Rome: off the beaten track
Teeming with instantly recognisable buildings and landmarks that are famous across the globe, Rome’s most celebrated attractions can often eclipse the many other great sights the city has to offer.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle and explore authentic Rome, trade in Trevi Fountain, turn your back on the Basilica and make a beeline for these hidden gems instead.
Even those who are not self-proclaimed history buffs will be keen to get a glimpse of Appia Antica, officially the first paved road in history. An impressive 513km in length, you probably won’t have time on your trip to follow it from beginning to end, but admiring part of it should be top of the priority list when visiting Rome. Construction of what is now known as the ‘Queen of Roads’ got underway in 312 BC at the Baths of Caracalla.
Similar to London’s Camden Town and Madrid’s Chueca, San Lorenzo is where arty and intellectual types feel most at home. Teeming with culture, this trendy neighbourhood offers an insight into Rome’s alternative scene. Visit the pop-up sidewalk cafes, have a drink in the cheap bars and drop by one of the lively street parties.
If you are flying to Rome with Monarch, be sure to plan a trip to Rome’s hidden keyhole. In the artistic Piazza dei Cavalieri de Malta on Mount Avertine, you will come across a large door which has an ornate keyhole with a twist! Framing the Vatican’s vast white cathedral at the end of a symmetrical tunnel of beautifully maintained trees, the view through this tiny keyhole is nothing less than spectacular.
Roman Protestant cemetery
A trip to a cemetery may not be the first thing to cross your mind when you go on holiday, but there are a couple of reasons to give this one a chance. Not only is it an oasis of tranquillity away from the hubbub of the main streets but it also houses the tombstones of Romantic poets Percy Shelley and John Keats.
It won’t take long before you realise that Rome’s charming cobbled streets are home to hundreds of thousands of cats. Many of these stray cats have found a safe haven in the Torre Argentina excavation site, where they are fed by locals. A cat shelter opened in the site in the 90s which is now the permanent home of 400 cats cared for by dedicated volunteers.