘do not touch’ signs are nowhere in sight! The museum is closed on Mondays. Visits last 1 hour and 45 minutes and have to be booked in advance by calling +39 06 3613776. Entrance fee for children aged 0-3 is free, children aged 4-92 pay a €8 ticket. On Thursday afternoon children and adults pay €6 each.
Nearest underground station: Flaminio (Metro A). Buses n. 490, 495, 628, 92, 88, 6. Plenty of parking in rear.

2. For the cat lovers in your family, the famous Largo Argentina Cat Sanctuary is well worth a visit. Here, you’ll find friendly volunteers who run this no-kill shelter for abandoned cats on donations alone, in the marvelous setting of the Largo di Torre Argentina ruins. Tell your children the story of how Roman emperors strolled here, and take them downstairs to visit the cat shop and see some of the shelter’s residents. Volunteers give English-language guided tours for free.

3. A trip back in ancient Roman times might be just the ticket for the 8-12 age group, and 3D Rewind Rome provides exactly this:  a virtual 3D movie tour through the tunnel of Emperor Commodus to the Colosseum’s floor, where you are front and center to a roaring crowd. The movie then transports you around a detailed model of ancient Rome, with kitsch characters and recognizable major sites of the ancient city.  Rich in detail and history.  Good “Colosseo companion” as its visualizes the amphitheater’s magnificence. Via Capo d’Africa 5 |  Tel. +39 06 677076627 |  Open Monday to Sunday 9.00 a.m. – 7.00 p.m. | Nearest Metro stop: Colosseo | Buses: 87, 85, 850, 81, 117, 630, 75, 175, 60, 271, 571, 810, 186.

4. If you have time for an out-of-town excursion, the Monster Park at Bomarzo is about an hour’s drive north of Rome and is always a favorite with kids. This Renaissance garden has larger-than-life stone sculptures of various animals and ‘monsters’ that your children can climb on and, in the case of ‘the leaning house,’ inside!

5. Can’t go home without a stop at the toy store? Don’t miss Città del Sole (Via della Scrofa 65), an Italian chain that features a range of educational toys disguised as just plain fun. Also, between Piazza di Pietra and the Pantheon, you’ll probably notice throngs of people carrying shopping bags with a wooden Pinocchio on them—that’s because they’ve discovered Bartolucci (Via dei Pastini 98). Overflowing with exquisite hand-crafted pine wood toys and clocks with pendulums swinging every which way, the pure sensory overload of this shop makes it hard to keep your wallet in check—you’ll probably end up walking out with a bag of goodies just like everyone else. On Saturdays the workshop is open ’til midnight.