My time in Rome was a mix of brilliance and bustle. Crowds and solitude. It is a great city to get lost in and has endless places to explore. Yet it does come with a price and that is its popularity. Due to the over abundance of tourists, I yearned for a space away from the crowds and found some interesting things to do outside of the popular attractions. If you’re looking for some places in Rome that are a little off the regular tourist trail, explore these five spots.
The Non-Catholic Cemetery
This cemetery is not only beautiful, but has some interesting sculptures and many famous and important people are laid to rest here. I found it to be one of the prettiest cemeteries I’ve seen with a mix of delicate and impressive tombs. I often would see the Piramide stop on the metro and not know what it was in reference to. It’s due to an imposing 2,000 year old tomb in this cemetery that sits outside of the station. When entering the cemetery, you are given a dramatic view of the graves as they all sit on a small hill, sloping up and away from you. Long paths with tall cypress trees allow you to wander through the graves in shade. I often find myself in graveyards of great cities. They are calming, quiet retreats that make me remember that life is short and inspire me to live a full one.
Visit the cemetery’s website here.
The Appian Way Regional Park
I rented a bike and pedaled my way past ancient ruins on this original road from Roman times. The scenery that goes by is all you imagine Italy to be. Cypress trees, old farm houses, fields, and ruins line its path. A few cafes to cool off and snack at provide a great place to rest in the shade. I also made my way to the Aqueduct Park which is nearby. I paid a bit more and opted for an electric bike which really helped on hills and rough parts of the road. I highly recommend this option as it makes it a breeze. I took the bus and rented my bike at the tourist information center which is next to a small cafe near Porta S. Sebastiano. If you do the Aqueduct Park, get clear directions on how to get there from the Appian Way as it is not in the same park. You don’t want to make a wrong turn and end up in crazy Italian traffic like I did. Arrive earlier in the day to allow ample time to return your bike before closing.
For more information visit the park website here.
Villa Borghese Gardens
I walked this park from end to end one evening and could have spent even longer. There’s much to explore here as the area is quite large. You can rent boats, bikes and funny Flinstone-like carts to pedal around. I really enjoyed the areas of pine forest. Their scent made the air fresh and I felt like I was out in nature and not in the middle of a large city. There are many romantic walkways, benches to rest on and places to picnic.
The EUR District
I recommend this area to anyone interested in architecture and looking to see a more modern side of Rome. The EUR was a project of Mussolini in the 1930’s. The main draw for me was the Square Colosseum (Palazzo della Civilta del Lavoro). It’s an impressive structure and makes for a great photo opportunity.
This magical place technically isn’t in Rome, but you can take a quick train ride and be there in under an hour. It’s a bit of beauty and peace that should not be missed.
You can read more about it in a post I wrote here.