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Off the Beaten Track

winnipeg, manitoba
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37 posts
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Off the Beaten Track

This message is for all the destination experts for Rome. My husband (born in Rome but has resided in Canada since 19 years of age) and I have visited Rome at least half a dozen times. We will be returning for 3-4 day next Spring and since we have certainly visited the known highlights we would like some advice from the local experts regarding new areas to explore. We will be staying in the Trastevere area (Hotel Santa Maria in Trastevere to be exact.) Any inside information about little known interesting areas would be appreciated.

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Hagerstown, Maryland
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1. Re: Off the Beaten Track

Have you ever visited the Quartierre Coppede? There is some very unique architecture there - Rome's version of art nouveau.


Rome, Italy
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2. Re: Off the Beaten Track

Ride the new glass elevator up to the tip top of the Vittoriano monument - it's really lovely and there are few people up there yet.

Have you walked up the Janiculum to see the cannon shoot a blank over Rome at noon? It's a nice walk from your hotel.

You can also walk over to S. Crisogono and check out the excavations under the church.

Villa Farnesina and the Botanical gardens are both near your hotel too.

You may wish to cross the Palatino bridge and walk up the Aventino to S. Sabina and the orange garden; the cloister of S. Anselmo, and the view of S. Peter's through the keyhole of the Knights of Malta priory. To get up there from Piazza Bocca della Verita, take the footpath off V. S. M. in Cosmedin-it's splendid.

If you haven't been to the excavations under S.S. Giovanni E Paolo on the Celio, you may enjoy them, very extensive.

Also fairly new and something I think your husband would really like (Roman contemporary history) is the reopened Villa Torlonia. The guest house and main house are gorgeous and they've got family photos on the walls from when Mussolini lived there with his family. It's a wonderful, eclectic spot.

In the case that you have not visited the Ara Pacis in its new building by architect Richard Meier, it's defintely worth a stop, especially since there's talk of removing it!

Have a great trip.

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
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3. Re: Off the Beaten Track

If you have any interest in early Christian sites, I highly recommend the catacomb of Priscilla. It's very little visited, so you almost have a private tour. They have amazingly well preserved frescoes from the 1st and 2nd century, including the earliest known image of the Virgin and child.

Also in the same general vicinity, the complex of the Basilica of Saint Agnes is very interesting. Aside from the basilica itself, there is another interesting catacomb of Saint Agnes. There is also the church of Santa Costanza, dating from the 4th century, and a few remains of an earlier large basilica built by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. The church of Santa Costanza used to be a mausoleum attached to that earlier basilica. Their is a good guided tour of the catacomb and the crypt, and this also is practically a private tour. The entire complex is surrounded by a lovely walled garden.

This complex grew up around the burial site of St. Agnes, an early Christian martyr who was slain at the age of around 12 because she refused to marry the son of a Roman centurion. Her stepsister, of around the same age, was also killed because she refused to stop praying at the tomb of her sister. They are buried together in the crypt of the basilica. The catacomb grew up because other Christians wanted to be buried near her. Then Constantine constructed his basilica on the site, and his daughter built the mausoleum hoping to be buried there, although she's actually buried elsewhere. The church, formerly mausoleum, has a very interesting mosaic ceiling, including a picture of a Roman grape harvest.

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4. Re: Off the Beaten Track

Great suggestions here!

We also enjoyed the Aqueduct Park which was easy to get to by Metro and provided a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the historic centre and a glimpse into suburban Roman life as well.

Munich, Germany
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5. Re: Off the Beaten Track

Great suggestions up to now. I also like the San Lorenzo area a lot, nothing historic, but an up-and-coming, hip area.

New Jersey, USA
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950 posts
11 reviews
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6. Re: Off the Beaten Track

Have you been to the Villa Celimontana, with beautiful gardens and a great place for a picnic. Villa Celimontana is open daily from 7am until sunset. You get a great view over the Baths of Caracalla.

A jazz festival is held there in the summer, so it sounds like you'll miss it. (http://www.villacelimontanajazz.com)

There are toilets and a drinking water fountain, although unfortunately there is nowhere close by to purchase food (so bring a picnic with you). Bus number 81 stops right outside the main entrance on Via della Navicella. To walk from the Colosseum, head up Via Claudia, with the ruins of the Temple of Claudius on your right.

7. Re: Off the Beaten Track

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