There’s a reason why Rome is the “caput mundi” – it leaves you simply breathless. Its beauty and magnificence will let you feel dominated, and enchanted at the same time. Your first visit to Rome has some “musts” you cannot avoid: walking through Fori Imperiali, taking a photo with the Colosseum background, climbing the Piazza di Spagna staircase.
But Rome is also a very livable city, where people meet each other, drink wine, take relaxing walks and enjoy this spectacular city in their everyday lives. So let’s forget about the Sistine Chapel and Piazza Navona for a moment, and let’s gain some insight in the Roman life, with tips on how to see Rome as a local.
ENJOY LOCAL MARKETS
The weekend markets in Rome offer food markets, clothes markets, and vintage markets. Here are a few of my favorites…
PORTA PORTESE is the most famous flea market in Rome, open only on Sunday, where you can find vintage items, vinyls, books. Local people are very proud of this chaotic and colorful place.
VIA SANNIO is a large open market, placed in San Giovanni district; it’s mostly about clothes, new and second-hand, and it’s a must to bargain!
ESQUILINO MARKET is an explosion of colours and fragrances. It’s in the middle of the multiethnic district of the city and you will find everything you need to cook a delicious ethnic meal.
CAMPO DE’ FIORI MARKET is one of the oldest Roman market, where you can buy fruits, vegetables and local products. The prices are pretty “touristics” but local people love the contest and the location, right in the heart of Rome.
TAKE A WALK AND RELAX
If there’s something Roman people love about their city, it’s surely parks and open spaces. Rome has many green spaces where you can have a relaxing walk (Italian mode), feeling the spirit of the ancient city.
GIARDINO DEGLI ARANCI (Orange Garden) is just on the top of the Aventino Hill, at the side of the city centre. It’s an oasis of peace where you will be surrounded by orange trees, enjoying a spectacular view on the city.
ROME’S NON-CATHOLIC CEMETERY is a mix of art, poetry and beauty, with a flower and cypress trees backdrop. Graves are great pieces of art and there are several famous people buried here, such as Keats and Shelley. This is, in my opinion, one of the most peaceful places in the city!
“It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place” wrote Shelley, not long before he drowned and was buried here.
VIA DEL GOVERNO VECCHIO is a street which looks like a small town’s boulevard – the perfect place to take a nice, slow walk. The atmosphere here is very peaceful and romantic, especially during Christmas. You can go for a relaxing breakfast, for a pizza dinner or shopping. There’re a lot of vintage and second-hand shops, trendy boutiques, nice cafes and restaurants.
EAT. EAT. EAT.
We cannot talk about Italy without considering the delicious food. And this point is a great truth not only for tourist, but also (and mostly), for local people, that are very proud of their typical food.
ENJOY AN AUTHENTIC GELATO
Italians know how to recognize an authentic gelato and, just with a quick look, they can distinguish a real gelateria from a touristic trap. There are different places in Rome where locals like to go for enjoying a good gelato like IL GELATARIO, PALAZZO DEL FREDDO (also known as Gelateria Fassi), and the OLD BRIDGE, where you will find a lot of tourists due to the location, just beside the Vatican. But the gelato here is some of the best in Rome!
EAT HOME-MADE PASTA
The ideal situation would be to cook it yourself. If you can’t (and many Italians can’t, actually) there’re several places where you can buy it. The best? Definitely PASTIFICIO GUERRA: traditional, cheap, and tasty.
HAVE A PIZZA SNACK
Wherever you go in Rome, pizza will be perfectly made. But if you want just a snack, IL CINQUANTINO is a great choice: it’s the cheapest €00.50 for a big piece), it’s local and you will not see any tourists. It is not very close to the city center, but you can take a walk in the commercial area around there, and have a break between one shop and another with some delicious, Italian pizza!
Have you been to Rome? Please share your experience in the comments below!