10 Hidden Gems In Rome – A Guide To Secret Places That Most Tourists Never See
Rome is one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations and its most popular attractions receive millions of visitors every year. The city is known for its influential art, architecture and culture, and is packed with amazing museums, churches and gardens.
Tourists that have been to Rome (and even people who have never been) will probably tell you the main highlights; Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, or St. Peter’s Basilica. But Rome, like many other places, is filled with so much more and would be a shame to get back from your visit there only to find you missed a great deal. To help you avoid this, here is our selection of Rome’s hidden gems that most tourists never see:
1) Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese is the largest public park in Rome and a great safety valve to escape the noise and bustle of the city. There is much to see and do as the park contains a number of buildings, museums and attractions.
Even though for many, the main aim of coming to Villa Borghese is just to chill out for an hour or two, to ponder and reflect over the sightseeing to date and regroup for what is ahead – Borghese Gallery is the main attraction for visitors.
2) Vatican Gardens
The Vatican Gardens have been a place of quiet and meditation for the popes since 1279. Up to a third of the Vatican is covered by the perfectly manicured Vatican Gardens, which contain fortifications, grottoes, monuments, and fountains. Visits are by two-hour guided tour only, for which you’ll need to book at least a week in advance to secure a spot. After the tour you’re free to visit the Vatican Museums on your own.
3) Gianicolo – Janiculum Hill
The Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo) is a beautiful area, perched above Trastevere, south of the Vatican. The views are incredible and feature the river, taking in everything from the Pincio gardens of the Villa Borghese on the left past the domes of the city centre beyond the curve of the Colosseum on the right.
The main attractions are the cannon at Piazzale Garibaldi that fires each day at noon and the 17th century Aqua Paola fountain.
4) Moses in San Pietro in Vincoli
San Pietro in Vincoli (Saint Peter in Chains) was built during the fifth century to house the relic of Saint Peter’s chains when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem. The church is also renowned because it houses Michelangelo’s statue of Moses.
Trastevere is probably the most popular place for tourists. However, most travellers seem to limit their visit to Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere and a few streets around it. The moment you leave the busy square next to the church, the number of tourists decreases dramatically. Just two-three blocks further, and you are left to explore the charming old neighbourhood all on your own. There is also an outdoor food market on Piazza di San Cosimato and together with a couple of restaurants and a playground, it’s a part of the city that gives you a truly local feel.
6) Quartiere Coppedè
The compact Quartiere Coppedè (best entered from the corner of Via Tagliamento and Via Dora), is one of Rome’s most extraordinary neighbourhoods. Conceived and built by the little-known Florentine architect, Gino Coppedè, between 1913 and 1926, it’s a fairy-tale mix-match of Tuscan turrets, Liberty sculptures, Moorish arches, Gothic gargoyles, frescoed facades and palm-fringed gardens.
One of Rome’s old residential neighbourhoods. Monti maintains a bohemian edge and is a great spot for an alfresco coffee, local street food, and shopping for alternative fashion items.
8) Basilica di Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio
The Basilica of St. Stephen (commonly named Santo Stefano Rotondo) in the Round on the Celian Hill is an ancient basilica and titular church in Rome, Italy. The church was built in the 5th century and is famous for its 16th century graphic frescoes, portraying many scenes of martyrdom.
There are over 900 churches in Rome, so it would be extremely difficult to advise which we like best, especially without visiting them all, but Santo Stefano Rotondo definitely stands out so far due to its unusual circular architecture, sombre interior and its truly authentic feel.
9) The keyhole on the Aventine
Although the keyhole on the Aventine is not really a hidden gem as it has now become a notorious place to visit when in Rome, we had to add it to the list, especially because there are still some travellers that don’t know about it.
The pictures really do not give the incredible views justice, it really is something you have to capture in person. Head to the non-descript door on Aventine Hill, look through the peephole and be amazed as you get a beautiful sight of St. Peter’s framed by a tunnel of greenery.
10) Don’t leave your favourite food, wine and special pieces behind!
It would be a shame to miss an opportunity on how to learn to make handmade pasta with ingredients bought from a local market in Rome, leave your favourite wines and shopping items behind, all because you can’t get them through customs or find it a hassle to travel with them. Langlais expertise provide you with the opportunity to deliver almost anything back home, including liquids and other items that are restricted by most airline carry on policies. We can arrange for your items to be collected from your chosen location and deliver them to anywhere in the world. We’ve delivered suitcases, boxes, trunks, ski’s, golf bags, bikes, surfboards, snowboards, duffel bags, transported family pets around the UK – and that’s just to name a few!