The capital city of Italy, Rome is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. In fact in 2007 it ranked as the 11th most visited cities in the world! It’s easy to see why people are drawn to this ancient city. With a large number of monuments and museums, amazing gardens and almost sinful cuisine, and even the possibility of heading to the Vatican and joining an audience to view the Pope, Rome definitely has something for everybody. Tourists tend to flock to the same locations, but with a bit of research you can uncover some of the hidden secrets that Rome holds.
Let’s start out with something that may seem a bit off, at first – the Protestant cemetery. This old cemetery is located near the Pyramid of Cestius and is the perfect place to escape to if you’ve had enough of the busy streets and chaos that you can find in the main areas of Rome. Why would you want to visit a cemetery? Not only is it a peaceful spot, it’s also the resting place of many people that you may have heard of, like John Keats, Percy Byshe Shelly, and well-known poet Gregory Corso.
If cemeteries aren’t your thing, how about heading to a basilica? St. Peter’s Basilica is arguably one of the most visited basilica’s in the world, receiving around 20,000 visitors a day on average. If you don’t want to have to handle the crowd, head to one of the many smaller basilica’s around the city, like the San Paolo Fuori le Mura. This little-known church is known as the third largest church in the Christian faith and yet has very few visitors in its large open halls. In fact you may find that you are the only one!
If you are going to be staying in Rome apartments than you may have time to book a spot to view the Vatican Gardens. In order to get into the gardens you’ll need to book at least a week in advance, but the beautiful grottoes and unique ambience have been touted by those who have had visited it as being something that you have to see to believe.
If you’re looking for entertainment, skip the well-known tourist spots and head to the Church of Sant’Anselmo All’Aventino. This church is located in Trastevere and, in fact, is not very far away from a number of Rome accommodation rentals. What makes this church so special in a city that is filled with churches? The view is spectacular, allowing you to see almost the whole city, but if you plan your trip to arrive for 7:15 PM you will be allowed to watch as the local monks gather and perform their Gregorian chant. Everyone is allowed to observe the 45 minute ritual, and you can hit up the gift shop that is also on the premises, which is filled with items that were created by those very same monks. When you stay in apartments in Rome you’ll find that you have much more time to find all of these secret little gems that hide in this amazing city.
Robin is a freelance travel blogger, writing about places to visit in Europe and accommodation in Rome, London and Paris apartments.