Rome has something for everyone. From art afficionados to history buffs, foodies and even the outdoorsy type. With so much to do around here, it can be really hard to prioritize what you choose to form your roman holiday memories. For many, the pandemic has reignited a love of the outdoors and options abound here so when it’s time to get out of those galleries, museums, stores, restaurants and perhaps even your hotel, add one of these outdoor activities to your list.
Villa Borghese is one of the city’s most popular parks and is often dubbed Rome’s Central Park. Great for a stroll or even a picnic, row boats can even be hired for a leisurely day on the lake.
For the foodies at heart, why not head to the historic Campo de Fiori market which is open daily until 2pm or take a food tour with Casa Mia. They take you off the beaten track to explore Rome’s food traditions in the working class neighborhood of Testaccio and the picturesque Trastevere.
Trastevere itself is an attraction in itself and you could actually spend a whole day here. Put your map away and get lost in the narrow cobblestone streets that are so pretty you’ll feel like you’re on a movie set.
To escape the big smoke and get out of town for the day, the ancient Roman ruins and archeological site of Ostia Antica makes for a great day trip.
So if you love the outdoors, the only problem you’ll have in Rome, is trying to fit it all in!
In Rome, nothing is more romantic than the ‘passeggiata’ – a leisurely stroll. And Trastevere is just the neighborhood for it. This quarter prides itself on its authenticity and devotion to Roman culture. Narrow streets lead to quaint homes that display gardens on roofs and spacious piazzas. The original inhabitants of this area across the Tiber have their own version of the Roman dialect and their own defining cuisine. This is the place to experience true Roman dining. Though the ambience here during the day is fairly quiet, when the sun goes down the atmosphere becomes beyond lively. TRAM: 8, BUS: H.
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Trastevere is so pretty, it could be mistaken for a movie-set and is beautiful to stroll by day or night.
Maria’s expert tip: End your passeggiata at one of Rome’s best spots for authentic gelato, Fatamorgana (Piazza San Cosimato).
Built in the third century as part of Rome’s defense system, this massive fortification wall is a must see. The wall was commissioned by the Emperor Aurelian after the city’s previous structure was in ruins. The wall has undergone significant restoration, and the best-preserved gate is that to the Via Appia, or Appian Way, known as Porta San Sebastiano. If you visit the Museum of the Roman Walls (at 18 Via Porta San Sebastiano, Tue-Sun 9am-2pm) located in the gate you can usually gain access to the wall and get a matchless view of the surrounding area, little of which has changed from when the Apostle Peter traveled through Rome on foot. The Appian Way is the Roman Republic’s oldest highway, with sections still in use today. BUS: 118 from Circo Massimo metro station or the hop-on hop-off Archeobus from in front of Stazione Termini (see www.trambus.com)
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: The Via Appia Antica makes for a lovely day out, particularly on Sundays when the area is closed to traffic.
Maria’s expert tip: Many tour agencies in Rome offer cycling tours so that you can ride along the Appian Way.
Walking up from the Roman Forum from Via dei Fori Imperiali, you reach the Palatine Hill. The ruins here are left from Domus Flavia and Domus Augustana, and were built around the first century. It is believed that it was on this very hill that Rome was born and where Romulus and his brother Remus, are believed to have been born. Emperors August, Tiber, Domitian also had residence here.
From atop the hill, you have an incredible view of the city and you can look out across the Circus Maximus and the Alban Hills. Access ends about one hour before sunset. BUS: 85, 87, 175. METRO: Colosseo. TRAM: 3
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Said to be the site of the birth of Rome, Palatine Hill is a must on your Rome visit.
Maria’s expert tip: A visit to the Palatine Hill is included in your ticket to the Roman Forum and Colosseum and is valid for two days.
Rome’s number #1 rated food tour and only one of its kind, runs daily except for Sundays in two real Roman neighborhoods (Testaccio and Trastevere). On this four hour journey through the streets of Rome, you will get to enjoy about 10 authentic tastings (from tiramisu to buffalo mozzarella to pizza) at gourmet food stores, bars, a restaurant & fresh food market. You will get to know the Rome through its people, culture and cuisine in a truly unique way and the best part of the tour (aside from the unforgettable food!) is that it takes you to the parts of the eternal city that you wouldn’t have ordinarily stumbled upon.
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Eating Italy Food Tours are one of the highest rating food tours in Rome and provide unique and off the beaten track food experiences.
Maria’s expert tip: Get in early because group sizes are small and tours book out fast. And sign up to their newsletter through their website for discounts and giveaways.
Dubbed the central park of Rome, Villa Borghese is a favorite for tourists and the locals. The resurrection of the park was commissioned during the 17th century and used by the Borghese and Bonaparte families. Though, it’s not the largest park in Rome it is the most popular thanks to its central location and its beautiful scenery. Villa Borghese is also famous for its historical buildings and world-class museums such as the Galleria Borghese, a children’s cinema, and a place where you can rent bikes. There are many places to sit and take some time out or have a picnic, but along the banks of little late are some of the prettiest.
BUS 495, 490, 88. METRO: Flaminio.
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Dubbed the Central Park of Rome, it’s not the largest in the city but certainly one of the prettiest.
Maria’s expert tip: Once you reach Villa Borghese, head to the Pincio gardens for a breathtaking view of the city skyline and Piazza del Popolo from the terrace.
After the Colosseum, the impressive Roman Forum is your next best introduction to Ancient Rome. From the entrance on Via Dei Fori Imperiali, one can take in the breathtaking views of the ancient ruins and relics left behind from the stomping grounds of Rome’s former emperors. The site started off as a simple valley between the Capitoline and Palatine Hills. It later became the heart of the city’s most important municipal buildings and a commercial center.
The ruins left behind today run a span of some 900 years from 500 BC to AD 400. BUS: 87, 571. METRO: Cavour; Colosseo
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Nothing will make you feel like you’re in the center of the ancient world than standing beside this wonder.
Maria’s expert tip: After a day of touring the Roman Forum, head into the Monti neighborhood for artisan boutiques and dining.
Local Aromas is a Rome-based tour company created by sisters Valeria and Benedetta Bianchini who have the simple mission to make you fall in love with Italy–’s food and wine. From 90-minute tours and tastings across the Eternal City, to family-friendly cooking classes held at a spectacular panoramic location near the Vatican, the catalogue of over 20 different culinary experiences are run by expert guides, chefs and sommeliers. Whether you want to explore Rome–’s markets, take a tour totally dedicated to pizza, street food or gelato, learn to cook like a Roman or discover local wines, there is something to suit all timeframes, interests and budgets.
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Family run, the team at Local Aromas will make you feel part of their Roman family in no time!
Maria’s expert tip: These ladies are olive oil and cheese experts so delve right into their offering and choose something unique.
This area is not easily accessed by public transportation, but the walk up to the top on Via Giacinto Carini is well worth it. You are surrounded by lovely views of the Alban Hills. Make sure that you go to Villa Lante before you leave the area, where you can get the best view of the city. The Fontana dell’Acqua Paola (dubbed the ‘fontanone’ by Romans, which means big fountain) is located at the point where Via Garibaldi and the Janiculum walk begins and is a stunning example of baroque design. BUS: 115 or 870 to the top or 44 and 75 to Via Giacinto Carini
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: View one of the most beautiful panoramas of Rome from Janiculum Hill.
Maria’s expert tip: Try to head up on a cloud-free day to ensure the best view of the city.
If you feel like visiting quintessential Rome, there’s no better place to do it than at the Campo de’ Fiori open air market or mercato all’aperto. Taking a stroll through this market, gives you a glimpse of Italian culture. Once inside, you’ll witness the vendors take center stage as they turn the art of selling a tomato into an off-Broadway performance. By day, the Campo de’ Fiori market sells all types of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, meats and even fish. There’s also a lovely flower market in the far corner of the piazza. The Campo de’ Fiori Market is open Monday through Saturday from 7.30am-1.30pm. BUS: 40, 64, 46. TRAM: 8.
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: One of oldest markets, Campo de Fiori warrants a stroll through.
Maria’s expert tip: Taking a stroll through the market won’t cost you a dime. If you decide to buy something, it’s best to make sure you have spicci (change) on hand as big bills are often frowned upon at the outdoor markets.
Gourmet food and wine experiences. Memories to last a lifetime. What more could travelers to Italy want? Run by Eleonora Baldwin and Gina Tringali, Casa Mia is a boutique tour operator specialising in a selection of private food and wine tours and experiences. Their motto: When visiting a city, connecting with a local can deeply transform your travel experience, making it more exclusive, authentic and original. The company delivers the majority of their tours and operations in Rome with a wide additional wide offering that spans the Italian peninsula including (but not limited to) the regions of Tuscany, Campania and Sicily. The variety of their tour products is also diverse ranging from a focus on different neighbourhood to themes and their strong selling point remains their expertise and capacity to customise tours to suit needs, desires and budgets. Whether it’s a market walk, a wine pairing experience, gelato tour or pizza tasting, Casa Mia have got you covered. To book your very own food or wine experience in Italy with Casa Mia, visit their website for contacts and more information.
Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Casa Mia are your go to for private only and customized food experiences across Italy.
Maria’s expert tip: Do a day trip to Naples – in an hour you can be eating the world’s best pizza with Casa Mia.