Rome is so much more than the Colosseum, the Spanish steps, the Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese and the Pantheon. Sure, if you’ve never set foot in Rome before, you definitely want to see the most popular landmarks and monuments. Nevertheless, if you think you know Rome like the back of your hand or are simply sick and tired of the usual crowded touristy spots and overpriced restaurants, it might be time to get off the beaten track.
The Eternal City has its share of secrets places that even the locals overlook. Every corner, side alley and little square has its own history and, more often than not, a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. Read on to find out the most intriguing hidden spaces in Rome as selected from our Stashlet Oscar, Roman born and bread and with an in-depth knowledge of his city!
Don’t want to drag your luggage around while exploring hidden parks and ancient villas? Stasher has luggage storage locations left right and centre, you just need to drop your bag off at one of our StashPoints and live la Bella Vita.
1. Giardino degli Aranci – The Orange Garden
Located just a short walk from Circo Massimo, the lovely Orange Garden, also known as Parco Savello, is unanimously considered the most romantic garden in Rome. Expect to see couples stealing a kiss or two while surrounded by the sweet scent of oranges. The garden also boasts one of the best views of the Roman skyline – we recommend to head here with a bottle of wine and some snack for an impromptu aperitif as the sun sets.
Insider Tip: the famous keyhole of the Knights of Malta which offers a perfectly framed view of St. Peter’s Basilica is located inside the Orange Garden. Time to snap an Instagram worth picture!
The knight’s of Malta keyhole – Photo by diego_dandrea
Closest StashPoint: Easy Bike Rent is less than a 5-minute walk from both Circo Massimo station and the Orange Garden, making it easy to leave your bags here before you start on your exploring. Better yet, you can even rent a bike here!
2. Ghetto Ebraico – The Roman Ghetto
Want to get off the beaten track for a taste of real Rome? The Roman Ghetto it’s going to be right up your alley. Established in 1555, when the Jews of the area were restricted to a small part of the city and walled in, this is one of the oldest Jewish communities outside of Israel. Take the time to visit the local Synagogue and don’t miss the chance to try one of the little kosher restaurants, known for their special recipes with artichokes.
Insider Tip: have a lazy lunch or dinner and order the Carciofi alla Giudea, Roman-Jewish fried artichokes. You won’t regret it.
Roman Ghetto – Photo by iacopobrandimarte
Closest StashPoint: Rome Free Lounge is located right next to Venezia Station, the closest metro station. On your way from the StashPoint to the Ghetto, stop to take a look at the Fontana delle Tartarughe, the Turtle’s Fountain, we promise it’ll be worth it!
3. Orologio ad Acqua del Pincio – The Water Clock on the Pincio Promenade
If you’ve been to Rome before, chances are you have heard of the Terrazza del Pincio, the breath-taking terrace that stands between the lush Villa Borghese and Piazza del Popolo.
Just a stone’s throw away from the panoramic terrace, inside Villa Borghese, there is a beautiful masterpiece of engineering, often overlooked by busy tourists. The stunning water clock, invented by the Dominican friar Giovanni Battista Embriaco, is a sophisticated machine which uses water to alternatively fill two basins, giving a uniform rhythm to the ringer and pendulum.
Insider Tip: on a quiet day, you can hear a lovely melody coming from the water clock. The sound is part of the original design and also powered by water.
Water Clock – Photo by sarah_venice
Closest StashPoint: Andrea DeMarco is located less than 10 minutes away from the Pincio Terrace and just around the corner from Spagna Metro Station!
4. Quartiere Coppedè – Coppedè Borough
Located at the corner of Via Dora and Via Tagliamento, tucked behind the main streets of Quartiere Trieste, this fairy-tale-like neighbourhood is often referred to as the “Fantasy District”. Obscured from the view of daily passer-byes and oblivious tourists, expect to see a jumble of different architectonical style peacefully coexisting. Art Nouveau, Greek influence, Baroque, and a dash of Gothic. With such a mishmash of design, it can be hard to know where to focus first, but take your time because exploring the architecture is the whole point.
Insider Tip: there are no cafes or restaurants in the area, so avoid heading here on an empty stomach!
Quartiere Coppedè –Photo by dino_presciutti
Closest StashPoint: the Coppodè Borough is on the B1 Line that goes from Termini Station to Sant’Agnese/Annibaliano. We recommend to leave your bags at one of our luggage storage facilities around Termini station and then make your way to this lovely borough.
5. Gianicolo Hill
Even though Rome is known as the city of seven hills, in reality the 8th hill of Rome, often overlooked by most travel guides, is the one offering the best views over the city. Easily reached on foot, it’s just above the Vatican and the Trastevere neighbourhood. This is the perfect spot to catch your breath and maybe a nice breeze during the hot summer months.
Insider Tip: the cannon at Piazzale Garibaldi fires each day at noon, don’t miss your chance to see it.
View from the top of the Gianicolo Hill – Photo by cadaudaniela
Closest StashPoint: Rome For You Trastevere is less than 15 minutes away from the park. Leave behind all unnecessary bags and just bring with you what you need for a lush picnic.
6. Giardini Vaticani – Vatican Gardens
This not so well kept secret doesn’t usually get the full attention of tourists as you need to book at least a week in advance for a chance to peek into the Vatican’s world. Those who have the foresight to do so, will be met with finely manicured gardens that have an Alice-in-Wonderland ambience, styled with groomed symmetrical box hedges and grottoes.
Vatican Gardens – Photo by a_dari_a
Closest StashPoint: City in Loop is perfectly located just 5 minutes away from Vatican City and open Mon-Sun 8.30am – 19.30pm.
7. Palazzo Colonna
One of the most amazing things about Rome is that you never know from the outside what you will find on the inside. This is exactly the case with Galleria Colonna. Its magnificent rooms are an open art gallery full of paintings and sculptures from XVI to XVIII century. Expect to see lavish multi-coloured marble floors, enormous chandeliers and high-ceilinged rooms. Don’t blame us if your neck is all stiff after staring at the incredible ceiling paintings for hours on end!
Insider Tip: every Saturday morning the Gallery is open to the public and you can even get a free tour in English at 12.
Palazzo Colonna – Photo by frankieriili
8. Caravaggio’s Paintings
If it’s not clear already, every single corner in Rome is a reflection of the city’s fascinating history and culture. Why queue for hours just to hide yourself away in an overcrowded museum? In Rome, priceless art is literally everywhere. Art lovers just need to ditch the main attractions and visit these three low key Roman churches where you’ll find world famous Caravaggio’s paintings.
First stop is San Luigi dei Francesi to admire three paintings representing Saint Matthew’s life. Afterwards, head to Basilica di Sant’Agostino, just around the corner from Piazza Navona, to catch a glimpse of the Madonna di Loreto. Finally, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Popolo is home to two of Caravaggio’s masterpieces, the Crucifixion of Saint Peter and the Conversion of St. Paul.
Crucifixion of Saint Peter, Santa Maria del Popolo – Photo by tamara_ama
9. Casina delle Civette – House of the Owls
Gothic castle meets Swiss cottage with a guest appearance from Art Nouveau stained glassed windows. Intrigued yet? This whimsical house-museum is part of Villa Torlonia park, a local favourite for Sunday picnics and best known for being the state residence of Mussolini. Wander around the countless arches, gables and mullioned windows, we promise you will be thoroughly enchanted.
Insider Tip: the villa’s name comes from the stained glass owls made in 1914.
Casina delle Civette – Photo by teitopro
Closest StashPoint: Mr Copy is located just around the corner from Bologna metro station and just 10 minutes away from Villa Torlonia.
10. Domus Aurea
An archaeological site only recently opened after a big fire destroyed most of the city. No, it’s not Pompeii we’re talking about, Rome has its own history of natural disasters. This ‘Golden House’ belonged to Emperor Nero and dates back to 64 AD. Covered in frescoed, gold leaf, stucco and precious stones, the term Golden House doesn’t even begin to describe the property’s opulence and dazzle.
Insider Tip: the tours are led by archaeologists working on the site and include a virtual-reality headset to bring this sumptuous villa to life!
Domus Aurea – Photo by divoraroma
Closest StashPoint: Exploring the Colosseum as well as Domus Aurea? Lucky for you our StashPoint Wheely Bike Rental is close to both tourist attractions, making it easy to plan your day.