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Beautiful Curves

After some careful thought and input from the museum educator we are working with to revamp our Context for Families program, we have decided to reinstate our “Vatican for Families” walk. However, we do advise parents to read this post before booking that walk because while an extremely significant monument in Rome, the Vatican is simply not a space we would deem “kid friendly.”

The Vatican Museums are a space that often has up to 22,000 visitors daily, meaning the waits can be long even as you are moving inside the galleries. As it was designed as a Papal palace and not a modern museum, remember that most visitors inside are pushed along the same path, with hardly any places to sit and rest and a cafe only at the very beginning of the complex. This means that should kids need a pit stop, it is logistically very difficult for both the group and the docent. While these conditions are normally quite hard on adults, it can be excruciating on kids. Your kids should be prepared for this.

We’ve designed our Vatican for Families walk for a duration of three hours, without a stop at St. Peter’s, as this length of time is what even our docents most experienced with children have found to be the best in terms of attention span and fatigue.

Should families choose to book our Vatican for Families walk, we will certainly pair you with one of our family-friendly docents, who has been trained in an inquiry based learning method in order to have the entire family engage in the learning process. We also may use materials to educate and keep the interest of the family. Keep in mind that this walk is purposely aimed for the family as a whole and while still with a scholar, it is impossible for the docent to lead a discussion at a child’s level and also conduct a high level scholarly discourse with parents. We would suggest that parents or family members looking for a very scholarly experience directed at an adult level book our normal Vatican walks and look into a child care option for their children during that time.

We would also like to remind parents that the Vatican Museums are filled with priceless artworks and monuments. The space also has a spiritual significance and for many visitors is something they’ve waited years to visit. Our role is to provide a learning experience. We expect that your children will be well-behaved and refrain from touching the art, laying on the ground, loud behavior, running, and all other inappropriate behavior. Or, we expect parents to take any unruly children away from the group and out of the museums. Our docents are there to provide this experience for your children, but they are not in any way expected to be disciplinarians or babysitters for them.

Also remember that the content of the artworks within the museums and the discussions they spur can often be jarring for children who are not used to seeing depictions of crucifixions, martyrdoms, etc. Questions such as “What is a Virgin?” or “Why is that man bleeding?” are not unheard of and we recommend that parents prepare their children for these type of topics before they arrive.

Comments

18 Comments on “Vatican with Families”

  1. Diane Burdette

    My husband, 3 daughters (ages 8,9,&12) and I have lived in Zurich for 2-1/2 years. Trip to Rome planned for 4 nights in February(arrive p.m. of 11th and leave morning of 15th). Considering booking your Vatican with Families tour on the 12th (Thursday). Please give cost details for our family of 5 and recommendations on time to meet when waiting in lines will be minimal.

    Look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Diane Burdette

  2. Sara Jenez

    We will be traveling with our 14 year old son and 12.5 year old daughter. Is this tour appropriate for our family? I can’t tell if it’s aimed at families with younger children. Thanks.

  3. Jessica

    Hi Sara, yes, this walk is appropriate for teens as well as younger children, as our docents will change the level of their talk to fit the age and interest of the children.

  4. Michele

    Is this tour appropriate for a 9 year old? If not, can you please recommend a more appropriate manner for us to enjoy the Vatican? Thank you,

  5. Jessica

    Hi Michele,

    Yes, this visit is more that appropriate for a 9 year. In fact, we often have families visit with even younger children, so I think your child will certainly be able to get a lot out of the walk.

  6. Jennifer Marks

    We are traveling to Rome this summer with an 9 year old and a 4 year old. In your experience, is the 4 year old too young for this tour?

  7. Jessica

    Hi Jennifer, 4 years is on the young side, but we have done the visit with this age group before and by having the smaller child interact with their older sibling and asking them to observe on a basic level, things have gone quite well. You might consider bringing a push stroller since there is a lot of time on your feet and often little available seating.

  8. Lia

    Hi Michelle
    My husband, my mother and I are planning a trip to Rome the end of May with our 3 children who at that time will be 5, nearly 3 and 9 months. We are art lovers and have never been to Rome so are dying to see the Vatican, however I am concerned about the children. Our plan was to bring our double stroller for the two older kids in case they got tired, and a small folding one for our younger child. Have you conducted this tour with children this young and how did it turn out. Our oldest son is also diabetic so we need to make sure we have snacks and juice with us always- if necessary will we be able to give him a snack during the tour

  9. Jessica

    Hello! In this case, the children are quite young so while we would certainly aim to keep the 5 year old engaged, the walk would primarily be for the adults and we would pair you with a docent who enjoys working with children and would be understanding of the needs your party would have traveling with infants.

  10. Lori Mandell

    I am traveling to Rome in a couple of weeks with my husband and our 18 year old daughter. Do you suggest a family tour or a tour for adults? She will be going to college in the fall.

  11. Petulia

    Hi Lori,

    Thanks for commenting. I think you can go for an adult tour. Our family walks are normally designed for children who are 12 and under, so your daughter will certainly appreciate the grown up version of the walk! Hope this helps.

    Petulia

  12. Jenny

    Hi Michelle,

    We are travelling to Rome with my 9 year old and 7 year old children in March. They are currently learning about Christianity in and outside of school. I understand that a three hour tour is a very good length for families. But we really would like some guidance in touring St Peter’s Basilica.
    Can this be arranged and adapted into a 3 hour tour?

    Jenny

  13. Teresa

    We will be traveling to Rome from the US with our 11 year old daughter this June. She is an extremely mature child. We really want to include the Basilica in our tour. Would the family tour be the best way to go, or do you think the Arte Vaticana would be appropriate for our desire and our daughter’s age? Please advise any recommendations for our private tour.

  14. Emily Knight

    Hi Teresa,

    Yes, the Vatican for Families walk would be the way to go as we have a minimum age limit of 13 for our non-family walks. The family walk doesn’t normally include the Basilica however, so if you would like to discuss a more customized version which include St Peter’s, you are very welcome to email us at italy@contexttravel.com or call us on 1-800-691-6036.

    Emily

  15. Lisa

    We are visiting Rome celebrating my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. We are 5 adults and 3 kids from 10-14. Can your tour accommodate 8?

  16. Jessica Stewart

    Thank you Lisa. I’ve asked our Italy client specialist to reach out to you regarding your request. You should be hearing from us soon!

  17. Gita Karnani

    we are a family of 4. My husband, me and my two children ( age 11 and 9) who want to visit the Vatican and tour it with your family friendly guide. Pls suggest how we get about it. We want to tour on 2nd January. Thanks so much

  18. Jessica Stewart

    Hello Gita! The best thing to do is to place your order directly online here via our website: http://www.contexttravel.com/city/rome/walking-tour-details/vatican-for-families If there are any questions regarding your order, our team will be in touch. As the holidays are a busy time of the year, I suggest placing your order soon so that we do not run out of availability for family docents. Enjoy your trip!

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