And now for something completely different about Rome!
We have already talked about the very famous Roman attractions in many different posts of Rome Private Guides. Now it is the time to talk about some places that are not even known by all the locals. Because sometimes it is also fun to discover some new places as a local would do. Of course, these are not the all unusual attractions in Rome, but they are definitely the most interesting ones.
6 Unusual Places to visit in Rome:
- Water Clock - Pincio
- Palazzo Zuccari Facade
- Magic Door - Piazza Vittorio
- Zuppiera Fountain - Corso Vittorio
- Cannonball Fountain - Trinità dei Monti
- Casina delle Civette - Villa Torlonia
Water Clock - Pincio
A small tower in the middle of a fountain recalling a tree trunk is what this water clock looks like. A transparent small case in the middle of this tower makes possible to see the complex hydraulic design that permits its working. Created by Gioacchino Ersoch and Giovan Battista Embriaco, it is a really lovely and interesting construction. As already mentioned, there is a transparent section that allows understanding its functioning, but it is still curious and intriguing what activates the clock: the Acqua Marcia (literally “rotten water”) that comes from the underlying fountain.
Palazzo Zuccari Facade
Via Gregoriana 30 is the exact address where you would find a very peculiar and amazing facade: the only way to access the building is by “being eaten by a huge monster”. This is because the entrance door represents a monster with its mouth wide open: both the door and the windows seem to eat everyone who enters. Federico Zuccari, the architect who projected the facade and owner of the building (this was his personal dwelling), was inspired by the Bosco Sacro di Bomarzo, a place that deeply fascinated him.
Magic Door - Piazza Vittorio
The legend tells about a pilgrim who came at the Palombara Villa and asked the marquess to rest in his garden, the marquess accepted. Once in the garden, the pilgrim mixed some herbs before disappearing through the door followed by a golden powder e leaving behind him a paper with strange transcriptions. The marquess tried to solve the enigma, with no success, so he carved it on the doors of the villa hoping that someone in the future will be able to solve it.
The only remaining door of the Palombara Villa is in the middle of Piazza Vittorio and is surrounded by two statues representing the Egyptian god Bes. The pilgrim's symbols are still there and now it is known as Porta Magica or Porta Alchemica. We still don’t know the meaning of these symbols, but it is thought they hide the secret about how to transform metals into gold.
Aren’t you curious to try to solve the enigma?
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Zuppiera Fountain - Corso Vittorio
The really weird fact about this fountain is that it has a cover. Why - you may ask - should a fountain have a cover? It is because, in the past, it happened that Popes decided to put marble coverings on monuments to preserve them from the people’s negligence. In the specific case, the fountain was in Campo de’ Fiori, but the merchants used it to wash fruits and vegetables, and the Pope Gregorio XV, considering this as an offensive act, covered it with the still present cover. The people reacted to what they considered as an insult calling it Zuppiera, the Italian word for “tureen”. After the renaming, the fountain was moved from Campo de Fiori to Corso Vittorio, it is not known why the changing of location, but someone would say it was because of the continuous jokes.
Cannonball Fountain - Trinità dei Monti
Another fountain, another question. Why is there a cannonball inside a fountain? I don’t really know, but, as often in Rome, a legend tells us about it.
One morning, Christina of Sweden was walking up and down Castel Sant’Angelo to spend her time, not knowing what to do, and decided to go hunting. Anyway, she could not go on her own in the woods, so she had to ask someone to go with her fastly, having a short time. So she shot a cannonball toward Villa Medici in order to wake the owner of the house up: there is still the dent in the bronze gate. He was unexpectedly happy and decided to conserve the ball in the middle of the fountain in front of his house. Everybody still wondering why…
Casina delle Civette - Villa Torlonia
Villa Torlonia itself is a wonderful park in Rome that deserves to be visited, and there you can find the beautiful Casina delle Civette. Civetta means “owl”, the Prince Torlonia’s favorite animal and main subjects of the wonderful glass windows of the building. It is very hard to identify this house with a specific architectonic style, it is mainly a mix of styles, and it recalls a fairy tale, and this means that you would feel like children once there.
Remember, Rome is a special city and if you spend days strolling along the little alleys. We can guarantee that you can definitely have a lot of fun discovering unique hidden corners embellished by several architectural elements.
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