You could lose a week in the Eternal City, doing nothing but staring at architecture and falling in love. But let’s say you’re somehow tired of wandering among gorgeous 2,000-year-old buildings and religious mega-structures, and fancy doing something a little different. If you don’t mind a bit of Roman roaming, here’s a list of quirky ways to spend your time.
1. Visit House of the Owls
Having celebrated its centenary only last year, House of the Owls is something of a baby in Rome. Nonetheless, it is perhaps one of the city’s most striking buildings – a strange, Swiss anomaly that looks as though it might have been transplanted from a cartoon. Named after the owl motifs that decorate it inside and out, it forms part of the wider Villa Torlonia complex.
2. Learn to make gelato
If you’re struggling to keep your little ones’ attention and energy levels up in ancient Rome, switch to a language they can understand: dessert. With classes aimed at kids and adults, Walks Inside Rome offers daily courses and the chance to finally discover the difference between gelato and ice cream.
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3. Marvel at the Mosque of Rome
The fact that there is any kind of mosque in Rome may be a surprise to some visitors, but this isn’t just any place of worship – the Mosque of Rome is also one of the largest in the world, capable of welcoming more than 12,000 worshipers at a time. Completed in the mid-1990s, it’s the biggest mosque in the West and a clear illustration that Rome isn’t stuck in the past.
4. Meet furry friends at a cat cafe
Apparently intent on combining as many fads under one roof as possible, Romeow Cat Bistrot also boasts an entirely vegan menu. The resident felines at Rome’s first cat cafe are friendly enough that even non-cat-lovers will feel welcome, but the menu is not to be hissed at either: Vegan and raw versions of classic Italian dishes dominate.