Rome is one of the most iconic cities in the world, boasting an eclectic range of attractions. But there are some lesser-known gems which are equally as fascinating and worth exploring. In this article, we’ll be sharing our insider guide to the Eternal City and showing you the best hidden gems that Rome has to offer!
Rome has a long and complex history, dating back to its founding in 753 BCE. Since then, it has been the site of some of the most important events in human history. From the founding of the Roman Republic in 509 BCE to the reign of Constantine the Great in the 4th century CE, Rome was one of the most powerful empires in the world. It played a pivotal role in the development of Western civilisation and was home to some of the most famous historical figures, such as Julius Caesar and Augustus.
Since its fall from power in the 5th century CE, Rome has continued to be an important city politically, religiously, and culturally. It is now the capital of Italy and a major tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year who come to see its ancient ruins and art treasures.
Vatican City is one of Rome’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason! The Vatican is home to some of the world’s most famous art and architecture, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.
But Vatican City is more than just a tourist destination. It’s also an independent country, with its own laws and customs. Here are some things you may not know about Vatican City:
- The Vatican is the smallest country in the world. It covers just over 100 acres, making it about one-sixth the size of New York City’s Central Park.
- The Vatican has its own currency, the euro. However, you can’t use euros anywhere else in Italy – they’re only accepted within Vatican City borders.
- You need a passport to enter Vatican City, even if you already have one for Italy. That’s because Vatican City is its own sovereign state, separate from Italy (though both are located within Rome).
- There are no hotels in Vatican City – but there are plenty of hotels located just outside its borders. If you’re looking for a place to stay near the Vatican, we recommend the Hotel Eden or the Hassler Roma, both of which are located steps away from St. Peter’s Square.
- The best time to visit Vatican City is during Easter week, when Pope Francis leads public masses in St. Peter’s Square.
Ancient Sites & Ruins
Rome is a city full of hidden gems, and among the most fascinating are its ancient sites and ruins. The Roman Forum, for example, is a sprawling complex of ruined temples, basilicas, and other public buildings that was once the center of political life in the city. Today, it’s a beautiful and evocative place to explore, and a must-see for any history buff.
Other notable ancient sites in Rome include the Pantheon, one of the best-preserved Roman temples; the Colosseum, an iconic amphitheater where gladiatorial battles once took place; and the Trevi Fountain, a stunning baroque fountain that’s said to have magical powers.
No visit to Rome would be complete without seeing at least some of these amazing ancient sites. But with so many to choose from, where do you start? Our insider guide to the Eternal City will help you navigate your way to the hidden gems that are sure to make your trip unforgettable.
Carnival and Events in Rome
Carnival and events are aplenty in Rome and there is no shortage of activities to keep you entertained. From the world-famous Carnival of Venice to the Palio horse race in Siena, there is something for everyone.
If you’re looking for a more low-key event, Rome’s annual springtime flower festival, Festa della Primavera, is not to be missed. Taking place in late April or early May, the festival celebrates the city’s vibrant array of flowers and plants with stalls selling blooms and gardening supplies, as well as food and drink vendors serving up traditional Roman fare.
What to Eat in Rome?
If you’re looking for a true Roman experience, you can’t go wrong with pizza al taglio or suppli. But there are plenty of other excellent options to choose from if you want to try something a little different. Here are some of our favourite hidden gem restaurants in Rome:
- Da Enzo is a trattoria that’s been serving up traditional Roman fare since the early 1900s. The decor hasn’t changed much over the years, and neither has the menu. Must-try dishes include the carbonara and amatriciana pasta dishes.
- San Carlo al Corso is an old-school Roman pizzeria that’s been around since 1884. The secret to their success? Their simple but delicious pizzas made with fresh ingredients.
- Hostaria dei Monti is a cosy trattoria located in the trendy Monti neighbourhood. The food here is all about seasonal, local produce – so you can be sure you’re getting the best of what Rome has to offer. Don’t miss their homemade pastas and tiramisu for dessert.
That Round thing at the Colliseum… that’s an Obelisk!
The that round thing at the Coliseum is, in fact, an obelisk! This ancient Egyptian structure was originally erected in the city of Heliopolis by Pharaoh Thutmose III. It was then moved to Alexandria and later to Rome by Emperor Constantine I in the 4th century AD. The obelisk now stands at the center of the Rome’s Circus Maximus.
Living like the Romans (Clothing, Fauna & Flora)
The Romans were known for their love of stylish clothing. Many of the items they wore, such as the toga and tunic, are still worn today. The toga was a large piece of cloth that was draped over the body and could be worn in many different ways. The tunic was a simple garment that was worn beneath the toga. Both men and women wore sandals on their feet.
The Roman Empire was home to many different kinds of animals. Some, like lions and elephants, were brought back from conquered lands as trophies. Others, like donkeys and mules, were used for transportation or work. Dogs were also popular pets. They were used for hunting and guarding property. Cats were not as common, but they were still kept as pets by some people.
Rome was filled with gardens and parks full of beautiful flowers and plants. Laurel trees were often planted in front of homes and public buildings because they were considered good luck. Ivy was also a popular plant because it represented fidelity (faithfulness). Roses were grown for their beauty, while lilies were grown for religious ceremonies.
Side Trips from Rome
Rome is an amazing city with so much to see and do, but sometimes you need a break from the hustle and bustle. If you’re looking for a change of pace, there are plenty of great side trips to take from Rome.
Just a short train ride away is Florence, where you can admire world-famous Renaissance art and architecture. Or head to the beautiful Amalfi Coast for some beach time and stunning coastline views.
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit closer to home, why not explore one of Rome’s many great neighborhoods? The Trastevere district is full of character, or check out the hipster area around the Ostiense train station.
Whatever you decide to do, there’s plenty to discover just beyond Rome’s city limits.