Rome is an absolute beauty of a city to visit, with the secret spots in Rome are actually a testament to that.
It’s not very often when the hype around a city is actually matched with the reality of exploring the city and Rome is one of those few cities that doesn’t just match up with the hype but far surpasses it.
Like don’t get me wrong – Rome can get very hot (we’re talking about summer here particularly) and very busy but it makes sense that somewhere as amazing as Rome is an easy travel favourite amongst travellers. Essentially, it’s busy because it’s so amazing.
As for the summer heat, coming from the UK where the weather can be temperamental, I have no problems whatsoever with some Roman sunshine! 😉
All the more excuse to constantly stop for Aperols and gelatos!
But you’re not here to listen to me go on and on about how amazing Rome is and why you need to visit.
You’re here for what to do after you’ve seen the popular spots in Rome (.e. the spots no doubt you showed up initially looking for).
By the way, if you don’t know what those popular spots are or need some help planning your trip to Rome, then there’s a heap of the best places in Rome to see whilst here.
Plus, there’s a load of free things to do in Rome, too; a totally easy win if you wanna stretch that budget. 😃
But again, I digress, you’re here for the secret spots and hidden gems you have to visit in Rome and so, with that said, I’ll stop with my rambling and just get right into it.
Here are 8 secret spots in Rome you have to visit
1.) Pyramid of Cestius
This pyramid is particularly special because it’s Europe’s only ancient pyramid. When you think of pyramids most people’s thoughts tend to go to Egypt, maybe Mexico or even India. Though, as it turns out, Rome has an over 2,000-year-old pyramid, built as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a Roman senator and general.
Located on Via Raffaele Persichetti, the pyramid is about 36 metres high and 29.6 metres wide, making for quite the impressive sight to see in Rome.
You can now go inside the pyramid (it had been under renovations until 2015) though access inside the temple is only on specific days of the week; the 3rd and 4th Saturday and Sunday of every month (it’s closed in August).
This all means that the demand is high so look to book your tickets in advance.
2.) Michaelangelo’s Moses
Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli is one of those churches in Rome you’d easily be forgiven for not visiting.
Rome has so many amazing churches that you could be here all week and still feel like you’ve barely scratched the surface. Yet, this is one church you should definitely not miss when you’re in Rome.
Michaelangelo is one of Italy’s greatest and most famous artists and the crowd and queues can go around the block to see his David sculpture (albeit in Florence). Whereas, in this beautiful church, you can have a stunning piece of work my Michaelangelo – Moses, almost all to yourself.
We visited in the height of summer and even with queues around the block to see the Sistine Chapel, Colosseum and other impressive sights in Rome, this church was pretty empty. Impressive, considering the amazing pieces of art within it.
Suffice to say (and at risk of repeating myself), this is one secret spot in Rome you definitely don’t want to miss out on.
3.) The ancient ruins of Ostia Antica
Rome has no shortage of ancient ruins but none quite like Ostia Antica. Ostia Antica is purported to have been Rome’s first colony and is such an impressive place to visit in Rome.
I should mention though that Ostia Antica is not technically in the centre of Rome. Instead, it’s perched within Ostia town located in the wider commune of Rome. Truth be told, this is perhaps why so many visitors to Rome miss out on this amazing place.
In some ways, Ostia Antica kinda reminds me of when we went to Pompeii, there’s a similar feeling and setting as you wander through this incredible ancient site.
4.) Santa Maria del Popolo
If you’re looking for some of the greatest art in, not just Rome, but in all of Italy, this unassuming church is another place you have to visit in Rome.
See, within its walls lies works by Italy great masters (essentially those artists that even people with no background or interest in art would recognise their names or their work). We’re talking Raphael, Caravaggio, Bernini and so many more.
The best part is that this church is pretty easy to get to from some of the most incredible spots in the city.
It’s located in Piazza del Popolo so you could walk here from the Spanish Steps or Villa Borghese.
Stepping into the church and seeing the incredible art here was somewhat surreal and reminded me of how special Rome is.
It’s just one of those cities where there’s so much beauty dotted everywhere, even where you might least expect it.
5.) Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
This is another one of those special places in Rome that’s hidden in plain sight.
Owned by a wealthy set of families (the Doria Pamphili family; united by marriage), this amazing palace is a gallery that’s home to some incredibly impressive art. Though, still feels every bit as opulent as it would have back in its heyday.
If you arrange a tour, you can visit its amazing staterooms and just take in one of the most beautiful places in Italy that most other visitors to the city would otherwise miss out on.
6.) Capuchin Crypt
This crypt is located underneath the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini (near Piazza Barberini) and contains the remains of over 3,700 Capuchin friars.
It’s perhaps the more morbid/macabre of the secret spots to visit in Rome but, similar to the catacombs of Paris, is an important spot to visit in the city.
7.) Largo di Torre Argentina (where Julius Caesar was stabbed)
We showed up at these ruins, gelato in hand (boy was it a hot day in Rome that day), without realising how incredibly important this spot in Rome is.
See, Largo di Torre Argentina is said to be the place where Julius Ceasar was assassinated and once upon a time was home to 4 incredible Roman temples.
Till date, you can still see what’s left of the 4 temples though, in more recent times, Largo di Torre Argentina is one the secret spots in Rome with multiple uses. See, it now also serves as a sanctuary for stray cats.
Italy has a no-kill rule for stray cats so volunteers help sterilise and take care of the cats which now call this special spot in Rome, home.
8.) Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi on Gianicolo Hill
If you’re looking for some of the best views in all of Rome then this is where you need to be.
We visited just as the sun started to set over Rome and it was just the perfect way to finish off a day exploring Rome.
It’s easy to see why most people might perhaps not visit this spot in Rome. You see, it’s not necessarily next to most of the major sights and even then, Rome has some pretty amazing views from lots of other places, too (e.g. the orangery on Aventine Hill).
That being said, if you’re looking for great views a bit away from the busy crowds in Rome, this is a pretty great spot to head to.