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3 Lesser-Known Things to Do in Rome on a Budget


Finished seeing the Colosseum and the Pantheon? Here are three lesser-known activities to do on your next time to Italy’s largest city, Rome.

Villa Borghese Rome
Villa Borghese, Giardino del lago. Taken by Wikimedia Commons user Carlomorino.

There is so much to do in the magnificent and ancient city of Rome. Everywhere you turn you will see another glimpse of the historical ruins of old. If you are there for more than a few days and you have already crossed off things to do on the top list here are a few lesser-known treats, you can explore.

Picnic in Giardino degli Aranci

Address: Via di Santa Sabina, 00153 Roma, Italy

Giardino degli Aranci (The Orange Garden) is in the Aventine Hill Neighborhood. You can spend the whole day in the general area of Aventine Hill. First stop by the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta (Knights of Malta), to peer in the famous keyhole. This keyhole and the garden were built specifically to frame the view of the famous St. Peter’s Basilica. Unfortunately, the garden is closed to the general public, but you can walk a few steps to Giardino degli Aranci instead. Take some time and wander through the area. The neighborhood is famous for both directors Giuseppe Tornatore (you may recognize Cinema Paradiso or The Legend of 1900) and Roberto Benigni (most famous for Life is Beautiful) having houses located in the area.

Before heading into the garden, go into the churches of Saint Alessio and Santa Sabina. Santa Sabina is one of the oldest Roman basilicas, and the pope is present there on Ash Wednesday. Right next to the church is Giardino degli Aranci. The whole garden frames the view of the city, and is beautiful at any time of day. If you go later in the day, you can watch the sunset fall on all of Rome. Bring a bottle of cheap wine from a local store and enjoy the scenery until late at night.

People (and Dog) Watch at Villa Borghese

You will most likely have to book way in advance to visit the museums in Villa Borghese. However, there is so much more that it has to offer. It is the best place to bring a blanket and just spend the day lounging on the grass. You will most likely find a few new furry friends, and you will have the pleasure of watching some of the Italian’s most affectionate couples.

Visit Big Bambù in MACRO Testaccio

Address: Piazza Orazio Giustiniani 4, 00153 Rome, Italy

Testaccio is famous for being an up and coming hip neighborhood in Rome. Swing by the Testaccio Food Market first before heading across the street to MACRO Testaccio. If you are not interested in art, it is still quite amazing to see the installation, Big Bambù. The artists have created the installation in other major cities including New York and Jerusalem. The museum has an entry fee, but since Big Bambù is only in the courtyard, it is free to enter. You can climb to Big Bambù for free after signing a release form. After you get over the adventure of climbing up a bamboo structure, you can sit and relax in the installation and capture some beautiful views of the city.

As you can see, there is much to do in Rome, and by the end of your stay, you will wish you could extend your visit for just a few days longer.

Anna is a wandering artist and explorer. She was born in California but spent most of her childhood growing up in China. She is passionate about lifestyle change and sharing her artwork and stories of her travels. Visit her website to learn more about her work.

Updated: 2017-06-04
Reason: Migration of site from the old, long URL (www.dauntlessjaunter.com) to this long-overdue shorter one 🙂 (we may have updated some typos or metadata while we were at it)

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