10 Ideas For 20-Somethings In Rome

Dispatches from the Road, Italy, Lost Boys — By on June 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm

by Kevin Kilbride

Special To The Lost Girls

With a reputation that stems from its historic architecture and remarkable museum offerings, college students rarely consider Rome, Italy’s rich capital, for their next vacation. However, amidst all the museums and history, visitors will find an abundance of activities sure to sweep any tourist off their feet. College-age students:  look beyond Rome’s ancient character and choose the Eternal City as your next getaway.

Flick Your Coin Into The Trevi

Okay, so this isn’t specific for college students – but how could you visit Rome and skip this one? Legend tells us a return visit to Rome isn’t guaranteed unless you make your wish at the Trevi, and unless you have an eternity in the “Eternal City” a return visit will be very necessary. Hold the coin in your right hand and toss over your left shoulder, and the rest is simply magic.

Take A Coastal Day Trip

Rome’s Mediterranean climate is often overshadowed by places like southern Italy and Greece, yet visitors looking to return home with a tan-line probably won’t be disappointed as the city draws lots of sunshine year-round. However, beach-bum tourists can find their bliss thanks to Rome’s close proximity to coastal towns. The closest are Ostio Lido and Sperlonga, both around an hour from the capital with picturesque beaches galore.

Stroll Down Via del Corso

While far from undiscovered, college students would be foolish to skip out on an afternoon on this bustling shopping hot-spot. Stretching nearly the entire length of Rome’s historic center; from the jaw-dropping Capital building to the lively Piazza del Popolo, the shopping offers something for everyone with its dizzying blend of old and new. For those on a budget, don’t hesitate for Via del Corso also has some of the city’s most compelling people-watching thanks to the diverse mix of tourists and locals.

Venture To The Testacchio District

On any college trip, the vacation really heats up when the sun goes down. Luckily, Rome boasts some of Europe’s most dynamic nightlife. Americans will be tempted by tourist-friendly areas like Campo de Fiori, but those seeking a real Roman celebration should venture to Testacchio. A quick cab ride from the city centre, this district catches fire at night with its countless selection of nightclubs and bars. Be warned – comfy shoes are a necessity, because you will likely be dancing late into the night.

Escape The Tourism In Trastevere

This quaint neighborhood paints a truly romantic picture with its social atmosphere, aged cobblestones and outdoor cafes. The area remains generally tourist-free, so break off the beaten path and enjoy a traditional Italian meal in one of Trastevere’s authentic restaurants nestled in richly historic buildings. Nightlife is also sufficient and relatively inexpensive, with relaxing bars and outdoor wineries at every turn.

Unwind At Villa Borghese

A long day of sightseeing deserves a rest stop at Villa Borghese, the largest park in Rome’s city limits. Green grass, blooming trees and walking paths welcome nature-lovers from near and far. Bikes for two are also available for rent if you are looking to take in the park’s vivid greenery, against the striking backdrop of Rome’s architecture, in motion.

Go To A Soccer Game

American College students can get hung up on popular sports like football and basketball, but few sports spectacles in the US compare to the uproarious crowd at an Italian soccer game. Tickets are fairly inexpensive (as cheap as 12 euro depending on the opponent) and the arena is a quick bus ride from the city’s centre. Throw on any red you have and prepare to cheer loudly on your feet.

Climb The Gianicolo Hill

Craving a romantic sunset over Rome’s charming cityscape? One of the best is from the top of Gianicolo Hill, in the richly preserved neighborhood of Trastevere. The hike is less harsh than the top of the Vatican, and the views are arguably just as impressive with no price tag. If time permits, prepare a picnic and watch the sun set as the sound of flowing water from the hill’s fountain complements the soothing views.

Enjoy A Bottle Of Wine On The Spanish Steps

Few things in the “Eternal City” feel more timeless than the Spanish Steps, steeped in history and teeming with charm. Not far from other popular attractions like the Trevi Fountain, the steps are a must on any itinerary in Rome. Grab your closest friends, a cheap bottle of wine and take in the striking panoramic view from the top.

Try An Italian Espresso Drink, Anywhere

Fans of Starbucks may be disappointed with Rome’s lack of commercialism, but taking in an espresso drink at a traditional Italian cafe embodies all that is the Roman culture – savoring the moment, savoring friends and savoring their drink. Cafes line the streets of nearly every neighborhood in the city, so pick the closest one and order your usual. If you’re anything like me, you’ll forget about American coffee with the first sip.

Photo credit: GOC53.IK’s World Trip,Like_the_Grand_Canyon/flickr

Follow Kevin’s travels on Twitter @Kevin_Kilbride

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