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Rome

7 unconventional places around Rome

Choose an alternative itinerary discovering Rome’s most bizzarre places..

Colosseum, Vatican, Spanish Steps are just three of the counteless attractions in Rome. You probably heard of them a million times. Anyway, there are places in the Eternal City which are less known but equally interesting to see. Whether you have already been in Rome or it is your first time, do not go with the mainstream. Let's discover with us an alternative itinerary of Rome’s most unconventional places.

  1. Crypt of the Bones in our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins Church 

Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins is a church in the center of Rome. It was built by the order of Pope Urban VIII to honor the memory of his brother, a Capuchin buried right there.

Its main attraction is surely the crypt, decorated with the bones of around 4000 Capuchins gathered between 1528 and 1870. Why should you call an interior designer, when there are so many friars’ cemeteries out there? It seems pretty logical.

The crypt is also divided into five little chapels where some friars rest. Nothing strange… Just mummified friars dressed with their typical vestments hanging on the walls. Something everyone has at home.

And this is not all. To make it all a little creepier, on the entrance to one of the chapels you will read: what you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be. It is written in three languages, so that you are sure to have your day made. Try to sleep at night of your dare.

Debunking speeches aside, this unconventional decorative choice is a way to dispel the fear of death. It aims at showing that body is just a case and as such, we can use it for any purpose once soul has left it. Soul is what really matters, and it goes far bayond earthly death.

  1. The Magic Door in Piazza Vittorio

It is the only preserved thing of the entire Villa Palombara, in the core of Piazza Vittorio. According to the legend, one day a mysteriuos foreign came to the Villa asking for shelter. He was welcomed inside, but after a while he disappeared. All he left were golden dust and a paper with strange inscriptions on it. The owner could not manage to decode the message and he decided to engrave it on the door, hoping that someone could interpret it someday.

It did not work at all, as you probably guessed. However, this has left a very peculiar piece of architecture in the center of Rome. You shall go and immerse into this esotherical atmosphere. Who knows, maybe you will be the one to solve the puzzle.

  1. The Flat Dome in Sant'Ignazio 

So, basically it works as follows. You see this beautiful church and you decide to get in. Impatient to admire its dome from the inside, you rush towards it and... Nothing. It is just gone, lost in the ceiling.

Relax, there are no tricks and no magic here. Its architecturers wanted to build a dome, but they had to give it up because of technical problems. Anyway, they wanted a dome so badly that they painted it on the ceiling. Really. It is just an optical illusion, sorry. By the way, we have to admit that it is made to perfection.

The church is gorgeous. Even if it has a fake dome, do not be upset. You will not regret visiting it.

Fresco of Sant'Ignazio

  1. The Tureen in Corso Vittorio Emanuele 

Wait, it is worth to read through. We are not talking about a pot abandoned in the middle of the street. The tureen is a fountain. Yes, a fountain.

Once upon a time, there was a fountain in Campo de’ Fiori. Campo de’ Fiori was a market and the merchants used to wash all their staff into the fountain. This made the fountain a little filthy sometimes. By the way, there were neither sinks nor disinfectants at that time. So after all, this was quite an acceptable pratice… But not for Pope Gregory XV. He decided to fight this barbarity by covering the fountain with a lid. Why providing regular cleaning when you can build a marble lid? Seems legit.

Campo de' Fiori

Let’s make clear that this is a story of exaggerated reactions to bearable facts. However, people felt outraged by this measure and started to call the covered fountain la zuppiera, the tureen. Referring to a fountain as the tureen was a strong provocation in the 16th century… Definitely disrespectful.

Today the fountain has been moved to Corso Vittorio Emanuele, where you can admire it while having a pleasant walk along one of the nicest avenues in Rome.

  1. The Fountain with the Cannonball 

Here we go with another fantastic tale. The Swedish Queen moved to Rome in 1655, but after a while she started to get bored of her daily life… Poor woman, what a tough life fighting boredom!

One day she invited a Decio Azzolino, a very close friends of hers, to go out. Unfortunately, he did not show up and the Queen was furious. So, she shot a cannonball directly in the air towards Villa Medici, Azzolino’s residence. This was really the first thing that came into her mind. Simply genial.

Surprisingly, the landlord was not bothered at all. The cannonball was rescued and shifted to a fountain inside the villa, where it still lies. This is a history of absolute geniuses.

Thanks to this unbelieveble event, today we are able to go and have a look at one of the most unique fountains in Rome.

  1. Spada Gallery

Borromini has been one of the greatest masters of his time and for all the times to come. Well, this was not enough for him. He wanted to become an illusionist as well.

Bernardino Spada was a rich and powerful Cardinal who asked Borromini to do his new house up. Business as usual, you know.

Obviousely Borromini found the way to make an ordinary work extraordinary. He built a gallery which seems 12 meters longer than it actually is! It is all a matter of optical illusion and perspective tricks, but the feeling you get is totally twisting. You definitely shall not miss it.

Palazzo Spada Rome

  1. The water clock on the Pincian Hill

Really, this clock works with the water flowing inside it. Located in the middle of a fountain, it looks like a glass case sustained by branches. In this way, everyone is able to observe its complex plumbing system.

There is a note of trash here, be prepared. The clock works with the rotten water from the fountain below. You had to know that, apologies. By the way, you do not have to drink it. All you have to do is get there and admire this beautiful and super smart construction.

There is so much more to discover around Rome of course, these are just a few suggestions. Whether you you want to enjoy a private tour on or off the beaten trucks, we are right here. We hope this article has inspired you at least a little bit. If not, do not be afraid to contact us. Our booking department will surely be more convincing!

22nd Jun 2017