Unusual Things to Do in Rome

Unusual Things to Do in Rome _ italytripguide


While iconic sites like the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Trevi Fountain might immediately spring to mind when considering “Things to Do in Rome”, there’s so much more to the city than these famous landmarks. As we delve into “Unusual Things to Do in Rome”, this article presents a hand-picked assortment of atypical and concealed attractions, offering a fresh outlook on the Eternal City. Join us as we explore Rome’s under-the-radar spots and embark on an adventure away from the typical tourist trail.

Hidden Gems

The Aventine Keyhole

One of Rome’s best-kept secrets, the Aventine Keyhole offers a perfectly framed view of St. Peter’s Basilica. This tiny, unassuming keyhole can be found on the door of the Priory of the Knights of Malta, and it’s worth the effort to seek it out.

The Protestant Cemetery

Away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, the Protestant Cemetery offers a serene and peaceful retreat. It is the final resting place of many famous artists and poets, including John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Stroll around and marvel at the intricate tombstones and sculptures in this green oasis.

The Capuchin Crypt

This unique attraction may not be for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely worth a visit. The Capuchin Crypt is an underground chamber adorned with the bones of over 4,000 Capuchin friars. You’ll be fascinated by the intricate patterns and designs created using human bones.

Unusual Activities

Gladiator School

Ever wondered what it was like to train as a gladiator in ancient Rome? The Gladiator School provides a hands-on experience where you can learn about gladiatorial history, weaponry, and combat techniques from experts. Put on your tunic and step into the arena!

Catacombs Night Tour

For a spine-tingling adventure, explore the catacombs of Rome by night. These ancient underground burial sites are home to thousands of tombs and early Christian frescoes. A guided tour will take you through the eerie, dimly lit corridors and reveal the secrets hidden beneath the city.

Pasta-Making Class

Learn how to make authentic Italian pasta from scratch in a cozy Roman kitchen. This fun and interactive experience will teach you the art of pasta-making, from rolling out the dough to shaping and filling your pasta. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy your delicious creations at the end of the class!

Quirky Museums

Museum of Purgatory

One of the “Unusual Things to Do in Rome” includes visiting a quaint and unique museum that focuses on the idea of purgatory and life after death. Housed within the Church of the Sacred Heart, the museum exhibits an array of artifacts, pictures, and documents purported to offer proof of communication between the living and spirits in purgatory.

Magic Door of Piazza Vittorio

Discover the mystery of Rome’s Magic Door, also known as Alchemical Door, located in Piazza Vittorio. The door, adorned with enigmatic symbols and inscriptions, is the last remaining portal of the 17th-century Villa Palombara. Legend has it that the symbols hold the secret to eternal life.

Centrale Montemartini

Centrale Montemartini is a fascinating blend of industrial archaeology and classical art. This former power plant now houses an impressive collection of ancient Roman statues, mosaics, and artifacts, juxtaposed against the backdrop of the old machinery.

Offbeat Food Experiences


A fantastic addition to your list of “Unusual Things to Do in Rome” would be to try Trapizzino, a scrumptious fusion of pizza and a sandwich. This street food sensation comprises a triangular pocket of pizza dough filled with traditional Roman dishes like succulent oxtail, chicken cacciatore, or eggplant parmigiana.

Discover Chinatown

Explore the vibrant Chinatown of Rome, located in the Esquilino district. Here, you can find a plethora of authentic Chinese restaurants, grocery stores, and tea shops. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor some of the best Asian cuisine in the city.

Supplì Tasting

Treat yourself to Rome’s favorite street food snack: supplì. These deep-fried rice balls are filled with a variety of ingredients, from tomato sauce and mozzarella to more adventurous combinations. Embark on a tasting tour to sample the best supplì Rome has to offer.

Rome’s Unusual Churches

Saint Clement’s Basilica

Among the “Unusual Things to Do in Rome” is visiting Saint Clement’s Basilica and delving into its subterranean maze. This distinctive archaeological site encapsulates three historical layers: an ancient Roman residence, a 4th-century church, and the present-day basilica. As you traverse through epochs, you can investigate the catacombs, a historic Mithraic temple, and primitive Christian frescoes.

San Bernardino alle Ossa

Although not in Rome, but in Milan, this unique church is worth mentioning. San Bernardino alle Ossa is famous for its peculiar ossuary, a small side chapel decorated with human skulls and bones. The walls and ceiling are adorned with a macabre mosaic of skeletal remains, creating an eerie yet captivating atmosphere.

Jubilee Church

Designed by the renowned architect Richard Meier, the Jubilee Church, also known as Dio Padre Misericordioso, is a modern masterpiece. The church’s striking design, with its three curved white walls and glass façade, stands in stark contrast to the ancient architecture of Rome.


Rome, with its rich history and culture, also offers an array of offbeat attractions and experiences that pique curiosity. Diving into “Unusual Things to Do in Rome” allows you to explore the city’s peculiar, enigmatic, and unique facets that contribute to its increased allure.


  • Do I need to book in advance for any of these unusual activities or attractions?

While some attractions and activities can be experienced without prior booking, it is always a good idea to check their websites or contact them directly to confirm if reservations are required, especially for activities like the Gladiator School or Pasta-Making Class.

  • How much time should I allocate for these unusual experiences in Rome?

The time you spend on these unusual experiences will vary depending on your interests and the specific activities you choose. We recommend setting aside at least a day or two to explore Rome’s offbeat attractions and fully immerse yourself in the city’s unique and hidden treasures.

  • Are these unusual attractions suitable for families with children?

Many of the attractions and activities mentioned in this article are suitable for families with children, such as the Gladiator School and Pasta-Making Class. However, some, like the Capuchin Crypt, may not be suitable for young children due to their macabre nature. It’s essential to research each attraction and consider the interests and sensitivities of your family members.

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