If you’re planning a trip to Rome, chances are you’ve already made a list of all the touristy things to do, like visiting the Colosseum, tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain, and admiring the art in the Vatican Museums. But what about the hidden gems that only locals know about? In this article, we’ll explore some of the best off-the-beaten-path activities in Rome that are sure to give you a unique and authentic experience.
Discover the Neighborhoods
Rome is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character and charm. While areas like Trastevere and Testaccio are popular with tourists, there are plenty of other neighborhoods to explore. For example, Pigneto is an up-and-coming neighborhood that’s becoming increasingly popular with locals. Here you’ll find street art, trendy bars, and a vibrant nightlife scene. Another neighborhood worth checking out is Garbatella, which has a more laid-back vibe and is known for its colorful buildings and community gardens.
Pigneto is a neighborhood located in the east of Rome, outside of the ancient city walls. Once a working-class area, it’s now a trendy spot that’s popular with artists, musicians, and young professionals. One of the best things to do in Pigneto is to explore its street art scene. The area is full of colorful murals and graffiti, and there are even street art tours you can take to learn more about the artists and their work. Afterward, head to one of the many bars in the area for a drink and some people-watching.
Garbatella is a historic neighborhood located south of the city center. It was built in the 1920s as a social housing project, but today it’s a vibrant community with a bohemian vibe. The neighborhood is known for its colorful buildings, many of which have been decorated with murals and mosaics. One of the best things to do in Garbatella is to take a stroll through its many community gardens. These small green spaces are maintained by local residents and are a great place to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
Explore the Markets
One of the best ways to experience Rome like a local is to visit its many markets. While the Campo de’ Fiori market and the Mercato Centrale are popular with tourists, there are plenty of other markets to discover. These markets offer a chance to sample local food, buy handmade crafts, and mingle with the locals.
Mercato dei Fiori
Located in the Prenestino neighborhood, the Mercato dei Fiori is a small market that specializes in plants and flowers. Here you’ll find everything from potted succulents to fresh-cut roses. The market is open every day except Monday, and it’s a great place to pick up a unique souvenir or gift.
The Porta Portese market is one of the largest and most famous flea markets in Rome. It takes place every Sunday in the Trastevere neighborhood and attracts vendors selling everything from vintage clothing to antique furniture. The market can be crowded and chaotic, but it’s a fun and lively experience that’s not to be missed.
Visit the Non-Touristy Museums
While the Vatican Museums and the Capitoline Museums are must-see attractions in Rome, there are plenty of other museums in the city that are less well-known but just as fascinating. These museums offer a chance to learn about Rome’s history and culture in a more intimate setting.
The Centrale Montemartini is a museum that’s housed in a former power plant. The museum’s collection consists of ancient Roman statues and artifacts that were moved here from the Capitoline Museums. The juxtaposition of the ancient artwork and the industrial setting makes for a unique and unforgettable experience.
The Palazzo Altemps is a Renaissance palace that’s located near Piazza Navona. The palace houses a collection of ancient Roman sculptures, including the famous Ludovisi Throne. The museum is rarely crowded, so it’s a great place to escape the tourist crowds and immerse yourself in Roman history.
In conclusion, Rome is a city that’s full of surprises. While the touristy attractions are certainly worth visiting, it’s the hidden gems that will give you a real taste of what life is like in the Eternal City. Whether you’re exploring a new neighborhood, browsing a local market, or discovering a lesser-known museum, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in Rome.