You have seen the Colosseum and the Vatican. 

Certainly, you have visited the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain. You think you have seen all that there is to see in Rome. 

We have great news for you: you’re mistaken. You’ve only scratched the surface. 

Here are some recommended Rome off-the-beaten-path sights that will enrich your vacation and make you want to come back to Rome again and again. 

1. Castel Sant’Angelo

rome off the beaten pathCastel Sant’Angelo is very close to the Vatican. 

It was built in the 2nd century AD to be the mausoleum (large tomb) of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Later, the Popes turned the huge building into a castle. 

A tour of Castel Sant’Angelo will allow you to explore the best of this incredible site, from the Roman phases to the Renaissance rooms, and also see the cells where the prisoners were kept. 

2. Capitoline Museum

Rome off-the-beaten-pathRight next to the Roman Forum, on top of the Capitoline Hill, lies the Capitoline Museum. 

It’s the oldest museum in the world (it was founded in 1471) and hosts one of the most important archaeological collections in the world. 

As you tour the museum, you can also enjoy an unforgettable view of the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum, and you can see the ruins of the gargantuan Temple of Jupiter. 

Because of its complexity, we definitely recommend you book a tour with a professional guide to see it (possibly, an archaeologist). 

In the Capitoline Museum, you can see lots of very famous artworks, such as: 

  • The statue of the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus
  • The colossal bronze and marble heads of Constantine
  • The bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius
  • The bronze statue of Hercules
  • The massive statue called “Marforio”

Part of the Capitoline Museum collection is at the Centrale Montemartini, a very nice museum hosted in an old electric powerplant. It’s a great mix of classic and industrial archaeology, and a great place to be if you have a deep passion for Roman archaeology. 

Here’s the link to our Capitoline Museum tour. 

3. Basilica of St. Clement’s

S. Clements Basilica small

Very close to the Colosseum, there is a wonderful underground site: the Basilica of St. Clement’s. 

It’s a gorgeous church from the 11th century, decorated with beautiful marble and golden mosaics. It’s a gem in itself, but it hides an even bigger treasure: two fascinating underground levels. Underneath the Basilica, there is another, much older church: the first basilica of St. Clement’s, built in the 4th century AD.

The second underground level, instead, hosts a temple of the mysterious god Mithra, and an ancient Roman mint (the “coin factory” of Rome), and a fascinating underground stream. 

Furthermore, it’s the perfect place to find shelter from the heat. It’s definitely one of our favourite Rome off-the-beaten-path spots!

We have included St. Clement’s in our Colosseum tour with St. Clement’s Basilica: check it out!

4. Catacombs

catacombs tour 4The catacombs are among the most fascinating archaeological and religious sites in Rome. They’re underground cemeteries built, mostly, between the 2nd and the 4th century AD. 

Most catacombs host thousands of tombs of early Christians, and some bodies of important saints. 

There are dozens of Catacombs, but we definitely recommend visiting St. Sebastian and San Callixtus on the Appian Way, or Domitilla on the Ardeatina. 

You can mix the tour of the Catacombs with a walk on the Appian Way, the most important ancient Roman road. You can walk on the ancient cobblestones and admire the fascinating Roman mausoleums too.

If you want to go further from the city center, you can reach the Catacombs of Marcellino and Pietro or the Catacombs of Priscilla, among the most interesting Rome off-the-beaten-path spots.

Many companies offer tours of the Catacombs, sometimes with a walk on the Appian Way; if you want to explore them by yourself though, you can easily do that, since they offer very cheap group tours. 

If you’re interested in a private tour of the Catacombs, instead, here’s the link to ours. 

It’s not possible to visit the Catacombs by yourself: they’re basically underground mazes, and you always need to join a group tour. 

5. Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia

Did you know that Rome hosts the most important Etruscan collection in the world? 

The Etruscans were an incredibly relevant people in ancient Italy. 

Their civilization blossomed between the 8th and the 5th century B.C., and they had a huge impact on the city of Rome itself. In fact, the Etruscan kings ruled Rome throughout the whole 6th century B.C.

Rome off-the-beaten-pathThe Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia has a wonderful collection of artworks from the most important Etruscan cities; it’s close to Villa Borghese, and you can enjoy a walk through the park after your tour. 

These are just some of the less famous sights in Rome; send us an email if you want more info about off-the-beaten-path sights to visit in the Eternal City. 

Here, you can find a link to the article Rome Off-the-beaten-path. Part 2.