Unique Places in Rome

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Rome

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    Forum Boarium

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jun 23, 2013

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    This area used to be the cattle market in ancient times. It is located near the Mouth of Truth and has two well preserved temples: the circular temple of Hercules Victor and the rectangular Temple of Portunus. Both are well-preserved as they were converted from temples to churches.

    The Temple of Hercules Victor.
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    The Non-Catholic Cemetery. Poets' Graves.

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jun 23, 2013

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    Rome was very crowded during our visit and one of the quietest, most peaceful and most interesting places we visited was the non-catholic cemetery. You can get there by taking the metro B-line to pyramid station. The cemetery contains the graves of several famous people. Two of the most famous are Keats and Shelley.

    Keats went to Rome when he found out he had TB. One of his brothers had died of this disease and Keats probably contracted it while caring for him. In Rome Keats lived with an artist friend next to the Spanish Steps during his illness, but he could not fight it and died. He requested that the words 'Here lies one whose name was writ on water.' on his tombstone. His friends obliged but added more words to show the anger they felt at the attacks Keats had been subjected to by several critics. The friend who nursed Keats is buried next to him.

    Shelley died in a boating accident in which he drowned. His ashes were buried in the non-catholic cemetery. He had apparently visited it before his death and stated what a wonderful, peaceful place it was. The inscription on his tomb comes from Shakespeare.

    Keats' Tomb. Inscription on Keats' tomb. Acrostic on plaque near Keats' tomb. Shelley's tomb.
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    Janiculum Hill, Rome’s Balcony

    by von.otter Updated Mar 19, 2013

    “You, too, women, cast away all the cowards from your embraces; they will give you only cowards for children, and you who are the daughters of the land of beauty must bear children who are noble and brave.”
    — Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882)

    Known as Rome’s balcony, the Janiculum, the second highest hill in modern-day Rome and separate from the famed Seven Hills of Ancient Rome, was the center for the Janus, god of beginnings and endings. Because of its stunning location overlooking the city, the priests of the worship of Janus would stand atop the hill and look for signs from the gods.

    The Aurelian Wall was built up to the Janiculum Hill, to include inside the city walls the water mills, used to grind wheat for making bread, located there. The ancient water mills were in use until the end of ninth century AD.

    Centuries later, Janiculum Hill was the site of a memorable battle. In 1849, Giuseppe Garibaldi fought French troops, who were attempting to reclaim Rome for the pope following Garibaldi’s capture of the city in his effort to unify Italy. Although the French outnumbered Garibaldi’s troops, they were able to resist the French for several weeks; but ultimately were defeated. To commemorate this battle, several monuments were built on Janiculum to pay homage to Garibaldi and his comrades.

    Come for the views. Stay for the sights, including, an authentic puppet theater for kids; the Garibaldi Monuments, one to Giuseppe another to his wife Anita; the Independence War Memorial; San Pietro in Montorio and Tempietto; and Fontana dell’Acqua Paola

    Janiculum Hill, View, Roma, May 2007 Janiculum Hill, View, Roma, May 2007 Janiculum Hill, View, Roma, May 2007 Janiculum Hill, View, Roma, May 2007 Janiculum Hill, View, Roma, May 2007
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    Foot of Marble

    by TexasDave Written Mar 8, 2013

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    The one remaining fragment of a massive statue, the Pie de Marmo is a sandaled foot on a plinth of impressive size. Not much is known about its origin, some think it was originally a large statue in a temple.

    Appropriately is is on Via di pie de Marmo, it is a block and a half West from the back of the Pantheon.

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    Porte di Roma

    by von.otter Updated Feb 25, 2013

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    “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
    —Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)

    The doors of Rome are many and varied. Most are closed for privacy.

    Doors of Rome, May 2007 Doors of Rome, May 2007 Doors of Rome, May 2007 Doors of Rome, May 2007
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    Not really a tourist sight

    by GentleSpirit Written Jan 29, 2013

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    I was strolling around by the Tiber and what to my wondering eyes should appear- the National Headquarters of the Italian Communist Party. As I remember it was a pretty nice neighborhood and had some rather expensive looking cafes and restaurants nearby. Gotta love it!

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    Campo dei Fiori

    by von.otter Written Jan 20, 2013

    “A Bruno - Il Secolo Da Lui Divinato - Qui Dove Il Rogo Arse” (English translation: “To Bruno - the century predicted by him - here where the fire burned”)
    —the inscription on the base of the monument to Giordano Bruno

    At the center of Campo dei Firoi stands a monument to the philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was burnt alive for heresy in the square 17.February.1600.

    Ettore Ferrari (1848-1929) is the sculptor who created the monument; and it was positioned on the exact spot of his death in 1889. Bruno stands facing in the direction of the Vatican, which opposed the tribute to the scientist. Bruno is celebrated as a martyr to freedom of thought. Bruno’s execution was the only one to take place in Campo dei Fiori; it was commonly used for such purposes.

    The Field of Flowers (Campo dei Fiori) has been used as marketplace for centuries. Each day flowers and fresh vegetables are still sold from tented stands set up in the square.

    Campo dei Fiori, Roma, May 2007 Campo dei Fiori, Roma, May 2007 Campo dei Fiori, Roma, May 2007 Campo dei Fiori, Roma, May 2007 Campo dei Fiori, Roma, May 2007
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  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    The River Tiber

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jan 5, 2013

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    We walked along the River Tiber making a brief visit to Tiber Island with its lovely church then walking down the river towards St Peter's. I thought it was a lovely walk, passing lots of bridges, pleasant river scenes and although there were other people it was mercifully uncrowded. Bliss. I would strongly recommend it as a way to restore your sanity when in Rome.

    Tiber Island. The Tiber River. The Tiber looking towards St Peter's. Looking towards astel Saint Angelo. The River Tiber.
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    The pyramid of Caius Cestius.

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jan 5, 2013

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    This pyramid located next to the non-catholic cemetery was created for a magistrate Caius Cestius who died in 12BC. At the time all things Egyptian were fashionable. This pyramid was built in just 330 day. It is more than 36 meters high and 29.5 meters wide.

    The pyramid of Caius Cestius, Rome.
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    The non-catholic cemetery - statues of people.

    by IreneMcKay Written Jan 4, 2013

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    One of the things I liked most about the non-catholic cemetery in Rome was the little figures of people that appeared on or next to graves. Some depicted the deceased person; others I think depicted mourners at their passing.

    Statue of a little boy. Statue by grave. Statue by grave. Statue of the deceased. Statue of the deceased.
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  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    The non-catholic cemetery - angels.

    by IreneMcKay Written Jan 4, 2013

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    There are several angel statues in the non-catholic cemetery of Rome. The loveliest was created by an American sculptor William Storey on the death of his wife, Emelyn. His work the angel of grief and despair is an extremely moving sculpture. If you could take intense grief and turn it into a concrete image this is what you would create. This sculpture almost moved me to tears.

    I found a second angel of grief, a huge angel and many small angel statues, too.

    The angel of grief. The angel of grief again. Another angel of grief. Angel. Angel.
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  • leics's Profile Photo

    The Jewish quarter

    by leics Updated Nov 23, 2012

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    A short pedestrianised street, Via Portico d'Ottavia, is now the heart of what was once Rome's Jewish ghetto. It's a fascinating and atmospheric area, a maze of narrow streets and alleyways with many Roman artefacts incorporated into its old buidlings.

    There were Jews in Rome from at least the second century BC, and probably before that, but it was Pope Paul Vl whose laws (in the mid-sixteenth century) made them live in this area, effectively creating a ghetto. They had to wear yellow shawls and caps when they left the district.

    Most of Rome's Jews survived the Nazi occupation, and now live all over the city. But along the Via Porto d'Ottavia you can still find kosher restaurants, butchers, bakeries etc (even a kosher fast food outlet), .

    Worth wandering through, if only for the fascinating chunks of Roman masonry dotted around (see photos).

    Walk from Via Del Teatro di Marcello, or from Via Arenula.

    Huge, re-used inscribed lintel Roman sculpture in wall Another lovely sculpture Sadly decaying heads........ Close-up of lintel inscription
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    Leaving the crowds behind

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Sep 11, 2012

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    You wouldn't think so now, as you walk along the quiet streets , past the high walls and iron gates of the gracious mansions and elegant apartment blocks that are a feature of living on Rome's Aventine Hill today, but in Roman times this was not a good address at all. In fact, it was decidedly lower class, one place the plebians were allowed to own property. Lower class it might have been but, as an old saying goes, "where there's muck, there's brass" and plebs though they might have been to their patrician neighbors one hill over on the Palantine, the area was prosperous and not without its own fine buildings - the city's first public library stood here along with temples to Diana, Luna and Juno among others.

    If you're looking for obvious Roman remains, you need to stay at the bottom of the hill, on the north side, we'll go there later. This tip will take you on a walk up the hill on the south side. First you need to cross the grassy sward that is the Circus Maximus - a vast empty space at present though if some local entrepreneurs have their way, that could soon change.

    A gate near the statue of Giuseppe Mazzini (a major figure in the quest for Italian unity) takes you in to the Municipal Rose Garden, growing now on the site of the city's old Jewish cemetery where a network of paths laid out in the shape of a menorah is a tribute to the old inhabitants. It's only a short walk from the upper exit of the rose garden to the Parco Savello, a pretty, formal garden planted with the orange trees that give the park its other name - Giardini degli Aranci. A belvedere on the far side of the park has some of the very best views of the city to be found, so a short detour is definitely in order here before continuing up the hill to the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta.

    It's just a small square, nothing much of interest here you might think, the Knight's priory isn't open to the public , there's just a high stone wall broken by a solid green door. Put your eye to the keyhole of that door however and the priory's delightful secret is revealed - like a perfectly realized miniature, the dome of St Peter's is framed by an arch of greenery. Although we could see the dome quite clearly, it was a hazy day and capturing it in a photo proved elusive. Maybe that's as well, seeing it for yourself's much better than secondhand through someone else's photos.

    (An interesting aside - like the Vatican, the headquarters of the Cavilieri di Malta, the Knight's Hospitaller of St John, is actually a sovereign state within Rome)

    With the afternoon wearing on, we grabbed a taxi at this point and headed back into the centre. Walking down the other side of the hill would have brought us the the Forum Borea abetween the Aventine and the Capitoline Hills, but that was for another day.

    What's behind the green door? Ben Hur to ride again? The view from the Parco Savello 1 The view from the Parco Savello 2
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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Old mixed with new

    by leics Updated Jul 25, 2012

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    One of the most wonderful things about the eminently-walkable city of Rome is seeing how, over the centuries, stones and slabs and statues and marbles from the ancient city have been scavenged and re-used.

    Much of the wonderful, wonderful interior marble of Santa Maria Maggiore was 'reclaimed' from Roman buildings: go to visit and it will give you an idea of just how wealthy and impressive ancient Rome was (in parts, of course: there were plenty of cramped and overcrowded tenement' buildings for the less wealthy).

    Keep your eyes open as you wander: the evidence is everywhere, mostl especially in the backstreets around the central Forum area (for obvious reasons). Columns re-used in buildings, architraves used for door lintels, carved stones incorporated into walls, statues in private courtyards........

    I even saw chunks of black-and-white mosaic flooring used in the huge retaining wall by S.Giovanni e Paulo.

    Old and older: the church was built into the ruin. Rusticated remains Just a pillar.... More pillars...... Ancient stones reused
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    Take in Trastevere

    by Bushman23 Written Jul 5, 2012

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    On the opposite side of the river, South of the Vatican, is the district of Trastevere - Not quite so polluted by tourists as to be English speaking, this is apparently where the real Roman's still live and hang out. We went here for dinner one night, and my wife spent a fair while wandering the streets and alleys here too - there are any amount of magnificent, old churches just waiting to be discovered, hills to be climbed, and restaurants to be sampled - the food is also top notch, though the language barrier here can sometimes be a reality!

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