Top Unusual Attractions in Rome: Lesser-known but Worthwhile

Most of us might have explored the Eternal city’s most popular gems such as the Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Vatican City, and Trevi Fountain. However, this is not what Rome is all about.

There are many more secrets on its historical land, which reflects a truly hidden, least known, and alternative face of Rome.

Rome, Lazio, Italy
Rome, Lazio, Italy by Julius for Travel via Italy

If you are tired of visiting the crowded attractions, give yourself a new treat by exploring the region more intimately by being far from the masses, this time! Here are top unusual attractions in Rome.

Crypta Balbi

Crypta Balbi is a far more interesting museum in terms of Roman culture, history, and art. Nestled at Via delle Botteghe Oscure 31, the museum is sadly the most unnoticed part of the city’s quadripartite national museum residing atop the rear patio. The patio is a part of a 13 BC theater complex designed by Lucius Balbus, a pal of Julius and Augustus Caesar.

Crypta Balbi, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Crypta Balbi, Rome, Lazio by Avinash Kunnath

In the basement of Balbi, you will find archaeological ruins of the adjacent edifices including that of the theater. On the ground floor, you will observe the evolution of an area called Campus Martius right since the Republican times and includes exhibits related to the Roman grain dole.

The first floor shows the city’s transformation during the early Middle Ages. Other attractions include frescoes, effigies, and numismatic exhibits along with the lately discovered Mithraeum.

Crypta Balbi Museum, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Crypta Balbi Museum, Rome by Lalupa

Aurelian Walls

With the capacity to carry 1 million people roughly the same as at the time of the Roman Empire, the Aurelian Walls are preserved amazingly even after 1838 years and act as a modern edge between modernity and antiquity.

Aurelian Walls, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Aurelian Walls, Rome by Lalupa

They span across 12 linear miles in a circuit encompassing several towers, big external windows, main gates, crenellations, latrines, and postern gates. While a full tour takes the entire day, one-to-few hours tours are also available.

Depending on the route chosen, you will come across different attractions. In case you start at the Porta Maggiore at the intersection of two aqueducts, the attractions you will see include the city’s greatest culinary testament, the tomb of Eurysaces in plebian-style architecture, turreted Porta Asinaria, and a miniature park.

Porta Asinaria, Aurelian Walls, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Porta Asinaria, Aurelian Walls, Rome by Lalupa

The Keyhole of the Priorato di Malta

Keyhole of the Priorato di Malta is perhaps one of the city’s most unusual attractions. Nestled in Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, this attraction allows bending down for looking through the keyhole to enjoy a framed view of the Saint Peter’s Basilica, planned by the designer of the surrounding edifice.

Keyhole of the Priorato di Malta, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Keyhole of the Priorato di Malta, Rome by Javier Enjuto

The keyhole is an ideal gem to explore for all those who love to be out of town for enjoying some distinct experience. You will need to enter Villa del Priorato di Malta, which is also monumental building and include nice gardens.

Villa del Priorato di Malta, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Villa del Priorato di Malta with gardens, Rome by Lalupa

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, also known as Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins is a small but weird church near Piazza Barberini. In its subterranean crypt, several human bones (mostly of monks) are arranged in geometric patterns on ceilings and walls.

Right now, bones of at least 4,000 monks exist in the form of grotesque Baroque decorations. The present monks have become modern entrepreneurs, as they take admission fee for collecting money on their predecessors’ bones.

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, Rome by Dnalor 01

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