The Mesmerising city of Rome is a hub of ancient culture and charm. The capital city of Italy, was once a cosy little town on the banks of the Tiber river. It has now grown by leaps and bounds into city covering 1502 square kilometres and housing almost three million people.
Rome carries a huge legacy of the history of the Great Roman Empire on its shoulders. The numerous architectural marvels and the art around the city, exhibits the magnificent times of the era gone by. Walking on the streets of Rome sure takes you back in time. There are quite a number amazing things to do for you in this historic city.
Also Read: Places to visit in Italy
The city of Rome
The culture of Rome is an amalgamation of ancient as well as modern thinking. Those who have visited the mesmerizing city are in awe of the way the Romans have delicately balanced the old and the new. On one hand, you will find a lot of ancient ruins and monuments that tell us a historic tale. On the other hand, Romans have found a modern way to live life in the background of their culture and the vast history that comes along with their territory. The contrast between the old and the new is another reason why you have to visit the charming city of Rome on your next vacation.
Rome is home is a great number of events that happen all round the calendar. And for those who like to stray away from the usual path, we will tell you how to enjoy the city to the fullest.
Here are some fun and interesting things to do in Rome.
Group activities to do in Rome
1) A combined tour to the Colosseum, Palentine hill and Roman forum
A vacation to Rome should always start with visiting Colosseum, Palentine hill and Roman forum. The level of history in these places is breathtaking. The very sight of these ancient monuments makes us wonder about the level of architectural finesse that our ancestors possessed.
The Colosseum is a ancient ruined amphitheatre build in the 70-80 AD. The vast size of the monument is surely to take your breath away. It was constructed as a venue for Animal hunting, execution and gladiator battles. Being in the centre of the city it was easily accessible to the masses. The ancient structure could seat a whooping 50,000-80,000 people, and was the largest man made structure built at the time. The Palentine hill is situated right next to the Colosseum.
The top of the hill lets to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and its ruins. One of the seven hills’ that make up the city of Rome, Palentine is an extensive architectural site now. It houses the Flavian palace, the Stadium of the Domitian and the legendary hut of Romulus. The Roman Forum houses the ruins of some of the most important buildings of the ancient Roman empire. It is said to be the most visited architectural site, right after the Colosseum,. Taking this guided tour is one of the top things to do in Rome.
There are a lot of guided tours in Rome which will help you skip lengthy lines at such places. Taking these tours will also help you get more information regarding the history and the legends of the monuments.
- Fees- INR 6,615 for a group of twenty people.
- Timings- 10 AM to 6 PM. (8 Hours)
- Tips to remember- It is advised to wear comfortable walking shoes as the tour may require a lot of walking. Also, carrying an umbrella or wearing shades may be required to avoid direct sunlight.
2) Rome Marathon
For all the athletes and sports fanatics, taking part in the annual Rome marathon is the best way to experience the charm and the vibe of the fascinating city. The annual Rome, known as the “Maratona Di Roma” by the locals is a perfect opportunity to practice your athletic form as well as soak in the architectural marvels of the city together. Held every year, the Rome marathon attracts 16 thousand runners from 131 countries of the world. The track of th marathon takes you through the most important historical monuments in the city.
The tour starts and ends at the Colosseum, stretching over 42 kilometres. It also takes you through some of the neighbourhoods like the Ostiense and Parioli. Running the marathon is one of the best things to do in a group while in the historic city.
- Fees- INR 8560/- (Groups may get a discount)
- Timings- The marathon starts at 8.30 AM.
- Tips to Remember- The track of the marathon is dotted with all facilities like drinking water and toilets. However, foreign nationals need to register at least a month before the event. You also have a set of rules and regulations to follow to participate in the marathon.
3) Watch a match in Stadio Olimpico
The Romans are known for their loved for Football. And when the city top two teams AS Roma and SS Lazio, play against each other, you may feel the tension in the air. The stadium filled with football fanatics and their pompous display for the love of the game is something to watch. The stadium is also known to be one of the largest sports facilities in Rome.
Watching a great football match amidst so much history and culture is certain to give you an adrenaline rush. The stadium will also serve as a melting pot of cultures as you will get to spot people from different nationals. You can also gorge on some amazing street food outside the stadium after the match. This is one of the best things to do if you are visiting Rome in a group. After all, Rome is not all about the history and past.
- Fees- 4660/- per person (Groups may get a discount)
- Duration of the event– 3-4 hours
Also See: Find out the best time to visit Rome
4) Visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel
The Vatican museum is a very important part of world history and therefore tourists throng the place each year. Founded by Pope Paul VI 1973, it contains the portraits of all the Popes from 16th century till date. The museum is arranged into two wings. The first wing houses the paintings and other history related to all the Papal States, along with a portrait of all the popes till date. You may also witness some items used by the pope, religious vessels and certain documents related to the ceremonial orders given by the pope.
The second wing is quite fascinating as it displays the “pope mobile”, something that helps the pope travel during public appearances. There are a number of carriages and wagons of display. You may even sight the first cars used by the pope here.
The Sistine chapel on the other hand, is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, which is the official residence of the Pope. The chapel attracts art enthusiasts from far and wide due to it being decorated with frescos by celebrated painters of the Renaissance. The likes of Sandro Bottichelli, Pinturiccho and Cosimo Roselli have created beautiful frescos on the walls and the dome of the chapel which depict the Life of Moses and the Life of Christ. The main attraction, however, is the painting depicting the last Judgement, by the ever famous Michelangelo. The most important function of the Sistine chapel is to serve as a venue for the election of the Pope, every year.
- Recommended for– History Buffs, Art enthusiasts and Religious fanatics
- Entry Fees- INR 1323/-
- Things to Do– Do wear Conservative clothing while visiting religious places. A guided tour will help you skip long queues at the venue
- Quick tip– The Vatican museums are for free on the last Sunday of every month.
5) See St Peters church from a different point of view
The St Peter’s church is known to be the largest church in the world, an architectural marvel of the Renaissance era. It was largely designed by Donato Bramante, Carlo Maderna and Michelangelo. It is said to be the burial site of St Peter, who was chief among the apostles of Jesus. The central dome of the church forms the important part of Rome’s sky line. It holds a very important place as a part of Christian pilgrimage and is also considered an architectural marvel, due to its walls and domes adorned with the paintings of some of the most celebrated artists in the world.
If you want a different perspective of this Historical place, you can see the dome of the church through the keyhole on the gate to the headquarters of the Knights of the Malta, which is situated on the Aventine hill. The view is breathtaking and one of the best things to do in Rome.
- Recommended for – Religious enthusiasts, History lovers, Art buffs
- Entry fees– Free
- Duration– 1.5- 2 hours
- Things to do– The pope’s Angelus prayers on Sunday morning at the St Peters Square is something that should not be missed.
- Quick tip– You may have to go through a lot of security checks so make sure to not carry any knives of other sharp objects with you.
6) Discover Roman street art at Ostiense
The eternal city of Rome is said to be an oasis of modern art. And the Neighbourhood or Ostiense is an up and coming place with street art and walls adorned with Graffiti from international artists such as Ron English and Malo Farfan. Once an ancient neighbourhood, it is slowly transforming itself into the most happening and colourful places of Rome.
Ostience has everything in its vicinity. What makes it so popular among the people of Rome is its vicinity to the amazing monuments, to the hip and happening restaurants and which through the locality. However, the street art is something that attracts a huge crowd. Right from gastros, Pizzerias to Japanese restaurants, visiting Ostiense is a one of the top things to do if you want to experience the modern facet of Rome.
- Recommended for– Travel enthusiast, youngsters, Honeymooners
- Things to do– Do visit the street art museum in the vicinity.
- Quick tip– The neighbourhood is quite stretch nous. Locals would recommend renting a vespa and exploring the place and soak up its vibe.
7) Shop at the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino
No vacation is complete without some retail therapy, isn’t it? So who would you go for recommendations to pick up some souvenirs and other memorabilia from your vacation? The locals of course!! If you ask the locals for the best places to shop in Rome, all of them will guide you towards the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino. The place has everything that Rome has to offer.
And the best part of the market is the fact that it is a melting pot of all cultures. You can find people from all over the world selling everything from, fruits to meat. The place is rather vibrant and noisy, much like your regular market. Only the vendors speak in various foreign languages, adding to the charm of the place. The Market is a haven for budget shopping and if you want to buy exotic produce at throwaway prices.
- Recommended for– Family, couples and Travel enthusiasts
- Things to do– Do get hold of some exotic fruit sold in the market, one of which being yangmei, a sweet red fruit of Chinese origin.
- Quick tip– You may want to get a guide with you for bargaining as you have find it difficult to communicate with the vendors.
8) Eat at Romeow cafe
You may find cosy little cafes all across the city but if you are looking for a completely unique experience, then a visit to the Romeow cafe is a must. Did the name itself catch your attention? Then, you will be amused to learn why exactly it’s called that. Romeow is one-of-its -kind cafe in Rome which is an amazing place to visit of you are a cat lover. Wondering what the cafe has in connection with cats? Well, the cafe houses a family of cats moving freely about the place.
In fact, you can even pet them or play with them while having your daily cuppa. The cafe is quite popular for its unique attraction. Along with some feline friends for company, the cafe also dishes out some mouth watering dishes. The menu also has plenty of options for vegans and gluten-in tolerant as well. Visiting this unique cafe is one of the best things to do in Rome
- Recommended for– Family, couples, Adrenaline junkies
- Things to do– Their amazing range of vegan cakes are a must try.
9) Discover the art district of San Lorenzo
Want to take a piece of the Roman art with you? Then head to San Lorenzo, also commonly known as the Art district of Rome. It is situated in the neighbourhood of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, which is where it gets its name from. The street has a lot of colourful graffiti and street art to admire. The street has a rather laid back bohemian vibe. Lots of trendy shops and bars on tap attracts the youth of the city.
It also hosts regular movie screenings, live band and music, or dancing classes for the ones that want to make the most of their life. Combined with some amazing nightlife and place to eat, a visit to this place is one of the amazing things to do while on your Rome vacation. What more!! The street is a place ro shop till you drop, with a wide range of clothing and jewellery shops dotting the streets on either side. You can even buy a piece of art for you to adorn the walls of your house, back home.
- Recommended for– Couples, Adventurers, Travel Enthusiasts
- Things to do- The streets which adorn the murals of the ever famous Alice Pasquini, should not be missed.
- Quick Tip– You can take the help of the locals there to find out the best events happening in the place while you rare visiting.
10) Eating Italy Foods Tours
The culinary expertise of the Italians is known all over the world. If you want to want to experience the complete heaven of Italian food, You must go on one of these tours. There is many Eating Italy food tours that will take you on a never-before culinary journey to the country’s finest dishes. A number of wine tasting or Paste making tours will certainly make your vacation rather unforgettable.
The wine tasting tours will take you to a local vineyard and also educate you about the process of making world class Italian wine. You will also get to savour some excellently aged wines in the process. There are some tours that will guide you to the best street food that Rome has to offer. You can book a pasta making class to learn the nuances of making a perfect bowl of pasta, authentic Italian style.
- Recommended for – Foodies, travellers, Couples
- Things to do- A certain food tour that goes by the name Trastevere, is quite famous among the others.
- Quick tip- There are many Italian grandmothers, famously called as Nonnas that hold private cooking classes in the comfort of their home. You may by lucky enough to get your hands on one of their secret recipes, along with tasting their heavenly food.
The enchanting city of Rome certainly has more to offer, every time you visit. Edmonia Lewis, a famous American sculptor once said, “I thought I knew everything when I came to Rome but soon found I had everything to learn”. This quote certainly sums up everything about the city. So, if you are planning a visit to the magical city, do make a point in indulging all the activities mentioned above, to experience a different culture of Rome, the modern one.
Further Read: The best romantic places in Italy with your loved ones