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Rome may be one of the densest cities relating to cultural and historical sites. From the plethora of ancient Roman ruins, Renaissance palazzi (palaces), to the masterpieces of genius minds like Raphael and Michelangelo. Though, for this very reason, Rome is a major European tourist hub. Attracting millions of tourists every year, it can be difficult to escape the crowds, especially at major sites like the Vatican and the Colosseum. Of course, these main attractions, along with Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona are definitely worth a spot on your itinerary, it’s also important to consider some of the lesser known sites. Give yourself a chance to escape the crowds and dive into the city’s history and culture by visiting these non-touristy sites in Rome.

NON-TOURISTY SITES IN ROME

1. Basilica San Clemente –

Not far from the Colosseum, but often overlooked by most tourists. This multilayered church has one of the most astonishing underground archeological sites in Rome and is an incredible demonstration of Rome’s multifaceted history. This 12th-century basilica lies on top of a 4th-century church, which is actually built on top of a 2nd-century pagan temple, that’s set on the infrastructure of a 1st-century Roman house. As you descend, witness gold mosaics, some of the earliest Christian wall paintings in Rome, and a subterranean river that was once part of an ancient Roman drain system.

2. Palazzo Doria Pamphilj –

Home to one of the most incredible private art collections in Rome, this once home of the Pamphilj family, is now a museum. Step into the extravagance of Renaissance living and witness first hand the collection of over 400 15th to 18th-century paintings, private bedrooms kept in pristine condition and the family’s private chapel.

3. Santa Maria in Trastevere –

Just across the river, in the charming neighborhood of Trastevere, is one of the city’s most spectacular places of Catholic worship. Not to mention, one of the oldest churches in Rome. Founded in the 3rd century, this unique church displays awe-inspiring mosaics and columns taken from the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla.

4. Palazzo Altemps –

Steps away from the crowds of Piazza Navona is a 15th-century palace sanctuary of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and Egyptian art. Also know that as a part of The National Museums of Rome, this admission ticket also grants you access to the following: Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Massimo, and Terme di Diocelziano.

5. Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini –

Nicknamed the “bone church”, the Capuchin Crypts housed inside this church is a fascinating site in Rome. With skeletons from almost 4,000 bodies strategically arranged in the burial crypt, this reminder of human mortality is one of the city’s most peculiar sites.

6. Palazzo Barracco –

A free admission museum with a highly impressive collection of ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, and Phoenician antiquities, as well as Greek and Roman artifacts. There is no reason not to explore this centrally located museum. The museum is a result of a Giovanni Barracco massive art collection that he so generously donated to the city of Rome in 1902.

7. Villa Giulia –

This impressive villa is quite easy to incorporate into any itinerary if you’re spending a day wandering through the Borghese Gardens and Galleries. Villa Giulia is home to the National Etruscan Museum but also provides a glimpse inside the ornate architecture of traditional Renaissance villa living.

8. Santa Maria della Pace –

Tucked away behind Piazza Navona, enter the semi-circle facade of the church and your eyes will be met with a Raphael masterpiece, Sibille (Sibyls). It’s definitely worth taking some time out of your day to stop in and admire the world-renowned work of Raphael.

TRAVEL TIP –

While visiting churches in Rome, you are required to have your knees and shoulders covered since it is a place of worship. Always pack a light sweater or jacket to throw on while exploring Rome, as there are plenty is awe-inspiring churches throughout the city.

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