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Woman and son in front seat of 4-seater bicycle on path in Villa Borghese in Rome. Another bicycle on the left and a few people ahead on the path.

Villa Borghese with Kids – What to Do + Tips

Villa Borghese sounds like… another Italian villa. But, it’s not – it’s a huge park (the former gardens of the Borghese family), and a perfect place to bring your kids on a visit to Rome!

After all, Rome is amazing but kids sometimes just need a little bit of nature and a big space to run around! Spending an afternoon (or entire day) at Villa Borghese is one of my favorite things to do in Rome with kids.

I’m a mamma of three living here in Italy and we love spending time in Rome, including Villa Borghese. I recommend it to visiting families, but it’s important to be prepared, as it’s a large space and there are plenty of things on offer for kids.

Below you’ll find advice and opinions based on my experience visiting Villa Borghese with kids – most recently with my 6-year-old and 9-year-old.

Why You Should Bring Your Kids to Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese makes a great visit for kids while you’re in Rome because:

  • it’s close to the center, so you can arrive on foot, by public transport, or an inexpensive taxi ride
  • it’s green, which is nice for kids after spending time in a city full of buildings, stones, and cement
  • it offers some respite from the intense summer heat in Rome
  • there are plenty of things to do, so you’ll surely find something that interests your child(ren)
  • it’s full of other kids, so your kids can interact with other kids their age
  • it’s an excellent place to have a picnic

Where Is Villa Borghese in Rome?

Villa Borghese is just east of the Tiber River in Rome, and it’s northwest of the Roma Termini train station. Here’s a map of Villa Borghese and I’ve marked activities and locations that I mention in the article below.

How to Get to Villa Borghese with Kids

I’ve visited Villa Borghese in multiple ways, including on foot, by taxi, by bus, and by golf cart. You can also get really close with the Metro. The best mode of transport depends on where you’re coming from and who you’re traveling with.

You’ll likely enter from the south (at the Salita del Pincio) or the south (at Piazzale Brasile/Porta Pinciana).

SALITA DEL PINCIO – If you’re coming from Via del Corso or Piazza del Popolo, you can walk up this uphill to enter Villa Borghese. It’s part road, part stairs, and part path – so not good if you have a stroller or little kids. My elementary age boys were fine with it (but it’s tougher in the summer heat). You end up at the Terrazza del Pincio where you can catch your breath and marvel at the view of Rome. Also, just before you get to the top there’s a pay toilet if you need it.

PIAZZALE BRASILE – Also called the Porta Pinciana entrance, this is a handy entrance if you’re coming from most places south of the park. If you’re walking, it’s a gradual uphill, and it’s doable with a stroller but the sidewalks aren’t wide. You end up at a traffic intersection (keep little ones close!) and you need to pay close attention that you’re crossing at lights and crosswalks because there are a lot of cars here. This is my preferred entrance with small kids because it’s really close to the playground. There’s also a toilet (free) next to the playground.

A taxi can take you to either entrance, but remember that they don’t have car seats.

When to Visit Villa Borghese

Boy in blue coat walks down wide, paved path in Villa Borghese in Rome. 4-Seater bicycle on left and a few other people walking on path.
My son in Villa Borghese on the weekend in January

Anytime you need a break. I usually try to see things in Rome and offer up Villa Borghese when my kids need some ‘run around’ time.

In the summer, I prefer to visit in the morning. And on weekends before 11am.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Villa Borghese with Your Kids

I’m not listing every possible thing to do in Villa Borghese with kids. These are our picks for fun, family-friendly things to do. Below the list I’ve also mentioned a few things that come up that may not work for your family.

Helpful Tip: Let your kids run around at the playground and then (if they’re old enough – see more below), check out the rest of Villa Borghese by renting one of the electric-assist bicycles. It’s a pretty big place so it’s nice to have some wheels to get around if you want to see a lot of it.

Visit the Main Playground

Children playing at small playground with swings, slides, and spring toys. Umbrella pines are scattered around the park.

Ride the 4-Seater Electric Bicycles

Mom with two sons on a multi-person bicycle on a path in Villa Borghese in Rome.
Riding the electric bike with my boys

Riding the electric bikes is a highlight for my older boys and it’s a lot of fun if the park isn’t too crowded.

You can rent from a few places, but we find the most convenient spot is the large Bici Pincio location next to the main playground.

You must be 18 and have a valid driver’s license to ‘drive’ the bicycle. There is no leeway on this, and when you see the crowds and how fast the bikes can go, you’ll be glad this is a rule. On our last visit, I ‘drove’ and our boys took turns navigating using Google Maps on my phone.

There are no helmets or seatbelts. There are bench seats but no ‘doors’ or railings, so kids need to be able to sit on their own. I felt comfortable with my 6 and 9 year old on the bikes, but I wouldn’t bring my 3-year-old yet. You could ride with a baby or a small toddler in a baby carrier.

If you’ve got really little ones, one adult can stay with them while the other adult rides the bike.

If you have bags with you, you can keep them in the basket up front.

Good To Know: Little kids can’t reach the pedals. My 6-year-old couldn’t reach and wasn’t thrilled that he couldn’t help pedal, but he did enjoy the ride.

Helpful Tip: As I’ve already mentioned, Villa Borghese gets crowded on weekends, especially during the summer. I wouldn’t want to be on a bike (or walking on the paths) on a summer weekend – there are too many obstacles.

Rent a Golf Cart

You can also rent a small golf cart to drive around Villa Borghese. We saw some parked and for rent inside the park, and Fun Moving also has golf cart rentals.

Much like the electric bicycles, adults with a license need to drive.

If given a choice, I’d pick the bicycle because it’s a little more unique.

Have a Picnic

Hand holds up supplì in front of market in Rome.
Bring some supplì up to the park for an easy picnic

Villa Borghese is one of the best places in Rome for a picnic! Pick up your picnic supplies at a grocery store before you get to the park, or have your kids practice their Italian language skills and shop for supplies at one of Rome’s markets. We love to picnic in Rome with supplì, fresh seasonal fruit, cheese, and crackers (or bread). You can bring your own drinks or get them at one of the kiosks in the park.

Check out the Views of Rome

Our two favorites viewpoints from Villa Borghese are the Terrazza del Pincio above Piazza del Popolo and the Terrazza del Viale del Belvedere (both marked on the map above). Have your kids point out any landmarks they recognize (like St. Peter’s Dome and the Vatican Museums).

Play with a Ball

If your kids are super active like mine, buy a ball from a kiosk or pick one up if you see it on the way to Villa Borghese. There’s plenty of green space for kicking a ball around.

See the Water Clock

Kids and grandfather sit on electric 4-seater bicycle on gravel path in Villa Borghese park in Rome. On left is clock set in pond. They are shaded by tall trees.

This water clock (aka orologio ad acqua) had a stint at the Paris Expo in the 1860s before making its way to Rome. The water helps move the hands of the clock and to wind it. If I’m being honest, I thought it was interesting but my kids were less than impressed. Hey, you win some, you lose some!

Row a Boat on the Little Lake

Fork over a few Euros (kids are discounted) for 20 minutes of rowing on the tiny lake in the park. You won’t need more than 20 minutes as it really is small! Kids can help row or look at the birds and turtles.

Good To Know: There are no life jackets.

Visit La Casina di Raffaello

This is an excellent rainy day option (or even if the ground is wet and you just don’t feel like dealing with mud on vacation). La Casina di Raffaello has a small play area for young kids, a place for them to read a small selection of books, and you can also visit the little bookshop (that also sells a few toys).

The ludoteca (play space for kids) also runs workshops, but they’re in Italian.

Go on a Pony Ride

Two women walk next to kids riding ponies in Villa Borghese park in Rome.

Another way for kids to get a ride around Villa Borghese – on these adorable ponies!

Take a Ride on the Mini Train

Children and adults sit on white mini train in park in Rome.

The mini train in the park is a good alternative to the bikes or golf carts. It’s also nice as the adult because you can just sit and relax and not worry about navigating or avoiding obstacles.

Visit the Mini Carnival

Kids ride small cars in the carnival area of Villa Borghese in Rome.

There’s a small area next to the playground with games and a couple of rides.

Things You May Want to Avoid in Villa Borghese with Kids

Kids and adults enter the small green building that's a kids' cinema at Villa Borghese in Rome. There is small snack bar window on right.

Galleria Borghese – While some kids may appreciate the art in Galleria Borghese, remember that there’s plenty of art, history, and architecture in Rome, and Villa Borghese is a great spot to let kids run around.

Little Cinema – Watching a film at the Cinema dei Piccoli sounds lovely, but it’s important to know that the films shown here are not in English. You can watch films in Italian if you want, but your kids may not be interested in sitting through a film in a foreign language.

Bicycles – Yes, I know I mentioned the electric-assist bikes as a fun thing to do with kids in Villa Borghese. Our family loves them, but they’re not for everyone. I would skip them if I was here with my 3-year-old. You could ride with a small baby or toddler in a baby carrier if you wanted to.

Logistics for a Family Visit to Villa Borghese

Kiosk selling food, drinks, and gelato in Villa Borghese in Rome. Someone is making a purchase.

Toilets – There is a pay toilet on the path that runs between Piazza del Popolo and Villa Borghese. It’s a pay toilet but it’s clean. We mostly use the free toilet that’s close to the playground (marked on my map above).

Strollers – Villa Borghese is stroller friendly and you’ll see plenty of Roman parents and tourists pushing their kids around in strollers. The easiest entrance with a stroller is Porta Pinciana.

Picnics – Villa Borghese is a great spot for a picnic. You can sit in the grassy areas, or, if it’s rained recently, use one of the benches.

Breastfeeding – You can breastfeed anywhere you feel comfortable, including at cafes and on benches in the park.

Pharmacy – There are multiple pharmacies around the edges of the park, including near Piazza del Popolo, the Spanish Steps, and Porta Pinciana. Search ‘farmacia’ on Google Maps or ask an Italian, Dov’è la farmacia più vicina?

Opening Hours – Villa Borghese is open from sunrise to sunset.

Official Site – You can find updated info for Villa Borghese on the official site. It’s in Italian but you can translate it with your web browser.

Read more about
Bathrooms in Italy
Strollers in Italy
Diapers in Italy

My Tips for a Successful Visit to Villa Borghese with Kids

Avoiding Crowds – Villa Borghese gets really crowded during the weekends, especially in the summer. If you’re in Rome for a few days, try to plan your visit to avoid the weekend. If you do need to visit on the weekend, try to come before 11:00am. While many other places are crowded and manageable with kids, the electric bicycles are very popular at Villa Borghese and I find it feels dangerous with small kids (the bikes move quickly and the paths are packed).

Gelato – You can buy gelato from the kiosks at Villa Borghese, but if you’re looking for excellent gelato, head to one of our favorite gelaterie in Rome – Gelateria dei Gracchi.

Snacks – Grab snacks at a grocery store before you get to Villa Borghese. If you forget, you can buy from the kiosks, snack bars, or small restaurants.

Picnic Blanket – It’s nice to have something to sit on if you want to picnic. I like to travel with a thin muslin cloth that can also be used as a baby blanket, scarf, or even a towel.

Things to Do With Kids Near Villa Borghese

Hand holds up cup of gelato from Gelateria dei Gracchi in front of Piazza del Popolo in Rome.

Rome is huge and you won’t want to criss-cross the city with kids, so here are a few things that you can do nearby with them.

  • Watch performers in Piazza del Popolo
  • Get gelato at Gelateria dei Gracchi
  • Walk and shop on the pedestrian part of Via del Corso
  • Visit Rome’s childrens museum, Explora
  • See the Spanish Steps
  • Walk through the Capuchin Crypt (best for older kids)

Villa Borghese with Kids – FAQ

What are the alternatives to Villa Borghese in Rome?

Rome has quite a few green spaces, but most of them are outside of the city center where visitors spend time. You can look into Villa Doria Pamphili, Parco dell’Appia Antica, and Villa Ada Savoia. Villa Borghese has plenty to do for kids and it’s conveniently located in the center of Rome.

Does our family have to pay an entrance fee at Villa Borghese?

Nope. Villa Borghese is free. You only need to pay for ‘extras’ like food, bicycle rental, etc.

Is it worth visiting the zoo in Villa Borghese?

If your family enjoys visiting zoos, the Bioparco di Roma (the zoo in Villa Borghese) could be a good option for your family. I didn’t include it on our list because it’s not one of our top things to do in the park.

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