Rome tourist attractions off the beaten path

Going off the beaten path in Rome

Where are the best Rome tourist attractions? The Vatican and the Colosseum aside, many of the most interesting attractions are often off the beaten path. To find atmospheric archaeological sites and museums, you’ll have to venture into the back streets – or even go beneath the streets. So many visitors to Rome tend to stick to the usual route, traipsing back and forth between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, or crowding into the Colosseum at peak times. But if you want to see the best of Rome, don’t follow the crowd – follow our tips!

Rome tourist attractions: museums and art galleries

Many of Rome’s best museums and art galleries are hidden away down side streets, and easily missed if you don’t know where to look. These are some of our top recommendations:

  • Palazzo Altemps – a rich collection of classical artwork in a Renaissance palazzo, just round the corner from Piazza Navona.

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    A beautiful Greek relief from Locri in Palazzo Altemps
  • Villa Giulia – a wealth of Etruscan art and artefacts, including the famous Sarcophagus of the Spouses. The only possible explanation for the lack of visitors is the museum’s location, on the far side of the Villa Borghese park.
  • Centrale Montemartini – the underrated other half of the Capitoline’s collection, located off the tourist map on Via Ostiense. Centrale Montemartini is a former power plant with an excellent collection of Ancient Roman artwork.
  • Palazzo Barberini – one of the better-known Rome tourist attractions, this art gallery nonetheless attracts a fraction of the Vatican’s visitors. Considering the quality of the artwork, it certainly deserves more – the gallery has masterpieces by Caravaggio, Raphael and Hans Holbein.
  • Villa Farnesina – a luxurious private home with some of the finest art in Rome. The Renaissance banker Agostino Chigi was one of the richest men in the city, which meant that he could afford the likes of Raphael to decorate his villa in Trastevere.

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    Amazing Ceiling in Palazzo Barberini

Underrated archaeological sites

Ask any expert how to tour Rome, and they’ll tell you to explore the archaeological sites. This is undoubtedly the best way to learn about Rome’s history and understand the layout of the ancient city. Once you’ve seen the most famous sites – the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – enrich your understanding with a visit to these lesser-known tourist attractions in Rome:

  • Domus Aurea – the incredible remains of Nero’s pleasure palace. The Domus Aurea was closed to the public for many years, but can now be visited with a tour guide. One of the highlights of a Domus Aurea tour is an innovative virtual reality headset experience, which is the next best thing to time travel.
  • Trajan’s Market – a huge complex of ruins, containing the remains of Roman shops, apartments and offices. Many tourists walk right without realising that it’s possible to enter, but it’s definitely worth a look if you’re interested in learning more about daily life in Ancient Rome.
  • Palazzo Valentini – something of a secret, despite its central location. Beneath Palazzo Valentini lie the remains of some Roman houses, which you can explore in the company of an archaeologist guide.

For more advice about visiting the best tourist attractions in Rome, contact Roads to Rome Private Tours. We’ll help you to organise your trip to the Eternal City, covering everything from tours of the Colosseum to attractions off the beaten path.