It is no secret that Rome is not my favorite city in Italy. It's not that I don't like spending a little time there or that there aren't tons of things to do, but it's just not the Italy that fills my heart or makes me feel like I am home when I'm there.
But, that said, there are many things that I love to do in Rome. And most of them don't involve The Vatican or The Forum. In fact, I prefer to be outside, enjoying and experiencing what I like to call the museum of life.
One of my favorite pastimes is the simple and inexpensive act of wandering. Rome has so many great places to just walk and discover. I love just strolling around the Trastevere and Monti neighborhoods and down the Via Giulia- one of the oldest streets in Rome. I can spend hours sneaking glimpses of Roman life and peering into the lovely courtyards while imagining what it must be like to live there.
Another way to watch Roman life go by is spending time in a Roman piazza. My favorites? The Piazza Navona, home to the famous Bernini fountain, always has such an energy surrounding it and seems to have something interesting going on all the time. The other is the Piazza della Rotonda, which also has a lovely fountain, but happens to be the site of the Pantheon, one of the most stunning monuments in the eternal city. Many piazzas are lined with cafes and trattorias, which make excellent vantage points from which to soak up the local atmosphere.
Spending time shopping at an outdoor food market is also a great way to mingle with the locals. One of my favorite markets is the Campo dei Fiori, which has a tasty mix of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, fish, meats, spices, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and flowers on offer.
Robin Locker is a France and Italy travel consultant, freelance travel writer and photographer who hopes to one day realize her dream of living La Dolce Vita in her beloved Italy. She writes about travel for MNUI travel insurance and on her own site, My Melange. She is addicted to social media - you can follow her on Twitter @MyMelange.