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11 Absolute Best Hidden Gems in Rome, According to a Local

Villa pamphili park in the fall

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As a good girl from Rome, whenever a friend asks me about some unique things to see in my hometown, I love to recommend some places off the beaten path, where I know most tourists won’t go. Over the years, I’ve created a list of unique hidden gems in the Eternal City for anyone who wants to avoid crowds.

Unique Hidden Gems in Rome You Probably Didn’t Know About, By a Local

Here are my favorite hidden spots in the city where I was born and grew up.

1. Villa Ada

Villa Ada, Rome
Villa Ada, Lake View – Photo by Sira Mas

I chose Villa Ada as first place on this list because I used to go there a lot with my family when I was a kid. Not to mention, I used to hang out a lot there when I was a teenager.

Villa Ada is one of the largest parks in Rome and it’s located in the Trieste-Salario neighborhood, in the northern part of the city. It was home to the Italian royal family’s residence, La Palazzina Reale. In particular, the Savoy family lived there from 1872 to 1878.

Also, king Vittorio Emanuele III and his family used to live there during the first half of the XX century – form 1904 to 1946.

You can visit this park to relax, take long walks, go for a good jog, or even for a romantic picnic. There’s also a nice bar – Lo Scoiattolo (= the squirrel) – where you can take a coffee or a drink.

During the summer, the park hosts events and concerts. For more information, here’s their official website.

Bar lo Scoiattolo, Villa Ada, Rome hidden gem
Bar Lo Scoiattolo – Photo by Sira Mas

2 The Trieste-Salario Neighborhood

Trieste-Salario Neighborhood
Trieste-Salario Neighborhood – Photo by Sira Mas

This is a beautiful neighborhood in the northern part of Rome. And it’s where you will find Villa Ada.

I often recommend taking a walk in this elegant area of the city. In particular, I recommend this neighborhood to anyone who enjoys exploring beautiful residential areas anytime they are visiting a new city.

Practical information: You can easily get here by bus. The bus lines that take you here are 63, 83, 92. You can also reach this area with the metro B1 – the closest metro stop is St’Agnese – Annibaliano.

3. Quartiere Coppedé

Entrance of Quartiere Coppedé – Photo by Sira Mas

Quartiere Coppedé is not too far from the city center, and it’s next to the Trieste – Salario neighborhood.

It’s an unexpected, tiny and incredibly elegant neighborhood between Via Tagliamento and Piazza Buenos Aires. It was designed by the architect and artist Gino Coppedé, who combined several styles such as, Liberty, Art Nouveau and Baroque.

In the main square of the neighborhood, you will find the Fontana delle Rane (Fountain of the Frogs) where, in 1965, the Beatles jumped with their clothes on.

Fountain of the Frogs, Rome – Photo by Sira Mas

You can easily get to this unique area by bus, tram, metro, or taxi. The bus lines that get you here are the following ones: 63, 83, 92. You can get here with the tram lines 2 and 19 as well.

You can also get there with the metro B1. As for the Trieste Salario neighborhood, the closest metro stop is St’Agnese – Annibaliano.

4. Villa Torlonia

Villa torlonia, hidden gem in Rome
View of Villa Torlonia, Rome – Photo by Sira Mas

Villa Torlonia is a small, beautiful park on Via Nomentana and it’s one of my favorite hidden gems in Rome. It belonged to the Torlonia family and it was designed by the architect Giuseppe Valadier at the beginning of the XIX century.

It’s also where the dictator Benito Mussolini lived from 1920s until the beginning of World War II.

In this park, you will find several beautiful buildings and monuments like the Casina delle Civette, the Fake Ruins, the Casino Nobile, the Casino dei Principi and the Tearto Torlonia.

False Roveri - Fake ruins Villa Torlonia, Rome
Fake Ruins, Villa Torlonia, Rome – Photo by Sira Mas

You can easily get to Villa Torlonia by bus or by taxi. In particular, you can take the bus line 60 from Piazza Venezia, or the line 90 from the main train station Termini.

A taxi from the center costs between €5 and €10, depending on the staring point of the trip.

5. Ponte della Musica

ponte della musica rome off the beaten path
Sunset with View on Ponte della Musica, Rome – Photo by Sira Mas

Ponte della Musica (= Music Bridge), is a bridge for cyclists and pedestrians that crosses the river Tevere. It opened to the public on May 31, 2011.

It’s very close to the Olympic Stadium and to the neighborhoods Flaminio and Prati.

It’s a perfect place to take a walk with a friend, a partner, or alone. Some people come here in the morning to work out. Not to mention, if you enjoy skating, there’s a nice skatepark under the bridge as well.

River Tevere view from Ponte della Musica sunset
River Tevere, View from Ponte della Musica – Photo by Sira Mas

You can easily get to the Ponte della Musica by bus. The bus lines that get you here are 280, 301, 32, 69. You can even get here from the center by taxi, the price of a taxi from Piazza del Popolo is between €10 and €15.

6. Parco Talenti

Parco Talenti Rome hidden gem off the beaten path
Photo by Sira Mas

Parco Talenti is a wonderful park located in Talenti, a residential area in the northern part of the Eternal City. It’s one of my favorite places in Rome not only because it’s in the neighborood where I grew up, but because I consider it a true hidden gem.

It’s the perfect place to go if you want to relax, take a long walk, go jogging, do some yoga, go for a picnic or simply do something different in Rome.

Parco Talenti, Roma
Parco Talenti – Photo by Sira Mas

7. Aniene Valley Nature Reserve

Ponte Nomentano – Aniene Valley Nature Reserve, Rome – Photo by Sira Mas

The Aniene Valley Nature Reserve – in Italian Riserva Naturale della Valle dell’Aniene – is without any doubt one of the best kept secrets in Rome.

It’s a charming green corner located in the north-eastern area of Rome and it’s close to the neighborhoods Montesacro, Casal de Pazzi, and Ponte Mammolo. It takes its name from the Aniene, which is one of the two rivers that crosses the city.

Aniene River, View from Ponte Nomentano, Rome
Aniene River, View from Ponte Nomentano, Rome – Photo by Sira Mas

You can get here with the bus lines 60, 90, 86, 211, 66 and the metro line B1 – metro stop Conca d’Oro. If you want to get here (you can enter from Ponte Nomentano – Cittá Giardino) by taxi, the fee is approximately €15-€20 from the city center.

8. Parco degli Acquedotti

Parco degli acquedotti rome
Parco degli Acquedotti – Photo by Sira Mas

This is hands down one of my favorite spots in Rome. The Parco degli Acquedotti – Aqueducts Park – is named after the Roman aqueducts that run through it.

It’s part of the Appian Way Park, it’s located in south-eastern part of Rome and it’s very close to the Cinecittá studios. For this reason, it has also been used a lot as film location. Some of the movies that have been also filmed here are:

  • The Great Beauty
  • Il Marchese del Grillo
  • La Dolce Vita

9. Eur Lake

Photo by Sira Mas

Il laghetto dell’Eur – Eur Lake – is formally known as Parco Centrale del Lago. It’s a beautiful artificial pond surrounded by an urban park and it’s located in the modern Eur neighborhood – in the southern part of Rome. It was designed in 1937, but it was opened in 1960 for the Olympic Games.

The park’s walking and cycling path is named La Passeggiata del Giappone – the Walk of Japan. This interesting name was given after that the Prime Minister of Japan gave 2,500 Sakura to the city of Rome, during his official visit to Italy in July 1959.

Sakura, also known as Japanese cherry blossom trees, were planted around the lake. Towards mid-March and early April these trees bloom and give this pink color to the entire park, making it a special must-see in Rome during spring.

Practical information: The best way to get here is with the metro B (there are two stops: Eur Fermi and Eur Palasport). You can take the metro from the following stations in the city center: Termini, Colosseo and Circo Massimo. If you prefer to take a taxi, the cost from the city center is between €20 and €30, depending on where you hail the taxi.

Tip: If you can, avoid the weekend as the park gets a bit crowded, especially in spring and summer. The best days to enjoy this place are from Monday to Friday, especially in the morning.

10. Piccolomini Street

Via Piccolomini, Rome, St. Peter Dome View
Photo by Sira Mas

Ever heard of Via Piccolomini (in English, Piccolomini Street)?

Via Nicolò Piccolomini is one of my favorite hidden gems in Rome and it’s a place very few tourists and travelers know about.

From this street, in the Aurelio neighborhood, you can admire the dome of St. Peter with a unique optical effect: the closer you get, the more the dome seems further away. A fascinating mystery that has made Piccolomini Street a very special spot in Rome.

View of St. Peter's Dome from Via Piccolomini, getting closer
Photo by Sira Mas

Practical information: You can either get here with a taxi or by bus. The taxi ride from the Vatican area is pretty quick, around 10 to 15 minutes and it costs between €7 and €12. I went with a friend and we paid €8.50 – €4.25 each. As for the bus, the best line to get to the area is the 982, and you can take this bus from the Vatican.

11. Villa Pamphili

Villa Pamphili in the fall
Photo by Sira Mas

From via Piccolomini, you can walk to Villa Doria Pamphili, one of the most beautiful green areas in Rome. You’ll get there in just 10 minutes. This place has been my go-to spot since I was a kid. In fact, this is not only the largest public park in Rome, but it’s also a slice of green heaven where you can jog, take a walk, or simply relax.

It’s the kind of place where you can toss a frisbee, play volleyball with your friends, meditate early in the morning, or read a good book under the shade of those old pine trees. And let’s not forget the views – they’re killer! Every time I come here, I find some new hidden corner or a fountain that I could almost swear wasn’t there before.

Villa Pamphili is this perfect little urban escape where you can forget you’re in a city for a while.

Tip: This park has several entrances. However, if you’re taking the bus or metro, the best entrances are the ones on via Leone XIII. If you walk there from via Piccolomini, the best entrances are the ones located on Via Aurelia Antica.

Practical information: You can easly get to Villa Pamphili by bus from the center. The bus line that gets you here is the 982. Also, the tram number 8 will get you to Casaletto, which is pretty close as well – in this case, you’ll have to use the entrance in via Vitellia.

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