Immerse yourself in Rome!
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMMERSIVE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES IN ROME
BREAKFAST - CAPPUCINO AND A BRIOCHE
Apparently cappuccino is meant to be a breakfast drink and it's considered a bit strange to drink it later in the day. So what? So when in Rome.
The name Cappucino has, funnily enough, the same root as the English name for Capuchin monkeys. It all goes back to the Capuchin order of monks. The tall brown hoods they wore were apparently the same colour as coffee mixed with steamed milk.
HAVE A PROPER ITALIAN DINNER.
STARTER, PASTA DISH, MEAT / FOWL, SALAD, FRUIT.
The proper way to work through an Italian menu is to theme your meal. Choose an anitipasto and Primo Piatti that either compliment each other or contrast in an intriguing way. You're not supposed to choose your Secondi Piatti until you have finished the Primo Piatti. This allows you to decide what you really need to eat next, based on what you've just eaten. Genius.
Salad and vegetables have to be ordered separately to the main course and there is no formal cheese course unless you ask for it. The most authentic thing to do after your Secondi Piatti is to down an espresso then go for a passageata and pick up desert from an ice cream vendor, allowing you to stroll and socialise while you eat your Gelato.
PLAY THE FABULOUS ROMAN GAME OF MORRA!
It's a bit like scissor, paper, stone but it's more complex. Stand face to face with your opponent and on the count of three hold out a number of fingers AND shout out a number at the same time. The idea is to guess what number of fingers your opponent will show, from zero to five. You can show zero by balling your fist. You then say the winner is the first person to get three correct guesses. It should be played fast and loud and for an extra authentic touch use the proper game lingo. One, two, three, and four are uno, due, tre and Quattro. For five you say 'Todos!' which is Spanish for 'all!' and for zero you say. zero.
HIRE A GLADIATOR COSTUME AND DO THE COLOSSEUM TOUR WEARING IT.
This one's a challenge for those who truly know no fear or indeed shame. Seek out a costumier and rent the right togs then do the tour. If anyone questions you, remain absolutely deadpan, and refuse to acknowledge that you do indeed look very silly. Get someone to take a photo of you, or even better film you in action. The initial embarrassment will be worth it for a lifetime of reflected glory. We dare you.
THROW A COIN IN THE TREVI FOUNTAIN.
But be careful what you wish for! The technique is to stand with your back to the fountain and throw a coin with your right hand over your right shoulder. One coin guarantees you will return to Rome, two coins and you will fall in love with a Roman girl or boy, three coins and you will marry them in Rome. The 1954 American movie, three coins in the fountain first made the Trevi world famous. It was a gooey romance about an American secretary seeking a Roman Romeo.
Why the right shoulder? Because in ancient Rome anything on the left was considered evil. The Latin word for left is Sinister. Romans always entered their friend's homes with the right foot first. This idea is also present in Roman Catholicism. Tradition has it that you have an angel on your right shoulder and a devil on your left.
STICK YOUR HAND IN THE BOCCA DELLA VERITA AND SWEAR SOMETHING.
The Mouth of Truth is located in the portico of the church of Santa Maria of Cosmedin in the Piazza Venezia. Legend has it that if you tell lies while your hand is in it's mouth then it will bite off your hand. Get your partner to put their hand in and swear they don't find anyone attractive but you. Alternatively, put your own hand in and then start screaming.
ACT LIKE A POWER CRAZED EMPEROR
The Emperor Caligula believed he was the reincarnation of the legendary hero Hercules. He also used to fight in the games against doped or secretly wounded opponents to prove how much of a warrior he was. Imagine that you have the whole world at your command and you've let it go to your head. Have fun with it. He sure did. He made his favourite horse a governor.
HIRE A MOPED
There are around half a dozen moped rental shops in Rome and it doesn't cost too much to spend a day living the Roman dream, ragging around on a scooter shouting 'Ciao!' to passers by. You'll need to be a confident rider though, as the traffic in Rome can be chaotic. To say that everyone who is anyone is riding a moped is an understatement. You are simply not cool if you drive a car.
KNOCK ON WOOD.
WHENEVER YOU TELL SOMEONE GOOD NEWS OR PLANS THEN KNOCK ON WOOD AT THE SAME TIME SO THE SPIRITS CAN'T HEAR YOU.
The habit of saying 'Touch wood' when talking about future plans comes from an ancient Roman belief. They believed that there were evil spirits all around them and that if the spirits heard their plans for the future they would go and try to prevent them from working. So if they were trying to protect a plan they would knock on wood to distract the spirits while they talked about it.
Have a go at doing this while you're in Rome. It can lead to some highly amusing wood seeking situations and give you an insight into the ancient way of thinking. A world where everything was infested with good and bad spirits mucking about and causing havoc.
THINK OF YOUR OWN!
In travel you have to be able to turn on a sixpence. Step lively and think on your feet. How can you have the most immersive experience of Rome? You must explore the possibilities for yourself. Can you earn the hugely prestigious and career advancing 'Pioneer of Immersive Travel' sew-on badge? We doubt it.