7 Unique and Fun Things to Do in Rome
Unusual ways to experience the Eternal City
Everyone knows the major monuments of Rome. The Colosseum, Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Spanish Steps are on every visitor’s checklist and remain unmissable parts of the city. But Rome is a complex, vibrant place which stretches beyond its immediately recognizable sights. To get a real feel for the city sometimes it is good to take a look from another point of view, be it through the food, architecture, history or people.
We have put together our top picks for the best ways to see the city from another perspective. Here are 7 unique and fun things to do in Rome.
Roam the empty city on an Amazing Sunrise tour
Most of the time Rome is a chaotic, bustling metropolis but early in the morning the city is deserted and the streets and piazzas echo with silence. The fabulous Amazing Sunrise tour by Miles and Miles takes advantage of the awakening city to show off the beauty of Rome with nobody else about. This private tour escorts you around town in plush Mercedes minivan, making pit-stops at all of the city’s iconic attractions, while the personable and informative driver/guide feeds you fascinating information and tidbits about every nook and cranny of the Eternal City as the sun comes up.
See Ancient Rome come to life with a sound and light show
By day Rome’s ancient forums are spectacular, but come evening the Viaggio nei Fori multimedia show really brings the ruins to life. Listen to the story of the city on headphones (multiple languages are available) as light projections recreate Rome as it once was. There is a choice between shows at the Forum of Caesar and the Forum of Augustus and they take place at regular intervals throughout the evening from April to November.
Discover the wonderful world of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Most food lovers who come to Rome will book a food tour, wine or beer tasting or cooking class, but for something a little different why not venture into the world of olive oil. At Local Aromas’ Extra Virgin Olive Oil tasting you will be guided by a qualified expert olive oil sommelier and learn not only the right way to taste oil and the story of how it is made but also how to distinguish between good and bad oils when you get home. As an added bonus, the tasting takes place in the stunning Local Aromas kitchen with views across the rooftops of Rome.
Eat Roman street food at Testaccio market
The local market of the southern neighborhood of Testaccio was given a modern revamp in 2012 and since then has continued to build its reputation as one of the best places in Rome to eat and shop for food. Historic family-run produce stalls rub shoulders with hip, innovative eateries, many of whom put a new spin on old Roman classics. Swing by for lunch (the market closes around 2.30pm) and sample Michelin-starred chef Cristina Bowerman’s tasty offerings at Romeo (box 30/44), Sergio Esposito’s delectable Roman panini at Mordi e Vai (box 15), some of the best pizza by the slice in Rome at CasaManco (box 22) and the fantastic fried snacks at FoodBox (box 66). For those looking for something a little healthier, try the vegetarian salads and smoothies at Zoé (box 59).
Hop on the back of a Vespa
Channel your inner Italian and speed through the streets the city on the back of a Vespa. Rental company Bici & Baci offer several Vespa tours including the wonderful Grand Tour of Rome, a 4-hour extravaganza which takes in all of the famous spots and a few extra sights beyond the city walls, stopping for plenty of photo opportunities. Daredevils can ride their own Vespa but if you prefer not to battle with the frantic Roman traffic you can cling on behind an experienced driver.
Take a tour on Tram 19
Most visitors to Rome get around town on foot or take the metro or bus. But Rome also has a tram network predominantly used by inhabitants of the outer suburbs to reach the city center. For an unofficial and great value tour of some of the lesser-known parts of town simply buy a €1.50 ticket and jump on tram number 19 which runs between Piazza Risorgimento near the Vatican and the eastern neighborhood of Centocelle. Take in the changing architecture and cityscape as the tram rattles through elegant Prati, verdant Villa Borghese, and stately Nomentana before passing through studenty San Lorenzo. It then circles the ancient city gate of Porta Maggiore before heading through Pigneto with its trendy bars and street art to up-and-coming Centocelle.
Dig deeper with a tour of Underground Rome
Rome was built up layer-by-layer over the centuries and the level of the ancient city was much lower than the modern streets, meaning that there are many ancient sites to discover right underneath your feet. Through Eternity‘s group tour of Underground Rome and the Catacombs is a great way to experience this, often unseen, side of the city. Travel by minivan to visit the multi-level basilicas of San Clemente and Santi Giovanni e Paolo before heading out along the ancient Appian Way to the subterranean tunnels of the Catacombs of Domitilla.