Like any capital city, Rome is full of unique experiences. But unlike some others, it has a culture and history that goes back to the dawn of human civilisation. We all know about the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel, and of course you need to check those out.
But here, we take a look at five cultural experiences that are a little less famous, but should nevertheless be on your must-do list when you visit Rome.
Scipione Borghese (1577 – 1633) was a famous art collector and patron of the arts. He was also a Cardinal, and the nephew of Pope Paul V. He is best known for his patronage of the painter Caravaggio, and Villa Borghese is his private art gallery, housing the largest collection of Caravaggio artworks in the world.
There are also masterpieces by Bellini, Titian and Raphael, to name but a few. The gallery is open six days per week (closed on Mondays) and prebooking via the website is recommended.
Terme di Caracalla
There is no lack of ancient spas to visit in Rome, but the Terme di Caracalla is a little different. As well as admiring the amazingly preserved complex, comprising two gymnasia, that dates from the third century AD, the site also hosts some truly remarkable open air operas.
Take a look at the Rome opera tickets website to book tickets. Even if you have never attended an opera before, it is an experience that should not be missed. And who knows, you might find yourself with a new found passion for this unique art form.
The Capitoline Museums
There are so many museums in Rome, it can be difficult to know where to start, or indeed where to middle and end. The Capitoline museums definitely need to make it onto your list. The most ancient publicly owned museums in the world, some of the collections are artefacts in their own rights, and date back to the 15th century.
Look out for the wonderful collection of early statues, including the most iconic Roman emblems of them all, Romulus and Remus.
This is a little different from your typical archaeological site, as it gives a unique vision of what a harbour looked like two and a half thousand years ago. Back in the fourth century BC, Ostia Antica, stood at the mouth of the River Tibia, and served as a key port to supply Rome with grain. Here, you will see the remains of the docks, warehouses, shopping arcades, baths and homes. The mosaics are exquisite, and the site has been wonderfully well preserved.
Cheating slightly, as Tivoli actually lies around an hour and a half outside Rome. It provides a feast of ancient architecture and gardens, including Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa.
The latter is made up of an incredible 100-hectare complex of structures, fountains, mosaics and statues. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to see it all.
This is a collaborative post.