When in Rome…

While the city’s main attractions need to be visited at least once during a lifetime, make time for some of the little things that the city has to offer

16 December 2016, 9:49am
The Appia Antica is the world’s longest museum with catacombs, aqueducts and tombs at every corner
The Appia Antica is the world’s longest museum with catacombs, aqueducts and tombs at every corner
What to say about Italy’s capital city? From the Colosseum to the Sistine chapel, the Fontana di Trevi to St Peter’s basilica, Rome’s collection of antiquities need no introduction. But if waiting in line with a bunch of tourists is not your idea of a holiday, should you just skip Rome altogether? The answer is definitely not. They say that time goes slower here and people watching in the eternal city are sure to prove that as both old and young go about their business with a dolce far niente attitude. 

While the city’s main attractions need to be visited at least once during a lifetime, make time for some of the little things that the city has to offer. When in Rome, do like the Romans

Take some time out to enjoy park life

When spending a few days in a city famous for its pizza, pasta and ice cream, the idea of a jog is not an entirely bad one. Rather than get on a treadmill you could take in some sights at the park surrounding Villa Doria Pamphili to the west of Trastevere. Run past fountains, tree-lined alleys and even more fountains until you come to the villa and the botanical gardens right at the centre. Climb up the stairs of Pinico hill at Villa Borghese to get a view of the city or take a hot air balloon 100m in the air at Galleria Borghese. 

Do you dare put your hand into the Bocca della Verita?
Do you dare put your hand into the Bocca della Verita?
Take the liar’s test at Santa Maria church

If you have a superstitious soul you may want to avoid the Bocca della verita. This round stone carving in the Santa Maria church is said to look into your soul and know whether you are of a truthful disposition. If a liar places their hand inside the mouth of the carving, they are likely to lose it. Have you ever told a lie? Do you dare place your hand inside?  

Stroll along the Via Appia Antica

At 560km long, the Via Appia Antica is the longest museum in the world, running from the outskirts of the city all the way to Brindisi, where 18km of the ancient cobblestones are preserved. At every corner you will encounter catacombs, aqueducts and tombs between the pine and cypress trees and old villas. Closed to traffic on Sundays and public holidays, this is the perfect time to meander along this ancient pathway that will propel you back in time to ancient Rome. Real Roman cuisine awaits you at à la Mama so give yourself plenty of time. 

Shop like an Italian at Eataly 

One of the best things about Rome is going to be the food. Whether you are eating at a Michelin starred restaurant or buying street food you can be sure you are going to eat well. This stems from the quality of ingredients the Italians insist on. Eataly is supermarket heaven with four floors of Italian delicacies under one roof, you could easily spend a whole day here. 23 slow food restaurants and delicacy stalls invite you to taste the very best of what Italy has to offer and while you’re there take the opportunity to grab as much olive oil, pasta and biscotti as you can carry. 

Eataly is supermarket heaven with four floors of Italian delicacies under one roof
Eataly is supermarket heaven with four floors of Italian delicacies under one roof
Visit the oldest café in Rome 

Café life is pretty much a part of Italian culture, where people of all ages stop to take a moment to enjoy an espresso before continuing on their way. Saint Eustachio Café is the oldest café in Rome and though it is in the heart of the historical centre and therefore serves a throng of tourists, they still serve the best coffee in town. They roast their own beans in the same way they did in the 1930s, so you can simply follow your nose to the café right behind the Pantheon. Have your coffee standing up for a fraction of the price. 

Sipping on an aperitivo

You’re not really in Italy if you don’t go out for an aperitivo before dinner. Between 6pm and 7pm Italians flock to the bars to indulge in an alcoholic drink or two before turning up at a restaurant a little on the tipsy side. The prefect place for this is Trastevere on the western side of the Tiber. Alternative artists rub shoulders with students in this quaint part of town full of cool bars, cute restaurants and artisan shops. 

Fresh fish at Fiumicino

Chances are you’ve only ever heard of Fiumicino because of the airport. 30km outside of Rome, this harbour town is famous for its seafood, with an impressive fish and seafood market as well as a number of diverse, idyllic restaurants that line the Viale Traiano

Ice cream at any time of day

Eating ice cream is always a good idea. Whether it is in the morning with your espresso, as dessert after a hearty meal or simply to break up a long stroll around the city. Rome is famous for its gelato as much as it is for its pizza and pasta. 

Buy regional, seasonal fruit and veg from the farmers market in Pigneto
Buy regional, seasonal fruit and veg from the farmers market in Pigneto
Brush up on your haggling skills at the flea markets

Haggle your way across the flea markets at one of Rome’s many markets. Porta Portese at Trastevere is the biggest flea market in Rome, where you are bound to find almost anything you could possibly imagine at bargain prices. Pigneto market is a lot less touristy and much quieter. Every fourth Sunday in the month Italians converge in this district full of vegan cafes and organic shops to sell their old stuff. The farmers market is also something not to be missed where you can buy regional and seasonal fruit and veg.

How to get there

All roads lead to Rome and there are many ways of getting there. Air Malta offers regular flights to Rome starting from €42 including taxes and charges.

For more information visit www.airmalta.com