the beaten path

Hello. We are planning a trip to Italy this summer and are looking for suggestions about things to see in Rome that are a bit unusual. Because we have been there several times we've seen all the big museums and churches. Any tips for things to see that are less crowded, smaller, or off the beaten path?

Posted by Chris
Folsom,CA / Roma, Italy
13 posts

I enjoyed relaxing in the orange grove on Aventino hill. If you are curious you can find keyhole in the door of headquarters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (with a view of St Peter's). Watching the lights of Rome turn on after the sunset from Frascati is nice (if you have a car) (they have a good white wine and porchetta)

Posted by Andrea
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
673 posts

Last summer we went to Gladiator School! What started as a bit of a joke turned into one of the most memorable things we've ever done. We originally booked it through Viator, but I do not recommend them. Here is the website -- We first had a tour of a little museum with a female "gladiator". The museum had some genuine pieces and some reproductions. Then she taught us some gladiator moves with a wooden sword. After awhile we got metal swords to work with. We also got some lessons from "Nero" who I think is their head gladiator. We tried other weapons as well, such as the fisherman gladiator's net (opposition wearing appropriate helmet). They work you out rather hard, but halfway through you get a break in the shade with cold water and melon. We had a private session but just arriving as we were finishing up was a school group from USA. By the way we are all adults -- 38 (f), 37(m), and 42(f) last year. Its a bit out of the way, best to take a taxi. It cost us about 15 euros, as I recall.

Posted by Cindy
Ely, MN, USA
257 posts

Gladiator school looks like a great idea! The website you listed is in Italian, so a bit hard for us non-Italian speakers. Viator advertises it as 50 euros per person for a group of 4+. Do they charge more than the direct website? It says there is the option of actually doing a gladiator tournament. Do you know what that means? Thanks!

Posted by Andrea
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
673 posts

Judy I agree about Viator, they almost cost us $600 CAD. We wasted a whole afternoon of a trip calling back and forth trying to get a day trip we had booked. They had conveniently "forgotten" to actually book the thing. Of course they hadn't forgotten to charge us at the earliest opportunity!

Posted by Andrea
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
673 posts

The reason I said I didn't recommend Viator is the customer service -- but if you were to follow up with multiple phone calls once in Rome (to Viator's reps, number provided upon confirmation) you might be OK. I don't speak Italian either but listed the website for information purposes. The Gladiators spoke English so if you are feeling particularly ambitious you could always try phoning them directly. I'm not sure about the tournament thing, it wasn't offered last year. This Gladiator School is a kind of historical society and they were just getting into welcoming more tourists last year so perhaps they now offer different services. Let us know if you do it, I'd love to hear about others' experiences. By the way I was surprisingly adept at whipping the fisherman's net at my husband's head!! Nero was impressed with me!

Posted by Judy
Alameda, CA, USA
80 posts

Don't ever book with Viator. Their deceiving practice cost me $188 US!

Book directly with the tour :)

Posted by Jo
Hendersonville, NC
247 posts

We plan to visit Villa 'd Este in Tivoli, and Hadrian's Villa. Frome Rome 30min by train or 1hr by bus. Also we have taken a day trip from Rome to Orvieto, very nice town

Posted by Bea
1157 posts

I walked along the river for hours and took pictures of many of the bridges there.
Or just walk on streets away from the main sighseeings and I am sure you will find something cool along the way.