Unusual experiences to have in Rome? Here are 5 great tips.
Rome is a desirable year-round tourist destination holding an impressive breadth of artistic and cultural heritage. Going on vacation to Rome for the first time means not missing a whole series of "must-see" stops, such as the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums. But outside of the "mainstream" circuit, so to speak, the capital still has plenty to offer, for original and fun little tours, very suitable even for those who already know Rome well.
If you too are looking for an unprecedented perspective on the Eternal City, don't miss our tips for 5 unusual experiences to do in Rome: we are sure you will be satisfied.
5. Unusual experiences to have in Rome: watching St. Peter's Dome from the keyhole
Yes, there is the possibility of "spying" on St. Peter's from a very special keyhole, located on the highest part of the Aventine Hill. The area is that of Circus Maximus and the lock in question is the one at the gate of the Malta Knights Priory, located a short distance from the well-known and beloved Orange Garden.
Apparently, this "secret" game is not the result of chance, because the possibility of admiring the Dome from a totally unprecedented point of view is supposed to be work of Giambattista Piranesi’s skilful hands.
In front of this gateway giving such an unusual and incredible view (even difficult to capture with a simple smartphone) there is almost always a small queue to make. But it flows quickly, and we guarantee that it is absolutely worth it.
4. Unusual experiences to have in Rome: the church of optical illusions
The Church of St Ignazio of Loyola has a not-so-simple history: construction work began in 1562 and was not completed until 1685. It features some very interesting optical illusions, which are a real treat for those in search of curiosities and oddities.
As a first treat we can admire a fake dome created by Jesuit artist and mathematician Andrea Pozzo. "The trick”, however, works only from a specific point of view in the nave, fixed by the author himself, thanks to an optical effect gradually disappearing. This incredible ceiling is not the only work accomplished by Pozzo in the church: the painter also had a trick in store for the apse, which from being concave appears polygonally shaped instead.
If you are looking for different perspectives from which to look at Rome, you might be surprised by a fantastic activity to be practiced right in the center: indoor skydiving in the Fly X wind tunnel, accompanied by a team of professionals who will support you throughout this out-of-the-ordinary experience!
3. The Fountain of Frogs in the Coppedè district
The Coppedè neighborhood in Rome, named after the same named architect, is becoming quite well-known among searchers of unusual experiences to have in the Lazio capital.
The thing immediately jumping out at you in this peculiar neighborhood is how the architecture presents a mixture of different styles, starting with Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings, you can then quietly come across medieval architecture.
The Fountain of Frogs is located in Mincio Square, right in the center of the Coppedè District and just past the beautiful Entrance Arch. The monumental work is the perfect synthesis of the variety of artistic styles being somewhat emblematic of Coppedè. As the name implies, frogs are the protagonists of the composition: as many as 9, including a larger one at the base and eight smaller ones making water plays at the top.
The tasty anecdote related to the Fountain of Frogs concerns the Beatles: legend has it that the Fab4 bathed dressed in its waters after one of their very rare performances in Italy.
2. Percy Bysshe Shelley's tomb in the non-Catholic cemetery
In Rome you really never stop finding unusual corners where admiring the ancient echoes of a sometimes glorious, sometimes romantic past. In this regard, perhaps not everyone knows that in the city rests the famous English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who died at the age of only 29 from a shipwreck, right in Italy, more precisely in Tuscany.
Housing his grave is the Non-Catholic Cemetery of Testaccio, located next to Porta San Paolo. This place has a very special charm, thanks to the unique atmosphere among the large cypress trees and white walls, with elements typical of all Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, starting with the tombstones devoid of photographs.
Another reason of interest about this very special cemetery is its proximity to the famous Pyramid of Caius Cestius, watching over the tombs below and an actual part of the cemetery perimeter.
Besides Shelley, one can pay tribute to many other illustrious names in the Roman cemetery: Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Emilio Gadda, John Keats, and Antonio Gramsci.
1. Palazzetto Zuccari with its monstrous faces
To close this roundup of suggestions for unusual experiences to have in Rome, we are going to talk about Palazzo Zuccari, the building on Piazza Trinità dei Monti, known among the people as the "house of monsters."
This palace is a true artist's house, built by Federico Zuccari in the late 1500s. Many important personalities have stayed here, and Gabriele D'Annunzio even used it as his protagonist's home in his novel Il piacere (“The pleasure”).
Both the main door and the windows of Palazzetto Zuccari call to mind the image of monstrous gaping mouths: these wacky, grotesque decorations were designed on purpose to create a playful contrast with the beautifully furnished interiors.