Some people are lucky enough to visit the Eternal City of Rome twice, either from a successful coin toss into the Trevi Fountain or from some other stroke of good fortune. On a second city break, visit
Rome’s lesser-known attractions:
The Basilica of San Clemente
One of my favourite monuments in Rome, the Basilica of San Clemente was once a private home used for Christian worship in the 1st century AD before becoming a proper church in the 6th century and finally evolving into the present basilica at the turn of the 12th century.
Start at the main level and make your way to the subterranean pagan temple of Mithras for a journey back in time to the ancient city of Rome.
The San Clemente Basilica is in Piazza San Clemente, tucked behind the colosseum, via Via Di San Giovanni in Laterano.
Scavi Tour under St. Peter’s Basilica
Before the massive and imposing Basilica of St. Peter was built, a smaller church was commissioned by Emporer Constantine in 333 AD. A tour takes you 12 metres below the basilica, where you can see the ruins of the ancient church and the most sacred area in the whole of the Vatican, where St. Peter was buried. This tour must be booked directly through the Vatican at the following link.
The Catacombs of Rome are almost all located along the Via Appia Antica, or the Appian Way. This historic road is believed to be where Christ appeared to Peter as he fled Rome in the days of the Christian persecutions. Reach the Appia Antica catacombs by Metro line A to the “San Giovanni” stop and from there, take bus 218 outbound to the Via Appia Antica.
Capuchin Crypt – the “Bone Church”
Commonly referred to as the “Bone Church”, the lower level of the Santa Maria della Concezione church in Piazza Barberini houses an interesting collection of bones. Capuchin monks took the bones of their dearly departed friars and used them to decorate six rooms that branch off from a single hallway. A video tour of the crypt can be seen here.
Borghese Gallery Museum
No matter what your appreciation for art, the collection of sculptures by Baroque Master Gian Lorenzo Bernini deserves your time and your 8 Euros. You’ll also find paintings by Raphael, Titian, and Caravaggio to name only a few. The Borghese Gallery is located at Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5.
Danielle Russo is a coordinator of Rome and Vatican Tours. She lives in Rome, Italy and writes about travel for MNUI travel insurance as well as WhenInRomeTours.com.