The little world that can be found in Rome is so vast that many locals consider that you must spend the rest of your life to know the wonderful capital city. And considering the vast amount of hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered in Rome alone, it is easy to see why it could take a lifetime to learn and see everything there is in the city. So here are just a few of the hidden wonders of Rome, to get you started on your personal tour of Rome.
This place had been so secret that it was only discovered as recently as 1931. The Mithraeum is actually a five room area completely underground and located below the Circus Maximus. From what evidence was discovered, it was revealed to be a center of worship for the cult of Mithras, which is probably one of the more mysterious cults from ancient Roman times. Even with the discovery of this cavern and it being open to people very little information is still known about this cult or what they did in these chambers. Either way though, the place has some fabulous designs and is certainly something you will not find anywhere else. Unfortunately you have to book ahead of time for this one.
This Eighth century church manages to get overshadowed by its nearby and more famous church Santa Maria Maggiore. Not only is this place free to visit, but it has some of the most eccentric and beautiful mosaics in all of Rome, and that is saying something for a place that has mosaics lining the ground in some open forum walking areas. The problem is it tends to get drowned out by all the other churches out there, since it is much smaller. The byzantine mosaics are more than worth it over some of the other more common stops though. Plus you can stop by both churches since the Prassede is across the street from the Santa Maria!
It is hard to believe an entire section of town could be a hidden gem, but this little ancient seaport turned trader center is always over-looked by the average traveler. Ostia was the historical and commercial importance nearly seventeen centuries ago for Rome and has mostly been preserved in dilapidated buildings. It was only in the past sixty years that much of Ostia started to flourish as a trade destination. Now the forums of this seaport are filled with all sorts of buyers and sellers and plenty of places to eat or shop. This place manages to pull off an ancient appeal while still maintaining a modern touch of a thriving and lively city and seaport.
The Garden of Orange Trees
Also known by its Italian name of Giardino degli Aranci, it is one of the more beautiful gardens you can encounter in Rome, and that is counting the Vatican gardens. The bonus is that this place is nearby the Circus Maximus, which means you can easily get to both within the same day if you book right. This place received its name because the supposedly original orange tree that was brought to Rome nearly eight-hundred years ago was planted in the nearby church courtyard. So in honor, they planted a whole grove of orange trees in the last century. Some say you can actually see the original orange tree from a hole in the wall.
These are obviously just a few, but the key to finding these types of places is not through your travel guide book, but by asking around or even just exploring things on your own. No tour guide can truly show you the beauty of Rome, except you, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, supposedly.