Rome is famous for its main tourist sites, such as the Colosseum and Vatican, but there are also some wonderful hidden gems of Rome that many tourists miss. Be sure not to miss something truly memorable around the hidden corners of Rome. Perhaps you have visited Rome more than once and are ready to discover some of the more hidden gems of Rome. Be sure to not miss any of the off the beaten track sites of Rome.
The first images in people’s minds when they think of Rome are the Colosseum, the Trevi fountain, Vatican City, the Spanish steps and many more iconic sites… Whilst these sites are deservedly world-renowned, Rome has so much more to offer to even those visitors already familiar with the Eternal City. A lifetime really is not enough time to visit all the hidden corners of Rome.
Enjoy a fantastic view over Rome on the Aventine Hill
One of the best-kept secrets in Rome can be found on the Aventine Hill. Although it might seem like just another door, leading to the Priory of the Knights of Malta, its keyhole offers a spectacular view of Rome. More specifically, behind the gardens in the foreground, this magic keyhole frames perfectly the famous St. Peter’s Basilica. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this unconventional view of one of Rome’s most iconic sites! Afterwards, sit back and relax in its grounds. The so-called Giardino degli Aranci (the garden of oranges) offers a welcome break away from the city center. Take the weight off your feet and sit on a bench surrounded by orange trees, whilst enjoying a gorgeous panoramic view over the city.
Put your hand in the Mouth of Truth
Immortalized in Audrey Hepburn’s 1953 film, Roman Holiday, the so-called Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita in Italian) is still unknown to many visitors to Rome. A marble disc in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin with open holes for the eyes, nostrils and mouth; legend has it that the mouth closes around the hand of a liar. Put yourself to the test and place your hand into the mouth… if you dare!
Rome definitely has no shortage of churches and basilicas. But there are still those well worth a visit that remain off the radar of the average tourist. One of these is Sant’Ignazio. It is most famous for its optical illusions. A 17th Century baroque church, its highlight is the dome designed by Andrea Pozzo. Owing to a lack of funds, the dome was never constructed; the fresco is instead an illusion that gives the impression of a 3D cupola. Our tour of highlights of Rome will take you inside this stunning church where you will step into this 3-dimensional world!
Check Out Raphael's in Santa Maria della Pace Church
Another of these little-known churches can be found nearby Piazza Navona. Tucked away inside the Chigi Chapel of Santa Maria della Pace (St Mary of Peace) can be found Raphael’s 1514 work, Sibyls. Be warned, you have to strike lucky in order to view this and arrive at a time when the custodian happens to be around! If you don’t happen to make it at the right time, don’t panic… To the left of the church is the cloister of Bramante. A hidden architectural treasure itself, on the second floor you will find a window which gives a direct view onto Raphael’s masterpiece. An added bonus, it is located just by the bar so you can really enjoy this stunning work in style!
Have a relaxing stroll on the Appian Way
It might not seem like it by modern standards but Via Appia Antica, was the first highway in Europe… and it can be found in Rome. This ancient marvel was 400 miles long and continued as far as Brindisi in Southern Italy, where it was then connected by ships to the East of Europe. It might seem somewhat surprising but Ancient Rome’s answer to Route 66 is now considered a national park! Perhaps less surprisingly, Via Appia Antica is lined with Ancient Roman monuments as well as two Christian catacombs. Why not come and take a stroll along this historically lined street? One of the greatest hidden treasures found on this ancient road is the Domine quo Vadis church. It is said that this church marks the spot where St Peter had a vision of Jesus before turning back to Rome to be crucified. This may not be the most famous church in Rome, but Pope John Paul II highlighted it as one of the most sacredly important.
Go back in time inside St. Clemente's Church
The thing that makes Rome so unique is the many layers of history to be discovered throughout the city. Nowhere is this demonstrated better than the relatively unknown Basilica of San Clemente. This Basilica really is a microcosm of all that Rome represents. Encompassing 2000 years of history, the first level is a twelfth century basilica, still in use today. Here you will be able to feast your eyes on spectacular mosaics and frescoes. Below this, you will reach a 4th Century Basilica, where more stunning frescoes are still preserved today. Finally, roughly 60 feet underground you will visit the home of a Roman nobleman from the first century. Enter, and be prepared to feel as though you are stepping into a time machine!
Whether you are visiting Rome for the first time and want to take home some memories and photos a little out of the ordinary, or you are already familiar with the highlights of Rome and want to see something new, see www.romeprivateguides.com web site or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to show you Rome’