Best Non-Tourist Rome Recommendations

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By: Isabella del Rosario

We all know Rome has lots of “must see” attractions like the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, and endless art museums but I am here to highlight four places that are not the obvious tourist sites while studying abroad in Rome. 

First, if you like to shop, the Porta Portese Market is the place to be. The Porta Portese Market is located inside the ancient Porta Portese gate in the neighborhood of Trastevere. This market is at LEAST a mile long and sets up every Sunday from 7am until 2pm. I went to this market twice and spent almost the whole day there. Vendors set up shop and have countless items from clothes, to vintage prints, to jewelry, to kitchenware. Since there is such a gigantic variety of items at this market, I was able to buy souvenirs for my friends and family and clothing for myself at very low prices. For example, I bought a sweater, a leather jacket, and two scarves for under 30 euros! Unfortunately some downsides to this market is that they only take cash and it can get very very crowded, but there are some food stands mixed in if you get hungry and if you arrive early enough there won’t be as many people.

shopping market rome

Next, this place is especially for those who are studying abroad in the summer and need somewhere to cool off. If that applies to you, Santa Marinella beach is a great place to be. This beach is located in the Lazio region of Rome about an hour train ride outside the city. It is very easy to book a ticket to go there with them being as cheap as 5 euros sometimes. One of the main reasons I like Santa Marinella is because it has a public free beach. Usually in Italy in order to sit on the beach, a chair rental is necessary and sometimes that can be pretty expensive or just plain not worth it for a student who is studying abroad. So, with the free section of the beach you are able to lay out your towel wherever and do not have to worry about paying. This makes a beach day cheap and easy. This beach is also very family oriented and not very touristy so it is a nice change of pace from the craziness of the Roman city. 

Since Rome is so known for their museums I definitely wanted to recommend one that is not often visited or even heard of. This is the Casina Delle Civette in the Villa Torlonia, which was Benito Mussolini’s former residence. The Casina Delle Civette also known as the House of the Owls is a small museum on the property that resembles a swiss cabin or chalet that holds displays of stained glass. This exhibit is very unique in the fact it only holds stained glass works and they are all very beautiful. Tickets to enter this museum are only about 6 euros, so they are pretty affordable for students. This museum is located in a huge park with a cafe right by it as well, so after you browse the exhibit you can sit for a coffee and a pastry. 

Lastly, I wanted to share with you my favorite place in all of Rome and that is Old Bridge Gelateria, specifically the one right outside of the Vatican walls in the neighborhood of Prati. When I tell you my roommates and I got gelato every single night here, I am not exaggerating. Old bridge has so many different flavors and it is easily the best gelato I have ever had. My favorite flavor is the “crema alla vaniglia” and it goes well with any other flavor. At this place with any sized cone or cup you can pick up to 3 flavors and the most expensive cone is only 6 euros. The workers here are so nice and we easily became regulars because it was only a 5 minute walk from our apartment. This gelato was a yummy, inexpensive treat to have to cool off on the hot days or just to treat ourselves on the hard days. Another great thing about this place is that it is open until 2 in the morning, so if you are craving a late night snack, this is it. 

gelato rome

Overall, Rome has so many interesting things to see throughout the whole city but these four spots definitely have provided me with the most memories! 

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