I've been to Rome a few times and I'm going back again in January for a four days. Having done the usual tourist stuff before, I'd really rather see some of the more hidden treasures of the city this time. I'm really just planning to go and savour the atmosphere of the city without having to run around cramming in all the sights as i've done in the past.
The most weird and wonderful tips always come from fellow travellers so all suggestions welcome!
Try staying in an iffy place near the Termini and then walk home at 2 in the morning after a bottle of wine and a glass (water glass, mind) of grappa. It's great fun. That or try to get out of the parking lot at the train station after your parking ticket has expired.
Other than that, we only did the touristy things. I hear you can get a special pass to see the catacombs under the Vatican. I'd love to see those.
I lived in Rome for six months, so eventually the touristy site no longer became "touristy". You'd walk by the Colosseum like "Ahhh seen that before"
I lived in the neighborhood of Trastevere. Word of wise to you travelers...DO NOT STAY IN THE HOSTELS NEAR TERMINI!!! Termini is where most of the hostles are concentrated. Its just east of the historic center of Rome. I have heard sooo many stories of robberies and attacks in that area. I would always feel uncomfortable taking a bus back from the train station through that area. Many gypies live near there and its more of the "slum" of Rome.
Anywayss....the neighborhood of Trastevere is beautiful! The old Roman wall runs right through it and its very residencial. Like all Italian cities, many piazzas in Trastevere. Many B&Bs too! For nightlife, go to the neighborhood of Testachio!! Now that where the real Romans go to have fun...none of the Campo di Fiore touristy crap. There is a literal circle of bars and nightclubs that are always hoppin!
As far as things to see that are less touristy...there are TONS! Castle San Angelo (across from Vatican) is not visited by many (and it looks weird to see a midevil castle in an anchient city). Villa Borghese (which is the large park in Rome) has sooooooo many wonderful spots to sit and relax. You can rent bikes and trek around the massive park. Also, there are many great musuems to see works by aaalll the famous Italian artists!!! There is the Modern Musuem of Italian art and also the Classical Museum of Italian art too! Just south of the city along the Metro A there is a stop called EUR. Mussolini designed this very fascist looking town for the Worlds Fair in 1940 something thats neat to look at. Olympic Stadium where AS ROMA plays is great (and go to a football game too!!!)
I hope this helps. Its been a year since I've lived there so I know im forgetting some things...
Thanks Rob! Lots of great tips there