The Eternal City offers history lovers endless opportunities for historical exploration and discovery beyond the usual suspects – Trevi Fountain, Forum, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Vatican and Pantheon. While all are unquestionably must-see sights, a visit to lesser-known yet equally fascinating spots is well worth it and will be inevitably, less crowded.
Palatine Hill is one of the seven hills of Rome. This is where Roman legend says the mythical she-wolf nursed Romulus and Remus before Romulus killed his brother and founded Rome in 753 BC. The Palatine was the neighborhood of the nobility and strolling along the perfectly manicured, bright green grassy carpet accented with perfectly shaped plush bushes and stately Roman pines, one can see the attraction of this breathtaking landscape for the Roman leaders. It is remarkable how throughout Italy the vegetation seems to grow pre-manicured which would be a dream for many American homeowners. When visiting the Palatine, there are many fabulous sights including the ruins of the Domus Augustana, the emperor’s private residence and the House of Augustus which still features frescoes on the walls enjoyed by its former owner and his family.
Tours rarely stop at the Basilica San Clemente which provides an impressive look at the running water that the ancients enjoyed as well as the excavations still underway. Rome developed like a birthday cake with layer built on top of layer and so on. The Basilica San Clemente is a perfect example as the current Basilica sits on top of a fourth-century basilica which sits on top of a first-century building. One can only wonder how many priceless treasures lie undiscovered beneath the cobblestones.
Trastevere is the oldest residential part of town and known as the most quintessentially Roman neighborhood. The name means “beyond the Tiber,” the famous river that runs through Rome. Located just outside of the inner city bustle, it is filled with delightful family-run hotels and provides a tranquil and historical home base within easy proximity to restaurants, shopping and sightseeing.