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5 unusual things to do and see in Rome

Rome, capital of Italy since 1871, is the eternal city. A city to discover multiple times. Rome is like an entire museum open to the sky.

 Here are 10 ideas of unusual and secret visits in the Italian capital, to visit Rome in another way…

The non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome

Via Caio Cestio

Firstly, go to the Cimitero acattolico di Roma or « cemetery of the English » (cimitero degli Inglesi.) It is located in the Testaccio district, near Porta San Paolo next to the Pyramid of Cestius.

The birth of the cemetery was firstly due to the banishment of suicides or non-Catholics from the Catholic Cemetery. They were gradually displaced « outside the walls » of Rome, in this place. The oldest known sepulcher is the one of a student of Oxford University, named Langton, dated 1738.


Roman Cat Sanctuary

Largo di Torre Argentina

Secondly, be aware that Rome is the city of cats and discover the Roman Cat Sanctuary. This archaeological sanctuary is also a sanctuary for gutter cats. There are many of them ! The voluntary association cares for them, nourishes them, casts them and vaccinates them.

Torre Argentina also contains part of the famous Theater of Pompey. It was in Rome the first theater built in a durable way in masonry and of monumental dimensions. It was the place where dictator Julius Caesar was betrayed and killed in 44 BCE.

Check out there website there !


The Crypt of the Capuchin Monks

Via Vittorio Veneto

Thirdly, the history of the Capuchins dates to 1525 when these monks who had made vows of poverty separated from the other Franciscans to live more authentically the spirit and the rules of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Used as an ossuary, the crypt contains the remains of approximately 4,000 Capuchin brothers collected between 1528 and 1870. The walls are decorated with ornamental motifs made from human remains…

 

 


The Coppedè Neighbourhood

Piazza Mincio

Then, there are plenty of places to see in Rome where there are more tourists than locals…, but this little area is truly unique.

The Quartier Coppede is an incredible place to lose track of time. Wandering around there is the best way to isolate yourself from the tourist tides and the 21st century. And the surroundings are free to visit.

A large richly decorated bow, which unites the two palaces of the ambassadors and from which hangs a large lamp, signals the entry of the quarter realized between 1913 and 1926, by the eclectic architect Gino Coppedè, of which it takes the name.

The whole of the buildings of the beginning of the twentieth century revolves around the place Mincio, where the central space is occupied by the Fountain of the Frogs. It is an imposing fountain with 12 frogs, also known for swimming, which is what the Beatles did – dressed – there after one of their concerts held in the nearby Piper disco.

 

 


The Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin

Piazza della Bocca della Verità

Eventually, go find  « la Bocca della Verità » and « The Skull of Saint Valentine » …

Saint Mary in Cosmedin is a minor basilica church in Rome, Italy. It is located in the rione of Ripa. In the basilica, you will find the famous “Bocca della Verità” –  the “Mouth of Truth”-  an ancient sculpture on marble, dating from 1632.

This mask-shaped disc, probably designed to serve as a sewer pad, became famous because of a legend. It is said that the Mouth of Truth would have cut off the hand of all those who did not tell the truth. Today this room is under the portico of the church and is considered one of the greatest curiosities of Rome, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

The flower-crowned skull of St. Valentine is exhibited in the same Basilica.

Valentine of Terni was a monk or a priest who lived in the second century, martyred under the Emperor Claudius II the Gothic. Pope Alexander IV’s named him « patron of the lovers » and he was consequently celebrated on the « Valentine’s Day » on 14 February. His remains can be seen in Madrid…

 

 

Elsa Courtin

elsa.c@universal-tourguide.com

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