Rome Italy Sightseeing off the Beaten Path
Through Different Eyes
Rome has such a vast array of archeological and tourist sites to see that for many people it's a difficult task trying to decided what to see. Most people what to see all the major sites they have read about and seen on television but there are many off the beaten path site that are just as interesting.
I don't mean off the beaten path in terms of out away from the city or not near any of the major sites but that they are lesser known to visitors. I will tell you a little about some of the more interesting lesser known sites but not in any order as to whether I liked one better than the other.
San Clemente is a nice site to see and is about a 15 minute walk from the Colosseum. From the exterior it doesn't look much like an old church but once inside you can tell by the paintings and sculptures. Not as lavishly painted as many other churches in Rome but that isn't what makes San Clemente interesting. Bellow the church is an almost complete 12 century church in remarkably good condition and bellow that is yet another building which was said to be a temple for the cult of Mithras. The dimly lit lowest level adds an eerie feeling that could make some feel uncomfortable.
Pyramid of Caius Cestius
The Pyramid of Caius Cestius, yes there is a pyramid in Rome Egypt isn't the only place that has them. This one was built in the year 12 BC and is said to have been built in only 330 days. By this you can assume that it is much smaller than the pyramids of Egypt and it is much steeper. Caius had the pyramid build as kind of a monument and a tomb for himself and was constructed with bricks and has a marble veneer.
Three for One
The next three sites I like to refer to as a triple play since they are all so close to each other. The first is the Mouth of Truth which is a giant stone carving used as a drain cover in Roman times. This site was made popular after the release of the movie Roman holiday in 1953 staring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. The Mouth of Truth hangs in the entryway of the church Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
Temple of Hercules
Across the street from the Mouth of Truth you will find the Temple of Hercules often confused with the Temple of the Vestal Virgins but the Temple of the Vestal Virgins is in the Roman Forum. This temple isn't huge like many other temples and has no access to the insides but is nice to take pictures of.
I knew of these particular sites because when I was doing my Italian vacation planning I wanted to see what was close to some of the major sites so I researched the areas.
A short walk across the famous Tiber river from the Temple of Hercules is Tiber island. A boat shaped Island in the middle of the Tiber river and like so many things in Rome has been used for many different purposes over the years and at one time was the location of the Temple to Aesculapius. Right now it serves as a nice place to relax and has a hotel a restaurant and some shops to look through. On one side of the island is a carving of the side of a ship which at one time was much bigger but as with everything some of the carving needed to go for building purposes.
Ponte Rotto Bridge
While on one end of Tiber island you can see the Ponte Rotto bridge. The bridge was build in the 2nd century BC and when looking at what is left of the bridge you can't tell it wasn't made in the last hundred years.
Santa Maria della Vittoria
Santa Maria della Vittoria Is a wonderful church only a few blocks from the termini train station in the center of Rome. Like so many churches in Rome it could almost be considered a museum with all the beautifully painted walls and ceilings. This church may be more popular since the release of the movie angles and demons which features the Bernini statute Saint Teresa in Ecstasy. I was there just before the movie came out and as far as I know the church could be on one of the many city tours now.
This is only a few of the many interesting sites in Rome you can see that aren't famous and may be on the way or near the major sites you already know you want to see.