Offbeat, Unique, & Unusual Things to do in Rome
If all those Roman ruins are starting to blend in, and all those Catholic churches have you praying for something more offbeat, check out these things to do in Rome to get your quirk on…
1. Gladiator School
Ever wanted to yell “This is Sparta!” and then kick someone into a well? Well Sparta is in Greece, not Italy. But here in Rome you can get your kicks by attending Gladiator School at Gruppo Storico Romano if you do indeed want to go all Russell Crowe. They offer an intensive 2-month course, as well as a Gladiator for a Day program — tunic and sandals included.
2. Capuchin Crypt
Described by Frommer’s as “one of the most horrifying images in all of Christendom”, the Capuchin Crypt houses the bones of over 4000 Capuchin friars. The remains were nailed to the walls in intricate patterns, while some even hang from the ceiling as light fixtures. So much for resting in peace.
3. Museum of the Sanitary Arts
During your Rome hop on hop off tour, be sure to check out the Museum of Sanitary Arts – one of the few free attractions in Rome. This museum in the Santo Spirito Hospital dedicated to the sanitary and healing arts takes curiosities to a new level. Siamese twins and babies with webbed feet are preserved in jars; an operating table from the middle ages, and a unicorn’s horn (yes – there ARE unicorns!) are also on display. To be sure, this museum is not for the faint of heart. But did I mention it’s one of the free things to do in Rome?
4. Museum of Purgatory
Since this site is about budget travel as well, here’s another that counts among the free things to do in Rome – the Museum of Purgatory (which also goes by the name Souls of Purgatory Museum). It’s really just a small room in the Chiesa del Sacro Cuore (Church of the Sacred Heart) in the Prati neighbourhood of Rome. It houses objects such as hand prints and fingerprints which appear to be burned onto the pages of books, clothing, and bed linens — evidence of contact made to the living from souls trapped in Purgatory. Take that atheists!
5. Dinner in the Sky
If you prefer to take quirkiness to new heights, you might want to take your dinner to new heights as well. Dinner in the Sky — available in over 35 countries worldwide – has participating diners hoisted into the heavens via a crane for your meal. You and 21 of your closest companions can soak in the spectacular views while strapped into your seat 150 feet above the ground. Better tip your waiter if you want him to get you down.