You have wandered around the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum? Check. Admired the renaissance art at the Vatican Museums? Check. Thrown a few coins into the Trevi Fountain? Check. Crossed the Pantheon off your bucket list? Check. All the major tourist attractions in Rome are absolute must-sees. However, the Eternal City also has a progressive side, perhaps fueled by the student population or Roman ingenuity. I hope this guide will encourage you to get off the beaten path in Roma.
Trastevere DistrictTrastevere is a quaint, medieval neighborhood on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. It’s cobbled alleyways are the perfect place to beat the throng of tourists in Rome. At night, Trastevere has a buzzing nightlife with alfresco dining and funky bars. Try organic gelato at Artigiana Gelati or the flaming cocktails at Freni e Frizioni
Torre Argentina Cat SanctuaryLocated on Largo di Torre Argentina, the site of the Republican Roman temple ruins, believed to be where Julius Caesar was assassinated. From 1929, the stray cats of Rome took refuge in the protected area below street level, and were regularly fed by cat ladies or ‘gattare’. Nowadays, the site has formerly became a no-kill shelter for homeless cats and run by generous volunteers. Torre Argentina still relies on public donations, so pick up a unique cat souvenir from the gift shop, with proceeds going back to the shelter.
Largo di Torre Argentina, Roma. Metro: Cavour or Colosseo. | web
Colosseum Underground TourThe Colosseum is no doubt at the top of your sight-seeing list. Recently, the top tier section has opened to the public, but is only accessible on the Colosseum Guided Tours (which also includes access to the hypogeum where the gladiators and beasts were kept). Enter early and book your tour early, they sell out in the morning.
Piazza del Colosseo. Metro: Colosseo. | web
Non-Catholic Cemetery (aka Protestant Cemetery)Cimitero Acattolico is a beautiful, lush, rambling cemetery in Rome, located alongside the Pyramid of Cestius (which is incorporated into the section of the Aurelian Walls that borders the cemetery). The most famous graves are of English poets John Keats (1795–1821) and Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822).
Via Caio Cestio, 6, 00153. Metro: Piramide (B line) | web
Libro diVinoFor the intellectuals… book and wine bar in the bohemian area of Cavour. As well as a delicious variety of wine, they also have live music and hold life drawings classes.
Via degli Zingari, 49, 00184. Metro: Cavour. | web
Kourki VetriDid you know that you can buy Murano glass in Rome? This store is a great place buy unique and quirky souvenirs. All products are hand blown, with a wide range of decorative ornaments, baubles and trinkets.
Via dei Coronari 213. | web
Market Val d’Ossola – Monte SacroLive like a local… Mercato Val d’Ossola in Monte Sacro is buzzing with stalls trading fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, seafood and clothing. The market is friendly and lively, with a camaraderie between shop keepers and locals that you don’t see often anymore.
Via Val D’Ossola, 00141, Monte Sacro. Metro: Conca d’Oro (B1 line). | web
For more Italy inspiration, check out my Rome photo gallery.