Rome is full of famed crowd-pleasers that require little introduction. But look beyond the towering grandeur of the Colosseum, the Pantheon and Vatican City and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Side-step off the beaten track and try one of these unique things to do in Rome.
1. Explore unique and unusual artefacts said be tainted with the marks of souls stuck between heaven and hell at the Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The fingerprints and handprints singed into books, furniture and clothing are striking to say the least.
2. Peel your ears for the sound of cannons firing on the strike of 12, at noon every day, from the top of Gianicolo Hill. A lasting signal since the battle of Rome was won on this very spot, it’s also a fabulous lookout point for sprawling city views.
3. Mail home a postcard from Vatican City, for the rarest postmarks and stamps your family and friends will ever see. Swiss-run, the Poste Vaticane is also hailed to be far more efficient than the Italian postal system.
4. Bypass the obvious for the elegant and romantic, gothic and somewhat eerie streets of Quartiere Coppede. Brimming with whimsical architecture spanning a wild mish-mash of genres, from stunning medieval and baroque to art nouveau buildings, it makes for utterly fascinating strolling.
5. Enrol in Gladiator School to delve about the history of ancient Roman gladiators. Learn the history, see the swords and jump in the Arena for your own authentic gladiator fight.
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6. Try your luck at ghost hunting on a mysterious night walking tour to the nerve-rattling tune of ancient myths and legends. Two 19th century revolutionaries are said to frequently wander with the heads in their arms, whilst the most famous ghost, Beatrice Cenci, only comes out on the 10th or 11th of November.
7. Seek out the grave sites of famous and significant poets, artists, authors and diplomats in the Protestant Cemetery in Testaccio. A green and shady spot, a few names to look out for include English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelly, as well as artist Joseph Severn and August von Goethe.
8. Admire in awe the archaeological remains of ancient Rome, as they spring to life around you at Palazzo Valentini. Lasers and sound effects take you back in time to the site’s former glory in a majestic spectacle that’s both fascinating and educational.
9. Pedal your way along the ancient road into years gone by at Appia Antica Regional Park. Home to ancient archaeological remains amongst the pine trees and grassy stretches, you’ll discover the enchanting ruins of old Roman churches, tombs and aqueducts in and amongst historically-significant landscapes.
10. Delve beneath the streets into the catacombs to navigate the narrow alleys, stairways and chapels of these macabre early burial grounds. While there are upwards of 50 across the city – including Jewish catacombs – the biggest and best preserved are The Domitilla.
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