Planning a trip to Rome and want to explore the city beyond the famous attractions? Keep scrolling for my list of the best hidden gems in Rome worth adding to your itinerary!
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The Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum may be the first things that pop to mind when you think of Rome. And even though they’re popular attractions for all the right reasons, there’s a whole lot more to the Eternal City than meets the eye.
If you’re the type of traveler who prefers to stray away from the usual tourist route or you’re simply looking for an itinerary that combines popular landmarks with a few locations only locals know about, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a ton to do in Rome that doesn’t appear on the usual guidebooks.
From the only pyramid in Europe to the site where Julius Ceaser is believed to have been assassinated, these are the biggest hidden gems in Rome to check out on your next visit!
Hidden Gems in Rome
1. Pyramid of Cestius
Even though Egypt may be known for its pyramids, there’s actually one right in Europe!
Built over 2,000 years ago, the Pyramid of Cestius is the only ancient pyramid in Europe. It was constructed as a mausoleum for priest Gaius Cestius and his family during the Roman Era.
Today, the Pyramid of Cestius acts as a wonderful example of how Egyptian culture influenced Rome.
It was closed for a very long time. But back in 2016, it underwent restorations and visitors can now come to visit the pyramid and even explore inside it! There’s even an awesome Vespa tour that stops at the Pyramid of Cestius!
2. Ostia Antica
Located on the outskirts of the city center, Ostia Antica is a set of ancient ruins of what is believed to have been the first colony in Rome.
Even though we’re not sure yet exactly when Ostia Antica was first established, documents found show it was probably during the 7th century BC. The oldest archaeological remains found so far dating back to the 4th century BC.
Despite the fact that Ostia Antica is thousands of years old, the site is incredibly well-preserved. Plenty of buildings, mosaics, and frescoes are still intact.
3. Largo di Torre Argentina
In recent decades, Largo di Torre Argentina has been the home to the stray cats of Rome. But back in its heyday, it featured 4 incredible Roman temples and the Pompei Theater whose ruins you can still see today.
Rumor also has it that Largo di Torre Argentina was the exact place where Julius Ceasar was assassinated! While the statement is not 100% proven, most historians accept Largo di Torre Argentina as the spot where one of the most important historical happenings in Rome took place.
The site has been visible ever since, but it wasn’t really open to the public until the year 2022 when the government decided to create a circuit for visitors to be able to roam the place.
According to Rome’s governors, the re-opening of Largo di Torre Argentina will not affect the cats who call it their home.
4. Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
If you love art, Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is one of the best hidden gems in Rome to visit.
The palace itself is worth a visit for architectural buffs, with lavish rooms and opulent details everywhere you turn.
The real reason to visit Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, however, is the fact that it contains the biggest and richest private art collection in the entire Rome.
Inside, you’ll be able to find masterpieces by artists like Raphael, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Brueghel the Elder, Velazquez, and Bernini.
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj only opens on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It stays open until 11 pm on Fridays, making it a wonderful evening activity if you’re looking for things to do in Rome at night! Get reserved tickets HERE.
5. Passetto del Biscione
Passetto del Biscione is a tiny passageway that connects Via di Grottapinta and Piazza de Biscione.
The passage was built during Roman times (it used to lead to the Pompey Theater). Even though it’s located right in the center of Rome, it’s one of the biggest hidden gems in the city as even most locals don’t know of it!
6. Quartiere Coppedè
Located on the corner of Dora and Tgliamento streets, Quartiere Coppedè is a neighborhood so beautiful that you may very well feel like you walked into a storybook.
While Quartiere Coppedè is not an attraction per se, simply walking around checking out its gorgeous buildings is a wonderful way to spend a few hours.
Since it’s away from the popular tourist spots, Coppedè has a very local feel to it. And is extremely quiet, making it a great respite from the crowds (not to mention an excellent place to take pictures!)
7. Piccola Londra
Another hidden neighborhood, Piccola Londra translates into “Little London” and once you get here, you’ll see exactly why that is!
Piccola Londra was built during the 20th century and modeled after modern neighborhoods in Rome. Walking around here will make you feel like you were transported to Notting Hill, but with a little Italian flair to things.
8. The Mausoleum of Augustus
Archeological sites in Rome are extremely common, but few of them are as unique and special as the Mausoleum of Augustus, especially for hardcore history lovers.
It was only opened to the public in 2021 and tickets are pretty hard to snag. This makes it an extremely exclusive experience that only those who plan far in advance can get.
The Mausoleum was built as a burial site for Augusts, the first emperor of Rome, and his family – this was an idea he had since 28 BC! Up to today, the Mausoleum of Augustus is the largest circular tomb in the world, measuring 87 meters in diameter.
9. Isola Tiberina
Despite its unraveled beauty and the fact that it sits on one of the most famous rivers of Europe, Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) is a place few visitors to Rome ever visit.
Legend has it that Tiber Island was created when angry Romans threw wheat and grain into the river after being overthrown during an uprising.
Tiber Island is very easy to reach as it can be accessed by two different bridges: The Ponte Fabricio and Ponte Cestio from both Rome City and Trastevere.
It only takes a few minutes to explore the island. But you can also take a guided tour in order to learn all about its history and the myths behind this little hidden gem in Rome.
10. Rome Botanical Gardens
A peaceful respite from the city, the Rome Botanical Gardens are located in the Trastevere neighborhood.
The gardens are small and easy to visit, making them perfect for a little break from the city and crowds. If you’re visiting Rome during the spring, you can see cherry blossoms here!
11. Villa Medici
Villa Medici may not be the biggest of hidden gems in Rome for art buffs, but it’s definitely a place that few overseas tourists know of. These days, it is the home to the French Academy in Rome, a place where French artists come to study.
The Villa was built during the 16th century. It was later owned by both Fernandino dei Medici and Napoleon further on.
Villa Medici is meant for studying. But visitors are welcome to take a look at the place and explore its 18 acres of gardens on a guided tour.
From here, you’ll get gorgeous views of Rome below. There’s also a coffee shop where you can grab a cup and snacks.
12. Baths of Caracalla
Believed to have been built during the 2nd century AD, the Baths of Caracalla are ancient Roman baths that were open to the public.
Caracalla has three different bathing rooms with pools used for different purposes and most of the complex remains incredibly well-preserved.
Visitors are free to come and look at the ruins, although some sections are off-limits in order to preserve the mosaic work. Get your skip-the-line tickets.
13. Villa Farnesina
Located in the Trastevere neighborhood, Villa Farnesina is a 16th-century palace built for Agostino Chigi. He was a banker and treasurer for Pope Julius II.
Inside, you’ll find plenty of intricate frescoes, incredible artworks, and lavish examples of Renaissance architecture.
While the entire villa isn’t open to the public, visitors can come in and check out the main rooms of the palace. Or you can book a private Trastevere and Villa Farnesina tour.
14. Vicus Caprarius
If you go under the ground in the Trevi neighborhood, you’ll find a series of tunnels so rare that even most Rome residents don’t know about them.
This unique archeological complex contains plenty of interesting sights worth making the trip underground for. One of them is actually the path of the Virgin Aqueduct that provides water to the popular Trevi fountain!
In order to visit this hidden gem of Rome, you need to book a guided tour. There are three different tours available. The first one includes a visit to the archeological area, the second also includes more insights into the Trevi Fountain, and the third one is specifically for kids.
Rome Secret Places Wrap Up
Have you ever visited any of these hidden gems in Rome? If you know of any other secret spots worth visiting in the Eternal City, please feel free to leave your recommendations in the comment section below!