5 Quirky Things to do in Rome

Posted by - March 26, 2012 | Category: Escapes, Europe, Italy

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

Crypt of the Capuchins -- fun, weird, unusual, and unique things to do in Rome

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

Santo Spirito Hospital Rome -- Museum of the Sanitary Arts -- Quirky things to do in Rome, Italy

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

museum-holy-souls-purgatory-rome-italy -- weird, fun, and unusual attractions and things to do in Rome

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

Dinner in the Sky Italy -- quirky fun and offbeat things to do in Rome

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.

What are some of the more quirky things to do in Rome you have heard of?

Looking for more offbeat activities in the Eternal City? Check out these unique things to do in Rome.

Antique bed Hotel PhotoIf you’re looking for a hotel during your stay in Rome, HotelsCombined searches through all the major travel booking sites to find the best price on every hotel room, plus there’s never any booking fees.

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27 comments - add one
      1. Hey.

        We went to italy for our honeymoon this summer, we had a week in rome go to the touristy place there well worth the visit but don’t forget to get a little lost along the way there are some real little finds. we wil be returning someday x

  1. How does the crypt in Rome compare to the catacombs in Paris? I was just in Rome this summer but didn’t have time to check them out and opted for the Paris ones… even though half were closed due to the terrorist bombings in Norway. Still cool though!

  2. Where the heck do you find these things..lol The Crypt is freaking me out. I already had my crypt experience in Sicily, no more for me. I agree the Gladiator school sounds pretty cool.

  3. If you don’t want to do dinner in the sky, you can always consider taking a food tour to learn a bit more about the restaurants in Rome and the best places to eat. It’s a great thing to do in the Eternal City!

  4. This is the best post Ive seen for things to do with our teens in Rome. If you hve any more suggestions like this for Europe please let me know, cheers, Roz

  5. I visited the Capuchin Crypt last year during my trip to Rome. It was such a unique experience. Unfortunately I didn’t have any time for the Museum of Sanitary Arts and the Museum of Purgatory. They both seem so interesting!


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