Many dream of beautiful Rome, Italy's sprawling capital city with nearly 3,000 years of art, culture and architecture - and now, you've finally planned your trip! Visit the ancient ruins of the Coliseum, see Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescos at the Vatican, or make a wish at the Trevi Fountain. These are just a few of the highlights in Rome. But what if you've been there and done that? You're tired of the same pictures in the same places, and all of the obnoxious tourists. Italy's Eternal City has plenty more to do and see than what you'll find in any catalogue. Here are just 10 of our suggestions. (Want more? Check out some more of our suggestions for what to do in Italy.)
Put THESE 10 ACTIVITIES On Your Rome Itinerary!
1. Take a cooking class
Italy is known around the world for its amazing food. You'll probably look up the best restaurants for pizza, pasta, and pastries, or maybe even take a food tour, but few people think to go to the source to learn how to make these foods yourself. All classes are taught in small groups and you'll walk away knowing how to make one your favorite foods. Talk about the souvenir that keeps on giving!
Touring an olive grove is a great opportunity to see the charming Italian countryside.
2. Go on an olive grove tour
So now you can cook. What else do you need? Olive oil. This cooking staple is used in many different countries and cultures, and now you can learn about the art of making olive oil, different uses, and have a little taste test so you can really discern what's good and what's not. At Convivio Rome, you can even hug the largest olive tree in Europe which is over 2000 years old.
3. Rent a scooter and travel like a local
Travel the city like a local! There are plenty of companies that offer bicycle or scooter rentals. Choose which mode of transportation you feel most comfortable with and let the city lights guide you. Explore every nook and cranny of Rome without having to negotiate with a taxi driver or worry about parking. You'll see Rome with a completely new set of eyes.
A day trip to Capri is a lovely excuse to spend a day relaxing on a beautiful beach.
4. Take a day trip to Capri
Take a day off from your Roman adventure to visit the chic island of Capri, the jewel of the Amalfi islands. It'll be like traveling to a different world. You can't miss the Blue Grotto, a dark cavern where the sea glows an electric blue. Bring comfortable shoes because Capri is known for its rugged landscape. Or just buy some hand-made leather sandals at one of the quaint shops. Don't forget to try some limoncello!
5. See the Basilica San Paolo Fuori le Mura
Originally founded by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, the Basilica di San Paolo is the burial place of Saint Paul the Apostle and features a fascinating array of historical, religious and artistic sights to explore. St. Peter's Basilica get up to 20,000 visitors per day, but visit San Paolo Fuori le Mura and you might be the only person there. It's easily accessible by Metro.
While most tourists go to other parts of the Vatican, you'll find the Vatican Gardens relatively uncrowded.
6. Walk through the Vatican Gardens
The Vatican Gardens have been a place of quiet and meditation for the popes since 1279 and is only open to a select number of visitors who book in advance. Covering a sprawling 57 acres, there won't be enough time to see everything in a day. By planning just a week in advance, you'll be able to see a part of Rome that's off-limits to most.
7. Check out the Museo Missionario di Propaganda Fide
Meaning "propagation of the faith," this museum designed by baroque masters Bernini and Borromini, houses centuries-worth of fascinating treasures that priests have brought back from overseas. This eclectic collection includes paintings of Japanese life in the 1930s and a Canova portrait of Ezzelino Romano. You'll also get a chance to peep into Bernini’s wood-lined, Hogwarts-esque library and Borromini’s Chapel of the Magi.
8. Go shopping for custom leather
Search Tridente for one of its artisanal leather workshops. Italy has some of the finest crafted leather in the entire world, and there are many stores for you to get your own masterpiece. Get a custom bag, wallet or belt at a fraction of the price of a designer equivalent and rest assured that you have something completely one of a kind.
9. Pay a visit to the Cat Sanctuary
Rome is home to more than 300,000 cats and most have taken refuge at the Torre Argentina excavation site where they are cared for by local residents. In the early 1990s, The Roman Cat Sanctuary, Largo di Torre Argentina , opened there, and it's now home to more than 400 cats. Soak in a little history too, because besides several temples, Torre Argentina also contains part of the famous Theater of Pompey, where dictator Julius Caesar was betrayed and killed in 44 BCE.
10. Walk down the Appia Antica
Officially the first paved road in history, construction on the "Queen of Roads" began in 312 BC to connect Rome to Brindisi. Reaching 513 kilometers or 319 miles, the road passes through beautiful villas and ancient ruins. While you probably won't want to walk the entire road, you can enjoy where it starts in Rome at the Baths of Caracalla.
This article was written by Lauren Gaw.