That expression, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, means to follow the customs of the people who live there, and don’t the Romans know how to live!
The city has long been a cultural and historical melting pot, a place where emperors reigned and great arts were created, where gladiatorial battles were fought and monuments to the gods were constructed.
Rome is one of the world’s only cities to maintain its incredible historical lineage whilst moving into an elegant modern era. So, what do the Romans do? Naturally, you won’t find the locals touring the Colosseum every day, just as you wouldn’t find New Yorkers regularly ferry hopping to the Statue of Liberty, or Parisiens Gram-snapping under the Eiffel Tower.
Let’s look into some of the exciting, non-touristy adventures that await you in this rather tourist-friendly town…
Enjoy a park picnic
Rome is so full of ancient, ornate architecture that people often overlook the city’s lush green spaces (which, of course, are also replete with stunning architecture). The best place to enjoy a Roman picnic, complete with fresh bread, cured meats, olives and wine? The Pamphili Park, of course!
Rome’s largest gardens is truly completed by the eponymous Villa Pamphili, a sumptuous 17th-century manor located right in the middle of this charming, leafy sprawl. Take your picnic, take a football, meander around the villa, fountains, ruins and greens – it’s all part of a pleasant afternoon out Roman-style.
Shop at a giant flea market
Flea markets are always a great way to learn more about the local culture: there are vintage antiques and gifts from all periods that all combine to take you across a dazzling local time capsule.
The Portese Flea Market is Rome’s answer to this travel joy. Every Sunday, from morning until well into the afternoon, the streets Via Ettore Rolli, Via Ippolito Nievo and Via Portuense, come alive with stalls selling everything from clothes to shoes, bags to jewellery, souvenirs and more!
Hang out in a public square
The public square has long been the Italians answer to Australians local park: it’s a place where friends and family meet to walk, talk and enjoy the hours were rushing off to work is not in the equation.
Naturally, Rome is full of gorgeous piazzas to kick back, relax and watch the stylish people go by. The thing is just to meander around the streets until you find one that suits your mood – there is no shortage of elegant squares throughout the city!
Related article: Our Best Tours Around Rome Are Available Now