Roman senator Tacitus long ago said that the empire of Rome was not built upon timidity. To this day, the city’s great historical sites and masterful artworks stand as monuments of bravado, innovation, and passion. As you study in Italy, there is plenty of opportunity to visit iconic landmarks, but there are also some interesting, more obscure attractions that many students overlook. Here are a few ideas for stepping off the touristy beaten path and discovering some truly authentic hidden gems while in Rome.
See Sights With Overome
You don’t have to stray too far to find unique twists on the obvious as you study abroad in Italy. Overome is a small business that gives personal tours of the Vatican. Particularly special to students who attend an American university in Rome, the company intentionally limits the tours to 12 people at a time and provides a guide who is fluent in English. All guides are licensed as such and often have professional backgrounds in art history or architecture.
Rather than taking an impersonal tour (or walking around with no guide at all), why not visit the landmark with someone well-trained who will report on historical context as well as fascinating, quirky details only a real insider would know. Overrome offers a variety of tours all over the city. After all, it’s not always what you see that counts, but how you go about seeing it!
Go Out of Your Way to Find Real Roman Eateries
So vast and gorgeous is the city of Rome that walking through it will leave you dazed and most certainly famished. You can’t always spot the finest, most authentic Roman cuisine on the typical tourist jaunt, but if you wander just a few blocks off, past the vendors of the Vatican, you’ll find places like Forno Feliziani. A cozy, easily accessible restaurant that offers a truly shocking number of pizzas, pastas and desserts – all genuinely delicious.
Discover It Through a Keyhole
What more interesting way could there be to uncover Rome’s treasures than through a literal keyhole? The door in question is in the Piazza Cavalieri di Malta on the Aventine Hill. The building itself is rather hard to miss while sightseeing, though the view through the large, locked door is one of its well-kept secrets. The dramatic vantage point opens up a truly unique way of surveying the city.
Find Le Stanze di Federica
On a small side street, stashed away up a few floors behind attorney and accounting offices, lies one of the finest hotels in the city. At the end of the hall, beyond an impressive marble staircase, are a handful of rooms. It’s a small, friendly, 24-hour service hotel that the rest of your fellow students have probably never heard of. Le Stanze is also located within walking distance of so many famous sites such as the Piazza del Popolo and Villa Borghese Gardens – it’s astonishing what a great secret the hotel managed to keep. You don’t need to spend the night; this hidden gem is worth just taking a walk through.
Did we miss any places or experiences you’ve discovered on your own walks around town?