Rome is rich in fascinating sights. The city boasts legendary art and architecture, breathtaking ancient ruins, world-class museums, and a huge array of shops, boutiques, and markets. Quite simply, there’s just too much to see on one trip. So, if you’re returning to the Eternal City – and have likely already seen the most famous attractions such as the Colosseum, Vatican, and Trevi Fountain – then it’s time to dive a little deeper into the city’s heritage. Here are some of our favorite attractions for repeat visitors, spots you may have missed first time around.
The favorite museum of many a local, Centrale Montemartini earns high praise for its unique setting and design. Once a public power plant, the space now hosts a number of Greek and Roman sculptures from the collection of the Capitoline Museums. Marble sculptures stand proud among turbines, engines, and other post-industrial machinery, giving visitors a glimpse into two very different time periods in Roman history. Perfectly sized, Centrale Montemartini can be easily explored in an hour without the sensory overload that often comes from larger, loftier museums.
© Gerdy Ling/Flickr
Villa Doria Pamphili
Most first-time visitors to Rome visit the landscaped gardens of Villa Borghese near Piazza del Popolo but few travelers make it to the expansive Villa Doria Pamphili, even on their second and third trips to the city. The 184-hectare park was the residence of the noble Pamphili family until it was acquired by the Italian state in the 1950s – its now a verdant retreat and favorite hangout with Romans. The park is separated into two parts: the west section is wilder and less manicured – though still ideal for a picnic or ball game – while the east side boasts fountains, a restaurant, and a beautiful 17th-century villa with geometric garden. You’ll also find Vivi Bistrot here near the entrance of the park, a delightful restaurant where you can dine al fresco while enjoying the peaceful setting.
Renaissance painter and architect, Raffaello Sanzio di Urbino – better known simply as Raphael – created a number of works in Rome. The most famous are his frescoes in the Vatican Museums, like the renowned School of Athens which is seen by thousands of visitors every day. Raphael’s frescoes at Villa Farnesina, however, are often overlooked by tourists, making this one of the most underappreciated attractions in the city. At this Renaissance villa, visitors can admire Raphael’s Triumph of Galatea and the Loggia of Cupid and Psyche without jostling for elbow room in the crowds.
Tip: if you’re staying at our Trastevere Terrace, Villa Farnesina is just around corner so there’s no excuse not to visit!
Appian Way Regional Park
Stretching from Rome all the way to Brindisi in Puglia, the Appian Way was one of the ancient empire’s most important roads. Today, a section of the once 600-kilometer road is now part of the Parco dell’Appia Antica and includes an array of historic landmarks, as well as rustic scenery to enjoy. Rent a bicycle and spend a few hours discovering lesser-known monuments like the 5th-century city gate, Porta San Sebastiano, and the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, a wealthy 1st-century noble woman.
Located south of the city center, EUR was extensively remodelled under the regime of Benito Mussolini. The totalitarian ruler chose the neighborhood as the location of the 1942 World’s Fair and commissioned grandiose, Rationalist buildings that projected his idea of a superior, Fascist, Italy. The exhibition never took place due to the outbreak of World War II, but the aesthetic left over from this ambitious period of urban planning is a modern version of ancient Roman grandeur. Nowhere is this more evident than at the dramatic Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, also known as the Square Colosseum. Stop by for Fendi’s free contemporary art exhibitions in the space.