What’s on Your Rome Bucket List? What to See and Do While at University in Rome

John Cabot University students hit the streets to explore Rome

John Cabot University students hit the streets to explore Rome

When students decide to study in Rome, their initial must-see list usually includes world famous sites like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Vatican City, and the Colosseum.

They have already made plans to walk along the Via Appia (an ancient Roman highway built in 312 BCE), and signed up for a tour of the legendary Roman catacombs. So we haven’t included these universally recognized tourist sites on this particular “bucket list.”

Instead, we’ve suggested sights, experiences, and adventures we know John Cabot University students would enjoy. It’s by no means a complete list—but definitely provides a great starting point to an unforgettable time in Rome.

1. Get a Taste of Local Life at Trastevere Hotspots near Campus

A hub for international students in Italy, the neighborhood of Trastevere is known for its picturesque cobblestone streets, excellent restaurants, and bustling sidewalk cafes. It’s a top destination for most visitors, and just happens to be home to the John Cabot University campus!

Before, after, or in-between classes, you won’t have to go far to experience Trastevere hotspots, including:

  • the Santa Cecilia church, featuring beautiful works of Baroque art and a fascinating underground crypt
  • the Piazza di Santa Maria, bordered by countless outdoor cafes for lounging and snacking
  • the Porta Portese, one of Europe’s largest flea markets and among the best places to shop in Rome (Sunday mornings only)
The Porta Portese flea market is a great place to shop, stroll, or bike

The Porta Portese flea market is a great place to shop, stroll, or bike

2. Step Back in Time with a Two-hour Gladiator Training Course

Most Roman tourists simply visit the Colosseum and learn about its brutal history of fight-to-the-death combat. Others go the extra mile and actually enrol in a gladiator crash course, taking the phrase “do as the Romans do” to another level!

This is definitely a bucket list item for adventurous students who can sign up for the two-hour class through the Historic Group of Rome. You’ll wear authentic armor, wield historically accurate training weapons, and learn real fighting techniques from Historic Group members.  After the lesson ends, participants get to tour the Gladiator School of Rome Museum for free.

Learning gladiator moves is a great way to “live” a famous piece of Roman history

Learning gladiator moves is a great way to “live” a famous piece of Roman history

3. Shop for Seasonal Produce at the Campo de’ Fiori Outdoor Market

Italian cuisine is all about using fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. One of the great pleasures of living in Rome is making regular trips to the market, and cooking with locally grown ingredients. If you live in Trastevere, you’re walking distance from one of the most famous markets in Rome—Campo de’ Fiori. It’s known for a wide selection of produce, meat and fish, and is close to some lovely restaurants and shops. JCU students will want to build this market trip into their weekly routine.

A view of the produce stalls at Campo de’ Fiori

A view of the produce stalls at Campo de’ Fiori

4. See the Greatest View of Rome from the Gianicolo Hill Look-out

Just above the Vatican and Trastevere neighborhoods rises the Gianicolo hill, widely acknowledged as one of the best places to enjoy breathtaking views of Rome. Every day at noon, the silence at the top of the hill is broken by a single cannon shot to mark the time, a tradition that dates back to 1847.

The Gianicolo Hill overlooks the beautiful domes and rooftops of Rome

The Gianicolo Hill overlooks the beautiful domes and rooftops of Rome

5. Eat the Best Gelato of your Life at Fatamorgana

Locals and tourists agree that Fatamorgana offers some of the most flavorful and high quality gelati in Rome.  From “chocolate wasabi” to “Syrian pistachio” to “banana cream with sesame brittle”— Fatamorgana, whose Trastevere branch is about a 10 minute walk from JCU,  serves up a different set of creative and mouth-watering options every day. Additionally, there are also non-dairy and gluten-free choices, and if you like, you can have cream on top of your gelato with no extra charge!

Gelato comes in all flavors at Fatamorgana in Rome

Gelato comes in all flavors at Fatamorgana in Rome

6. Go Hiking & Caving in Sapri While you Study in Italy

While the Eternal City offers a lifetime of sights and experiences, students may also have their hearts set on visiting nearby destinations while attending university in Rome.

John Cabot University organizes a wide range of trips and activities to make traveling outside of Rome easy, safe, and fun. One of our most popular options is the weekend trip to Sapri, a beautiful port town on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Participants explore grottos and caves by boat, go hiking above the Monte Ceraso, and stay overnight at a local B&B. Our next Sapri adventure is coming up soon on May 28. We hope to see you there!

And there you have it. Just a few of the many amazing experiences students can add to their bucket lists while at university in Rome.

Are you hoping to study in Italy this year? What’s on your bucket list?

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