The city of Rome is famous for its centuries’ worth of ancient history and large number of famous tourist attractions. In today’s post, we’re discussing the hidden gems of Rome, and bringing you 6 secret tourist attractions to visit when in Rome.
1. Street Art in Trastevere
Despite being known as the ancient and Eternal city, Rome is becoming a centerpoint of contemporary and modern art with every piece that appears on its walls. One area that’s particularly popular in terms of street art is Trastevere. Here, you can see a multitude of pieces from artists such as Space Invader, Uno, Diamond, Omino71, and more. Their works consist of large, vibrant, colourful pieces, taking up entire walls and sides of buildings, or many feet in length and height in mural format. If you’d like to hunt these pieces down, there’s a handy app called StreetArt Roma that makes them easy to track. We have a walking tour of Trastevere on our site, which includes a coordinating commentary and a delicious dinner in a villa, if you're so inclined!
2. Ostia Antica
Located 30 minutes outside Rome by train, it’s easy to see how Ostia Antica could fall to the wayside in relation to more central attractions. But despite the necessary travel, the beauty of the site will absolutely make up for it! Seen as the Roman equivalent of Pompeii, it inhabited up to 100,000 people and still has the remains of many buildings present, such as bathhouses, temples, theaters, market squares, brothels and more. With how well-preserved the site is, it’s easy to imagine what life was like in an ancient Roman town. If you're intrigued by this site, we have a half-day tour to Ostia Antica for your enjoyment!
3. Gardens of Villa Borghese
Whether you’re visiting Galleria Borghese or not, the gardens that surround it are often forgotten. With 197.7 acres of space, you’ll come across many species of trees, plants and flowers as you traverse the gardens. There are also a number of attractions to be seen throughout, such as villas, many sculptures, and a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. From the terrace at the edge of the gardens, you can see incredible views of the city of Rome and parts of the Vatican, too. And seeing as they’re free to visit, why wouldn’t you? Perfect for a picnic or a leisurely evening walk, you won’t regret a visit to the gardens of Villa Borghese.
4. Antica Farmacia della Scala
If you happen to visit the Santa Maria della Scala church, you’ll see this building sitting adjacent to it. We assume that you can guess what this building is from “farmacia” – yes, it’s a pharmacy. But not just any pharmacy, this was the pharmacy of the Pope and papal court. It opened in the middle of 1600, and was run by Carmelite monks. You can still visit the pharmacy today, with a guided visit conducted by a Carmelite friar, along with a visit to the Santa Maria della Scala church, which has an intriguing history of its own. Worth investigating? That’s up to you, but we certainly think so!
5. The Jubilee Church, or Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso
The Jubilee Church (Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso, meaning Church of God the Merciful Father) is a modern, newly built church in Tor Tre Teste. It was constructed to revive the area and is seen as “the crown jewel of the Vicariato di Roma’s Millenium project.” It was designed to look like a ship, with three curved concrete walls representing the sails. The church was constructed to use energy in the most efficient way, and the cement company used claimed that their cement reduces air pollution. If you’re on the lookout for a not-so-traditional part of Rome to visit, the Jubilee Church is the perfect contender.
6. Domus Aurea (‘The Golden House’)
The Domus Aurea was the home of Nero, the final Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. It contained a wide range of self-indulgent additions at the hands of Nero, such as banqueting rooms, nymphaeums, bath houses, and terraces. The gardens had multiple fountains throughout and the façade has a solid gold coating. Some of these elements still survive today, including detailed frescoes painted on the walls. A solid chunk of history lost in a maelstrom of attractions in Rome, we recommend a visit to the Domus Aurea to experience what wealthy life in ancient Rome was like.
If this post piqued your interest, check out our selection of Rome tours!