Originally built (AD 135-39) by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his successors, it was later decorated and fortified as a place of refuge for the popes.
Although outside of the Vatican city itself it was connected to the Vatican by a secret passage for their escape route in times of danger. It was used as a fortress and prison until 1870 and is now a museum - the Museo Nazionale Militare and of Art.
Lago di Traiano - Traiano Lake
Oasi di Porto - it's a park where Traiano Lake is located. Most of tourists pass nearby while going to Rome from Fiumicino airport or visiting Ostia Antica.
This place is really nearby Rome, but it's not well-known, even by Romans. We decided to visit it because it's close to our house and it was funny how difficult it was to find the entrance. Everybody we asked for info gave us different directions. Finally we managed to find it :)
Oasi di Porto - is a very nice private park and an artificial lake. The lake was built by Imperatore Traiano (98-117d.c.) It has hexagonal shape and was used as port in the time of Imperial Rome. Unfortunately in medieval times it was destructed by water which created here wetland.
After 1856 when this territory was bought by Prince Alessandro Torlonia the lake, park and some archaeological sites were renovated.
Today it's a private property, often visited by school trips. It's especially interesting to visit it with children because there is a guided tour on a horse-drawn carriage and botanical mini tour. Unfortunately, it's forbidden to take a walk around the lake alone (only guided tours).
It's open on Thursday and Sundays, from 10 AM till sunset
(closed during major holidays) Call to ask if it's opened.
Ticket: 8 Euro
Location: Fiumicino, entrance: 100m pass the cemetery.
Use the Metro while in Rome
The Metro is an economical way to get around Rome. Get a map of the Metro system early because you will need to remember how to get back to the stations and there are no signs that will give you these directions. The trains run regularly and generally on schedule. However, it can get very crowded during rush hour.
Fantastic Food and Wine
This hidden gem of a restaurant is just north of the Pantheon, and serves a fantastic lunch. In the middle of the room, is a self-serve table full of fresh vegetables and peppers cooking and sauted in olive oil and spices. As if that wasn't enough, the actual food on the menu is even better. As always, if I see gnocchi, I order it. I think I have had over 50 dishes of it now in Italy alone. This one isn't the best (that happens in Tuscany), but it was very good and ranks in the top 10. The wine shelf that greets you at the entrance, before you climb the spiralling staircase to the tables aludes to the types of wines they have here... fantastic! Barolos and Brunellos are the highlighters and go great with just about anything.
I would skip on the dolci here, as next door is the long time favorite Gelateria of the Vatican Giolitti! Did I mention I like gnocchi???
The coliseum is near many other Roman ruins and you can easily walk from one to another. It cost about 10 euro to get in and you don't get any tour included, although if you'd like there are headphones, there were also a lot of people offering tours for a price. It was amazing to see, of course it does not look like it was originally but it is still a visually spectacular sight. Once inside on can wander around different levels and there is an area with ancient artifacts and information about them.