Off The Beaten Path: Hidden Gems In Rome

Although the historic city is world-famous, there are many hidden gems in Rome that is incomparable and full of culture. Few European cities can rival Rome’s heritage, architecture, world-class museums, and art. Best explored by foot, Rome is home to several ancient statues, monumental basilicas, cobblestone-covered piazzas, and ornate water fountains. But experiencing the real Rome, away from tourist traps, means venturing off the beaten path and seeking out less mainstream places.

Because the historic city has become so popular among tourists from all over the world, it’s best to explore its hidden gems, which are less busy and just as breathtaking. On the other hand, high-volume spots like the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain are still worth the visit. However, the more hidden gems you incorporate into your itinerary, the more memorable your trip will be.

While wandering Rome’s captivating streets, be sure to stop by these non-touristy architectural masterpieces, cafès, restaurants, nightlife spots, and more. Whatever you do, don’t forget to store your luggage in Rome with Stasher first!

Hidden Gems in Rome

From fountains and palazzos to secret neighborhoods, street art, and sky-high basilicas, there are tons of places to explore beyond the big ticket attractions.

Quartiere Coppedè

This small, secret neighborhood can be found tucked behind the main streets of Quartiere Trieste. It’s located between piazza Buenos Aires and via Tagliamento. The perfectly bizarre district features otherworldly architecture, medieval art, and decor that’s Greek, Baroque, and Gothic in style.

neighborhood street hidden gems in rome

As the brainchild of Florentine architect Gino Coppedè, the district that was built in 1913 is best known for being a combination of historic style and drama. Most of the architecture embraces nature as its inspiration—hence the fountain of frogs in the area.

If you’re hungry, make sure to stop somewhere for food before entering Quartiere Coppedè as the district is strictly for exploring. It can be accessed by tram, bus, or vehicle.

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The Capuchin Crypt

skulls arranged on walls one of the hidden gems in rome

Found underneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, the Capuchin Crypt holds the mummified remains of approximately 4,000 friars. While the site is slightly haunting and not the typical hidden gem in Rome, the Capuchin order believes that these remains serve as a reminder of our mortality. For visitors eager to learn all that the Capuchin Crypt has to share, there are small guided or larger group tours available.

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Ghetto Ebraico: The Roman Jewish Ghetto

Hidden in the heart of Rome, the Jewish Ghetto (otherwise known as the Ghetto Ebraico) is one of the lesser known attractions in the city. The ancient neighborhood is located between the Tiber and Piazza Venezia, and boasts fascinating cultural heritage.

jewish ghetto neighborhood with weathered walls

The Roman Jewish Ghetto, as a highly religious neighborhood, inspired many of the culinary specialties that the city is known for today. So for those who consider themselves “foodies”, a day trip to Ghetto Ebraico is a must.

When walking through the Jewish Ghetto, you’ll notice both gorgeous and rundown houses, green courtyards, and street art. While Rome’s criminal rate is low, it doesn’t help to be extra safe with an anti-theft travel bag.

Arco degli Acetari: near Campo de’ Fiori

This picturesque courtyard has been gracing the front of postcards for years. With rustic, vine-covered arches and bright orange buildings, Arco degli Acetari is most definitely a sight for sore eyes.

arco degli acetari orange colored homes hidden gems in rome

The Arco degli Acetari is also referred to as the “Vinegar Maker’s Arch” as the medieval courtyard was once a work site for vinegar makers. Because the courtyard is simply filled with homes, there’s not much to do here but admire the architecture and colors.

The Domus Aurea

The Domus Aurea translates to “The Golden House” and can be found on the Oppian Hill in the heart of the city. The landscaped complex was commissioned by the great Roman Emperor Nero after the historic Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD. It was once considered the most extravagant construction in Rome and it can now be visited in small walking groups.

large dome room made of stone

The complex spans 80 hectares and boasts more than 150 rooms, filled with ivory, marble, and gold walls. The entrance to The Domus Aurea is one of the most impressive features as it has a colonnade and massive 35-meter statue of Nero, a self portrait that was also commissioned at the time.

Park of the Aqueducts

aqueducts park with arch walls and brown soil hidden gems in rome

The Park of the Aqueducts is free to explore, providing visitors with the opportunity to take in its 240 hectares of green landscape. It is found on the southeastern side of Rome and contains a massive amount of aqueducts that were constructed back in the Roman Empire. Because of its rich history, the park is much more than a public greenspace. It remains one of the places that most tourists don’t think to visit, which means it will be quieter than the sites in the center of Rome.

Testaccio Market

testaccio community market with fresh oranges, tomatoes, and other fruits hidden gems in rome

Here’s something you won’t find advertised on travel affiliate programs. This community market within Rome’s Testaccio district boasts around 100 stalls, selling fresh fruit, vegetables, and other food items to locals doing their daily grocery shopping. If you’re the type who wants to explore Rome’s local culture, this is one of the unfiltered hidden gems in Rome.

At the Testaccio Market, you’ll find seasonal produce, freshly baked items, fish, meat, cheeses, deli items, and more. There’s also stalls that offer local cuisines like tripe, liver, and chewy pizzas. In addition to food, folks can shop for housewares, accessories, shoes, and clothing at some of the stalls on the eastern side of the market. If you’re going to try your hand at cooking Italian food, you’ll find everything you need here.

National Gallery of Ancient Art at Palazzo Barberini

large white art gallery building with pillars and huge windows

The National Gallery of Ancient Art is split into two collections: Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Corsini. Palazzo Barberini’s collection takes over three floors and is full of eye-catching masterpieces, including Raphael’s Fornarina. Art enthusiasts can purchase one ticket to the gallery and will be granted access to both institutions. Most of the pieces in Palazzo Barberini and Palazzo Corsini are paintings that date back to before the 1800s. One of the most underappreciated hidden gems in Rome.

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The Appian Way

roadside photo with trees and a short stairway to a small field of grass

Appian Way or the Via Appia Antica is one of the oldest roads in Rome, which once served as a vital access road into the city. Many, many years ago, the road extended all the way to Brundisium. The road was originally constructed to quickly move troops during the Second Samnite War and for the transportation of goods. Appian Way is paved with stones and traverses through gorgeous landscapes covered in greenery, giving it a romantic feel.

Casina delle Civette

roadside view of a beautiful, vintage house one of the hidden gems in rome

This is one of the many hidden gems in Rome for architecture buffs and is a must-visit. It is a beautifully restored house that looks as if it could be from a fairy tale. The Casina delle Civette has colorful stained glass windows, ornate tiling, and tall ceilings covered in hand painted murals. The small, whimsical house can be found on the grounds of the Villa Torlonia.

San Nicola in Carcere

The Basilica of San Nicola is much more than a cool underground attraction in the city. The church was built on top of the ruins of three temples that date way back to the Roman Republic. The fascinating underground ruins once served as currency exchange offices while the temples were used to house criminals during the medieval times.

Galleria Doria Pamphilj

This gallery has a gloomy gray exterior but on the inside, visitors will find one of the most exclusive art collections kept in Rome. The Galleria Doria Pamphilj is home to famous works by artists like Tintoretto, Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael, Bernini, and Velázquez. The opulent gallery features floor-to-ceiling paintings that are organized by date. This is one of the must-visit hidden gems in Rome for art history majors or folks eager to immerse themselves in ancient Roman culture. The gallery is on the Pamphilj family’s estate and many of them still live there.

The Catacombs of Saints Marcellino and Pietro

These catacombs are located on the Via Casilina and date all the way back to the 4th century AD. The catacombs were named after two Christian martyrs: Marcellinus and Peter. According to the legend, both of them may have been buried in the catacombs but it has not been officially confirmed. The Catacombs of Saints Marcellino and Pietro are on three different levels, with walls and ceilings covered in wall paintings of Christian and pagan imagery.

Largo di Torre Argentina

Experiencing the hidden gems in Rome doesn’t mean that you need to go too far from the city’s center. Largo di Torre Argentina is located near Piazza Venezia and is mistakenly known to many as the place where Julius Cesar was stabbed and killed. However, Julius Cesar was actually killed on the steps at the Theater of Pompey. In addition to being a historical site, Largo di Torre Argentina also boasts the most famous and longest running cat sanctuary in the city. After the temple ruins were excavated in 1929, stray cats were drawn to the area and fed by people living nearby. Today, the ancient ruins provide a home to around 150 cats. Visitors can get their feline-fix inside and purchase a small souvenir that benefits the cats, current and future.

Baths of Diocletian

The Baths of Diocletian are part of the National Roman Museum. Since 1889, the baths have been part of the most impressive bathing complex in Rome. What made the Baths of Diocletian unique was the sheer size of the complex—it could hold up to 3,000 people at a time. There were three main rooms in the complex: tepidarium, aalidarium, and frigidarium. The thermal baths are now home to cultural artifacts and art that dates back to the Aurelian.

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The Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome

It’s a known fact that many people love to visit cemeteries when traveling as they are filled with stories and statues. But even if visiting a graveyard wasn’t on the top of your Rome itinerary, the Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome is a very interesting place to visit. It is the resting place of many notable people who were not part of the Catholic religion and there is also a cat sanctuary close by. The Angel of Grief statue sits in the cemetery, which features a weeping angel slumping over a headstone. It was sculpted by William Wetmore Story to sit on top of the grave of his beloved wife Emelyn Story.

Tiber Island

You might have already guessed it but Tiber Island is a small island located on the Tiber River. On the island, visitors will find the ancient temple of Asclepius the Greek God of Medicine. There is also a Christian church that dates back to the 10th century. The ship-shaped island is around 270 meters long and can be easily accessed by bridge. On the naturally formed landmark, travelers can dive into the myths and legends surrounding its origin while taking in the unique architecture of buildings and basilicas. Tiber Island is believed to be a place of healing and in the 16th century, a hospital was built on the island. It is still open to this day and is called the Fatebenefratelli Hospital. Between 1941 and 1945, the hospital was used to shelter members of the city’s Jewish community who were diagnosed with a fake and “very contagious” disease.

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Via Margutta

Looking for a nice stroll? If so, walk down the narrow Via Margutta, which can be found in the center of Rome beside the Piazza del Popolo. The street is known for its picturesque qualities and rich history. It was once home to workshops and stables but is now filled with art galleries and restaurants where visitors can get a delicious pizza or bowl of pasta.

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Those who live along Via Margutta tend to be artists, painters, and sculptors, living in small art studios that have been converted into apartments.

St. John in the Lateran

St. John in the Lateran is the oldest basilica in Rome and despite being incredibly beautiful, isn’t one of the top attractions visited by tourists. The church is located near the city center in Esquilino and can be easily accessed by the metro line. The original church had been ruined by a series of fires and earthquakes but has since been restored into a gorgeous Baroque basilica with many mosaics, columns, and statues. The gothic-style tabernacle, otherwise known as the Tent of Congregation, inside of the church dates back to the year 1367. And outside of St. John in the Lateran, you’ll find the largest standing Egyptian obelisk (a pyramid-like monument) in the world.

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Restaurants and bars in Rome where visitors can taste local cuisines

When packing for a trip to Rome, a few pairs of slacks with stretchy waistbands is an absolute must—calories don’t count in the “Eternal City”. Between sightseeing ancient basilicas and wandering through the catacombs, stopping for a plate of gnocchi and cup of gelato is a mouth watering way to re-energize.

Guttilla Alta Gelateria Italiana Roma

This popular, authentic gelato spot is centrally located in Via Dei Gracchi and serves up every flavor you could ever imagine. Loyal customers have mentioned that the prices are reasonable, the service is polite, and that it has some of the best gelato they’ve ever tasted. There are also tons of dairy free options for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan. Visitors with a sweet tooth can opt for the gelato in a cone or cup, or try one of the gelato bars displayed behind the glass. Think flavors like raspberry, lemon, nutella, pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, and more.

Paninoteca Slurp

It’s hard to forget this spot for two reasons: it’s unique moniker and amazing selection of sandwiches. The deli shop is tucked away on a quiet street that’s near the tourist hub that is Vatican City. It’s a great place to stop before or after your tour of the Roman Catholic Church headquarters. At Paninoteca Slurp, you’ll find sandwiches layered with porchetta, artichoke cream, mozzarella, ham, smoked salmon, prosciutto cotto, and other delicious ingredients.

Da Gino al Parlamento

This old-world trattoria, found in Vicolo Rosini, is loved by locals and visitors alike for its authentic Italian food. Because the pasta and pizza served at Da Gino al Parlamento is so delicious, it’s wise to call ahead for a reservation. The Italian spot also serves a selection of grilled meats and fish.

Renato and Luisa

If you’re looking for traditional Roman cuisine, look no further than Renato and Luisa. This hidden gem in Rome has an impressive brick fireplace, dim lighting, stone arches, and a menu that will leave you drooling. When it comes to appetizers, every hungry guest should order the goat cheese with walnuts and honey. For main courses, the cacio e pepe and fettuccine pachino e ricotta di bufala come highly recommended. All of the desserts and bread served at Renato and Luisa are made in-house.

Colline Emiliane

This restaurant combines family, tradition, artisanship, and quality. Located on Via degli Avignonesi beside the Trevi Fountain, the family-run spot serves handmade pastas covered in scrumptious sauces. Instead of classic Roman cuisine, Colline Emiliane focuses on creating authentic dishes from Emilia-Romagna.

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Da Enrico

Da Enrico, near Piazza Bologna, is a go-to spot for fresh seafood and Italian food with a Mediterranean twist. The seafood risotto , meatballs, and spaghetti vongole comes highly recommended from frequent restaurant goers. If you’re wanting to feel like a local, a dinner or lunch at Da Enrico will do the trick.

Quaint cafès for coffee aficionados

After visiting the cafès in Rome, you’ll never be satisfied by Starbucks espresso ever again. Even though the beans aren’t grown in Italy, the country is famous for its roasting and blending methods. Like restaurants, the hole-in-the-wall coffee shops tend to be tastier than the larger tourist spots.

Sant’ Eustacchio il caffè

Sant ‘Eustachio Il Caffè is one of the oldest coffee shops in Rome and serves coffee made from house-roasted beans and purified water from an ancient aqueduct. It uses organic arabica coffee beans to make strong espresso, which can be enjoyed with a flaky pastry or nutella croissant. The beloved cafè is located between the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and the Pantheon.

Pergamino Caffè

pergamino caffè counter

This trendy cafè that’s located near Vatican City offers multiple types of coffee, including Aeropress, nitro coffee, and syphon. Every coffee served at Pergamino Caffè is brewed from a small roaster. Upon your visit, you’ll also find pastries and other snacks that will perfectly compliment your espresso.

Bar Totò

bar toto alfresco outdoor view

At Bar Totò, you’ll want to stay for breakfast at one of its outdoor tables. In addition to coffee, the spot serves fresh focaccia, aperitivos, and other baked goods. Because of its location on Via del Portico d’Ottavia, sitting on the patio is wonderful for people-watching. It is also known for its friendly staff and great service.

Faro – Luminaries of Coffee

faro coffee shop and bakery with empty seats and tables

Coffee fanatics seeking artisanal coffee, sandwiches, pastries, and wraps will be seriously impressed with Faro. The mellow, bright cafè uses beans with sustainable origins to create memorable drinks, like lattes and espresso, that will provide you with fuel for a day of exploring. Each latte is topped with an artistic design, worthy of a spot on your Instagram feed.

La Casa Del Caffè Tazza D’oro

la casa del caffe tazza d'oro outdoor dining area

Founded decades ago in 1946, La Casa Del Caffè Tazza D’oro has been an important stop for those visiting the Pantheon as it is located nearby. The historical coffee bar roasts all of their Arabica beans on-site and on hot days, La Casa Del Caffè Tazza D’oro’s speciality, the granita di café, is a must-order. This is a slushy-like coffee beverage that can be enjoyed on its own or with layers of whipped cream. The coffee bar also serves sandwiches and pastries.

Antico Caffè Greco

antico caffe greco roadside view

For more than 262 years, Antico Caffè Greco has been keeping both the locals and visitors adequately caffeinated. The historic landmark café is the oldest coffee shop in Rome and has marble tables, deep red upholstered seating, and a ceiling with several high arches. It is a must-visit café for lovers of Italian coffee culture, strong espresso, and tiramisu. It’s located a short, one-minute walk from the Piazza di Spagna. Although it’s isn’t exactly hidden, unlike the other hidden gems in Rome on this list, it’s easy to take a coffee shop for granted.

Where To Party In Rome

No matter where you’re traveling, experiencing the nightlife will give you an entirely different view of the city. In Rome, you’ll find several clubs, open-air rooftop bars, cocktail lounges, and places that showcase live music.

Circolo Degli Illuminati

circolo degli illuminati venue with empty seats and tables

By no means is this a fancy establishment but if you love house music and decently priced drinks, Circolo Degli Illuminati can provide you with an exciting evening out. The cocktail lounge also considers itself to be a restaurant, club, and disco, and is situated on Via Giuseppe Libetta. Circolo Degli Illuminati is underground and has an industrial-chic vibe with a friendly environment. Over the years, the disco has hosted world-famous DJs like Skrillex and Ricardo Villalobos.

THE MAGICK BAR

magick bar al fresco with empty seats and tables

This bar is surrounded by nature and sits along the Tiber River in Rome⁠—the outdoor space is truly one-of-a-kind. Because the majority of the establishment is outdoors, THE MAGICK BAR is only open from May to September. In addition to serving delectable cocktails, THE MAGICK BAR also offers Mediterranean- and Mexican-inspired finger foods that are great to snack on while drinking. At night, THE MAGICK BAR transforms from a restaurant to a happening bar with loud music.

This is one of the best venues for picture taking if you want something Instagrammable.

Trenta Formiche

trenta formiche seated concert

This little club has a rather unique name that means “thirty ants” and is the definition of hidden gems in Rome. It’s a great warehouse-like venue to catch live music or a massive rock concert, whichever is more your vibe. Trenta Formiche is located in the Mandrione neighborhood and will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to some underground alternative universe. If you’re in the mood for a dance-worthy concert or some table football, pencil an evening at Trenta Formiche onto your Rome itinerary.

Almalu Trastevere

almalu trastevere bar during a party with balloons

If you’re looking for a hole-in-the-wall bar with drink and shot specials, a buzzing atmosphere, and loud music, then you must visit Almalu Trastevere. The cocktail bar is a short two-minute walk from Santa Maria in Trastevere and is a popular spot for pre-drinks before dinner or a real party later on in the evening. Previous visitors have noted that Almalu Trastevere is everything you love about a good ol’ college bar, plus tasty snack bowls and affordable drinks.

La Conventicola Degli Ultramoderni

la conventicola club with people dancing

Straying from the cocktail bars and underground clubs, La Conventicola Degli Ultramoderni is a cabaret club that runs amusing singing or burlesque shows every night. It’s consider one of the best hidden gems in Rome for a unique evening, fueled by excellent, affordable cocktails. Revel in the retro atmosphere while watching a burlesque show led by a witty, eclectic character or grooving to the live tunes from talented musicians. The cabaret club is located on Via di Porta Labicana.

Ice Club

ice club bar table with drinks

This snow-themed establishment serves cocktails and meals in a frost-covered bar setting. Because the Ice Club is filled with ice sculptures, there are ponchos and coats available to borrow but we suggest showing up with your own items to keep you warm, such as gloves, boots, and a thick hat. It’s a great place to visit for a chilly cocktail when trying to cool down after a walk around the city in the warm weather. Some of the cocktails are even served in cups made of ice. The themed lounge is located on Via della Madonna dei Monti.

Conclusion—Hidden Gems in Rome

Rome is a perfect example of a capital with history. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, foodie, or party freak—Rome has so much to offer. There are tons of hidden gems in Rome and this listicle will help you find the best locations to explore.

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