What to Read and Watch: Rome for Kids

Young Context Travelers Exploring the Colosseum

Young Context Travelers Exploring the Colosseum

Gearing up for a Roman adventure with your family? A little preparation can go a long way in navigating the city like a local, understanding Roman history, and getting the most out of your time in Italy. 

We've put together a list of pre-trip reads and videos that can help younger travelers feel ready to conquer the Eternal City.

To Read

Younger Gladiators:

See Inside Ancient Rome by Katie Daynes: Peer into the life of the ancient Romans with this interactive book. With vibrant colors and liftable flaps that reveal secrets and sneak peeks, this book is a hit with younger readers. 

Mission Rome: A Scavenger Hunt Adventure by Catharine Aragon: Embark on a thrilling hunt across famous landmarks.

This is Rome: A Children's Classic by Miroslav Sasek: Vibrant illustrations and a playful narrative help children trace the history of Roman civilization from its beginnings to today. Navigate Rome’s winding streets to visit famous landmarks while also getting familiar with modern Roman life. 

Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Philip Matyszak: Pack your toothbrush and get your wallet ready, we’re going shopping! Journey back in time to experience ancient Rome in 200 AD, learning how to negotiate with vendors, finding iconic landmarks and the best public baths, and understanding what to wear to a dinner party. Toga, anyone?

Pre-Teen Romans:

The Thieves of Ostia by Caroline Lawrence: This is the first in a series of mysteries set in Rome. Follow an unlikely group of friends as they work together to solve a neighborhood crime. 

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff: Follow a young Roman officer as he sets out to uncover the truth of the disappearance of the Ninth Legion, a band of Roman soldiers who set out for Britain never to be seen again. 

Ancient Rome For Kids by Captivating History: There certainly was never a dull moment in Ancient Rome! Full of incredible facts and little known stories, readers will learn about the many different facets of the city.

Ancient Rome Infographics by Nicolas Guillerat and John Scheid: For the visual learners out there, this book tells the story of the Roman Empire through incredible graphics. See into the details of various facets of Roman life, taking a new approach to understanding Rome’s politics, lifestyles, and culture.

To Watch

Quick Bits for Curious Travelers:  

Get a glimpse into the life of a teenager in Ancient Rome. What is his day like? How does he fit into society, and what is expected of him? Watch here. 

Sisters in Ancient Rome navigate life in the city. If you were a young girl, how would you spend your day with Domitia? Watch here. 

Who were the Vestal Virgins? From sacrifices and daily rituals, learn about the young women who kept vigil over the flame of Vesta. Watch here. 

Did you know that Romans flooded the Colosseum for sea battles? These mock maritime battles took place at the command of the emperors. Watch here.

For the adults:

Rome: Get wrapped up in this Emmy-award winning series that follows the lives of both ordinary and well-off citizens of Rome just before the Republic fell. 

Spartacus: This series follows the life of Spartacus, a gladiator who rebelled against the Romans.

Gladiator: Need we say more? This iconic film is rated R, so take caution with little ones around. However, older teens may find the story of corrupt government and one man’s journey for vengeance an exciting tale.  

De Reditu: This film tells the true story of a Roman poet who, after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths, embarked on a journey to bring glory back to the Empire. 

With this guide, your Roman adventure is sure to be an unforgettable journey through time for the whole family. What would you add to the list?