Could one spend a lifetime exploring Rome without getting bored? Yes, but while we’re daydreaming of moving to Italy with charming men and endless gelato, it’s good to make some choices and narrow down the sights a bit. We’ve set up some of the top hidden gems in Rome that most tourists visiting don’t get to see.
Rome is a popular tourist destination in Europe and receives thousands of tourists annually. This Italian capital has many popular destinations that are easily recognizable – who doesn’t know of the Colosseum or the Trevi fountains? But what about those destinations that are underrated and are less crowded, but just as beautiful and full of history and culture?
With these hidden gems in Rome, you’re set for a trip that’s unique and diverse – whether you’re a first time explorer and only have a day in Rome or a repeat visitor to Italy’s ancient capital.
Our 25 Hidden Gems in Rome
1. Catacombs of Priscilla
Showing stories from early Christianity, the Catacombs of Priscilla is an important place for history and religion. A maze of thombs and chambers, early popes and many martyrs were buried here. The catacombs are lined with 3rd century murals – one is even questioned to be the first image of the Virgin Mary. Many fresco’s in the Greek Chapel seem to feature women, perhaps even seen leading in Mass, making it a popular place for scholars. The horde of tourists, however, hasn’t found its way yet.
With a remarkable history, the catacombs make for one of Rome’s hidden gems and a great visit either way. It’s a bit further from Rome’s most touristic area, so combine it with a stop at the next two items on our list.
Address: Via Salaria, 430, 00199 Roma RM
2. Orologio ad Acqua del Pincio (The Magical Water Clock of the Pincio)
This engineering masterpiece was designed by Giovanni Battista Embriaco in 1867. The hands of the clock resemble trees fitting perfectly with the backdrop of Villa Borghese. It works when water gets into two leaf-shaped basins on the pivot. When the two basins filled with water oscillate, the mechanism is activated and in turn, turns the hands telling the time. The water clock is on a wooden tower in Pincio Park at Villa Borghese.
Address: Viale dell’Obelisco, a39, 00187 Roma RM
3. Galleria Borghese
Art lovers get to gather in this beautiful space and experience art. Scipione Borghese commissioned the architect Flaminio Ponzio to build a villa to put his art collection. Home to the Borghese art collection, there are many centuries worth of art in this gallery, with pieces from Bernini, Caravaggio, Canova, and from lesser known artists like Paolo Veronese and Lorenzo Lotto. There are temporary exhibits like fashion as sculpture by fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa.
Address: Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5, 00197 Roma RM
4. L’antico Ghetto Ebraico
This ghetto town with narrow streets and alleyways dates back to the 16th century. It is believed to be home to the Jews until 1569 and then from 1586-1593. One can see the three guarded entryways the Jews were allowed to use in the morning and at dusk when they left. It is a charming area with workshops surrounded by palaces believed to belong to the rich Jews in trade and banking. Get out at the tram stop Arenula/Cairoli and it’s the little area East of it.
- READ MORE: Rome in one day- Everything your need to know
- READ MORE: Day trip from Rome to Florence
- READ MORE: Rome At Night- The best things to do
- READ MORE: The Best Rome at night tours
5. Capuchin Crypt
It is The Museum and Crypt of the Capuchin Friars in which the Capuchin Order is held in high regard as a reminder of the cycle of life and the reality of our inevitable mortality. There are multiple chapels below the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini holding approximately 4000 mummified skeletons.
Address: Via Vittorio Veneto, 27, 00187 Roma RM
6. Quartiere Coppedè
It was designed and built by Gino Coppedè from 1913-1927. It is a secret neighborhood located behind Quartiere Trieste between Piazza Buenos Aires and Via Tagliamento. He used old styles like Baroque, Art Nouveau, and medieval and ancient Greek in the construction. This district isn’t huge, but great for a few hours strolling around.
A highlight is the House of Fairies (Villino delle Fate), with asymmetrical architecture unlike you can find anywhere else. Don’t skip the Piazza Mincio with its Fontana delle Rana, or ‘Fountain of the Frogs’. The surrounding buildings are magical by itself, plus it’s said that the Beatles took a late night dip in the fountain after finishing a show.
7. Colosseum Arena Floor
Rome is famous for its epic battles in amphitheaters 2000 years ago, and here, guests get to walk the path of famous gladiators as they walk into battle. Although the Colosseum floor is just a wooden reconstruction, one can get a good 360-degree view and imagine what it was like in its glory days. Here, there are many guided tours of the Arch of Constantine, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum. Access to the arena floor is not included in the general ticket – be sure to book in advance.
8. Antica Farmacia della Scala
Back in the 17th-Century this hidden gems in Rome was a pharmacy for the Papal Court. Located in Trastevere, it’s still run by Carmelite monks. The order started this pharmacy to serve their own, but their products gradually rose to fame. Eventually, it offered low prices to serve even the poorest in Rome.
Filled with more details than your eyes can handle, this is the spot for architecture and history lovers. Even the modern pharmacy downstairs looks old, but head up and step into a time machine. Glance over the marble walls, dark decor and mysterious glass vials. Guided tours in English are hard to find, but it’s worth the trip regardless.
Address: Piazza della Scala, 23, 00153 Roma RM
9. Basilica di Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio (Basilica of St. Stephen in the Round on the Celian Hill)
Rome is known for its numerous churches, but the church of St. Stephen is unique with its circular plan dating as far back as the mid-5th century. Its walls showcase images of well-known martyrs in the 16th century. The details on each painting are extensive with explanations of each scene, who ordered the execution, and quotes from the Bible.
Address: Via Santo Stefano Rotondo, 7, 00184 Roma RM
10. Giardino degli Aranci (The Orange Garden AKA Parco Savello)
This romantic garden located a short distance from Circo Massimo is full of orange trees. From the garden, visitors can see the whole of Rome. From the terrace, one can see the Tiber River and the famous St. Peter’s Dome. Visit around sunset when the warm light gives an entirely new meaning to ‘orange garden’.
Address: Piazza Pietro D’Illiria, 00153 Roma RM
11. Torre Argentina (Cat Sanctuary)
Not far from the Patheon is the location where Caesar was murdered. While new for most people, this isn’t the most ‘hidden’ sight on our list, but Torre Argentina is unusual enough not to be missed. It’s now an excavation site to admire the old Rome – though visitors are not (yet!) allowed to enter the grounds, there are numerous signs with info for the history buffs. However, our favorite part is the area used as a cat sanctuary for strays. There are 140+ cats roaming between the ruins and nearly all are adoptable. Visit the sanctuary for cuddles and buy little souvenirs to help with funding. The ruins are scheduled to open in 2021.
Address: Largo di Torre Argentina, 00186 Roma RM
12. Priorato dei Cavalieri di Malta (Square of the Knights of Malta)
Nestled within the tranquil Aventine Hill, this enchanting keyhole offers a glimpse into a world of awe-inspiring beauty and wonder.
To find this hidden gem, make your way to the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. There, you’ll discover an unassuming green door, guarded by a sense of intrigue. As you approach, your curiosity piques, and you’ll soon understand why this keyhole holds such allure.
Peering through the Aventine Keyhole, you’ll be greeted with a breathtaking sight that transcends imagination. Framed perfectly within the keyhole’s arch is a stunning view of St. Peter’s Basilica, adorned with an awe-inspiring sense of symmetry.
Capturing the essence of Rome’s harmonious blend of ancient and modern, the Aventine Keyhole is a testament to the city’s rich history and architectural brilliance. It offers a unique perspective, unveiling a captivating panorama that will leave you in awe.
For those seeking hidden gems in Rome, the Aventine Keyhole is a must-visit. Immerse yourself in the mystery and charm that awaits behind the green door, and prepare to be transported to a world where history and beauty intertwine. On a clear day, you can see St. Peter’s Basilica in all its glory.
Unlock the secrets of the Aventine Keyhole, and discover a view that will forever be etched in your memory. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to witness Rome’s hidden gem and experience the magic that lies beyond the keyhole.
In addition to the view, the Aventine Hill is also a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. There are a number of gardens and parks on the hill, as well as a number of cafes and restaurants.
13. Palazzo Colonna
The Colonna family is believed to have started building the palace in the 14th century. It is a private palace with some of the family members still residing there eight centuries later. The construction was done over five centuries ago; therefore, there are multiple architectural styles both inside and outside the palace. Martin V lived in the palace from 1420-1431. The palace has opened its doors to many people over the centuries, and its historical significance to the Roman people is great. The Galleria Colonna was also constructed in the 1600s where art collections owned by the Colonna family have been displayed ever since.
Address: Via della Pilotta, 16, 00187 Roma RM
14. Centrale Montemartini
A few decades ago this was a functioning power plant. Today, Centrale Montemartini is one of the strangest museums to be found. Briefly used as storage, the building was thought to be an ideal place to showcase art works that were collecting dust in a basement. The contrast of classical Roman statues in front of modern machinery is remarkable – don’t forget your camera for this stop.
Address: Via Ostiense, 106, 00154 Roma RM
15. Villa Farnesina
Easily located in Trastevere, Villa Farnesina dates back from the 16th century. The mansion is lovely on the outside, but indescribable on the inside. Its walls are covered from top to bottom with brightly colored art, including that of Raphaël, Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Note that it is closed on (most) Sundays.
Address: Via della Lungara, 230, 00165 Roma RM
16. Oratoria del Gonfalone
One of the most stunning rooms you can find in all of Rome, this 16th century prayer room is still in use today as a concert hall. Its walls are covered from top to bottom in colorful murals of Christ. Don’t mistake it with the Gonfalone church nearby. An entry ticket requires booking ahead of time, or visit one of their concerts.
Address: Via del Gonfalone, 32, 00186 Roma RM
17. Casina delle Civette (House of Owls)
Step into a world of architectural marvel at Casina delle Civette, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Rome. Commissioned by Prince Alessandro Torlonia and designed by the renowned architect Giuseppe Jappelli in 1840, this residence is a true testament to artistic excellence.
As you wander through the halls of Casina delle Civette, you’ll be captivated by the intricate designs crafted by various architects, including Enrico Gennari. Each corner of this enchanting place tells a story, showcasing the opulence and grandeur of its era.
What gives Casina delle Civette its unique nickname is the captivating stained glass designed by Duilio Cambellotti in 1914. Adorned with two majestic owls nestled amidst ivy shoots, this masterpiece adds an air of mystique to the residence. It’s no wonder that it has become known as the House of Owls.
For several decades, Prince Giovanni Torlonia called Casina delle Civette his home until 1938. Today, this architectural gem stands as a testament to a bygone era and offers visitors a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the Torlonia family.
Address: Via Nomentana, 70, 00161 Roma RM
18. Janiculum Hill, Gianicolo
This site is perfect for nature lovers and hikers because it is calm and peaceful and offers a great view of the city. It was an important defense location for Rome during wars. It was also the battlefield between Giuseppe Garibaldi and the French Troops. On its path are the statues of Rome’s heroes including Garibaldi’s.
There is plenty to see on Janiculum Hill including Manfredi Lighthouse. While in the area, don’t forget to stop at the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola or Il Fontanone. “The big fountain“ is just as good as the famous Trevi fountain, but without the crowds. Combine your visit with the next item on our list of hidden gems in Rome.
Address: Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi, 00165 Roma RM
19. Villa Doria Pamphili
Conveniently behind Gianicolo is the city’s largest park, yet oddly enough still one of the hidden gems in Rome. Besides a few locals, you’ll probably be the only tourist around. It feels you’ve left the chaos of Rome, though it’s not far from the Forum and the Via del Corso near Piazza Venezia. The park is large enough to spend a day strolling around and makes for an ideal picnic spot. Get here by taking bus No. 870 or walk from Trastevere.
Villa Dora Pamphili originates from one of the papal families. Visit its stately white building named Casino del Bel Respiro to further observe the immense wealth and influence this family once had. Every inch is covered with art from the likes of Brueghel and Caravaggio. From its Northern entrance you can spot a view of Rome, including St. Peter’s Dome.
Address: Via di S. Pancrazio, 00152 Roma RM
20. Le Terme di Caracalla – Baths of Caracalla
The baths of Caracalla were built by order of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Emperor Caracalla) in 212-216 AD. They were thermal complexes built with marble and the walls covered with art. A large complex, you can still explore some remaining mosaics. When visiting during Summer, it’s possible to catch an open-air opera from here.
Address: Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Roma RM
21. Caravaggio’s Paintings
Apart from major museums and galleries, tourists can see Caravaggio’s artwork in three locations. One is San Luigi dei Francesi where three paintings are on display depicting the life of St Matthew. The second is Basilica di Sant’Agostino where one can see the Madonna di Loreto. Third is the Basilica di Santa Maria del Popolo where his more famous pieces reside – The Conversion of St. Paul and the Crucifixion of Saint Peter.
22. Via Appia Antica – Appian Way
Built in 312 BC, it is one of the oldest and longest roads in Rome. It is 563 km or 350 miles. The road is lined with tombs, among them Christian catacombs such as San Domitilla, San Sebastian, and the famous tomb of Cecilia Metella. The road has important historical significance like the failed slave revolution of 73 BC led by Spartacus where approximately 6000 slaves were crucified on 130 miles of the Appian Way. We recommend exploring by bicycle for a 20 km (12,5 miles) ride to pass countless sights that’ll surprise you and see a completely new side of Rome.
23. Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas
Since it was forbidden to bury the dead within Rome’s city walls, many monuments were built along the main roads leading into the city. As was the case for the Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas, located near the Via Appia (next on our list). Dating back to the 1st Century, this tomb for urns was only discovered in 1830 (as you see, we take the term ‘hidden gems in Rome’ quite serious). A steep stairs takes you down to this ancient space, filled with colorful art works. It’s so rare to visit, you can only go down on a guided tour, available at nearby Museo dello Mura.
Address: Via di Porta Latina, 14, 00179 Roma RM
A new item on your bucket list: having dinner in a tram. Tramjazz is essentially a moving restaurant that passes stunning sights around Rome while you enjoy food and live jazz. This cozy place is only open a few nights per week from 9PM till midnight – book in advance.
Address: Starts and ends at Piazza di Porta Maggiore
25. Ristorante Museo Canova Tadolini
A travel list isn’t complete without food. This restaurant quite literally doubles as a museum and is one of our hidden gems in Rome for being particularly strange. Visit here to dine between Roman statues – you’ll step out dizzy from either wine or the sheer amount of museum pieces that surround you. Try some of their homemade pasta with truffles.
Address: Via del Babuino, 150/a, 00187 Roma RM
26. Via Margutta
Via Margutta is a hidden gem in Rome that is known for its art galleries, studios, and boutiques. This charming street is located in the heart of the city, just a short walk from the Piazza di Spagna and the Trevi Fountain.
Via Margutta has been a popular destination for artists for centuries. In the early 20th century, it was home to a number of famous artists, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Salvador Dali. Today, the street is still home to a number of art galleries and studios, and it is a great place to find unique souvenirs and gifts.
In addition to its art galleries and studios, Via Margutta is also home to a number of boutiques and cafes. This makes it a great place to wander around and explore the local shops and restaurants.
If you’re looking for a unique and charming experience in Rome, be sure to visit Via Margutta. It’s a hidden gem that you won’t soon forget.
27. Quartiere Coppedè
Located in the Trieste neighborhood, Quartiere Coppedè is a small, whimsical neighborhood filled with unique and eclectic architecture. It was designed by architect Gino Coppedè in the early 20th century and features a mix of styles including Art Nouveau, Baroque, Gothic, and Medieval. The neighborhood is known for its ornate facades, intricate mosaics, and detailed sculptures. While not alway considered one of the hidden gems in Rome, the neighborhood isn’t always listed on all the guide books, so you have to know to look for it.
Villino delle Fate One of the most famous buildings in Quartiere Coppedè is the Villino delle Fate (House of the Fairies), which features a whimsical facade adorned with mythical creatures, including mermaids, gnomes, and dragons. The building is located at Via Tagliamento, 9, 00198 Roma RM.
Palazzina del Ragno Another notable building in Quartiere Coppedè is the Palazzina del Ragno (Spider Building), named for the spider-shaped sculpture that sits atop the building. The facade is decorated with intricate mosaics and sculptures, and the building is located at Piazza Mincio, 00198 Roma RM.
Piazza Mincio The central square of Quartiere Coppedè is Piazza Mincio, which features a fountain and a large archway adorned with sculptures. The square is located at Piazza Mincio, 00198 Roma RM.
28. Passetto del Biscione
Passetto del Biscione is a beautiful, frescoes covered pedestrian passage in Rome city center. The small tunnel is tucked away off a small, secluded square and it is position in such as way, you are unlikely to see it unless you know it is there- a true hidden gem in Rome. The name “Biscione” comes from the coat of arms with an eel that belonged to the Orsini family, which built its own palace over the remains of the Teatro di Pompeo, the first masonry theater in Rome. In ancient times, this passage connected the Teatro di Pompeo’s auditorium with the outside.
Address: Passetto del Biscione, 00186 Rome
29. Basilica di San Clemente
Basilica di San Clemente is a minor basilica located in Rome, Italy. The basilica is dedicated to Pope Clement I and is notable for its historical and archaeological significance. The current basilica was built in the 12th century, but it stands on the site of an earlier church that dates back to the 4th century. Beneath the current basilica, there are also remains of a 1st-century Roman house and a 4th-century basilica.
The basilica of San Clemente offers free admission for visitors. However, there is a fee of 10 euros to explore the excavations on the lower two levels. Children under the age of 16 can enter the excavations for free.
Address: Via Labicana, 95, 00184 Roma RM
30. Isola Tiberina
Isola Tiberina, also known as Tiber Island, is a small island located in the Tiber River in Rome, Italy. The island is located in the southern bend of the Tiber and is the only river island in the part of the Tiber that runs through Rome. The island is known for its picturesque setting, historic architecture, and cultural significance.
Address: Isola Tiberina, 00186 Roma RM
31. Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana
While it might not be considered one of the hidden gems in Rome for the everyone, architecture and fashion lovers will appreciate this. This building, also known as the Square Colosseum, is a striking example of Fascist architecture. It was built in the 1930s and now houses the headquarters of the fashion brand Fendi.
Address: Quadrato della Concordia, 3, 00144 Roma RM
32. Palazzo Spada
Palazzo Spada is a 16th-century palace located in the historic center of Rome. The palace features a beautiful courtyard and a stunning art collection, including works by Titian, Rubens, and Caravaggio. The highlight of the palace is the Borromini Gallery, a trompe-l’oeil hallway that appears much longer than it actually is- a true hidden gem in Rome.
Address: Piazza Capo di Ferro, 13, 00186 Roma RM
33. Quartiere San Lorenzo
Quartiere San Lorenzo is a bohemian neighborhood in Rome that is known for its nightlife and street art- and yes, there’s graffiti and yes, it can at times be gritty, that’s what makes this one of the best hidden gems in Rome. The neighborhood is home to several universities and has a young, vibrant feel. Some of the neighborhood’s most notable buildings include the Basilica di San Lorenzo fuori le Mura and the Palazzo dello Sport.
Address: Quartiere San Lorenzo, 00185 Roma RM
34. Villa Medici
Villa Medici is a historic villa located on the Pincian Hill in Rome. The villa was built in the 16th century and has served as the French Academy in Rome since the 17th century. The villa features beautiful gardens and a stunning art collection, including works by French artists such as Ingres and David.
Address: Viale della Trinità dei Monti, 1, 00187 Roma RM
Has this opened up a new side of Rome for you? We hope these 34 hidden gems in Rome will keep you entertained for ages, regardless if you’re a first time explorer or if you already thought you knew the city well. Italy’s capital will never get boring – because hey, they’ve been building it for the past 3000 years.
WHERE TO STAY IN ROME
Rome is a city that is rich in history, culture, and beauty. There are plenty of places to stay in Rome, but finding the right one can be a challenge. Whether you’re looking for luxury, mid-tier, or budget accommodations, there is something for everyone in Rome. And while there are a plethora of options, it’s always a good idea to book up in advance where possible.
- Hotel Eden– Located in the heart of Rome, Hotel Eden offers unrivaled luxury with its exquisite rooms, Michelin-starred restaurant, and panoramic views of the city. Book here.
- The Tribune Hotel – This modern hotel is located in the heart of Rome, just a short walk from the Villa Borghese gardens and the Spanish Steps. It offers spacious rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a fitness center. Located at Via Campania, 45, 00187 Rome, Italy. Book here
- Hotel Splendide Royal – This elegant hotel is located in the heart of Rome, just a short walk from the Villa Borghese gardens and the Spanish Steps. It features luxurious rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a fitness center. Located at Via di Porta Pinciana, 14, 00187 Rome, Italy. Book Here
|Name||Address||Where to Book|
|Hotel Eden||Viale Vittorio Emanuele, 14, 38056 Levico Terme, Italy||BOOK HERE|
|The Tribune Hotel||Via Campania, 45, 00187 Rome, Italy.||BOOK HERE|
|Hotel Splendide Royal||Via di Porta Pinciana, 14, 00187 Rome, Italy||BOOK HERE|
- Hotel Villa San Pio – This charming hotel is located in the heart of Rome, just a short walk from the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. It offers spacious rooms, a beautiful garden, and a fitness center. Located at Via di Santa Melania, 19, 00153 Rome, Italy. Book here
- Hotel Artemide – This modern hotel is located in the heart of Rome, just a short walk from the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. It offers spacious rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a wellness center. Located at Via Nazionale, 22, 00184 Rome, Italy. Booking.com
- Hotel Quirinale – This historic hotel is located in the heart of Rome, just a few steps from the Opera House and the Trevi Fountain. It features elegant rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a fitness center. Located at Via Nazionale, 7, 00184 Rome, Italy. Book Here
|Hotel Villa San Pio||Via di Santa Melania, 19, 00153 Rome, Italy||BOOK HERE|
|Hotel Artemide||Via Nazionale, 22, 00184 Rome, Italy||BOOK HERE|
|Hotel Quirinale||Via Nazionale, 7, 00184 Rome, Italy||BOOK HERE|
No matter what your budget or style, there is a hotel in Rome that will meet your needs. Whether you’re looking for luxury, mid-tier, or budget accommodations, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay in Rome.