Welcome to Romecitycentre.com, the perfect website to discover the hidden and lesser-known places of the beautiful city of Rome. If you are tired of the usual tourist itineraries and want to immerse yourself in an authentic experience, you are in the right place! In this article, we will reveal the best hidden gems of Rome that you will not find in traditional tourist guides. These are enchanting places, full of charm and history, that will allow you to discover the true soul of the Eternal City. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit them!
Discover the lesser-known side of the Colosseum
Built in 80 AD, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater from the imperial era and still bears witness to the greatness, but also the brutality, of that period. Here, gladiatorial fights, battles between ferocious beasts, and the famous venationes were held, during which wild animals were hunted and killed.
If you really want to uncover all the secrets of the Flavian Amphitheatre, then join a guided tour. You can explore the tunnels where animals were led and see with your own eyes the underground areas where gladiators waited before entering the arena. Discover everything there is to know in the small exhibition area that traces the history of the Colosseum and the restoration work to bring it back to its ancient splendor.
Breathe in the solemn atmosphere of the Holy Father’s basilica
Considered one of the most sacred places of Christianity, St. Peter’s Basilica is the symbol of the Vatican City. Its sumptuous interiors are open to the public, but to enter, appropriate clothing is required, with covered shoulders and pants or skirts below the knees.
Before entering, take a moment to admire Bernini’s colonnade topped by the unmistakable dome in the background, and if you’re up for it, climb the 320 steps to the top for a breathtaking view of the Eternal City.
Toss a coin into Rome’s most famous fountain
The Trevi Fountain, in the homonymous square in the heart of Rome, is the largest baroque-style fountain in the capital. Even if it’s not your first time visiting Rome, it’s still worth stopping here because one never tires of admiring the splendid mythological sculptures, such as that of the Roman god Neptune, dominated by the sumptuous Poli Palace in the background.
Join the other tourists and toss a coin into the fountain: as the legend goes, you’ll have a higher chance of returning to our splendid capital. In the alleys that wind around the square, you’ll find plenty of trattorias, pizzerias, or simple kiosks where you can grab a coffee or an ice cream, but always check the prices before ordering.
Rediscover the ancient splendor of the Roman Empire
A walk through the Roman Forum is like taking a dive into the past, into the political and economic center of imperial Rome. The ruins we see today, which extend from the Palatine Hill to the Capitoline Hill, once housed institutions, places of worship, basilicas, and baths.
Among the most notable temples are those of Venus and Rome, of the Divine Julius, of Vespasian and Titus, and of the Divine Romulus. Of the most famous and important of all, the one dedicated to Saturn, only the front colonnade remains, but it is still so imposing as to dominate the entire area. An unusual and fun alternative to explore this immense open-air museum is to rent a Segway.
Visit the tomb of Raffaello at the Pantheon
The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most incredible monuments and, despite being 2,000 years old, it is still perfectly preserved. This ancient Roman temple, overlooking the Piazza della Rotonda, houses the tombs of some of the figures who have made history and culture in our country, such as Raphael and King Victor Emmanuel.
The altars adorned with imposing marble columns, Renaissance sculptures, and blue and gold mosaics are truly a sight to behold. Look up and admire the imposing dome and its oculus, the circular opening from which light enters to illuminate the interior. At the exit, the Fountain of Piazza della Rotonda with its towering obelisk awaits you.
Piazza Navona, the ancient market square Piazza Navona is one of those places in Rome where you can’t help but stop for a coffee and be enchanted by the beautiful Baroque architecture. Overlooking the square, the Church of Sant’Agnese offers a truly suggestive glimpse, but the main attraction is undoubtedly the Fountain of the Four Rivers, dominated by the imposing figures representing the Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio de la Plata.
The cobblestone streets winding around Piazza Navona are very picturesque and have served as a backdrop for various Italian and international literary works and films.
Take a tour of the local market stalls at Campo de’ Fiori
Campo de’ Fiori, in the heart of the Parione district, hosts one of the liveliest and most characteristic markets in the capital. From the early hours of the morning, the square is invaded by a delightful scent of freshly baked bread, and the many traders prepare to serve an infinity of people in search of the best fruits and vegetables. When there is no market, in the center of the square, you can admire the bronze statue of the Dominican friar Giordano Bruno.
If Campo de’ Fiori is a riot of scents and colors during the day, it becomes one of the places par excellence of Roman nightlife in the evening, with many bars and restaurants open until late at night.
Admire the imposing Castel Sant’Angelo from the Pons Aelius
Castel Sant’Angelo is an ancient fortress erected in the 2nd century AD at the behest of Emperor Hadrian as a funeral mausoleum for his family. What was once the tallest building in Rome has been converted into a museum after the Unification of Italy. To see it from the most suggestive perspective, reach it from Piazza Navona by crossing the Sant’Angelo Bridge, also known as the Pons Aelius.
Choose the sunset hour to visit it: you can admire Rome at its fullest splendor. The castle houses what were the papal residences, sumptuous halls, and the famous Passetto, the fortified corridor built for the pontiff that connected the fortress to the Basilica of San Pietro. Reach the rooftop bar for an invaluable view of the capital.
An invaluable treasure with masterpieces by ancient artists such as Raphael and Michelangelo
The Vatican Museums are located just a few steps from St. Peter’s Basilica. Considered in their entirety, they are the largest museum in the world. The over 50 galleries house some of the works of the greatest Renaissance artists such as Leonardo, Raffaello, Bellini, Tiziano, and Caravaggio.
On the last Sunday of the month, admission to the Vatican Museums is free, an excellent opportunity to admire the Sistine Chapel and the incredible frescoes by Michelangelo. Conclude your visit to the Vatican Museums by descending the impressive spiral staircase created by Bramante.
Climb the magnificent Altar of the Fatherland in Piazza Venezia
Piazza Venezia, not far from the Colosseum, is located on the eastern bank of the Tiber River. It owes its name to the homonymous palace commissioned by the Venetian cardinal Pietro Barbo. On the square, enriched by some green areas, various palaces and monuments of historical interest overlook it.
The most famous is the Vittoriano, also known as the Altar of the Fatherland, a huge complex in white marble dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy. If you want to refresh your knowledge of history, visit the area dedicated to the Central Institute for the Risorgimento and its museum, or climb to the top of the imposing staircase to admire Piazza Venezia from above.
Via Condotti will lead you directly to the picturesque Piazza di Spagna, certainly one of the most famous squares, thanks to the splendid perspective it offers.
Piazza di Spagna is located at the foot of the monumental staircase that leads to the church of the Trinità dei Monti. The flowered staircase is the ideal place to take a short break for both tourists and locals. It is a very popular meeting place!
In the square, you can also see the Barcaccia fountain, which adds even more charm to this place.
There’s no point trying to resist its charm; whether it’s day or night, Trastevere reveals itself with its unexpected views, its alleys full of authenticity, its sleepy cats and its aroma of sweet delicacies that invades the streets. So why not let chance guide you in exploring every corner, discovering shops, votive shrines and bursts of art that explode on the walls, decorating the buildings. Or succumb to the frenzy of its evening aperitifs, when every view seems to take on new shapes while never losing its identity. A corner of Rome to fall in love with.
We are on the Aventine Hill, having walked along an ancient path and arrived at the square of the Knights of Malta. In front of us is a massive gate with a small hole through which one can peek and admire the dome of St. Peter’s surrounded by the well-manicured hedges of the Priory. The scene is enchanting, and in addition to the view, it’s also amazing to know that through the hole, one can observe three sovereignties simultaneously: that of the Vatican City, that of Italy, and finally, that of the Maltese state, as the Priory is an extraterritorial area.
A little lower down, one can stop to admire a broader view of Rome from the Savello Park, better known as the Orange Garden. It is situated on an area where the Savello family fortress once stood in the 13th century, but was transformed into the ordered space now known only in 1932, with the new urban definition of the Aventine.
The orange trees, rose bushes, and hedges create a tranquil and romantic atmosphere, ideal for a visit at sunset. The lookout point offers the opportunity to enjoy a breathtaking view and the feeling of having the entire city at one’s fingertips. All of this is just a short distance from the Circus Maximus, easily reachable on foot.
The timeless charm of ancient Rome seems to be condensed in a place that will leave residents and tourists in awe: Villa dei Quintili.
This archaeological site is located between the fifth mile of the ancient Appian Way and the seventh kilometer of the new Appian Way, and collects a complex of ruins dating back to the Hadrianic era.
These ruins are so extensive that, at the end of the 18th century, the place was renamed “Old Rome”, precisely because it was believed to be the remains of a city.
Villa dei Quintili, instead, is what remains of the rich property of two brothers: Sesto Quintiliano Condiano and Sesto Quintiliano Valeriano Massimo, both consuls in 151 AD.
The property of the two consuls caught the eye of Emperor Commodus, who, in order to take possession of the villa, had them prosecuted for treason and condemned them to death.
Villa dei Quintili was much loved by Commodus, who turned it into a country residence with a thermal establishment.
The large property thus became an imperial villa, at least until Emperor Tacitus. During the Middle Ages, Villa dei Quintili was incorporated into the properties of the powerful Astalli family, just as it happened for the “Castrum Caetani” near the mausoleum of Cecilia Metella.
Over the centuries, the Villa changed hands among various ecclesiastical authorities, until it became state property only in 1986.
The most majestic architectural nucleus is that composed of the master and servant rooms: a circular building, a series of rooms and the two large thermal halls of the calidarium and frigidarium, fourteen meters high, with large windows and polychrome marbles.
Over the years, precious artifacts have been found, some of which are visible in the Antiquarium on site.
Other discoveries are kept in some museums, such as the Palazzo Massimo and the Vatican Museums.
The archaeological site enjoys a splendid view of the Roman countryside and offers a panorama that has inspired many famous artists over time.
Directions for visiting
To visit Villa dei Quintili, I recommend that you dress comfortably and wear sneakers. The site is very vast and you will have to walk quite a bit to enjoy every corner of “Old Rome”.
Rome, as we know, is the custodian of history, beauty, and… magic. The optical effect of Via Piccolomini is an example of how the hands of a wise urban planner and our perceptions can give us a truly unprecedented spectacle.
Via Piccolomini is located near the Gianicolo hill, in an elevated position compared to the rest of the city. It is a perfectly straight and flat road, about 300 meters long, at the end of which there is an excellent observation point of the city.
The first thing we notice is that the street is perfectly aligned with the Dome of St. Peter’s, which our eye distinguishes in every detail. However, by walking along Via Piccolomini, you will realize a very peculiar effect.
Looking at it from afar, the Cupolone will seem majestic and imposing. The closer you get to the Dome, the smaller it will appear! Yes, thanks to a curious optical effect due to the arrangement of the surrounding buildings and the observation point, the Dome of St. Peter’s will seem much smaller as you approach and much larger as you move away.
Precisely because of its fascinating uniqueness, Via Piccolomini is one of Rome’s hidden gems, perfect for a romantic evening and to enjoy a truly unique view of the world’s most famous dome.
It is recommended to visit the place during sunrise or sunset to enjoy the magnificent colors of the sky. The best seasons to visit are spring and summer.
Just a few steps away from the Pyramid of Cestius lies one of the most evocative places in the Capital: the Non-Catholic Cemetery of Testaccio.
The history of this place is as fascinating as the personalities who have been buried there.
It all began in the early decades of the 18th century, when a community of foreigners bought a small area near the Pyramid of Cestius to use as a burial ground for their deceased.
At that time, the ecclesiastical norms of the Catholic Church prohibited non-Catholic foreigners from being buried within the walls.
The core of this new cemetery was near the Aurelian Walls, but still within them.
For this reason, despite the authorization of Pope Clement XI, the burials of non-Catholics took place at night.
Both out of respect for Vatican legislation and to reduce the risks of manifestations of religious intolerance.
As evidence of what has been said, in 1824, Leo XII authorized the excavation of a ditch to hinder frequent desecrations. In 1870, the ditch was replaced by a wall.
The Non-Catholic Cemetery houses the tombs of writers, poets, and artists, as well as important political figures.
The oldest tomb found traces of is that of George Langton, an Oxford graduate.
His remains were found during excavations carried out in 1929, covered by a shield-shaped lead plaque bearing an inscription.
The “old part” of the Cemetery houses two of the most beloved tombs by visitors: those of John Keats and his friend Joseph Severn.
The English poet John Keats died prematurely at the age of 25 and asked his friend Severn not to write any name or date on his tomb, but only the phrase “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.”
Among the most beautiful graves in the old part of the Cemetery, we also find that of another English poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who died in a shipwreck between Livorno and San Terenzo (Lerici) on July 8, 1822, during a sailing trip.
The “new area” of the Cemetery, instead, houses the tombs of Antonio Gramsci, Carlo Emilio Gadda, and the son of the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, August, who died at the age of 40 in 1830.
How can a gallery that is only 8 meters deep appear to be at least 37 meters long?
This question can only be answered by visiting Palazzo Spada, which offers its visitors a stunning optical illusion: the false perspective of Borromini.
Let’s go back in time and start from 1540, the year in which the architect Bartolomeo Baronino built the palace for Cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro.
About a century later, in 1632, another cardinal, Bernardino Spada, purchased the Palace and asked Francesco Borromini to modify the building according to the new Baroque tastes.
Francesco Borromini’s masterpiece is what most strikes visitors in the entire Palace: the false perspective in the entrance hall leading to the courtyard.
The sequence of columns of decreasing height and the rising floor create the optical illusion of a 37-meter long gallery (while it is only 8 meters long).
At the end of the gallery, there is a statue that appears life-size, but in reality, it is only 60 centimeters tall.
How is all this possible?
The optical illusion of the gallery is due to the fact that the floors converge in a single vanishing point: the ceiling gradually slopes downward, the floor slopes upward, and the columns gradually decrease in height.
The gallery was built by Borromini and the Augustinian Father Giovanni Maria da Bitonto in just one year, between 1652 and 1653.
The reason that led Borromini to create this “illusion”?
It seems that Cardinal Bernardino Spada had a strong interest in perspective games, so much so that he asked the architect to create a gallery that was unique in its kind.
The meaning attributed to the gallery probably refers to the moral deception and illusion of earthly grandeur.
Today, the Palazzo Spada gallery, the setting of a splendid scene in the film “The Great Beauty,” attracts hundreds of visitors intrigued by one of the most successful perspective games in history.
Instructions for visiting
Very easy to reach, thanks to the numerous buses that stop at the nearest museum stop.
Set aside 2/3 hours of the day to visit the structure, so as to enjoy the entire museum visit and not just the “false perspective”.
We all know the tradition of throwing a coin over our shoulder into the Trevi fountain, ensuring our return to Rome.
What not everyone knows is that on the right side of the Capital’s most famous fountain, there is a small basin with two spouts: the fountain of lovers.
According to legend, couples who drink from this fountain will remain in love and faithful forever.
This love ritual was widespread in the past and was mainly carried out when the boyfriend left for mandatory military service, to seal the pact between lovers despite the distance.
The tradition tells that the night before the farewell, the two young people went to the little fountain; the girl filled a glass with water and offered it to her beloved.
After drinking, the glass had to be broken. This ceremony was a real promise for the girl, who was so sure she wouldn’t lose her man.
Where does this ritual come from?
One possible explanation is that according to tradition, those who sipped the water from the Trevi fountain, remembering Rome forever, would also continue to remember the beloved woman left in the city.
Take advantage of the proximity to other monuments to visit the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Castel Sant’Angelo.
One of the features that makes St. Peter’s Square famous around the world is undoubtedly its colonnade, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
According to Bernini, the square’s colonnade was meant to symbolize a great “embrace” of the city of Rome and the world, a symbol of solidarity and hospitality.
The colonnade, completed in 1667, is 320 meters long and is crowned with 140 statues. The columns are arranged in multiple rows, creating a sort of “maze” of columns.
What not everyone knows is that at the center of the square, there is an inscription that reads “center of the colonnade.”
If you stand at this point, a little “magic” happens: the four rows of columns will disappear and you will suddenly see only one row.
This optical illusion was created by Bernini by calculating the ellipses’ rays and gradually increasing the columns’ diameter.
Purchase skip-the-line tickets to avoid long queues under the sun.
But above all, visit all the public buildings of the Vatican City with guided tours.
So, the Basilica, the Dome, the Crypt, and the Museums.
When artists, paint, and creativity come together, the result can only be surprising: we are talking about the Big City Life project, the cultural and social initiative that has given new life to the Tor Marancia district.
Thanks to this 2015 initiative, the public housing units in the historic block 1 of Tor Marancia have been transformed into a veritable open-air museum dedicated to street art.
It took 70 days of work, 756 liters of paint, and 974 spray cans to see 11 buildings in the Ater complex enriched with 20 monumental contemporary art murals, each one 14 meters high and with a surface area of 145 square meters.
The project involved the collaboration of more than 500 residents and 18 street artists from 10 countries.
Today, Tor Marancia is a point of reference for observing up close the masterpieces of street art in Rome, and a tour of this neighborhood is a must to enjoy one of the most amazing spectacles in the outskirts of the capital.
Directions for visiting
We recommend that you dress comfortably and wear sneakers. The district is very large and you will need to walk quite a bit.
I’m sure that at least once you have come across Piazza del Popolo.
It is one of the main squares in Rome, located at the end of the “trident” formed by via del Corso, via del Babuino, and via di Ripetta.
The beauties of this square are numerous, from the churches overlooking it to the central fountain with the obelisk.
However, what we want to tell you today is not related to the monumental beauties, but refers to a unique acoustic effect that many ignore.
On the side opposite to the Terrace of the Pincio, you can notice a wall in the square, which forms a semicircle. Surely you have thought about taking a picture and observing it up close to notice its peculiarity.
But have you ever tried to communicate with a person on the other side of the wall?
Let me explain how to do it: two people should position themselves at the two ends of the wall, resting their ears on it. One of the two people must speak (or rather, whisper) at one of the ends.
At this point, the person located on the opposite side will be able to hear exactly what is being said, as if you were incredibly close.
It seems that this acoustic effect is due precisely to the semicircular shape of the wall. Try it to believe it!
Rome is the capital of Christianity: there are over 900 churches throughout its territory, making it the city with the most churches in the world.
Walking through the streets of Rome, it’s easy to come across places of worship with incredible beauty, from the papal basilicas to suburban churches.
Today, however, I want to tell you about one of the secrets hidden behind a famous church in the capital: the Church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola.
Built in 1626, the church fully respects the canons of Baroque architecture and is located more or less halfway between Via del Corso and the Pantheon.
The church hides a stunning optical illusion: the so-called “fake dome” of Sant’Ignazio.
But let’s start from the beginning. Once you enter the church, you should head towards the altar and look down.
At some point, you’ll notice a circle in the marble floor.
Stand on the circle and look up: you’ll see a dome.
But if you move a few steps to the left or right…the dome seems to warp.
What’s happening? Actually, that dome doesn’t exist.
It’s an incredibly realistic painting by Andrea Pozzo, a true visual trap that even I fell for the first time.
However, be careful: as I said, the illusion is only visible from the point in the church highlighted by the marble circle.
Just changing your perspective is enough to make the “magic” disappear.
According to some accounts by locals, ghosts are often seen in certain areas of Rome, such as in Piazza Navona, where Olimpia Pamphili appears on full moon nights, seated in a carriage.
There are also reports of sightings of Costanze de Cupis, a famous noblewoman from ancient Rome who was struck by a curse that caused her to lose a hand.
If you are interested in the afterlife and its lost souls, you can visit the Museum of the Souls of Purgatory, located at the Church of the Sacred Heart of Suffrage.
This is a unique museum in the world and Rome can be proud of it, though it is unfortunately not well-known, perhaps due to numerous reports of sightings of the deceased and moving objects?
In the same area, you can also find the locations where the film “The Sign of the Command” was shot.
Walking through places that were used as settings for a film dedicated to curses and spells can give you a certain sense of unease. Here are the streets where the scenes were filmed:
In the area of Campo de’ Fiori, the ghost of Giordano Bruno is periodically spotted, while in Via Governo Vecchio, there is apartment number 57, the most haunted in all of Rome.
The Basilica of San Clemente is a clear example, as a completely stucco-adorned garment with images connecting to the ancient religion is hidden in the lower part of the structure.
Lastly, the Pantheon, considered by many to be a temple created in honor of Agrippa, a demon to whom human sacrifices were offered.
Every corner of Rome, as we know, can hold some pleasant surprises and, why not, some mystery.
Walking through the streets of the center, some time ago, I came across a street full of curious elements, just a stone’s throw from the Pantheon: Via S. Stefano del Cacco.
What characterizes this street? Well, resting on a pedestal, there is a large marble foot.
This foot, ignored by most, has been the subject of numerous studies by experts, to try to identify its origin.
According to the most accredited theories, the foot is what remains of a colossal statue.
Almost certainly, it comes from a large temple dedicated to two Egyptian deities, Isis and Serapis.
The temple was located right in Campo Marzio and was known as Iseo Campense.
At this point, you may be wondering: who did the statue represent?
It’s not easy to make hypotheses about the identity of the colossus, starting only from a foot. Scholars have long wondered whether it was a man or a woman, a goddess, or a priestess.
For some researchers, the statue represented the goddess Isis.
In the same street, there are other testimonies of the existence of the Iseo Campense, such as the three-arched arch (fornici) called Camillo or Camigliano, which gave access to the temple.
Further proof of the existence of the temple, destroyed in the 16th century, comes precisely from the name “Cacco” given to the street and the church dedicated to S. Stefano since the Middle Ages.
In this street, in fact, there was a statue of a monkey, called “il Cacco” (macaque), brought to the Capitoline Hill in 1562 and since 1838 an integral part of the Egyptian collection of the Vatican Museums.
Now we move to the Castelli Romani, specifically to the land of the famous “fraschette”: Ariccia.
In a stretch of road in Ariccia, at about KM 11.6, a strange phenomenon occurs that has been attracting the attention of many curious people for years.
We are talking about the “uphill downhill”, a kind of optical illusion that shows us how, leaving an object free to fall on a straight incline, it paradoxically starts to rise instead of descending.
Observing the phenomenon, it will seem to you that the gravitational field works exactly in reverse.
Even your car, left in neutral on that road, would start to rise upwards.
Over the years, the uphill downhill has given rise to various theories.
Mystery lovers have nicknamed this road with names like “devil’s slope” or “haunted road”.
For others, the reason for this reversal of the gravitational field was to be found in the volcanic origin of these places, which would have generated anomalies in the magnetic field.
According to some scientific studies, however, the phenomenon is nothing but an optical illusion.
Let me explain: what our eyes perceive as uphill is actually a slight downhill.
We cannot distinguish it as downhill because it is preceded and followed by a steep uphill, which causes us to lack a reference to the horizon that alters our perception.
I’m sure you’re now very curious to try it out: armed with a bottle, verify this strange phenomenon for yourself.
You will be fascinated by it!
On the first floor of the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites, annexed to the Church of Santa Maria della Scala, in the Trastevere area, is the Antica Farmacia di Santa Maria della Scala, an ancient and precious place.
It is actually the first true pharmacy in Rome, which opened in the second half of the sixteenth century.
The Antica Spezieria di Santa Maria della Scala, originally established by the Discalced Carmelite friars, treated illnesses with remedies derived from the spices they cultivated in the convent’s garden.
One curiosity hints at the importance this pharmacy had at the time: the benefits of its remedies were so famous that it was also called the pharmacy of the Popes and became a real point of reference for cardinals, princes, and even the pontiffs’ own doctors.
The structure of the pharmacy has remained unchanged since the 18th century: its premises, open until 1978, included the galenic laboratory with the original mills, mortars, and fascinating distillation stills.
To complete the picture, there were also scales, vases, precious majolica tiles, cabinets depicting painted images of Hippocrates, Galen, Avicenna, Mithridates, and Andromachus, the fathers of medicine.
Everything has remained intact, the furnishings, shelves, counter, and display cases, and visiting them is like taking a plunge into the past, into the true Rome of that era that no longer exists but is evoked with great nostalgia!
Address: Piazza della Scala, 23, 00153 Rome RM
The place can be reached by public transport (bus, tram, train) or private means.
After some structural and remediation work, the bunkers of Villa Torlonia, practically the most important in Italy, have finally been reopened to the public. They were built between 1942 and 1943 to protect Benito Mussolini and his family.
At the time, Villa Torlonia was the private residence of the Duce, who lived there with his wife Rachele and their five children.
With Italy’s entry into World War II in 1940, three underground armored structures were built on the villa grounds, namely:
the Cantina shelter, located beneath the Fucino pond and equipped with double armored doors and an anti-gas air filtration and regeneration system that was manually operated;
the Casino Nobile shelter, built later inside the Casino Nobile building and composed of 120-centimeter-thick reinforced concrete rooms with an air purification and exchange system;
The Bunker, an armored structure dug to a depth of 6 and a half meters, consisting of a cross-shaped plan and circular section galleries topped by a 4-meter-thick reinforced concrete cover.
Interestingly, the bunker was never completed because Mussolini was arrested on July 25, 1943, and construction had begun only at the end of 1942.
The works had been delayed due to the poor consistency of the soil, so it was necessary to dig the foundations to a double depth.
Only finishing works, such as the ventilation system, the external cover of the well, and the armored doors, were missing to complete it.
Once finished, it would have been the strongest Italian bunker ever created for a single person!
Address: Via Nomentana, 70
The location can be reached by both public transportation (bus, tram, metro) and private vehicles.
Without a doubt, one of the most fascinating and important monuments of the Roman Republic era is the Mamertine Prison or Tullianum Prison, which has a very ancient history dating back more than 3,000 years.
Located beneath the Church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami, dating back to the 16th century, the Mamertine Prison overlooks the suggestive view of the Roman Forum.
Initially known as Tullianum, according to Livy, it was built in the 7th century BC under Anco Marzio.
The current name was attributed in the Middle Ages when the church was built above the prison.
Still visitable today, this place is the most secretive part of the Roman prisons, while the rest of the prisons, namely the Lautumiae, were located in a wide area in the Capitoline Hill area.
However, the history of the Mamertine Prison is much more complex!
It is believed that between 600 and 500 BC, the site was actually a cistern and only later was converted into a prison: in this circular hole that opens in the floor, state prisoners, rebels, and leaders of enemy peoples were confined.
The prisoners were thrown into a trapdoor and then strangled.
It is said that Jugurtha, Vercingetorix, Pontius, and those who took part in the uprisings of Gaius Gracchus and Catiline were killed here.
A curious medieval tradition tells that this was the same place where Saints Peter and Paul were imprisoned for nine months and converted their jailers Processo and Martiniano until they were baptized.
Even today, this tradition exerts a certain fascination.
Address: Clivo Argentario, 1, 00186 Roma RM
The place can be reached by both public transport (bus, tram, metro) and private means.
Along the Via Ostiense, on the left bank of the Tiber, stands the Centrale Montemartini, directly opposite the former Mercati Generali.
At first glance, you will notice that it is an impeccable example of industrial archaeology converted into a museum.
Inaugurated in 1912, it was the first public power plant dedicated to Giovanni Montemartini.
Today, it is the second exhibition center of the Capitoline Museums.
Since 1997, many sculptures and archaeological artifacts from the Capitoline Museums have been transferred here, as the original site was closed due to infiltration.
The museum tour retraces the development of Rome from the Republican to the late Imperial era, through monumental complexes and previously unseen episodes of interest.
The spacious environment of the Centrale was deemed suitable for creating new museum solutions.
A curiosity that will leave you speechless is the scenic effect of the Engine Room: decorated with Liberty-style furnishings, the contrast between the steam boiler, diesel engines, and turbines is quite pleasant.
In this evocative setting, you can admire the beauty and splendor of ancient marbles, unsurpassed for their elegant and refined craftsmanship.
It is noteworthy how everything on display gains even more value and is enhanced in its beauty thanks to this unique scenario that evokes both a distant past and a more recent one.
In November 2016, after some renovation work, a new room was added to the museum, where the carriages of Pio IX’s train are exhibited.
It’s truly incredible how two diametrically opposed worlds, archaeology and industrial archaeology, can coexist in splendid harmony!
Address: Via Ostiense, 106, 00154 Roma RM
The place can be reached by public transport (bus, tram, metro) or private means.
The Roman Houses of Palazzo Valentini offer a fascinating journey into the past, to a time when Rome was at the height of its splendor.
Today the headquarters of the Province of Rome, Palazzo Valentini houses a veritable treasure trove of Roman antiquities, preserved in the perfectly conserved Roman Houses.
With mosaics, decorated walls, polychromatic floors, and even a thermal plant, visitors can immerse themselves in the lifestyle of powerful families of the time.
The permanent exhibition of the Roman Houses enriches Rome’s historical and artistic heritage, allowing visitors to experience an unforgettable journey through:
Descending the stairs leading to the excavations immediately brings visitors into the enchanting atmosphere of the place and allows them to relive the emotions of Imperial Rome.
A large-scale model allows visitors to position themselves within the urban context, navigating through its various historical layers.
One of the fascinating discoveries during this journey is the pits used for disposing of waste produced within the complex.
But undoubtedly the most interesting feature is the documentary about Trajan’s conquest of Thrace, narrated through the reliefs of Trajan’s Column.
The column itself can be observed from a very special angle, through a grate placed at the excavation level that offers a highly suggestive view!
Address: Foro Traiano, 85, 00186 Rome RM
The location can be reached by public transport (bus, tram, metro) or by private means.
The Romans call it the Chiesa Nuova, but in reality, it is the Church of Santa Maria in Vallicella, located in the Parione district.
In the apse of this church, along with other masterpieces, is kept Rubens’ motorized altarpiece, one of the strangest but also most evocative paintings in the world.
It is an altar panel depicting a miraculous icon of the Madonna and Child, an oval that envelops the Virgin in the Glory of the Angels, painted by the master himself in 1608.
The curious thing is that the painting seems to have bled in the past due to a stone thrown by a possessed person.
From that moment, the image was considered miraculous and it was thought to protect it.
Thus, the new church was built, the painting was placed in the apse, and Rubens was asked to paint a canvas to be positioned above the miraculous icon.
Two years later, the master donated to the church a Madonna with the blessing Child, which was overlaid on the sacred icon below and is lifted by means of a pulley and rope mechanism, hence the name “motorized.”
But the painting is not always visible, and one must wait until the end of Saturday evening Mass to see the famous Virgin.
In fact, on this day, the priest activates the mechanism designed by the Flemish painter that allows the splendid painting to be admired and with a remote control, operates the old motor.
The painting is truly enchanting, and you can see the details in gold that adorn the heads of the Madonna and Child.
But you have to hurry, because the icon remains visible for only a few hours, the time of adoration!
Address: Via del Governo Vecchio, 134
The place can be reached by public transport (bus, tram) or by private means.
The ancient barracks of the firefighters of ancient Rome are still visitable today, located on Viale Trastevere, in front of the Church of San Crisogono, the only building that remains of what was once known as the VII Cohort of the vigiles.
You should know that it was Emperor Augustus who introduced a real fire brigade to Rome in 6 AD, with the intention of controlling the city during the night hours and protecting it from the frequent fires.
Initially, the brigade consisted of 600 men, but it soon increased to 7,000 members.
In order to manage the organization and control the interventions, a division into cohorts was necessary, so that each barracks was responsible for each individual region.
The ancient headquarters of the Roman-era firefighters is located in this presumably private building and later acquired by the public administration: to visit it, however, you must descend up to eight meters below street level!
Upon arrival, you immediately feel the sensation of being in an environment particularly rich in charm.
In the excubitorium, the presence of a hexagonal fountain that dominates the floor immediately catches the eye, with the remains of what must have been a magnificent mosaic of black and white tiles, of which very little remains.
Near the basin, you can see the beautiful arched door framed by Corinthian pillars and surmounted by a brick tympanum.
Inside the building, part of the original frescoes that decorated the chapel of the barracks are also preserved.
The transcriptions in the atrium are curious, which are nevertheless evidence of how the “vigiles” lived at the time!
Address: via della VII Coorte, number 9
The site can be reached by both public transportation (bus, tram, metro) and private transportation.
The oldest library in Rome is located near Piazza Navona and is called the Angelica Library. It was the first public library in Italy and the second in Europe after Oxford.
Founded in 1604 at the behest of the Augustinian bishop Angelo Rocca, this impressive library is located in the historic building of St. Augustine and later became an integral part of the adjacent church of the same name.
The library’s reading room is particularly striking, designed by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli, with extraordinary beauty that leaves one speechless. From the windows on the right, light illuminates the stairs, balconies, boxes, and also falls on the ancient volumes kept inside.
The library has over 200,000 volumes between the ancient and modern collections, including engravings, manuscripts, and valuable Greek and Latin books.
The ancient collection has about 120,000 volumes, mainly related to Augustinian thought and the period of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.
As soon as one arrives, there is a feeling of being in an environment particularly rich in charm.
In the excubitorium, the presence of a hexagonal fountain on the floor is striking, with the remains of what must have been a magnificent black and white mosaic, of which very little remains.
Near the basin, one can notice the beautiful arched door framed by Corinthian pillars and surmounted by a brick tympanum.
Inside the building, part of the original frescoes that decorated the barracks chapel is also preserved.
The transcriptions in the atrium are curious, but nevertheless, they are evidence of how the “vigiles” lived at the time!
Address: Piazza di S. Agostino, 8, 00186 RM
The location can be reached by public transport (bus, tram, metro) or by private means.
No one like Bernini has been able to infuse his works with that charge of vitality and passion that gives body and warmth to marble.
The uncovered maidens of some of his masterpieces are still an excellent testimony to the most intense and swirling human passions conveyed through marble.
The artist, especially in his sculptures, revealed his inspiration and genius in achieving the perfect rendering of the human flesh through marble.
The most significant works in which Bernini’s uncovered maidens show all their dynamism and extraordinary vitality are the Rape of Proserpina and Apollo and Daphne, both kept at the Borghese Gallery.
In the Rape of Proserpina, the center of the sculptural group is the kidnapping of the maiden, whom the powerful and bearded Pluto holds tightly by the tender body, as Proserpina is depicted trying to escape.
The theatricality of this work is intense, manifesting with vigor a pulsating energy, but the striking naturalism of Pluto’s hands sinking into the young maiden’s tender flesh is what captures the attention.
Another breathtaking masterpiece is Apollo and Daphne, which depicts the fatal moment of the maiden’s transformation.
In this work, Cupid, the god of love, punished Apollo for his excessive vanity by making him fall in love with Daphne, who did not reciprocate his feelings.
To escape his ardor, the young woman prayed to her father Peneus to save her, and she was transformed into a laurel tree.
In Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s sculpture, he captures the precise moment of the transformation.
Note the dreamy expression of Apollo as he caresses the maiden and the dramatic expression of the young woman!
Address: Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5
The location can be reached by public transport (bus, tram, metro) or by private means.
Recently restored to working order, the Water Clock of Pincio is a unique and extraordinary example of mechanical architecture.
Located near the terrace of Pincio in the park of Villa Borghese, it has always attracted the curiosity of passersby, and many visitors purposely come here to admire this gem.
Invented in 1867 by Father Giovan Battista Embriaco, the clock was presented at the Universal Exhibition in Paris for its originality.
The clock is located on a small island in the middle of a lake, and anyone strolling along Pincio cannot help but notice it. It is housed in a small tower decorated in a rustic style, which dominates the lake, and offers a truly impressive view.
Original for its water-powered mechanism, which activates the bell and pendulum, this clock has four faces visible from every side, and its hands are made in a floral style reflecting the idyllic style of the monument.
The curious idea of the inventor to use the driving force of water to move the pendulum and wind up the clock, equipping it with a bell that rings while two basins are alternately filled, is truly surprising, but it works!
The context in which the water clock is positioned was designed by the Swiss architect Gioacchino Ersoch, who chose a wooden tower made of cast iron to resemble the trunk of a tree.
The project blends perfectly into the surrounding environment, contributing to its suggestive atmosphere!
Address: Villa Borghese
The location can be reached by both public transportation (bus and tram) and private means.
Located behind the Vatican, the charming Via Monte del Gallo is a bourgeois area situated in the heart of Rome.
The street, located just steps from St. Peter’s, offers a view of the dome, which is clearly visible from its summit, and is also very close to the city’s major artistic attractions.
The street is easily accessible by descending from Porta San Pancrazio and after passing through the Via delle Mura Aurelie, reaching Porta Cavalleggeri, you will discover the Basilica of St. Peter from an absolutely exclusive point of view, namely that of Via Monte del Gallo. But not only that!
In addition to the splendid dome, you can also see the spectacular pointed spires of the Orthodox Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, located inside the park of Villa Abamelek, which serves as the Russian embassy in Italy and is located nearby.
We are right in the center of Rome, just outside the walls that run along the west slope of the Gianicolo.
On Via delle Fornaci, one of the various streets in the Monte del Gallo district that retains the memory of the bricks produced up until the first half of the 20th century, you can still see dozens of kilns that produced building materials for the Factory of St. Peter.
Walking up Via Monte del Gallo, which is lined with delightful villas from the 1920s, you can breathe in the atmosphere of old Rome, immersed in an original and reserved context, where life flows peacefully, far from the hustle and bustle of the big city!
Address: Via Monte del Gallo
The location can be reached by both public transportation (bus, tram, and subway) and private means.
The Arch of the Acetari is a romantic and suggestive passage that leads from Via del Pellegrino into a charming medieval courtyard. The arch, characterized by a narrow underpass that opens onto the facade of an ancient house, is practically just a stone’s throw from Campo de Fiori and represents one of the most intimate places in Rome where one can truly feel the sensation of being in another dimension, out of time.
Surrounded by houses of medieval origin that have been deeply modified over the centuries, the courtyard has taken on the appearance of a fascinating little picture. The origin of the name of this arch is curious: it seems to derive from the term “Acetosari,” referring to sellers of acetous water, a drink made of water, sugar, and vinegar, which they probably had their deposits here.
The houses that overlook the courtyard, enclosed on all sides, resemble those found in small villages around Rome. In fact, it is not surprising, given that before 1870, Rome, despite its monuments, majestic churches, and luxurious villas, was still nothing more than a large village. In this corner of the city, one can relive the atmosphere of that Rome that no longer exists, a place far from the chaos and traffic, quiet and blessed, a living testimony that is worth preserving and safeguarding. Note the presence of external stairs on the houses.
Another curiosity of this place is the presence of numerous cats sleeping on the stairs, perched among hanging clothes and flowered balconies!
Address: Via del Pellegrino, 19
The place can be reached by public transport (bus, tram, metro) or by private means.
Located just a few meters from Campo de’ Fiori, the Passetto del Biscione is a beautifully frescoed section of the Vatican Walls that connects Via di Grotta Pinta with Piazza del Biscione, and therefore the Vatican itself with Castel Sant’Angelo.
It is a passage 800 meters long, semi-hidden, and narrates at least 2000 centuries of history, attracting for some curiosities. Known as “Er corridore,” as the Romans call it in Romanesco, the Passetto was officially built in 1277 at the behest of Pope Nicholas III.
Interestingly, he was the first pope to want to change houses and in fact moved from the Lateran Palace to that of the Vatican. Another curiosity is that there is a second version of the story of the Passetto, which maintains that it was built in the fifteenth century by the antipope Baldassare Cossa, who was actually a pope elected by the Council of Pisa in 1406, a council never officially recognized by the Church.
But what was the real function of the Passetto? In practice, the Passetto allowed the pope to take refuge inside Castel Sant’Angelo from the inside and thus enter the residence in case of escape. As happened, for example, to Pope Alexander VI, who found refuge in Castel Sant’Angelo when in 1494 the militias of Charles VIII of France invaded Rome. It was also used by Pope Clement VII in 1527, at the time of the Sack of Rome by the Landsknechts of Charles V.
The Passetto was also used to bring well-known individuals to the prisons of Castel Sant’Angelo, whose arrests they did not want to make public.
Address: Passetto Del Biscione, 00186 Rome RM
The place can be reached by public transport (bus, tram, metro) or by private means.
Near Corso Trieste, there is a small neighborhood that few tourists know about. It is called Coppedè, which is not actually a real neighborhood, but a small area within the Trieste neighborhood. Why is it worth seeing? Because it is a unique part of Rome, where the mixture of architectural styles and the uniqueness of the buildings will surely leave you amazed.
To explore it, head to Piazza Mincio and stroll through the surrounding streets. In the center of the square is the Fountain of the Frogs, where it is said that the Beatles took a bath in 1965, after playing at Piper, a famous club located right next door. Then, observe the surrounding buildings: the Villini delle Fate, the Palazzo del Ragno, the Palazzi degli Ambasciatori. Due to its uniqueness, this location has been used several times as a movie set.
If you want to discover a true hidden gem of Rome, you must see the wonderful Sciarra Gallery. It is located in the city center, a few steps from the crowded Via del Corso, but so well-hidden that if you do not know exactly where it is, it will be difficult to find. In front of Via Minghetti 11, enter the covered passage called Sciarra Gallery and admire a wonderful Liberty masterpiece.
When to visit: the pedestrian passage is only open during office hours during the week, and it is usually closed on Sundays.
Another little-known place in Rome is the Arch of the Banchi, a short underpass that hides a wonderful starry ceiling. The particular name of this arch derives from the “banchi” that notaries, financiers, bankers, and merchants had along the adjacent street during the 15th century because it was the connecting road between the city of Rome and the Vatican.
At that time, there must have been a great vitality around here, but today it is a quiet and hidden passage that is barely noticeable. However, by taking the arch from the side of Via Paola and emerging onto Via del Banco di Santo Spirito, you will find yourself facing one of the most beautiful views of Rome, namely that of Castel Sant’Angelo.
A curiosity: at the entrance of the arch at the bottom, there is a stone embedded in the wall that bears the date 1277 with an inscription that recalls the flood of the Tiber River that hit the city that year, showing the level the water reached.
Also known as the House of Monsters (guess why!), it is a must-visit if you want to take a tour of Rome’s secret places and discover its most unique locations. Climbing the Spanish Steps and turning right, you will find yourself on Via Gregoriana where Palazzo Zuccari is located.
Built at the end of the 1500s with a rather curious architecture that already caused quite a stir at the time. It was indeed Federico Zuccari’s intention for the entrance of his palace to inspire fear, but at the same time, amaze his guests who would then be enchanted by the beauty of the garden behind the door (which no longer exists today).
When to visit: the palace is now the headquarters of the Biblioteca Hertziana and can be visited by appointment. Check the visiting days here.
This stop is dedicated to lovers of Liberty style. We are inside Villa Torlonia where Prince Alessandro Torlonia had a Swiss Hut built at the end of the 19th century on the borders of the park to escape from the formality of the main residence.
At the time, the structure had a completely different appearance and resembled more of a mountain chalet. Only at the beginning of the 1900s was it converted into a Liberty residence at the request of Alessandro Torlonia, who decided to make several modifications according to his personal taste.
Thus was born the House of the Owls, a residence that has now become a museum and can always be visited. The name derives from the stained-glass windows on the ground floor with colored glass decorations, which reproduce owls.
The House of the Owls is part of the network of municipal museums of Rome and can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday.
If you are looking for Rome’s most secret places, you cannot miss the Cloister of San Cosimato, although it may not be so easy to find. In fact, it is right under everyone’s eyes, but the entrance door goes unnoticed by most people.
We are in Piazza San Cosimato, one of the liveliest areas of the Trastevere district, and here, just behind the playground, there is a door that gives access to a small garden, which in turn leads to the two hidden cloisters.
The first cloister dates back to 1260, while the second to 1400. Today they are both part of the structure of the Regina Margherita Hospital, but access is free for anyone who wants to visit them.
Do you want to know what else there is to see in Trastevere? Read my guide to Trastevere.
In Rome, there are many stunning views of St. Peter’s Dome, but one of the least known is located in a residential area, completely off the typical tourist routes.
To find it, you have to go to the Balduina area, near the Hilton Hotel, not far from a more famous belvedere (that of Monte Mario) but from which you cannot see St. Peter’s Dome. Instead, Piazzale Socrate is an unknown point that overlooks the Prati district and the Vatican from which to take spectacular photos of the famous dome.
To stay on the Aventine Hill, if you happen to be here between April and July, then also visit the Municipal Rose Garden of Rome. In ancient times, this was already a place dedicated to flowers. In the 3rd century BC, a temple for the goddess Flora stood here, whose celebrations were held in April.
Today, the rose garden houses about 1,100 different species of roses from all over the world, including a rose with green petals and the Rosa Chinensis Mutabilis, which changes the color of its petals over the course of days.
The Rose Garden opens every year on Rome’s birthday, April 21, and remains open during the summer period. It also opens for two weeks in October for autumnal flowering.
Perhaps the Capuchin Crypt on Via Veneto is the quintessential place of secret Rome. The crypt of the Church of Santa Maria Immacolata is decorated with the bones of 4,000 Capuchin friars collected over approximately 300 years from the Capuchin Order’s cemetery.
To some, using the bones of the dead for this purpose may seem macabre, but it is actually a way to exorcise death and emphasize the importance of the soul over the body.
Access to the crypt is allowed with the purchase of an entrance ticket for €8 and is open every day.
For a truly unique experience, you can purchase a special ticket that gives you access to the crypt with a guided tour, followed by a concert of Gregorian chants in the church.
Little London is almost a myth in Rome because few people know exactly where it is located. But first of all, what is Little London? It is a fairly short street whose architecture resembles typical two-story London houses, with staircases and entrance doors on the street.
The truth is that, as I said before, it is a bit of a myth, also because in my opinion, it takes a good dose of imagination to think of London. What is certain is that it is an unusual street different from the rest of Rome. To find it, you have to go to the Flaminio district, exactly to Via del Vignola.
At the entrance and exit of the street, there is a sign reminding passers-by that people who stop to take photographs and videos are not welcome.
If we want to talk about secret Rome, I am sure that few people are aware of the Great Mosque of Rome and even fewer know that it can be visited.
The Mosque of Rome is the largest Islamic place of worship in Italy. It is a fascinating structure very different from Western places of worship. The large prayer hall is stunning for its size and structure, but the outdoor space is not to be outdone.
Visits can be made on certain days and times (usually on Saturdays), but you need to contact the structure via email to know the available days. The contact to write to is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Known to all Romans but certainly unknown to those who come to visit Rome, the Fungo dell’Eur is nothing more than a piezometric tower which, due to its shape, has been nicknamed “the mushroom.”
The tower was built in the 1950s to allow the supply of non-potable water for irrigation in the gardens of the Eur. What you may not know is that there is a restaurant with a panoramic view on the top floor of the tower. I have never eaten there, so I cannot tell you what it is like, but one day I asked to go up and see the view, and they kindly showed me the way.
Perhaps including the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (also known as the Colosseo Quadrato) in this list is a somewhat risky choice. Still, I decided to include it in this article dedicated to secret and little-known Rome because I am sure that not many people know that the palace houses an exhibition space and that, besides being admired from the outside, it can also be visited.
In 2015, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana was leased to the fashion house Fendi, which made it its headquarters. Still, in compliance with the museum constraint, the ground floor remained open to the public. Therefore, if you go to the Eur to see it, know that you can also enter!
The Fountain of Books is located on Via degli Staderari, just a stone’s throw from Piazza Navona. Once this street was called Via dell’Università because of its proximity to the ancient seat of the Sapienza, and the fountain is a tribute to culture. In the center is a deer, as it was the historical symbol of the Sant’Eustachio district.
But there are various neighborhood fountains in Rome; in fact, this fountain is part of a project by the municipality of Rome that, in the 1920s, entrusted the architect Pietro Lombardi with the construction of several fountains that would represent the districts of Rome. So, wandering around Rome, you can find the Fountain of Amphorae, the Cannonball Fountain, the Tiara Fountain, the Pinecone Fountain, the Barrel Fountain, and the Monti Fountain.
Another stop on the secret Rome tour is the Church of Santa Caterina Martire, the place of worship for the Orthodox community in the capital. The church was built in the early 2000s and is a place of worship that few people know about.
It is located inside Villa Abamelek, where the residence of the Russian ambassador is located, and just by seeing the golden pinnacles of the church, you feel like you are in Russia. The aqua-green roof and typically neo-Byzantine architecture make this church a unique example throughout Rome.
Did you know that there is a wonderful botanical garden right in the center of Rome, precisely in Trastevere? It’s a very pleasant secret Rome spot that will take you far from the city chaos without moving away from the center and will immerse you in greenery and tranquility.
At the Botanical Garden of Rome, you can visit the cactus greenhouses, walk in the Mediterranean forest, admire hundreds of different species of roses, stroll in the Japanese garden, and even enter a butterfly greenhouse.
The most special time to visit the Botanical Garden is certainly in the spring when there is an explosion of flowers in all colors. If you want to witness something truly wonderful, then come between late March and early April during the Hanami period, when the cherry blossom trees are in bloom.
The Botanical Garden is open every day until 6:30 pm.
The Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza is one of the secret places of Rome, not so much because it is little known, but rather because it is extremely difficult to find it open. It seems that it is only open on Sunday mornings when Mass is celebrated, but the fact is that in many years in Rome I have not yet been able to visit it inside.
I console myself because even just the exterior is worth a visit, and to see the facade of the church you have to enter the internal courtyard of the State Archive.
The church is open to the public only on Sunday mornings (but you might find it closed even at this time!).
At the top of the famous Spanish Steps is the Church of Trinità dei Monti with its attached convent. The latter is a treasure trove that contains a quantity of masterpieces unknown to most people that really deserves to be discovered.
Among these is the anamorphosis located on the first floor, which incredibly resembles some contemporary street art works. Anamorphosis is an optical effect by which the subject of a painting appears to the viewer only when viewed from a certain point.
One of these is the anamorphic painting of St. Francis of Paola: if viewed from a transverse perspective, the saint appears under the branches of an olive tree, but if viewed from a frontal version, the saint disappears and a coastal landscape appears.
When to visit: the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 9.00 am and on Saturdays at 9 and 11 am with a guided tour. Reservation is mandatory on the Convent’s website.
In Rome, there is a saying that goes: “You look like the Gianicolo lighthouse,” which underlines that someone is dressed in a particularly eccentric or out-of-place way. And indeed, you can be a little surprised while walking on the Gianicolo hill, several tens of kilometers away from the sea, and find yourself in front of a lighthouse!
Obviously, it is not a lighthouse that serves navigation, but a monument built in 1911 and donated to the city of Rome by the Italians of Argentina.
We are not in Milan, yet passing on Lungotevere Prati, just before reaching Piazza Cavour, you can see a church that looks like a miniature Duomo of Milan. This is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Suffrage, one of the few examples of Gothic architecture in the capital. But we don’t have to go too far back in time to trace its construction, in fact, the church was built in the early 1900s.