We understand that there will be something happening in Rome in the coming weeks? The focus will be on one of our favorite fighting destinations, Rome. Home to gladiators, Popes (including a new one,) painters, and poets, a stroll around the Eternal City of Rome is an adventure in itself. We want to offer you some of our secrets, and some of the off the beaten path sights to take in while in Rome.
Secret Rome Keyhole
For our first secret of Rome, head to the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, wander around to the back side of the square, there you will find the church of Santa Maria Del Priorato. Find the door leading into the church. Peer through the small bronze keyhole in the gate. Spoiler alert! As you gaze through the small hole you will see perfectly framed by trees and scrubs, the Basilica of St. Peter. It is truly a sight to behold. It is difficult to fully describe just how beautiful and unexpected this view is. We highly recommend!
The Holy Fun House
Our next stop on our adventure is the Rooms of St. Ignatius, located at Piazza del Gesu 45. This is the former home and monastery of St. Ignatius. He actually designed and built the rooms and corridor. This honored Jesuit had his important vision of service to God and Church in these hallowed halls. Don’t miss seeing the patron saint’s shoes in the display case!
Sometimes called The Holy Fun House, the entire complex holds wonderful examples of perspective painting and distortion in art. Flat walls seem to transfigure into flying buttresses! As you walk down the corridor the walls truly seem to come alive!
Not all of the holy sites in Rome are related to the Catholic Church. In one of the most well-kept cemeteries in the city, the Protestant Cemetery, you will find a couple of interesting internees. Both John Keats and Percy Shelley are buried here! The walls of the cemetery are actually the walls of the “old” city. They held out fierce attacks from the barbarians for more than 100 years.
The Secret Perch
Our next adventure takes us to the Vatican. It is a little known fact that you can actually go up in the dome of St. Peters! The trek is not for the faint of heart. You must climb 200 stairs to the elevator that takes you to the top. For those wanting the further challenge, they can skip the elevator and take on another 300 steps to the top! The vista is truly one of the best in all of Rome!
The Underground Wonderland
Just like peeling the layers of an onion, the deeper you journey into the bowels of the Basilica of San Clemente, the more you learn. The “new” part of the church was constructed in the late 12th century. It includes beautiful art and mosaics. Take the stairs down and you enter what was a 4th century church! As you wander around this subterranean church, take in the amazing art etched into the walls. Continue your quest by going one level lower, into the deep. In the very depths of the building, you will find a 2nd century Mithraic Temple, complete with altar! The entire structure exudes history. The Basilica is still undergoing excavation.
What will they find next?
Rome-The Italian Hollywood?
It’s no secret that Rome has been captured on film over the years. What is stunning is the sheer number of films and genres that feature the city. For those of you that want to retrace some cinematic magic, we tracked down some of the locations from a few films. Of course you want to travel like a Hollywood Starlette but dont have the budget?
Oceans 12: Airport scenes were filmed in Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.
Eat, Pray, Love: Piazza Nabona
The Gladiator: Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix were filmed in Coliseum.
The Talented Mr. Ripley: Cafe Dinelli: The terrace cafe, where Ripley arranges for Meredith, Marge and Peter Smith-Kingsley to meet up was filmed in Piazza di Spagna.
And of course how could we leave out:
Roman Holiday, a separate category on its own.
Joe Bradley’s apartment was filmed in Via Margutta 51.
The bench where Bradley finds the Princess asleep was filmed in Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Mouth of Truth was filmed in Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
The Final Secret
This one is up to you! You must find your own secret in the city of secrets! Enjoy Rome. It is truly one of the most amazing cities we have visited. The city is a perfect blend of history, architecture and of course adventure. Enjoy Rome!
These are all secrets to me! I’m adding them to my list next time I am Rome.
The secret keyhole is sooo cool! Thanks again for including us in you stumble segment!
These lovely tips from an insiders point of view is definitely going to add to the wonderful holiday we intend to undertake this year. It just happens to have the right amount of mystery & beauty added to it.
Our friends in Rome took us for a midnight mystery tour when we stopped by in Rome last year and The Secret Keyhole was the first stop – it was surreal!
At that time there were just a pair of couples on a double date (my impression); it was perfect.
Thanks for sharing. It is such a unique perspective. Rome is full of them.
wow.. secrets of roma are better than you see in the da Vinci code.
True! We had the same thought when we were writing the post!