Sometimes wearing sunglasses and speaking Italian isn’t quite cool enough. If you’re looking for some experiences on your Roman holiday that everyone will be talking about, you definitely need to leave the beaten track behind and head out into the unknown. Here are some fantastic alternative things to do in Rome.
La Carbonara is a family-run, authentic Italian restaurant which is owned by the Rossi family, with Mama Teresa running the kitchen and son Andrea working the front of house. The restaurant is located in Monti – a trendy neighbourhood which, with its narrow streets, wooden shutters and dangling ivy, has an impossibly Italian feel. Don’t be fooled by the rustic exterior – this is a top-notch restaurant popular with locals, celebrities and just about anyone who visits!
Although they do serve a mean Carbonara, the name actually comes from the family connection to the coal store which was once across the street. The menu itself is a mouth-watering mix of traditional and contemporary, Mama Teresa never scared to try out something new. Top dishes include the strozzapreti and, of course, the carbonara.
Porta Portese is one of the biggest flea markets in Europe. It takes place in Trastevere from 7 am to 2 pm every Sunday. You can find everything here from books and antiques to rave wear and fake designer bags. It’s always best to go earlier as there are thousands of people and the stalls can sometimes be difficult to get close to. It’s worth noting, however, that some of the best stalls are on the surrounding side streets.
The market sellers will be more than happy to haggle and this is the best way to know you’ve got a great deal. Enter from Piazza Ippolito Nievo if you’re looking for antique furniture, curiosities and fabrics. Enter at Piazza Porta Portese if you’re after shoes, clothing and homeware. Be sure to keep a hold of your belongings as the area is known for pickpockets and it’s more than likely you’ll be in a bit of a crush if you’re there in the afternoon.
Gladiators, the ancient Roman fighters who fought for honour and emancipation, were ruthless, bloodthirsty, but brave. Today, hundreds of years later, the amphitheatres which still stand are no longer home to blood and brutality, yet the incredible bravery of the gladiators is not forgotten. When visiting Rome, anyone can take part in some gladiator training to learn some gladiatorial techniques.
There are a number of gladiator schools in Rome and sessions usually last two to three hours. You will learn about the history of gladiators – who they were, how they lived and the vast audiences they entertained. Then you will learn techniques of hand-to-hand combat and sword-fighting as well as well as important principles like when to attack and when to defend. You will also learn how to use special Roman weapons as well the iconic Roman shield.
There are also alternative walking tours of the city, or even Segway or Scooter tours! For Alternative Things to See in Rome, check out our article. Of course, you may wish to visit some of the more well-known attractions, in which case you should definitely read our guide to the Big 6 Tourist Attractions in Rome.