Original Things to Do in Rome
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10 Original Things to Do in Rome in 2024

Rome, la città eterna, has always captivated her visitors and inhabitants with its appeal, history and astonishing architecture. While seeing famous sites like the Colosseum and Vatican City is essential for every tourist, discovering Rome’s lesser-known nooks may be a fascinating discovery. Here are five unique things to do to make your trip to Rome even more enjoyable:

The Firing of the Cannon on the Janiculum

Head to the Janiculum Hill, one of Rome’s highest points, for a very distinctive daily ritual. Every day at 12:00, a cannon fired from the Passeggiata del Gianicolo’s terrace marks the moment with a loud boom. This tradition dates back to the 19th century when it served as a time signal for the city. Besides experiencing the cannon firing, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Rome’s skyline, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Roman Forum, making it a perfect spot for a picnic.

Peering Through the Hole in the Orange Garden

Visit the Giardino degli Aranci, also known as the Orange Garden, located on the Aventine Hill. Amidst fragrant orange trees and greenery, discover a keyhole in the garden’s gate that offers a breathtaking view. Through the keyhole, perfectly framed by the garden’s archway, lies a vista of St. Peter’s Basilica framed by cypress trees in the distance. A favored location for photographers and couples looking for a romantic moment, this secret spot offers a distinctive viewpoint of the Vatican City.

Enjoy an Aperitif in Trastevere

Aperitif in Trastevere
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Enjoy an aperitif in Trastevere, a charming and bohemian area of Rome, and get a taste of the native nightlife. Join the locals for what is known as “aperitivo,” an evening ritual that takes place in charming wine bars and busy piazzas. Sip on a cool Aperol Spritz or Negroni and savor a selection of complementary appetizers and canapés that might include cheese, cured meats, crostini, and olives. As you take in the genuine Roman atmosphere, allow the lively energy of Trastevere to embrace you.

Embark on a Tour of Wines of Lazio

Lazio wine

Take a guided tour of the Lazio region’s vineyards and wineries to learn about its rich wine-making history. The charming landscape, only a short drive from Rome, is peppered with vineyards that yield a range of wines, including the well-known Frascati and Cesanese del Piglio. Take the perfect wine tasting tour with trained sommeliers who will explain the grape kinds, winemaking methods, and tasting notes used in the area. Savor a range of internationally recognized wines matched with regional specialties, all while taking in breath-taking vistas of the Lazio countryside’s undulating hills and charming villages.

Explore the Catacombs

Explore Rome’s underground catacombs to learn about the early Christians’ secret worship and burial of their deceased. Discover intricately frescoed tunnels, burial chambers, and historic treasures that provide a fascinating look into the city’s early Christian history. Select from a variety of catacomb locations, each with distinctive features and tales to tell, such the Catacombs of San Callisto, Domitilla, or Priscilla. Guided tours give a frightening yet fascinating experience, providing insights into the religious and archaeological significance of the underground monuments.

Take a pasta-making class

Learn the art of Italian cuisine by yourself.  Join a course of a local chef in a traditional Roman kitchen and learn the art of creating fresh pasta from scratch. By kneading the dough and shaping different pasta shapes like fettuccine, ravioli, and tortellini, you’ll discover the secrets behind crafting Italy’s most beloved dish. As you roll out the dough and cut it into silky ribbons, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and tradition that goes into each plate of pasta. And of course, the best part comes at the end when you sit down to enjoy a delicious meal paired with local wine, savoring the fruits of your labor.

Attend a traditional Roman Gladiator School

Step back in time and channel your inner warrior with a visit to a traditional Roman gladiator school. Led by experienced instructors, you’ll learn the ancient techniques of sword fighting, shield defense, and hand-to-hand combat just like the gladiators of ancient Rome. Don authentic armor and weaponry as you train in the same arenas where gladiators once battled for glory and honor. Whether you’re a history buff or simply seeking an adrenaline-filled adventure, a day at the gladiator school transports you back to the days of the Roman Empire.

Go on a vintage Vespa tour

Feel the wind in your hair as you weave through traffic and navigate narrow alleyways, stopping at famous sites like the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Piazza Navona. With a knowledgeable guide leading the way, you’ll uncover hidden neighborhoods that most tourists miss. A vintage Vespa tour will be a unique and exhilarating way to explore the Eternal City of Rome, and make you feel as if you were one of the main characters of a good old Italian film.

Take a night tour of Rome’s illuminated monuments

Discover the magic of Rome after dark with a guided night tour that shows the city’s most iconic monuments. See the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon, illuminated against the night sky. Learn about the fascinating history and legends behind each site, away from the daytime crowds. This will for sure give you a totally different perspective from just a general tourist in this beautiful city.

Experience a gladiator reenactment

Watch costumed performers bring history to life via spectacular fight scenes and authentic equipment. Cheer on your favorite gladiator as he competes against opponents in a battle of power, skill, and courage. A gladiator reenactment, with its adrenaline-pumping excitement delivers a compelling peek into the violent yet intriguing world of ancient Rome. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a great time, seeing a gladiator reenactment will undoubtedly be a highlight of your visit in the Eternal City.

Rome has numerous facets, therefore it is not unexpected that it has piqued people’s interest and drawn large crowds for centuries. In addition to taking advantage of the most well-known sights during your visit, we strongly advise you to organize your stay by getting an insider’s view of this amazing city.

Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignspolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com