Discover the hidden gems in Rome to experience the capital like a local;
Among the most unusual places to visit in Rome, the first place goes to Quartiere Coppedé. Located in Rome’s Trieste neighbourhood, this semi-hidden enclave designed by architect Gino Coppedè turns around Piazza Mincio and its quirky Fountain of the Frogs. Built from 1913 and 1926, you will see a series of buildings Liberty-style adorned with grotesque figures of monsters, animals and the elements.
The former production centre of Peroni brewery, today the Museo MACRO is a state-of-the-art steel and glass building. The space for Italian and international artists, Museo MACRO is the city’s museum of contemporary art and still one of the hidden gems in Rome.
The Appian Way
Known as the queen of all roads, the Appian Way goes all the way to southern Italian Puglia region (Apulia). Even though crucial for the bygone life of imperial times, now it falls into the category of the unique things to do in Rome.
Villa Ada and the Catacombs
Formerly the residence of Italy’s royal family, the Savoys, Villa Ada is now one of Rome’s largest public parks. Here there are countless of activities you can do. For a bit of exercising you can walk, jog or rent a bike, but if you want to simply relax, you can set up a picnic and enjoy your lunch surrounded by green.
Street art at Rome’s Quadraro
Counting almost 3,000 years under its belt, sightseeing Rome doesn’t only imply travelling back to BC times. Get off at Porta Furba/Quadraro station along metro line A and you will find yourself immersed in a burst of colours.Artists of the likes of Diavù (native from the area and founder of this street art project), Alice Pasquini, Beau Stanton, Dilkabear, Zelda Bomba and Gio Pistone have taken part in this project and managed to revamp this otherwise pretty uneventful neighbourhood that never really attracted visitors.
Basilica di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Underneath Basilica di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, one of Rome off-the-beaten-path attractions not to miss.Often neglected and overshadowed by the most famous Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica is located in its semi-hidden namesake piazza. Quite unassumingly from outside, the interior is finely decorated and bears the final resting place of Santa Cecilia, the saint patron of music, whose body was translated here from the previous tomb in the Catacombs of St. Callixtus.
After visiting the street-level basilica, don’t forget to go down one level and visit the luxurious crypt and then down again for an ancient Roman Domus and insula.
Ancient Rome from a different perspective
While the Colosseum and the Roman Forum are far from being unusual places to visit in Rome, spotting relics from imperial times in unexpected locations is definitely an enticing experience. Walk around the gentrified alleys of former working-class Trastevere and you will see the pillars belonging to the covered walkways popular in imperial times set in the walls of Renaissance buildings.
Villa Torlonia and Mussolini’s bunker
More of a locals’ place rather than tourist area, Villa Torlonia park was once the residence of Fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Enjoy a stroll in this lovely park located some 2 km from Porta Pia, visit the Liberty-style Casina delle Civette, or House of the Owls, have a bite at La Limonaia bar/restaurant and let your kids play at the local playground Technotown, a space devoted to the new technologies.
Porta Magica (Magic Door)
Also called Porta Alchemica (Alchemical) or Porta dei Cieli (of the Skies), this is definitely one of the secret places in Rome. Located in the gardens of Piazza Vittorio on the Esquilino Hill, this strange structure was built between 1655 and 1680 by marquis Massimiliano Savelli Palombara inside his once residence, Villa Palombara, where today are the gardens. The nobleman got close to the world of alchemy and science as an aftermath of frequenting the palace of Queen Christina of Sweden who had a well-equipped lab managed by alchemist Pietro Antonio Bandiera.
According to the myth, the alchemist Francesco Giuseppe Borri stayed over Villa Palombara for one night in the quest for a magic herb able to produce gold. The morning, he was seen stepping over the door and disappear. In the process, he left behind some speck of gold result of an alchemic formula and a paper filled with symbols that revealed the secret of the philosopher’s stone. Those symbols are now the decoration of the Magic Door.
Since you are there, have a walk under the covered porticoes around Piazza Vittorio and visit the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino, a food market where you can find just about everything from all over the world.
The Protestant Cemetery
Possibly the most famous and photographed statue at the non-Catholic cemetery, this crying angel symbolizes the pain a husband felt after losing his wife.
The Non-Catholic or Protestant Cemetery was created to be the final resting place of foreign diplomats, non-Catholics and foreigners living on Italian soil. Buried there are also the only son of German writer Goethe, Italian politician and founder of the Communist Party Antonio Gramsci, and English poet John Keats.