Rome. Italy – a dream destination for explorers, families, foodies and love-birds alike. All you’ve heard about Rome’s historic wealth, architectural grandiosity, and divine dining is all too true. Every bit of it. Rome is the kind of city where you can spend an entire week and still not feel truly content that you have satisfied your curiosity for all there is to do and explore. The adventures are endless, and each day seems too short to discover all this extravagant city has to offer. There’s so many places to see, things to do, and places to go in Roma Italy!
But once you have gazed at its remarkable “must see” monuments, explored the history, indulged in the tourist attractions in Rome, ate pizza and pasta from authentic bistros, and had your fare share of lemonciello, I want to take you off the beaten track. Become a traveler after you have been a tourist and see Rome, experience her people and explore her culture in a different light. After scraping the surface by getting on and off buses, taking photos, and being engulfed in history and design, dig a little deeper into what the Eternal City has to offer.
Here are seven unusual but best things to do in Rome that will top your list of favorite experiences without a doubt when you travel to Rome.
1. Take an Italian Cooking Class with Nonna Herself
An Italian “Nonna” is waiting for you to visit her apartment and learn how to make local deliciousness in a 4-hour cooking extravaganza. Hands on, you will use local produce and fresh ingredients as you prepare a meal of antipasto (appetizer), homemade pasta, a meat dish, and dessert. Best of all, after all your hard work you get to enjoy your tasty feast with local wine and good company.
Cooking Tours can be booked with eatingitalyfoodtours.com which has a lot of mouth-watering array of packages to choose from, including an Italian wine and food pairing class, a Historic Rome Sunday Tour where old-fashioned Roman cuisine is enjoyed in ancient surroundings, and also a Vatican Food & Drink Tour following the backstreets from the Vatican to foodie paradise.
Buon appetito and enjoy your Rome holidays!
2. Go on an Electric Bike Tour
Let’s face it, there is way too much to see and do in Rome in just a few days. I often find you miss so much when bussing about as you see more traffic en route than anything else. Walking is the best way to soak in the culture and really experience your surroundings. But how much of this amazing city can you cover on foot in a day, especially in summer when temperatures make you feel more like swimming in the Trevi fountain than taking pictures of it. The perfect solution? An E-bike tour! Feel the wind in your hair as you cruise around the city, away from traffic and close enough to absorb all the beauty and history you find yourself surrounded with. Best of all – it’s eco-friendly.
The Roman Guy Tours will guide you through all the must-see sites of Rome without the summer heat sweat from walking miles, plus you’ll be able to cover much more terrain. The added bonus, and a big one at that, is being able to pass through the narrow little back streets, hidden piazzas, secret passages, and spots with amazing views.
Although you don’t need to do much peddling on an E-bike, you still need to have good balance, and it helps that you are comfortable cycling. If a few hours in a saddle don’t quite tickle your fancy, you could also opt for a Segway tour instead.
3. Take a Night Walking Tour of the City
You may wonder what would make an evening walk any superior to day time sightseeing. By far one of my favorite experiences in Rome was taking a night walking tour when the city turns from the hustle and bustle of tourists and students to a sparkling glow of romance and mystical history around every corner. Sidewalk cafes are lit up, there is light chatter in the air and wine glasses tinkling.
The night tour will take you around the city to see the top tourist attractions in Rome such as the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Colosseum illuminated by night. Night tours are generally much less crowded if you are traveling in peak season. Your guide will take you through alleys and cobblestone streets and share some of Rome’s historical secrets and hidden places you definitely won’t encounter on a day-time bus tour. The narrow pathways hold ancient stories and family tales intertwined with modern-day Roman lifestyle.
After you’ve worked up an appetite from the three hour walk, enjoy a relaxed dinner at one of the many eateries around Piazza Navona, and soak up the aromas of hearty Italian hospitality. Afterall, you’re on vacation in Rome!
4. Music and Movies Under the Stars
Whether you attend a concert at the Colosseum or under the stars in the courtyard of Saint Ivo alla Sapienza (just a short walk from Piazza Navona), music under the stars is definitely a worthy addition to any summer itinerary. Although I did not attend it myself, during our night walking tour we passed a concert with the Colosseum gloriously lit up as the backdrop to the event. I almost climbed the fence to join in the spectacular scene. Melodious music on starry summer nights, sipping aperitifs and gazing at spectacular ancient ruins lit up in majesty… I don’t think I need say more. Check which concerts are available during your travel period as there is a variety of music, performances, and ballet, depending on your preference.
A more laid-back alternative is attending an outdoor cinema. This experience makes you feel a little like you are in a movie yourself. There are a few different venue set-ups, so check which one may be more convenient for you, or try out different ones if you are going to be spending a long time in the Eternal City. Tip: Best enjoyed with Gelato in hand. This is one of the best things to do in Rome!
Eataly is any foodies dream. Actually you don’t even have to be a foodie to love Eataly. This warehouse size deli, with different levels, is stuffed to the brim with high quality food and drink celebrating Italy’s food and wine culture. Being a bit of a foodie myself, I couldn’t help but rate this up there with viewing the Colosseum. This is truly one of the top places to see in Rome.
Italians believe that food brings people together, and that one of the greatest sources of joy is what happens around the dining table. Here you can shop for the perfect gift to take home (although I usually end up devouring it all myself) and after shopping up a storm, you can sit down for a meal in the cafeteria section where you can enjoy Italian pasta of note.
Eataly celebrates local produce as well as the finer, delicate art of food, sweets, pastry, and coffee. Whether you are buying a loaf of bread, or piling in caviar and world-class wine, Eataly promises quality that will not disappoint. Mamma Mia!
6. Roof Top Terrace
Whether it’s your hotel, a historic site, or a restaurant, find yourself a rooftop terrace where you can sit, have a glass, and watch the sunset. There is something about Rome that makes even this a magical experience. After a long, tiring (yet exhilarating) day, a roof-top terrace with scattered pot plants and city view as the sun makes its way beyond the horizon, is all you need. A perfect end to the ultimate day and start to another magical evening. It certainly tops my “what to do in Rome” list.
7. Become a Roman Gladiator
I will admit, I did not become a successful gladiator during my time in Rome. I was eating way too many gelatos, when really I should have been working off the calories by being a Roman warrior for a day, and received a certificate for my efforts. Currently, I’m wondering why there were no certificates for the best gelato eating performance.
None the less, to those who are warriors, or warriors at heart, or possibly just have a good sense of humor, why not become an athletic Roman superstar for a day. At the Roman Gladiator School, you will learn how to fight with authentic weapons during a two-hour gladiator training session near the Colosseum. You will learn fighting techniques, wear traditional gear (don’t worry you can keep your trousers on), and have the opportunity to participate in a gladiator tournament. That, however, is optional. Ready to fight off beastly lions and fierce fellow gladiators? Come on, be the hero for a day. You’ve traveled all the way to Rome.
Rome is definitely one of my all-time favorite destinations. Its charm is eternal, its food delicious, and there is never a shortage of places to go and things to see. You certainly won’t run short of what to do or sights to see in Rome city! Even a simple stroll down the cobblestone streets has a unique flair and charm. When in Rome, there is no doubt you should see as many of the “must-see” in Rome – great historic and cultural sites as possible. It truly is mind-blowing. And then, savor some time off the beaten track Rome attractions. Eat with Nonna, become a hero and a romantic all at the same time. But most importantly, eat gelato!