If most people are asked what there is to see in Rome the same sights will come up time and again: the Coliseum, the Vatican, the Roman Forum, St Peter’s basilica, the Trevi fountain and the Pantheon. Short breaks to Rome are hugely popular due to this wealth of classical architectural heritage, but underneath all that there’s a lot more to see. Here are four of the best alternative activities and sights to enjoy when in Rome.
Vintage Vespa Tour
If your romantic visions of traditional Italian life include zooming around the streets of Rome on a vintage Vespa then this tour is for you. Riding as a passenger with an experienced driver at the handle bars you can enjoy a four-hour trip around the city. See the sights, stop for snacks, and pose stylishly as you zoom around the central streets. Don’t fancy riding on a Vespa? Then why not take your trip in a classic FIAT 500 instead?
The Capuchin Crypt
Bones and skulls of almost 4,000 Capuchin monks decorate the walls of this unique and somewhat disturbing crypt. Located beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, the crypt has five separate rooms all displaying bones in different patterns and formations – there are even skull lampshades! A sombre nod to the transience of life or a creepy oddity? You decide!
Release your inner Russell Crowe by taking a two-hour course in gladiator training. Lessons are led by members of the Historic Group of Rome. You’ll be clad in a traditional gladiator tunic to ensure that you look the part and get to grips with a range of traditional weapons. Learn basic sword-fighting techniques before taking part in a gladiator tournament. When asked your name at the end, do take the opportunity to reel off Russell Crowe’s famous line.
If you want to go beyond the pizzas and gelatos then a food tour of Rome is a fantastic way to get to know its culinary tradition and sample some of its authentic flavours. On a day tour you can visit a traditional market while an evening tour takes you to some of the city’s finest eateries. From wine and coffee to ice-cream and pastries, these tours take you on a wonderfully indulgent journey through Rome’s culinary heritage.
Once you’ve enjoyed these four unique experiences there are countless other treats to enjoy, from a visit to the Pasta Museum to a tour round the many tiny art galleries. Have you found an unusual attraction in Rome that you think should be on this list? Tell others about it in the comments below.
Jess Love is a travel writer who specializes in European cities and loves trying the local cuisine wherever she is.