A Different Kind of Roman Holiday

September 23, 2014

At less than an hour from the port of Civitavecchia, Rome is a popular cruise destination for those who want a decent dollop of culture alongside the obligatory beach stop-offs but if you’ve been there and done the Coliseum/Pantheon/Spanish Steps you might feel that you’ve seen all that Rome has to offer.

At www.CRUISE.co.uk we beg to differ! A Roman Holiday has so much to offer, whether it’s your first visit or your tenth; so pack your lucky penny, channel your inner Audrey and have another slice of La Dolce Vita with our alternative guide to the Eternal City:


When in Rome…Roam

Rome is a real rabbit warren of a city so the best way to discover it is to head away from the main thoroughfares and dive right down the rabbit hole!

Forget the guided tour and the ‘must see’ sights – get ready to pound some pavement, renegade style.

They say all roads lead to Rome but all roads in Rome lead to something different and magical. Via Margutta, for example, is an artists’ hub lined with galleries and studios, whereas the medieval backstreets of the Trastevere area offer a unique atmosphere. Well worth a wander – if you can find them, that is!


Go Gruesome

If you relish all things macabre you’ll want to explore some of Rome’s more gruesome attractions.

The Museum of Purgatory is beyond strange, whereas the Capuchin Crypt, lined with the bones of 4,000 friars, is a spine-tingling attraction. You can also head underground to the Rome Catacombs, a collection of forty burial chambers which lie under your feet as you walk the city streets.

Put thoughts of London Dungeon-style attractions out of your mind – you won’t find novelty pencils or costume-clad characters when you cross over to the dark side of Rome.

Rome Catacombs 

Spend a Small Fortune

Rome is well known for its fashion designers and luxury Italian leather goods. If you’ve got some cash to splash, head straight to the Spanish Steps – but don’t waste precious energy climbing them!

Instead, shop till you drop on the Via Condotti, Via Frattina and Via Borgognona where you’ll find big name designers like Armani, Prada, Valentino, Moschino, Gucci, Fendi and more. You’ll be the best dressed at dinner that night, for sure.

Rome shops 

Go to Gladiator School

If having your photo taken with a guy in a gladiator suit outside of the coliseum isn’t enough for you (and why would it be?) you can find your inner Russell Crowe at Gladiator School.

As well as a two hour lesson learning to fight with authentic weapons used by the gladiators of ancient Rome, you’ll also get entry to the Gladiator School of Rome Museum. Now this guarantees Facebook-worthy photos!

Rome Gladiator 

Eat Wasabi Ice-Cream

The gelateries in Rome really are something else and simply crossing the threshold into one is enough to send the dial on the bathroom scales crazy.

Forget the usual vanilla, strawberry and chocolate combinations – the flavours on offer in Rome make even Ben & Jerry’s look run of the mill. Adventurous foodies can find sage and raspberry, fig, salted peanut and even wasabi flavoured ice-creams but there’s plenty for those with more traditional tastes to lick their way through.

Top ice-cream spot Fassi on Via Principe Eugenio boasts over thirty different flavours – now that sounds like a challenge to us!

Rome Icecream 

Eat Plain Pasta – And Love It

When you spot Cacio e Pepe or ‘pasta bianco’ on a menu in Rome, order it!

Even if your waiter tells you that it’s merely pasta sprinkled with cheese and pepper, order it!

It’s likely to be one of the most mouth-watering pasta dishes that you’ve ever tasted.

Rome’s traditional pasta dishes are kept as simple as possible to let the taste of the top quality pasta shine through but we promise you that this Italian indulgence is about as far away from macaroni cheese as you can get.

Rome pasta 

Hire a Vespa

Whether you fancy yourself as Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday or just want to cover as much ground as possible in a day, hiring a Vespa scooter in Rome is a bucket-list-worthy suggestion and if scooters aren’t your thing, how about a tour of the city in a vintage Fiat 500 or whizzing around the city on a Segway? No racing or off-roading allowed!

See a Pyramid

No, you haven’t been transported to ancient Egypt – there really is a pyramid in Rome! The Pyramid of Cestius was built around 12 BC tomb and stands in the shadow of the castle-esque Porta San Paolo gatehouse. You’ll also find the 18th century Protestant cemetery nearby making this a three-in-one hotspot for history buffs.

Take your ‘Mummy’ if you’re easily spooked.

Rome Pyramid of Cestius  

Pop in on the Pope

Fancy an audience with the Pope?

Head to St Peter’s Square on a fine Wednesday to bask in the reflected glory of His Holiness. We can’t guarantee it will absolve the sins of the ship’s casino and cocktail bars but it’s a pretty good tale to tell over dinner. Be sure to add in the fact that Vatican City, where the Pope resides, is actually its own country – although you don’t have to show your passport to gain entry.


 Guarantee a Return Visit

Ok, so throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain is definitely one of the most tourist-trap things to do in Rome and probably something that you ticked off on your very first visit but if you’re especially superstitious you won’t want to skip this tradition – no matter how many times you’ve wandered the city, as it’s said to guarantee that you’ll see Rome again.

Worth a punt for a penny, no?

 rome trevi fountain


There’s something exciting around every corner and on every backstreet in Rome so don’t write the city off once you’ve got the full house of tourist snaps. Sometimes the best thing to see in a city is nothing at all and Rome has a whole lot of ‘nothing at all’ to see. Don’t forget to pack your walking shoes – and go roam in Rome!

You can learn more about cruises from Rome here!