Six unusual trips to Rome that reveal a different side to the city

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To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Rome as the capital of Italy, we choose six ways to discover new aspects of the Eternal City, from virtual reality tours of the Colosseum to day trips with a Vespa scooter.

Published July 10, 2021, 8:00 AM BST

Campo de ‘Fiori is the oldest market in the capital, with numerous stalls selling seasonal produce, fresh pasta and local delicacies.

Photo by Alamy

So the history of Rome, the cradle of the Roman Empire, the seat of the Papal States, is intertwined with power and history, it is easy to forget that it has not always been the capital of Italy. Even in its short modern history, the country has had multiple candidates: the Italian government first met in Turin, then moved to Florence, and only settled in Rome in 1871. 150 years later, the eternal city he still finds new ways to live. to its reputation, from catering projects to new high-end design hotels. The following six tours will help you see its old charms with a new light.

Read more: Travel guide to Italy

1. Shop and cook like a local

When you’re in Rome … do – and eat – as the Romans do, with the Walk Inside Rome dining experience. Get hungry by following a local chef around Campo de ‘Fiori, the capital’s oldest market (pictured), exploring stalls selling seasonal produce, fresh pasta and local delicacies. Come for lunch, bring fresh ingredients to one of the two cooking schools in the historic center – one near Piazza Navona and the other near the Pantheon – and learn how to prepare traditional Italian food, including a pasta dish, a main course, a side dish and dessert.

2. Visit the burial place of the first emperor

This spring, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the largest circular tomb in the world, which testifies to the engineering capacity of the Romans, opened its doors to the public after a 14-year restoration project. A new 50-minute tour with improved technology takes visitors to the inner burial chamber, which had previously been out of bounds for the past 80 years. Book your ticket in advance or, if you still can’t, discover the mausoleum and its history through the interactive experience of the new website.

The Castelli Romani has been an oasis for Roman rest seekers since ancient times.

Photo by Alamy

3. Explore the Roman countryside with a Vespa scooter

The Castelli Romani, a scattering of ancient cities, rural villas and crater lakes in the hills of Alban, southeast of the capital, has been an oasis for Roman rest seekers since ancient times. Discover this two-wheeled volcanic landscape with the Scooteroma rural wasp route. Start from the town of Castel Gandolfo, where the Pope’s summer residence is located, and stroll along the winding country roads to the Byzantine abbey of St. Nile and the wine town of Frascati, with pit stops for snacks. salty.

4. Discover the artistic secrets of the city with a scholar

Pair yourself with an art historian on a private, personalized tour organized by Context, a company that connects travelers with a network of experts, to delve into the city’s frescoes and mosaics. The itineraries could involve shedding light on the cult of Mithras in the underground temple of the Basilica of San Clemente or gaining special access to the Palazzo Colonna, a Roman mansion that the same family has owned for more than 20 generations.

5. Go behind the scenes of Hollywood classics

Moviegoers might be tempted by a tour of the capital’s Cinecittà studios, but for an intimate view of the silver screen’s love story with Rome, choose Rome’s Casa Mia Cinema and Food Tour Tour. In this private tour, led by the granddaughter of renowned filmmaker Vittorio De Sica, participants explore the filming locations of blockbusters such as The Bicycle Thief, Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita and listen to stories behind the scenes of bars and extras. You will also discover the favorite places for the directors and taste the dishes shown on the screen before going to lunch at a local trattoria.

Want to see the classics with a new light? Try the tour of the virtual reality of the Colosseum and the Domus Aurea by LivItaly.

Photo by Getty Images

6. Take a fresh look at old favorites

Finally, to give a twist to the classics and learn about the lives of present-day Roman citizens and past emperors, there is the LivItaly Colosseum and the Domus Aurea Virtual Reality Tour. This group outing begins in the iconic amphitheater, where tales of gore and glory come to life thanks to VR glasses. Then head to the nearby excavation site of Emperor Nero’s gargantuan Golden Palace, putting on VR glasses once again to virtually restore the golden vaulted roof, marble panels and lush gardens to its ancient and opulent glory.

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