leisure in Rome
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Updated 6 months ago

Rome - the ‘Eternal City’ - is a beautiful hodgepodge of classical ruins, baroque palazzo, world-class museums, renaissance fountains, plenty of trattorias, pizzerias, shops, and a buzzing aperitivo scene. There’s plenty to do and something for everyone in this vibrant capital city.

 Good to know:

An excellent resource for discovering Rome is the Rome Tourist Board. While it is intended for tourists, it also provides a useful starting point for expats keen to learn about their local area.

Museums and exhibitions in Rome

Any trip to the capital city requires a trip to some of Italy’s most prestigious museums, galleries, and sights including the Colosseo (The Colosseum), Fori (the forums), the Borghese Gallery, and the Pantheon. The Vatican Museums are phenomenal, located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. These display works of art from the immense collection built by Popes over hundreds of years, and include some of the greatest masterpieces from the Renaissance. The museums are also home to the infamous Sistine Chapel. If you’d like to see the Pope, you should consider getting tickets to a papal audience (they are free) held every Wednesday at 10am or 10.30am. Rome also hosts numerous temporary collections of art and exhibitions, which are usually listed on Romeing or Time Out.

Parks and green spaces

Rome is also home to a number of beautiful parks and green spaces, even in the city centre. Amongst the most beautiful is the Giardino deli Aranci, located close to Circo Massimo and Testaccio. This idyllic patch offers sweeping views of the city and is one of the most frequented destinations in the city for amorous couples.

Opera and theatre

Rome is home to a number of prestigious opera houses and theatres, from specular classics at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma to outdoor opera at the Baths of Caracalla and the Basilica of San Clemente.

Rome is also home to Teatro Sistina, a modern theatre hosting musicals and concerts, Teatro India, which hosts experimental theatre and L’Ambra Jovinelli, home to TV production, comedy, and musicals.

Cafes and Bars in Rome

Cafes are an integral part of Italian culture, but in Italy, they are referred to as ‘bars’. Most Italians will pop into a bar to have a quick coffee, and rarely will you find Italians sitting leisurely at a coffee shop reading the paper. It also costs significantly more money to sit down for a coffee, so for a real authentic Italian experience in Rome, sip your espresso at the bar.

Rome is dotted with piazze, which have long acted as the hub for community activity. Most are lined with bars and cafes which are open until late. There are also plenty of pubs in Rome, particularly Irish-style pubs.

Music in Rome

Rome has plenty of music venues, from rock to jazz to classical music. The Alexanderplatz, located at Via Ostia, 9, in the Vatican area, is a popular jazz club which holds summer concerts in the gardens of the Villa Celimontana. Blues and rock music can be found at Big Mama, on Vicolo S. Francesco a Ripa, 18 in Trastevere. PalaLottomatica also hosts large-scale music and sports events.

Nightclubs

Rome has a vibrant nightlight, which doesn’t start until late. Locals usually meet up for dinner at around 9.30pm, then head out for the night. Campo de Fiori, San Lorenzo, and Testaccio are hubs for nightclubs.

Around Rome

Romans built sumptuous thermal baths across Lazio, namely the magnificent Terme di Caracalla, Tivoli, and Villa D’Este. Rome is also less than half an hour from the sea, and the entire segment of the coast offers beautiful beaches like those at Gaeta, Sabaudia, San Felice Circeo, Sperlonga, and the Islands of Ponza and Ventotene. You won't need to travel far for beautiful lakes either – try Bracciano, an enchanting stretch of water which is overlooked by a magnificent 16th-Century castle, or Lake Bolsena, the biggest volcanic lake in Europe. If you prefer mountains, head to the ski resorts of Terminillo, Livata, and Campo Staffi.

 Useful links:

Rome tourist board
Romeing
Time Out
Guide to Lazio

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