Rome, Rome, Rome – where every street looks like a walkthrough museum. An ancient city with balconies that look like sculpted art and greenery that hugs the buildings where local Romans reside. I could easily say that almost every corner of Rome is filled with beauty but there’s some insights you get from talking with someone who lived in Rome for 3 year and we am sharing them with you today. Take a look at the free sights in Rome.
Rome, also known as the Eternal City, is fortunately a walkable city, which means you can walk across all the piazze (Italian for plazas) from Trastevere all the way to the Vatican. Cross a couple of streets and you end up in Piazza del Popolo, the piazza that connects to Via del Corso. Rome has an endless amount of sights to see, but here are 5 lesser-known sights you probably won’t find in a tourist guidebook.
The first sight would be the Giardino degli Aranci, which is also known as the “Orange Trees Garden”. Visiting the Giardino degli Aranci will give you one of the one of the clearest views of St. Peter’s Dome and the Tiber River. This garden/park is located about 3 minutes away from the Colosseum and is the perfect place to sit, enjoy the fresh air, and relax your feet after walking miles and miles in the city. There’s a number of benches available for people to sit and have a chat while surrounded by beautiful, large trees that provide shade on those hot, summer days. It’s also a very romantic and beautiful spot, which is why it’s frequented by couples. If you want to see an amazing sunset and have a mini photoshoot, this place is a must!
It’s quite known that there’s a number of places around the city that give you a unique view of the Vatican but the Aventino Keyhole is definitely the most “secretive” one. This second spot is actually right next door to the Giardino degli Aranci, so it’s a 2 birds, 1 stone situation. The Aventine Keyhole is literally a small keyhole of a large door that leads to an estate that’s owned by the Knights of Malta. Behind the large door are beautiful gardens that are available to enter by appointment only and also holds the embassy of the Order of Malta. It’s two beautiful sights with minimal walking, what’s better than that when you have limited time?
Third on our list is the rooftop of La Rinascente on Via del Tritone 61. La Rinascente is an Italian department store that holds both Italian and international brands. It’s right in the center of Rome and is connected to Via del Corso, but you don’t have to visit to shop. To enjoy a beautiful sunset or just a breathtaking view, take the escalator or the elevator to the last floor. Here, you will find the Up Sunset Bar, which offers cocktails, aperitivo, and coffee but it’s not necessary to order anything. Many visitors come to check out the view, take some photos and they go back down so don’t feel bad for doing so. Also, although it’s a bar, it’s for all ages so don’t worry, your children can enjoy the view as well. Just note that it does get busy during sunset time and reservations are usually necessary on weekends. (P.S.: There’s also Rinascente rooftops in Milan and Florence with breathtaking views, as well).
Next on our list consists of more walking, but if you’re tired of the cobblestone and the human traffic, this is the perfect walk to take around the city. Rome has the Tiber River passing along the areas, which is why there’s many bridges all over the city. Take the stairs down to the riverside and enjoy a nice pathway that allows you to jog, bike, or just walk to get from one place to another. My personal recommendation is after visiting the Vatican or Castel Sant’Angelo, take the lesser known route and take the stairs to the riverside. This walk will save you time and your feet will thank you since the path is flat.
Last but not least, my recommendation is Villa Pamphili, Rome’s largest park. Usually, tourists always go to Villa Borghese, but Villa Pamphili is one of the most beautiful and relaxing parks in all of Rome. The park was actually a villa for a noble family, but now, it’s regularly filled with locals spending time with their families, walking their dogs, and enjoying their afternoon with their friends. The park is located 15 minutes away (walking distance) from Trastevere and has a large arch by the entrance. As you walk towards the other side of the park, you unexpectedly run into a beautiful, white “house” known as the Casino de Bel Respiro with its beautiful, landscaped garden. This is the perfect place to take a walk, clear your mind, and escape the chaos of the city. If you really want to enjoy your afternoon — grab a blanket, some snacks and some beers, and enjoy a picnic.
If it’s your second or third time visiting Rome and you already saw the Trevi Fountain or the Colosseum multiple times, these places aren’t as crowded with tourists. You’ll even get a better chance to mingle with the locals or at least, visit the places they frequent.