There is no denying that Rome deserves the accolade of being one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The immaculately preserved, centuries-old architecture is something to marvel. The overwhelming scents of tiramisu and pasta will stop you in your tracks. These features alone attract millions of people each year to tour Rome and explore the ancient metropolis.
Despite this popularity, Rome is such a storied city that there are hidden attractions even most locals don’t know about. These gems are what will make a journey to Rome unforgettable.
1. BREAKFAST IN THE PIGNA GARDEN, VATICAN CITY
Few are privileged to enjoy breakfast in the Pigna Garden in Vatican City. For those on our Rome to Sicily Journey, this marvelous meal follows a VIP tour of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican and St. Peter’s Cathedral. As the sun rises, you will take in the spectacular beauty of Michelangelo’s famed ceiling fresco and the last judgement. Following breakfast, you will tour the Vatican museums, a group of impressive buildings with hundreds of rooms, halls, galleries, libraries and chapels overflowing with art treasures.
2. ROME ROSE GARDEN
When standing in front of Circus Maximus, many say you can smell the aromas radiating from the Rome Rose Garden across the street. This public garden is home to over 1,100 varieties of roses, sourced from all over the world. The rose bushes shaped into a heart make an exemplary backdrop for a romantic photo.
3. PALAZZO COLONNA
Next to the church of Santi Apostoli, the Colonna family have owned this impressive estate for 20 generations. Presently it serves as a museum with one of the most extensive collections of 14th to 18th Century furniture. As you observe the collection, you will transport back several hundred years and become an active participant in its rich history.
4. GIARDINO DEGLI ARANCI (ORANGE GARDEN)
Savello Park, also known as the Orange Garden, overlooks St. Peter’s dome. Walking tree-lined paths in this aroma oasis, you will find time slips by. It is also an idyllic spot to rest on the terrace and enjoy a good book.
5. THE MOUTH OF TRUTH
This next gem will look familiar to fans of the 1953 film, Roman Holiday. While Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck came out unscathed, the legend has it that if you tell the sculpture a lie and put your hand in its mouth, you will be going home with one less arm!
A great spot to escape the crowds, Trastevere is a working-class neighbourhood-turned modern hotspot. On the first floor of the many mid-rise buildings that surround Piazza di Santa Maria, you will find lively craft beer pubs and artisan shops. An uncharacteristically bohemian spot to spend the evening unwinding.
7. ANTICA FARMACIA DELLA SCALA
One of the many treasures to discover in Trastevere, Antica Farmacia della Scala is not your average pharmacy. Carmelite monks still run this pharmacy that was established in the 17th century by the papal court. You’ll notice the care that has gone into preserving the traditional remedies and medical tchotchkes for future generations to enjoy.
8. JANICULUM HILL
Said to be the Eighth Hill of Rome, Janiculum Hill is a picturesque locale to experience the city from above. Being outside of the ancient city boundaries, this hill is less crowded than others. You will find spending time atop Janiculum peaceful and contemplative. A superb opportunity to reflect on all of the culture and history that makes up this great city.
JOURNEY FROM ROME TO SICILY
At Journeys by Van Dyke, we focus on crafting our journeys around the very best experiences in each city. During our Rome to Sicily Journey departing September 16th, 2019, we spend two nights at the luxurious VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel in Trastevere. Located on the west bank of the River Tiber, this hotel is less than a 20-minute walk from each of the attractions mentioned above, allowing you to see a whole new side of this ancient city.
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