An alternative tour guide to Rome

by Eche Egbuonu

As the Italian capital and the birthplace of the Roman Empire, Rome represents the culmination of thousands of years of human advancement. Few cities can match Rome’s significant impact on Western civilization. Beyond the main attractions is a spirited, stylish metropolis. With a profusion of Piaggios, bubbly espresso bars and piazzas, Rome is a wonderful holiday destination. Here are some alternative attractions to consider during your next visit.

You can also find our alternative tour guide to Amsterdam.

Based on first impressions of the Villa Borghese gardens one might feel it is akin to an English country manor. However, the beautiful park is distinctly Roman. The 200 acre site features some of the greatest museums in Rome, from the National Museum of Modern Art to the stylish Galleria Borghese, featuring works by Picasso, Pollock and Mondrian. In addition, the Villa Borghese is home to an absolute gem in the amazing 16th century Villa Medici, the French Academy’s home in Rome. From the Villa guests can simply stroll down the iconic Spanish Steps (Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti) to the trendy Via Condotti.

Alternatively you could head down to Rome’s Municipal Rose Garden for a peaceful daytime outing. Spread out over 2 and a half acres are over 1,100 varieties of roses from over 20 nations including China and Mongolia. One of the most fascinating flowers is the Rosa Chinensis Mutabilis, whose colour changes with each passing day.

The Porta di Roma Shopping Centre is among the largest in Europe. This centre is ideal for any shopping trip with 220 shops along with a host of restaurants. The opportunities do not end there either, with four tennis courts, an indoor gym and two football pitches you can get in a nice workout during your special city getaway in Italy. It provides a great reprieve from all the walking around you are sure to have partaken in and the moving sidewalks and upholstered seating provides that extra bit of comfort. Catching a flick at the 2500-seater multi screen cinema is a great way to break up a vigorous day of touring. Check out the Porta di Roma Shopping Centre during your special city break in Rome and find out why this venue attracts over 13 million visitors a year.

The charming Zodiac cafe on Viale del Parco Mellini provides awe-inspiring views of this magnificent city from a high vantage point. As one the less popular tourist destinations, this cafe is particularly romantic in the evening because dinner is served by candlelight underneath enormous windows framing the cityscape. From a height of 139 meters, you can taste a variety of meals and beverages including delicious-s ice cream, exotic cocktails, classic international cuisine, and the traditional Roman pizza. Whether you prefer live music, comedy or entertainment, you can rest assured that you will enjoy the unique atmosphere and food selection. The best gastronomy getaway in Italy waits at the Zodiac restaurant.

The ancient township of Tivoli is a short 30 km trip from Rome. The journey transports you to a long-gone era, with brilliant architecture and picturesque views of the rustic Campagna Romana. There are two main UNESCO World Heritage Sites that draw the most visitors, the first landmark being the Roman archaeological complex of Villa Adriana. The site spans a square kilometre and some areas are still unexcavated. The second landmark is the stylish Villa d’Este, a tour de force of Renaissance architecture. The palace gardens are among the most beautiful in Europe and bring in droves of locals and tourists during the summer period.

The Appian Way is a Roman archaeological complex that in ancient times was one of the major Roman roads strategically linking Rome to Brindisi, Apulia. Nowadays, it is used as the primary walking path for those wanting to visit the many ruins that have been left behind. A great spot to check out along this pathway is the Caffarella Valley, one of the only places in walking distance of the capital where you can still encounter natural forest and broad, lush meadows. It’s ideal for reading, enjoying a picnic, or just lounging about amid the ancient ruins.

Beneath the streets of Rome are over 36 ancient burial sites. From the Vatican Grotto to the papal tombs of Callixtus you can experience one of the best heritage adventures in Italy. The air of mystery that encapsulates the catacombs is surreal and presents a wonderful opportunity to explore the history of the ancient Christian and Jewish communities. The Christian catacombs has contributed significantly to the discovery of early Christian art as they contain some works from before 400AD.

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