Explore these 10 hidden gems in Rome, the Eternal City

Rome, the Eternal City, is popular with visitors for good reason. (Image by Manuel Reina from Pixabay)

Rome is one of the most popular destinations in the world, but there’s more to the Eternal City than the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Trevi Fountain. If you’re looking for some under-the-radar experiences that will make your trip unforgettable, check out these 10 suggestions for your next visit.

See street art in Ostiense

This gritty neighborhood south of the historic centre is a hotspot for street art lovers. You’ll find entire buildings covered in colourful murals by local and international artists. You can explore the area on a Vespa tour with Scooteroma or on foot with a map from Street Art Roma.

Visit the Keats-Shelley Memorial House

If you’re a fan of English Romantic poetry, you’ll want to visit this house museum at the foot of the Spanish Steps. It was the last home of John Keats, who died of tuberculosis at age 25. The poet’s bedroom has been preserved and the museum contains a library of 8,000 volumes of Romantic literature.

Experience the cultural programming at the Villa Medici

This Renaissance palace on the Pincio Hill houses the Academy of France in Rome, which hosts visiting artists and scholars and puts on cultural events throughout the year. You can do a guided tour of the villa and its gardens, where you’ll see sculptures and frescoes, or check the schedule for concerts, exhibits and film screenings.

Get spooked at the Capuchin Crypt

For a macabre experience, head to the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione and descend into the crypt, where you’ll find thousands of bones arranged in elaborate patterns. The bones belong to Capuchin friars who died between 1528 and 1870. The crypt is meant to be a reminder of human mortality and fragility.

Explore ancient Egypt at the Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums are famous for their Renaissance masterpieces, but they also have an impressive collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts. You can see sarcophagi, mummies, statues, amulets and papyri in the Gregorian Egyptian Museum, which was founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839.

See ancient sculptures in an industrial setting at Centrale Montemartini

This museum is a striking contrast between ancient and modern. It occupies Rome’s first electrical power plant and displays classical sculptures from the Capitoline Museums among machinery and pipes. You can also see some beautiful mosaics and a 19th-century train carriage that belonged to Pope IX.

Admire Bernini’s sculptures at Galleria Borghese

This gallery is housed in a 17th-century villa that was once owned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a patron of the arts. It contains some of the most stunning sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, such as Apollo and Daphne, David and The Rape of Proserpina. You’ll also find paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael and Titian.

Discover contemporary art at MACRO

If you’re into contemporary art, you’ll love MACRO, Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art. It showcases works by Italian and international artists from the 1960s to today. The museum has two locations: one in a former slaughterhouse in Testaccio and one in a former brewery in Salario.

Walk in the footsteps of the gladiators at the Ludus Magnus

The Ludus Magnus was the largest and most prestigious of the four gladiator schools in ancient Rome. It was connected to the Colosseum by an underground passage and had a small amphitheatre for training and practice fights. You can see the remains of the school from the street or visit the site with a guided tour.

Enjoy a panoramic view from the Janiculum Hill

The Janiculum Hill is not one of the seven hills of ancient Rome, but it offers one of the best views of the city. You can see the domes and spires of churches, monuments and palaces from this vantage point. The hill is also home to a park, a monument to Garibaldi and a cannon that fires every day at noon.

ENS Editors

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