How to Get Off the Beaten Path in Rome
Rome may be home to world-famous sights such as the Colosseum and Vatican, but there are still plenty of hidden gems in the Eternal City. Here are a few off-the-beaten-path attractions that relieve you from the chaos and crowds of the headliners.
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj
Crowds in the Vatican Museums can overwhelm even the most ardent art lover; this ornate, 16th-century palace is an excellent alternative. Peruse hundreds of works by the likes of Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, and Velázquez in lavish halls that you’re likely to have to yourself.
Baths of Caracalla
If you want to avoid the crush at the Colosseum but still get your archeology fix, head to the Baths of Caracalla, one of the world’s largest and best-preserved thermal complexes. Tour what remains of the ground floor with a guide to best appreciate the size and opulence of the 3rd-century ruins, formerly Emperor Caracalla’s public baths.
When the urban bustle of downtown Rome gets too much, do as the ancient Romans did and escape from the city via Appian Way. As the first Roman road built during the Imperial Age, this paved route is lined with archaeological ruins and historic sites. Join a bike or Vespa tour to admire the scenic stretch from Porta San Sebastiano to the Roman aqueduct.
Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls
Rome has dozens—if not hundreds—of churches but most visitors only enter St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Paul Outside the Walls (San Paolo Fuori le Mura), thought to be built over the tomb of Paul the Apostle, provides a quieter alternative to St. Peter’s. Plus, the church’s interior is particularly glorious, with 80 columns and extensive mosaic decorations.