Click your heels together three times and repeat after me: There’s no place like Rome. There’s no place like Rome. There’s no place like Rome.
Ancient Romans called their home city “caput mundi” (capital of the world) – and with good reason! Of all the places I’ve seen in my travels, Rome is truly one of a kind. When you’re roaming, you’ll traipse past millennia of history – with a single street housing ancient ruins, medieval churches, and Renaissance palaces. All in the same place. All jumbled – gorgeously – together.
But, let’s be honest. Rome isn’t exactly a travel secret – almost 15 million visitors flock here each year. So, how can you experience the real Rome without feeling like just another tourist?
On my most recent trip to Rome, going off the beaten path with a private guide and finding some of the hidden gems was a focus of mine.
Check out my 4 Top Hidden Gems in Rome below:
PIZZA BY THE COLOSSEUM
Whether it’s your first or fourteenth visit to Rome, viewing the Colosseum never ceases to impress. In its hay day, this stone stadium could seat 50,000 spectacles for live battles and gladiator matches. With my help, you can enjoy a private tour inside the Colosseum with skip-the-line tickets. After your immersion in ancient history, you’ll be hungry for a taste of Rome. Nearby, I recommend Li Rioni Pizzeria – hidden on a non-touristy side street just a 5 minutes’ walk from the main ruins. Be sure to order here a wood-fired pizza, tomato-crowned bruschetta and the creamy house tiramisu!
Not far from the famous Spanish Steps, you’ll find a green jewel in the heart of historic Rome – the Villa Borghese Gardens. Built by the noble Borgia family (including a pope!) atop a former vineyard in 1605, the Villa Borghese Gardens were the largest green space built in Rome since ancient times. From this vast and manicured park, you can also access the Villa Borghese gallery – housing Renaissance masterpieces from artists such as Caravaggio and Titian. Bring art history to life here with a private visit alongside an English-speaking guide.
Rome is home to many sacred sites – including St. Peter’s tomb and the Vatican. It also boasts one of Europe’s oldest Jewish communities, which reside principally in the city’s scenic Jewish Quarter. In addition to vaunting kosher-friendly carbonara, this quiet cobblestoned quarter also houses some spectacular ruins – including Teatro Marcello. This theater dates back to 13BC and resembles the Colosseum (minus the crowds). Columns and remains of temples are scattered around this open-air theater. After wandering the Jewish Quarter’s back streets, walk to the nearby Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) for a gelato at Tiberino Gelateria.
Rome’s stunning Trastevere quarter is located on the far side of the Tiber River – easily accessed on foot by crossing one of the city’s scenic bridges. Boasting cobblestone alleyways, Renaissance palaces and ivy-clad buildings, Trastevere bustles with local charm during the day and at night. It’s also home to some of the city’s most authentic Roman ristorante – including Trattoria Da Teo, Pizzeria Ai Marmi and Da Enzo al 29.
Check out the Best Way to See Rome in 3 Days and incorporate some of these hidden gems into your itinerary.
Ready to roam through the real Rome? Contact a Jennifer, a European Travel Specialist, to start making your dream trip a Roman reality.