It’s hard to believe that a city that sees over 5 million people visit each year can still have secret spots and hidden gems. Surely we know all of Rome’s attractions by now?
When we think of a trip to the Italian capital, our minds dream about visiting those iconic landmarks, such as the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. And don’t get me wrong, these are all places that should be on your bucket list. But they also have a lot in common, and that is crowds, lot’s and lots of crowds.
So, what if I told you there are still some non-touristy things to do in Rome?
Would you believe me?
Well, there is, and I have asked a group of travel experts to help describe some of their favourites. So you can enjoy some of the best off-beaten-path places on your trip to Rome.
Let’s dive in!
Underrated Hidden Gems in Rome
Next, let’s look at some places that, to be honest, I’m surprised aren’t on more tourist bucket lists. From undiscovered ruins to foundations with a fraction of the crowds of Trevi. After reading this list, I’m sure you’ll be adding a few more places to your Rome itinerary.
1. Fontana dell’Acqua Paola
Contribution by Joanna from theworldinmypocket.co.uk
The Fontana dell’Acqua Paola is a beautiful fountain located on the Janiculum Hill in Rome, Italy. Commissioned by Pope Paul V in 1610, this Baroque edifice was designed by Giovanni Fontana and Flaminio Ponzioat the end of an old aqueduct. It’s role was to bring fresh water up to the residents of Rome who lived up the hill, directly from lake Bracciano, on the outskirts of the city.
The central niche of the fountain features a large marble mask from which water flows into a large basin below. The fountain has a simple design, focusing on water as the main element, which flows through five different arches, before gathering in the large pool below.
It is believed that the shape of the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola was an inspiration for the design of famous Fontana di Trevi, which was built later.
The fountain is also renowned for its stunning panoramic views of Rome and the mountains behind it. If you visit Rome in winter or spring, you will be able to see snow on the top of the mountains, on a clear day.
Getting to the fountain is very easy. The path leading up to it starts in Trastevere, the area known for the best food in Rome. From here you will have to climb a series of stairs, that lead to the fountain.
2. The Beautiful Streets of Trastevere
Contribution by Cate from Intentional Traveling
When in Rome, you should spend a few hours in the trendy neighborhood of Trastevere! Similar to the Oltrarno district in Florence, Trastevere is where many of the locals go to eat in Rome. Here, you will find some of the most authentic restaurants and best food in the city.
Located just on the other side of the Tiber River, Trastevere is about a 30-minute walk from the city center of Rome. However, you can easily take a short taxi ride instead.
Walking around the quaint side streets reminded me of something out of a fairytale book. It’s so peaceful and picturesque.
Our favourite restaurant we tried in Trastevere was Nannarella. Don’t be surprised if there is a long line – it will move quickly, and it is definitely worth the wait! For starters, try their hot focaccia bread and crispy Roman artichokes. Their meatballs and pasta are also delicious!
Given the quality of the food and variety of restaurants, Trastevere is also a perfect place to take a food tour.
While the food is certainly one of the main things that draws people to Trastevere, be sure to spend some time just wandering around its pretty, cobblestone streets. Trastevere is one place in Rome that has less people and can be a bit of an escape from the bustling historic center.
For a memorable evening, you can climb to the top of Janiculum Hill just above Trastevere for a beautiful view of the sun setting over Rome just before dinner.
3. The Lesser Known EUR
Contribution by Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
Not many first-time travelers to Rome ever venture out of the historic city center, and many places that were once known as being a bit off the beaten path in the Eternal City are now becoming increasingly more popular tourist attractions. But there is a place in the Italian capital where you are unlikely to find other tourists: the EUR District.
The EUR is one of the newest districts of Rome, being born during the early 20th century in the midst of the Fascist era. The name EUR stands for Esposizione Universale Roma: the district was in fact created for the 1942 Expo, which however never took place because of World War II.
While construction of the EUR stopped during the war, the efforts to bring it to life continued afterwards and by the 1960s it became clear that this would be one of Rome’s most modern and quirky districts.
Getting to EUR is actually very easy by subway. You can hop on Line B from either Rome Termini station, Cavour or Colosseum, and you will find several stops in EUR too – EUR Fermi, EUR Palasport and EUR Magliana. I recommend getting off at EUR Magliana. Depending on your departure station, the overall journey should take between 15 and 20 minutes.
Places you should not miss during your stroll around the EUR include the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, also known as Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum); the EUR Obelisk which is actually dedicated to Guglielmo Marconi; and the 1955 Basilica of St. Peter and Paul.
The district is actually quite spread out and to make the most of its sights and appreciate its history and relevance you may be better off joining a guided tour. You could consider this Architecture at the Time of Mussolini’s Fascism tour.
4. The Cheapest Bar in Rome – Bar San Calisto
Contribution by Jess from www.sightseekr.co.uk
This next hidden gem may not be quiet, but it’s off the beaten track and definitely somewhere that tourists don’t often stumble across when exploring Rome.
It’s a great way to enjoy an evening in the Italian Capital, and get a feel for what Rome is really like.
If you love a bargain and a bar with a bustling, exciting atmosphere, Bar San Calisto is the “cheapest bar in Rome” – and in our opinion, the best one!
It can often get very busy, especially on a weekend, because the prices and the service are so great. If you’re looking for a relaxing evening, sitting in a quiet bar, this isn’t the place to be.
However, if you’re happy to stand and enjoy some ridiculously cheap drinks, surrounded by locals and students from all over the world, you need to head straight to this bar.
You can get beers for just a euro and glasses of prosecco for two!!
This incredible bar is in the Trastevere neighbourhood of Rome, around a 30 minute walk from the Colosseum. Don’t worry if it’s a little too far from where you’re staying, the nearest metro stop is only a 6 minute walk away! The bar is a coffee shop by day, so wait until the evening to head there for cheap beers.
And if you’re visiting in Winter, be sure to wear a jacket, as most of the seating is outdoors. Perfect for warm Summer evenings!
Unusual Things to do in Rome
The next set of hidden gems in Rome are rather unusual to say the least, from frightening catacombs to magical fountains and even a cat’s sanctuary. This list is sure to add some spice and uniqueness to your visit. Let’s take a look!
5. Go underneath the Trevi Fountain
Contribution by Laura (site owner)
Did you know right in the city centre lies a secret Rome attraction?
If I am being honest, I am quite surprised that Vicus Caprarius does not get more attention, especially with the crowds that surround the Trevi Fountain.
When I was on my first trip to Rome, I nearly forgot to check out this interesting hidden gem after first coming across it on Tiktok.
But…What is Vicus Caprarius, you ask?
It lies beneath the Trevi Fountain, an ancient ruin that makes up the remains of some old Roman flats.
This attraction is otherwise known as the ‘city of water’ in English, as it is located at an ancient aqueduct. In layman’s terms, water is running through the ruins.
When I visited, I shared it with just two other people, which was much to my surprise, as I had to battle the crowds above just to see it.
It costs €4 per person to enter, which makes a difference as Rome can be quite an expensive city to visit.
You really only need 15/20 minutes to explore the entire attraction, although I decided to spend longer as it gave me a break from the chaos above. And of course, I made a wish with a coin, sure, when in Rome and all that jazz 😉
6. Brave the Catacombs
Contribution by Josh from abackpackersworld.com
One of Rome’s best hidden gems lies underneath the city, underneath the streets of Rome.
There are multiple sites where there are catacombs in Rome, but the most popular one to visit is the Catacombs of St Callixtus. It’s in the south of Rome and you can easily get there by public transport.
The catacombs under Rome are a network of tunnels which were used as ancient underground burial places.
They’re similar to the famous catacombs of Paris, and yes, there is a wall of skulls in Rome too…
Visiting the catacombs is completely regulated and legal, and is becoming a more and more popular tourist attraction.
You don’t need to take a tour for some parts of the catacombs, you are allowed to visit on your own, but there aren’t many plaques with information on what you’re looking at, so having a guide can help you to understand more about the catacombs. But taking a tour allows you to see more things such as the Old Appian Way and the Capuchin Bone Crypts.
Plus, you don’t want to get lost, right?
Taking a tour of the catacombs is one of the best tours to do in Rome at night. It’s even eerier at night- hearing all of the stories and legends about the catacombs becomes even scarier when it’s late.
Make sure to wrap up warm as it’s always cold underground, no matter what time of day. But that only adds to the atmosphere.
It’s one of the most unique things you can do in Rome no doubt about it. In a city filled with history, don’t skip out on the catacombs.
8. Don’t Tell Lies at the Mouth of Truth
Contributed by Imee Magbag from Italy In Focus
Are you looking for an off-beat destination or a place to visit in Rome? Visit the Mouth of Truth.
It is located at the Santa Maria church’s entrance in Cosmedin in Piazza della Bocca della Verità. Known as “Bocca della Verita” in Italian, it is a famous ancient sculpture situated in Rome’s Itlay.
This huge marble mask dates back to the 1st century B.C. The Mouth of Truth gained widespread fame due to a medieval legend associated with it.
According to the legend, the mouth can detect lies. Supposedly, if someone places their hand in the mouth and tells a falsehood, the mouth would close, biting the hand of the liar.
The ancient Romans saw the sculpture as a lie detector for those who committed acts like perjury. And adultery.
If you visit The Mouth of Truth, there are many ways to get there. You take the Metro ( Line B), get off Circus Maximus station, and take 15 minutes to walk to the Mouth of Truth. You can also take a taxi or a ride-sharing as an option.
When you get to the Mouth of Truth, you can take a photo with this legendary sculpture for free, and you can explore the beautiful church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and discover the crypt of Santa Maria. You can also explore the neighborhood and admire the picturesque view of the Tiber River.
The Mouth of Truth in Rome is unique because of its ancient origin, interactive legend, and off-beat site. The Mouth of Truth is less visited than iconic sites like the Vatican and the Colosseum. This site might be a good choice if you’re looking for a unique experience away from the crowds.
9. Visit a Cat Sanctuary
Contribution by Haley from gleasonfamilytravels.com
You know what’s amazing about Rome? It’s full of surprises, like the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary.
This spot isn’t just your average cat haven – it’s perched on a site brimming with history, the very place where Julius Caesar was assassinated.
Today, it’s a sanctuary where over 150 cats roam freely among ancient ruins, cared for by a team of passionate volunteers.
Finding the sanctuary is easy. Just a short stroll from the Pantheon or Piazza Venezia, and you’re there amidst ancient ruins and playful kitties.
Visiting this sanctuary is a must, especially when traveling to Rome with kids. It’s a great way to take a break from the usual tourist stuff and do something a bit different.
It’s great for travelers intrigued by Roman history but who want to interact and snuggle with cute kitties.
The volunteers at the sanctuary do more than feed and care for these cats. They help them find forever homes.
You can even participate in their “distance adoption” program. The program lets you adopt a cat from anywhere in the world.
You can help out by donating to support the care of your chosen cat. The best part? You’ll get updates about how your furry friend is doing every six months.
And, if your cat gets lucky and finds a local home, the sanctuary will match you with another cat who could use your support.
So, when in Rome, take the chance to visit the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. It’s a rare opportunity to experience history and animal welfare in one charming location.
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10. Get Chills on a Ghost Tour
Submitted by Katie from KatieCafTravel.com
It’s not surprising that in Rome, being thousands of years old, every building has its own ghosts and stories. For those interested in the macabre, taking a ghost tour of Rome is the perfect way to see the more haunted side of this ancient city.
Delving further into the tour, you’ll encounter the 15th-century Palazzo dei Cenci, where the tragic story of Beatrice Cenci unfolds. The first woman executed under Papal rule, Beatrice’s tale is shrouded in mystery and controversy.
Some believe her sentence was unjust, and her ethereal presence is said to haunt the palace to this day.
The tour also takes you to the Capuchin Crypt, Rome’s renowned “bone cathedral.” Here, the Capuchin Monks have transformed the skeletal remains of their brethren into intricate works of art for centuries. There are truly an endless amount of haunted attractions in Rome, it’s one of the oldest cities in the world after all.
Your tour might also take you to the Fontana del Mascherone, the site where John Paul Getty III was kidnapped in the 1970s. Legend has it that his ghost still haunts this location, a more contemporary haunting of a city famous for antiquity.
Finish up your tour in Campo de’ Fiori, a square with a chilling past where thousands of witches and heretics were once burned alive by the Papacy, putting the Salem Witch Trials to shame.
The tours handle all transportation in Rome, so it’s one of the most convenient ways to explore the Eternal City.
11. Visit a Pyramid!?
Contribution by Laura (Site Owner)
I bet the last thing you expected to see on this list was a pyramid, located in one of the most famous cities in Europe but here we are.
When we think of ancient pointy ruins, Italy is not the first country that comes to mind, but that is what makes Rome so special. You never really know what you might find.
This Pyramid is located on the outskirts of the city. It’s often missed by tourists as it’s not exactly within walking distance from other popular attractions.
But if you do happen to make the journey, you will be rewarded with a unique and unexpected sight.
The Pyramid was built in the 1st century BC as a tomb for Caius Cestius, a Roman politician. It stands at 37 meters tall and is made of concrete, brick and marble.
It is possible to enter the pyramid, on the third and fourth Saturdays and Sundays of each month at 11.00 am, it costs €5.50 but all of the tours are in Italian. And, I must admit, just seeing it from the outside is still quite a cool thing if you ask me.
The Pyramid differ from those in Egypt in many ways. For starters , it’s much smaller. It’s also not located in a desert, and well, it’s not as famous either.
12. Basilica of Santa Sabina
Contribution by Elisa from WorldInBarcelona
There is no lack of churches and religious buildings in Rome but the Basilica of Santa Sabina is very special for its history and beautiful architecture.
This impressive Basilica is a Paleo Christian Church built in the Vth century AC, in the style typical for the later Roman temples. This makes Santa Sabina one of the oldest churches in Rome!
The temple is dedicated to Santa Sabina, who was the wealthy widow of a Roman Senator. During her lifetime, she converted to Christianity and was well-known for her charity.
Visitors to Basilica of Santa Sabina will be impressed by the size and proportions of the building. Inside, the Basilica is divided into three naves and an apse.
The naves are separated from each other by 24 Corinthian marble columns. The central nave is taller than the others and is covered by an impressive coffer ceiling.
Just like in the later Roman temples, Santa Sabina does not have much decoration, and it’s all about architecture, light, and space. Unfortunately, the original mosaics from the Vth century did not survive.
Santa Sabina is located on the Aventine Hill, in Central Rome, close to the Tevere River and the Circo Massimo. The site is easy to reach by tram, lines 3 and 8.
Gardens, View Points & Hidden Places in Rome
There is nothing I enjoy more than escaping the hustle and bustle of a big city. And, believe it or not, you don’t need to go on a day trip to do so. In Rome, there are a range of gardens, parks, and view points that make you feel as if you left the busy streets behind.
13. The Keyhole Of The Knights Of Malta
By Martha from MayCauseWanderlust.com
The Keyhole of the Knights of Malta (or the Order of Malta) is one of the best hidden gems in Rome – and definitely one of the most whimsical.
It’s a unique viewpoint of a Rome landmark, with ties to a centuries-old religious order.
The Order of Malta is a Catholic lay religious order related to the Knights Hospitaller, which was founded in the 11th century during the Crusades in Jerusalem.
They have permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly and their headquarters are in Rome off Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta on Aventine Hill (one of the Seven Hills of Rome).
Whilst the order itself might be intriguing, it’s a feature of their gardens that appeals. Inside the walled gardens are rows of trees lined up to create a framed view of the dome of St Peter’s cathedral. There’s no access to the garden, but you can peek through the keyhole in their garden door, which gives a perfect view down the tunnel to the cathedral.
There can be a queue to look through the keyhole, as only one person can do it at a time, but it’s worth a short wait. It’s one of the most unique things to do in Rome (or, frankly, anywhere!).
You can see the Keyhole of the Knights of Malta, along with some of the major landmarks and viewpoints in Rome, on this free self-guided walking tour of Rome.
14. Row a Boat in the Middle of Rome
Contribution by Cecilia from www.lovicarious.com
After wandering the busy streets of the city, exploring the Roman Colosseum, and climbing the Spanish steps, you may need a peaceful place to rest. Villa Borghese is one of Rome’s best parks with ample space to relax.
Villa Borghese was Cardinal Scipione Borghese’s residence and garden. It is a sprawling park encompassing 148 acres of lush greenery, elegant gardens, and diverse attractions.
The park offers a serene retreat from the busy streets of Rome, featuring tranquil pathways, charming fountains, and a man-made lake. It is here where you will also find one of the most unique things to do in the city.
Did you know that you can rent a row boat in the middle of Rome?
For about €3 per person, you can rent a row boat and paddle alongside turtles, ducks, and swans. The lake is surrounded by romantic draping greenery with the beautiful Temple of Asclepius at its center. It is the perfect activity for couples, although you will also see friends and families with young children paddling across the water.
The rental lasts around 20 minutes, however, this is sufficient time to explore the whole lake and its features. The boat house is open every day from 9:30am to dusk.
|Related Post: Is Rome Safe to Visit?
15. The Terrazza del Pincio View
Contribution by Laura (site owner)
Terrazza del Pincio, what a spot to visit! If you are looking for amazing views of Rome, then add this spot to your bucket list!
Located on the Pincian Hill, the Terrazza del Pincio offers a breathtaking panorama of the Eternal City with iconic structures like St. Peter’s Basilica and the Pantheon standing out within Rome’s skyline.
There are many ways to reach the Terrazza del Pincio, but one of the most popular is by taking the scenic route through Villa Borghese. You can stroll through the picturesque gardens and enjoy the stunning views along the way.
It may even be a good idea to grab yourself a bite to eat and have a little picnic on the grass, or take a boat ride 😉
The Terrance is located on the southern end of the park. When I arrived at the terrace, the views instantly took my breath away. It was at this moment I new my trip to Rome was 110% worth it. I was just blown away at how much this city has to offer.
I was hoping to come back here for sunset, as I was told by friends in my hostel that it was INCREDIBLE! So, if time allows, I recommend you leave this until the end of the day.
What I particularly like about this area is all the street performers. One man decided to get everyone up and dancing as we admired the view. It was a really special moment from my backpacking trip across Europe.
16. Explore Tiber Island
Well, let me introduce you to Tiber Island, the smallest inhabited island in the world!
Connected to the city by two bridges, this little island is full of charm and history. It has been a popular spot for healing since ancient times and it’s said that if you walk around the island three times, you will have good health.
Today, Tiber Island is home to a small hospital but also hosts many cultural events throughout the year.
The best way to explore this little gem is on foot, taking in the beautiful views of the Tiber River and the surrounding architecture.
Make sure to also visit the Basilica of St. Bartholomew, built in honor of Saint Bartholomew who was believed to have been martyred here.
Tiber Island is a great spot to escape the city crowds and enjoy a peaceful stroll while taking in some of Rome’s rich history.
17. Gianicolo Hill
Contribution by Violeta from Violetamatei.com
Gianicolo Hill is a tranquil and lesser-known residential neighborhood of Rome. The top of the hill boasts one of the best panorama spots in Rome.
Climbing the steep streets is a lovely experience in itself, as the area is home to huge parks with very old trees, scattered with colorful flowers and majestic statues.
The easiest way to get to the foot of Gianicolo Hill from the center of the city is by public transport. The tramway line 8 starting in Piazza Venezia takes you to Trastevere, where the Gianicolo Hill climb starts. The walk to the Garibaldi statue on top of the hill takes about 30 minutes. There are buses you can take to avoid the long climb.
However, buses in Rome have a hectic and uncertain schedule, so you may not want to rely on them to wander through the city. You’d be better off taking a taxi to the top.
Also known as Janiculum Hill, this area of Rome is best to visit for its scenic walks and peaceful atmosphere. Among the things to see on Gianicolo Hill there are the Manfredi Lighthouse, Piazzale Garibaldi, and the scenic Passegiata del Gianicolo, the walk that leads to the panorama spot that reveals Rome’s center with its most important monuments.
18. Rione Monti
Contribution Ausra from The Road Reel
Rione Monti (“monti” means “mountains”) is spread across the hills of Celio, Esquilino, and Viminale in Rome. This historic neighborhood, although located in the heart of Rome, is much less explored by visitors. Monti’s colorful past includes the Suburra, ancient Rome’s poorest quarter, famously dodgy and vibrant. It also witnessed the grandeur of Nero’s Domus Aurea (opulent palace of Emperor Nero), only to later fall into obscurity. During the 19th and 20th centuries the neighborhood was significantly altered by the modern development of road constructions that added a layer of modern history to its ancient roots.
Today, Rione Monti is a dynamic, sought-after district with hip vibes. For those of you searching for an authentic and more local experience, here you will find a perfect balance between traditional Roman charm and contemporary hipness.
To observe neighborhoods’ social life head to Piazza della Madonna ai Monti. This vibrant square is a historic gathering spot surrounded by inviting cafes and eateries, offering a glimpse into the everyday life of locals, and is known for its central fountain.
Via Urbana is unmissable when visiting Monti area. This characteristic street represents the blend of old and new in Monti. It is lined with unique boutiques, artisanal shops, and modern eateries, set against a backdrop of historic Roman architecture.
Also, make sure to visit Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, one of Rome’s four major basilicas, surprisingly overlooked by tourists. The basilica stands out for its breathtaking art and architecture. It’s a significant religious site that showcases an impressive collection of ancient mosaics, adding to the historical richness of Monti.
Rione Monti is easily accessible using Rome Metro. The closest stations are the Cavour on the B line and Colosseo, near the Colosseum. From either station, a short walk will lead you into the heart of Monti. If you are renting a car in Rome, then you can park near Termini central station from where Rione Monti is only a 15 minute walk. Alternatively, numerous bus lines also serve the area.
Unique Things to do in Rome: City Tour Options
Ok, you can almost 100% guarantee that you will not find 99.9% of Roman locals taking part in the tours below. So, when it comes to ‘non-touristy’ things to do in Rome, these options don’t really fit in. However, with that being said, the city has a range of overly popular cliché tours that every visitor tries. So, I wanted to bring to your attention some unusual things to do in Rome that are sure to provide you with a lifetime of memories.
19. Take part in Gladiator School
Contribution by Marcie from Marcie in Mommyland
One of the coolest things to do in Rome with kids or fun-loving adults is the Rome Gladiator School (officially named Gruppo Storico Romano).
It’s an immersive experience where visitors learn about ancient Roman soldiers before undergoing their own gladiator training to prepare for an epic battle.
While you might expect it to be at the Colosseum, it’s actually located a few miles away. The address is Via Appia Antica, 18, 00179 Roma RM, Italy. It’s best to get there by taxi or Uber.
The staff there will call you a taxi when you’re ready to leave. It’s honestly a hidden gem because it’s tucked away so far off the main roads that you’ll think you’re away in the countryside.
Gruppo Storico Romano also holds reenactment events and the whole area is set up like a village. It’s really cool!
This activity starts off with a tour of their gladiator museum, which is full of replica helmets, weapons, and shields. Then, you’ll get to put on your gladiator uniform before heading to the training field.
Once there, it’s a fairly rigorous training session that is a full-body workout. Kids will be totally fine but adults will probably sweat a bit.
Once the training is complete, everyone heads into their little arena for a series of battles.
Finally, you’ll get a certificate with your “gladiator name” on it. This is a fun activity for those who are interested in history, movies, or one-of-a-kind experiences you can’t find anywhere else.
20. Become an Artist at the Sketching Rome Tour
When doing some research for this post, I came across this Sketching Rome tour, and I couldn’t resist adding it to the post.
I only wish I had found it before my trip to Rome!
Now, I am no artist by any means, but I just find this to be a fantastic way to really appreciate the detail of Roman buildings.
In the modern day, we are so used to picking up our phones, taking pictures, and moving on. We rarely stop to actually take in what we are seeing.
So, by working alongside your local guide, you will be able to connect with Rome’s landmarks by paying close attention to every detail. And you also end up with a nice little homemade souvenir to bring home with you!
I also came across this postcard sketching tour on my research, which has a similar concept but is perhaps better for people like me with basically nonexistent artist abilities.
21. Pasta Making Class in Franscati
When in Rome, do as the Romans do and learn to make pasta!
This is possibly one of the coolest things to do while in Italy’s capital city.
Take a a night to yourself, away from the bustle to truly perfect you pasta making skills.
This hands-on experience is led by a local chef and pasta enthusiast who will teach you the traditional techniques of making homemade pasta. All while bringing you to the peaceful Franscati countryside where you will visit a traditional family-run winery to sample local red and white wines.
So, not only will you learn how to make delicious dishes, and sample some tasty wine but you’ll also gain an understanding of the history and cultural significance of pasta in Italy.
Finish off your visit with dinner featuring your own fresh pasta topped with a traditional Roman sauce.
You will leave with new found tips and techniques for preparing fresh pasta, ones you can impress your friends from home with.
Rome Off the Beaten Path Day Trips
What many people fail to do when visiting Rome is to explore beyond the city itself. There are so many amazing day trips that you can take from Rome, each offering something different and unique.
And yes, you have some iconic day tours, like Pompeii, Tuscany, and Florence but why not venture a bit further from the crowds? How about combining a visit to Ostia Antica with some beach time or exploring some medieval hill towns in Lazio? The possibilities are endless! Especially when you have this exciting list to tick off 😉
22. Royal Palace of Caserta
Contribution by Caitlin from https://twinfamilytravels.com/
The Royal Palace of Caserta, located in southern Italy, was built by the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies as their primary residence when they ruled as kings of Naples.
Constructed during the 18th century, it holds the distinction of being the largest palace built in Europe at that time.
To get to the town of Caserta, you can easily take the one-hour fast train from the Roma Termini station. The train station in Caserta is conveniently located across the street from the palace.
Immerse yourself in the splendor of the Royal Palace. Prepare to be awestruck by the grandeur of the majestic Grand Staircase.
As you enter the Throne Room, adorned in shimmering gold, you’ll be transported to a time when it served as a pivotal gathering place for important meetings.
The Royal Park is the true gem of Caserta. Extending over 2 miles, adorned with 6 monumental fountains and 60 statues, it culminates in a breathtaking cascading waterfall. Plan to spend most of your day walking around these beautiful grounds.
At the end of the expansive gardens, there’s even more to discover! The English Garden offers a completely different experience, with its lovely buildings, statues, and the beloved Bath of Venus surrounded by ferns.
To get around faster, you have the option to rent bicycles or take the park shuttle. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the lack of tourists at this truly magnificent place. Tour the Palace when it first opens, and spend the rest of your day exploring the grounds.
23. Day Trip to Orvieto
Contribution by Renee from Dream Plan Experience
Nestled in the heart of Italy, just a short train ride from Rome lies the enchanting town of Orvieto—a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
Known for its rich history and stunning architecture, Orvieto offers a charming escape from the bustling crowds of Rome, making it an ideal day trip for those seeking a more intimate Italian experience.
Reaching Orvieto is a breeze, with regular train services departing from Rome’s Termini station, you’ll arrive within an hour, and take the funicular to reach to the top.
Once you arrive this hilltop town unfolds like a storybook, with its cobbled streets, medieval buildings, and the iconic Orvieto Cathedral dominating the skyline.
The main attraction, Orvieto Cathedral, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant frescoes. The town’s underground caves, a maze of tunnels and chambers carved into the soft volcanic rock, offer another unique experience. Climb to the top of the Orvieto Tower for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside—a breathtaking reward for the ascent.
Orvieto’s authentic Italian charm extends to its local cuisine, with charming cafes and restaurants serving traditional Umbrian dishes. Indulge in local wines and regional specialties, such as truffle-infused pasta, for a true taste of the region.
This charming town, celebrated for its pottery, boasts a time-honoured tradition of making ceramics. Whether it’s intricately painted plates, vibrant tiles, or decorative vases, Orvieto’s artisans showcase their skill in every piece. As you leisurely stroll through its picturesque streets, indulging in a bit of shopping becomes a fun experience, offering the perfect opportunity to bring home a piece of Orvieto’s artistic legacy—a truly memorable and unique souvenir.
24. Monte Cassino
Contribution by Roxanne from farawayworlds.com
If you’re looking for a fascinating day trip from Rome without the crowds, consider heading to Monte Cassino Abbey. Located in Italy’s Lazio region about an hour and a half from Rome, Monte Cassino is a site with a unique mix of history, spirituality, and natural beauty. It is one of Europe’s oldest monasteries and holds a special place in Western Christianity.
Monte Cassino has a very interesting history, having been rebuilt several times, including after WWII, which saw the famous Battle of Monte Cassino. When you visit, you’ll see the impressive architecture of the abbey, including its cathedral-basilica with beautiful golden relics and frescoes.
Don’t miss the crypt with its golden mosaics and the Monte Cassino Museum, where you’ll find ancient manuscripts and a Roman well. The Chapel of Monte Cassino is nearby, a peaceful spot dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Getting to the Abbey is easy. You can drive from Rome or join an organized tour. If you prefer public transport, you can take a train from Rome to the nearby town of Cassino (about two hours), then a bus from Cassino train station to Montecassino.
The Abbey is open daily, but it’s a good idea to check the opening hours before you go. Just remember to dress appropriately for a church visit and avoid eating or drinking inside.
Montecassino is a great place to spend a day if you’re interested in history, architecture, or just want to see some beautiful Italian scenery. It’s a lovely change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Rome and offers a glimpse into an important part of Italy’s spiritual and cultural heritage.
25. Take a Day Trip to Gaeta
Contribution by Merry from merrylstravelandtricks.com
If you’re looking for an unusual day trip from Rome, Gaeta should be on your list.
Nestled along the Tyrrhenian Coast, Gaeta offers a captivating blend of history and natural beauty.
Accessible by train (Formia-Gaeta station) or car (via the A1 highway), this charming seaside town is also the perfect place to escape the crowds of the eternal city.
When in Gaeta, make sure to explore the medieval Angioino-Aragonese Castle and the charming cobbled streets that resonate with a bygone era.
The city centre of the old town also offers the opportunity to get those perfect pictures for Instagram. If you’re visiting in the summer, don’t forget to take a dip at the Serapo beach or plan a snorkelling adventure to explore the diverse sea life.
For those who like to keep active, you can also hike up Monte Orlando for panoramic views and visit the Mausoleo Romano and Sanctuary of Montagna Spaccata.
For food lovers, Gaeta has plenty to offer- from delicious seafood to the typical Tiella di Gaeta. I recommend heading to Antica Pizzeria Ciro in Gaeta for some delicious fresh seafood dishes and a taste of the Neapolitan pizza.
Gaeta’s charm lies in its diverse offerings, catering to history buffs, beachgoers, and food enthusiasts alike. Its undiscovered status ensures an authentic Italian experience, making Gaeta a unique and memorable destination.
Hidden Spots in Rome Conclusion
So, there you have it. A city of over 5 million visitors does have it’s fair share of hidden gems and secret attractions. I hope this post will come in handy for when you are planning your trip to Rome!
Whether you decide to become a master at making pasta, explore the ancient ruins beneath the Trevi Fountain or visit the peaceful Abbey of Monte Cassino, there is always something new and exciting to do when in Rome.
Thanks again for reading and I will see you in the next post 👋
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