Poppy’s Travel Diary – Another Side of Rome. Rome, the capital city of Italy, is a city with an illustrious history and a wealth of cultural treasures. It has been a centre of power, art, and religion for millennia.
Whether you are a history enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or simply looking to experience the timeless allure of an ancient city, Rome has something to offer for everyone. Its rich heritage, cultural treasures, and enchanting atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for travellers from around the world.
Having visited Rome numerous times, I was keen to find some offbeat and unusual experiences in Rome beyond the typical tourist attractions.
Where to stay – Bio Hotel Raphaël – Located in the very heart of Rome, just near the vibrant Piazza Navona, this is a worldwide 5-star deluxe celebrated Hotel. With its facade covered in ivy, the Raphael, just a stone’s throw from the Pantheon and St Peter’s Basilica, is the ideal starting point to experience the elegance of Rome.
“Created” and started up in 1963 by Spartaco Vannoni (1922-1980), the Bio Hotel Raphaël is a magnificent residence, a small museum itself, with works of art including sculptures, paintings, lithographs, antiques and collections of Picasso ceramics and Mayan art.
Hotel Art – Although we did not stay here, it is well worth a visit. This is a designer hotel set in a former boarding school, where the sacred and the profane, and the old and the modern, are expertly combined, with lively colours and plays of light, where art is the undisputed star.
Where to Visit:
The Aventine Keyhole: Visit the Aventine Hill and look through the keyhole of the Priory of the Knights of Malta. You’ll be rewarded with a surprising and perfectly framed view of St. Peter’s Dome at the end of a beautifully manicured garden pathway.
Explore the Capuchin Crypt: Located beneath the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, this crypt is decorated with the bones of over 3,700 Capuchin friars. It’s a fascinating and somewhat eerie experience.
Galleria Sciarra –Stunning, is what comes to mind here! – an elegant palace atrium with lavish frescoes & a glass and iron roof dating to the late 19th century.
Street Art in Ostiense: Explore the Ostiense neighbourhood to discover a vibrant street art scene. The walls of abandoned buildings and railway viaducts are adorned with colourful murals and graffiti, making for a unique urban art experience.
Domus Aurea (Nero’s Golden House): Take a guided tour of Nero’s lavish palace ruins, the Domus Aurea. This archaeological site offers a chance to explore underground chambers and vaults decorated with intricate frescoes.
Centrale Montemartini: This museum displays ancient Roman sculptures in an unexpected setting—a former power plant. The juxtaposition of classical art with industrial machinery creates a fascinating contrast.
Basilica di San Clemente: Descend through the layers of history in this church. It features a 12th-century basilica built over a 4th-century church, which, in turn, was built atop a 1st-century Roman building. You can explore all three levels, each representing a different era.
Santa Maria Dell’anima which means Our Lady of the Soul in English is conveniently located next to The Bio Hotel Raphaël. It is a German-speaking church founded in 1350 by the couple John Peter and Catherine of Dordrecht.
Keats-Shelley House: Literature enthusiasts can visit the house where John Keats spent his final days. The museum is dedicated to the English Romantic poets and contains original manuscripts, letters, and personal belongings.
Coppedè Quarter: Explore this whimsical and lesser-known neighbourhood characterized by unique, fairytale-like architecture. The area features buildings with eclectic styles, sculptures, and unexpected details.
Pyramid of Cestius: Discover an ancient Egyptian-style pyramid right in the heart of Rome. This well-preserved pyramid was built as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a Roman magistrate, and stands as a fascinating example of the city’s eclectic history.
Where to Eat – Mater Terrae Restaurant. This is an organic, vegetarian, and vegan restaurant. Here you can delight your palate with natural seasonal products and unique recipes based on art, creativity, and innovation!
Since January 2018 the restaurant has been collaborating with the historic restaurant “La Manuelina” of the Carbone family, famous for its excellent Focaccia with Recco cheese.
The Focaccia with Recco Cheese was invented by the great-grandmother Manuelina in her simple Inn in Recco, located between Genova and Portofino in the magnificent Gulf of Tigullio, at the end of the nineteenth century, exactly in 1885.
It’s a magical Recipe from simple ingredients like flour, water, oil, and cheese measured out wisely, worked with the ability and cooked at high temperature, one can obtain a real prodigy of lightness and fragrance. Trust me, it is delicious…
Do be aware that some of these sites might have limited opening hours or require advance bookings, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and check for any updates or restrictions before visiting. Enjoy exploring these hidden gems and unconventional spots in the eternal city!