Rome sometimes seems like a city that is all about the past. Everywhere you walk, you’re confronted by ancient stone buildings, dimly lit churches, and even secret tombs. The city has seen twenty five centuries of bloodshed, power struggles, epic feasting and unrestrained revelling. And guess what? It’s not over yet. Here are five ways for you to conquer the Eternal City today, courtesy of Oh-Rome holiday apartment rentals.
1. Fight like a Gladiator
At the magnificent Colosseum, the sounds of roaring, bloodthirsty crowds have long been replaced with chattering tourists and clicking cameras. You can wander the ancient arena without worrying too much about being thrown to the lions or coming across a warrior in a murderous mood.
But if you crave the adrenaline that must have filled the stadium back in the day, you could head to one of Rome’s thriving modern fitness facilities. At places like the Roman Sport Center, and Trastevere Fitness, you can join locals as they keep fit with modern combat sports that have become massively popular in Italy: kickboxing, Tae Kwondo and Savate (French boxing).
2. Eat like an Emperor
No one knew how to feast quite like the Romans did. Not content with run-of-the-mill meats like chicken or beef, they scoured their vast empire for the most exotic things they could find – flamingo, dormouse and starfish among them! One eatery that serves up a truly old-school menu is at Hostaria Antica Roma. Its 4th century recipes include one dessert whose effect is supposed to be ‘better than viagra…
3. March like a Soldier
The Appian Way leads you outside the city boundaries and into the Roman countryside, which is a perfect place to burn off some of those pizza calories. If the heat and bustle of Rome get too much, escape to the Via Appia Antica, the old stretch of the road. The monuments along the way stand as reminders of the military history of the Via. Thousands of soldiers entered and left Rome by this road, and the famous warrior-slave Spartacus met his end here, along with his army of 6,000 escaped slaves.
4. Party like a Patrician
Rome was not an equal society. While those at the bottom worked like slaves (because they were!) there was a lucky group of people at the top who had it extremely good. The patrician classes were the ones who enjoyed the wildest and most lavish parties.
Luckily, as a reveller in today’s Rome you can party without feeling guilty about the slaves having to clean up your vomit. If you’re in a particularly posh mood, slink to Distillerie Clandestine for a debauched 1930s lounge vibe. To get more down and dirty, try an industrial-feeling club like Goa for house and techno beats, or Coyote for American hip-hop.
5. Feel like a God
The Romans worshipped a whole array of different deities: there was a god for warfare, a god for wine, and even a goddess of the sewers! Back then, Rome was as teeming with temples as it is chockfull of churches today. At the Pantheon (Temple of All Gods) you can see where they were all honoured together.
And to get a divine experience yourself, why not climb up to the Palatine Hill? This site commands great views of the city from on high. Legend has it that Romulus, son of the god Mars, was raised here before founding Rome, and that the demigod Hercules defeated a fire-breathing monster on the hill. Looking down on the great Roman Forum on one side and the Circus Maximus on the other, you might find yourself feeling a little bit immortal as well.
By Ahmed Ahmed