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Five peaceful sights to enjoy in Rome

If you need to find some space and quiet in Rome, that busiest of capitals, my Guest post from Marie Allen of Elegant Resorts will help you seek out some blissfully peaceful bolt holes in Rome.

Ah, Rome – The Eternal City. A city where history seeps from every pore, a city where your camera never sleeps, and where beauty and passion, as Barry Manilow said, are always in fashion (true, he was talking about the Copacabana – but the same could be said for Rome’s seething street life, and its sultry procession of latter-day Lollobrigidas. But for all its beauty, the Eternal City does have its drawbacks – put simply, its eternal racket!

View from Janiculum Hill in RomeView from Janiculum Hill in Rome

View from Janiculum Hill in Rome

Yes, when in Rome you have to see the must-see sights. But don’t slavishly cross them off your list in a succession of exhausting cross-city escapades. Take time to seek out the quieter cul-de-sacs and secret sanctuaries. This is, after all, a spiritual heartland. So stop. Take time out. And spend a stolen hour or two in the city’s back waters. Your soul will thank you. And your soles too, for that matter!

Here are five off-the-beaten-track sights worth seeking out:

Views and more from Janiculum Hill

Janiculum Hill overlooks the modern city of Rome, and it’s here you’ll find the less-visited Syriac Sanctuary. They say this was a sinister spot – dedicated to the Goddess Furrina, ruler of the Furies. In other words, not someone you’d want to mess with. Perhaps that’s why, when this peaceful site was discovered 100 years ago, they found remains of human skulls without teeth or lower jaws. Still, today, it’s a splendid spot. The Janiculum Hill affords stunning views over the city – and the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola is a suitably baroque 17th century fountain worth seeking out.

Fontana dell'Acqua Paola in Rome

Fontana dell'Acqua Paola in Rome

Underground mystery at Livenza Hypgeum

Behind a workaday storefront of an oil-splattered city garage and, and through a nondescript metal door off bustling Via Salaria is an underground mystery, that Italian scholars are still trying to make sense of. This subterranean place of worship is adorned with colourful mosaics and elaborate frescoes, and it’s known as the Livenza Hypgeum (Via Livenza). The scenes lent weight to the theory that this monument was a place of worship for the Baptai — those immersed in water (from where we get the word Baptism from). But this strange, nocturnal cult was known for its debauchery and orgies. Still, today, there’s none of that here. Just peace, silence and an air of mystery.

Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia in Rome

Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia in Rome

Hidden treasures at Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia

Rome has scores of hidden, out of the way museums – you’d expect nothing less for a city with 26 centuries of history to plunder – and one of the most delightful is the Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia. A beautiful 16th century villa, built for Pope Julius II, and now home to a stunning display of Etruscan art and artifacts – pre Roman treasures. Especially worth seeking out is the museum’s delicate collection of jewellery, vases and votive statues. Far grander are its marble statues of Roman Gods – Apollo and Hercules. A little-visited gem, some way out of the centre, on the Vigna Vecchia, the old city walls ( 9 Piazzale di Villa Giulia )

The Keats-Shelley House in Rome

The Keats-Shelley House in Rome

English poets at the Keats-Shelley House

At the foot of the tourist-magnet of the Spanish Steps, you’d expect any visitor attraction to be animated and bustling. Not so. The delightfully airy and empty Keats-Shelley House (26 Piazza di Spagna) is a wonderfully cool and silent 18th century palazetto, faithfully restored to resemble the home of British poet, John Keats, who died in 1821. Byron, Shelly, Browning and many other poets stayed here – and you can imagine them passing the time in the palazetto’s graceful salons: in fact, many of their letters and manuscripts are on display.

Villa Medici Gardens in Rome

Villa Medici Gardens in Rome

Fountains and terraces at Villa Medici Gardens

Rome’s parks and gardens offer a pleasing counterpoint to the rattle and hum of the city’s ever-busy streets. Our favourite are the Villa Medici Gardens – an enchanting retreat on the Pincio Hill, covering around 17 acres of glorious terraces, splashing fountains, elegant and rare specimen trees from across the globe and clipped, formal lawns and borders. Henry James called them the most delightful in the world. On a summer’s day it would be hard to argue. (Viale Trinità dei Monti, 1)

Thanks for this guest post to Marie Allen of luxury holiday company Elegant Resorts for letting us in on Rome’s quieter corners. When I visited Rome  a couple of years ago I did find the crowds at all the major sites offputting – next time I’ll be seeking out some of these hidden gems instead.

If this has inspired you to visit Rome then visit our Elegant Resort’s luxury holidays in Italy page for further details.

Photo Credits : View from Janiculum Hill in Rome by YuKengShih , Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia in Rome by   Koji Yatani , Fontana dell’Acqua Paola in Rome by  Mark Turner The Keats-Shelley House in Rome by frattaglia , Villa Medici Gardens in Rome by NoBigShot

More Rome articles to enjoy

The view from the dome of St Peter’s – in Rome
Chiesa Santa Maria in Trastevere – in Rome
Gelato on the island in the Tiber

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heatheronhertravels' Rome - colisseum and forum photoset heatheronhertravels’ Rome – colisseum and forum photoset

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Mark H
    July 2, 2010 at 1:23 am

    What great suggestions. I’ve been to Rome a few times and never been to any of these places. What great hidden treasures.
    .-= Mark H´s last blog ..Drinks Aournd the World- Masala Chai India =-.

  • Reply
    Kristina
    July 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Rome is one of my most favorite cities in the world – i just love the sense of history you can feel whereever you go!
    viele grüsse, kristina
    .-= Kristina´s last blog ..– foto focus – fairy tale in cappadocia =-.

  • Reply
    Arlene
    July 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Good to have some insider tips. Lots of great tidbits throughout.
    .-= Arlene´s last blog ..Uncle Donald’s Farm =-.

  • Reply
    Sherry Ott
    July 6, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Cool! I’ve been to Rome many times but never any of these places – they are secrets!
    .-= Sherry Ott´s last blog ..signs =-.

  • Reply
    Brankica
    December 24, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Well, I am ashamed to admit…I have been in Rome I believe 4 times and have not visited any of these places.
    Wow, I missed a lot.
    I guess I will have to put these spots on my to do list next time I go cause it is sure something I would love to see.
    Brankica´s last blog post ..Shark reef at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas aquarium

  • Reply
    Zadar Croatia
    December 24, 2010 at 6:11 am

    yes , great tips for traveller

  • Reply
    Rome for Foodies – The city’s hidden eateries | Heather on her travels
    November 6, 2012 at 1:54 am

    […] through the eyes of the Bishop’s great-nephew The view from the dome of St Peter’s – in Rome Five peaceful sights to enjoy in RomeMy thanks for this sponsored post to Hostelbookers.comThis article is originally published at […]

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