Free weekend? How about three days in Rome? Book your plane and we'll give you a guide to visit some less touristic neighborhoods.
A lifetime would not be enough to get to know all the wonders of Rome. That's well known not only by those who have visited it occasionally as tourists, but also by those who have lived there for a long time.
However, what the latter know very well (but the former a little less) is that the Eternal City holds plenty of unfamiliar wonders beyond the Colosseum, the steps in Piazza di Spagna or St. Peter's Dome: moving a couple of kilometers away from the historic center and the Vatican City area, every neighborhood hosts stunning buildings, fabulous views and a very active and colorful nightlife.
And there is no better occasion than a nice free weekend to get a little taste of it.
Here we suggest some routes to take on foot (or briefly by bus) for three days in Rome, along which you will be enchanted by the lesser-known treasures of some districts outside the center. In these short itineraries, you cannot overlook the idea of using the Visit Rome Pass, the best pass for the city of Rome that will allow you to discover and visit magical places with significant benefits, optimizing your time.More informations on Visit Rome Pass❯
Three days in Rome
Before we move on to our ideas of what to do and see in three days in Rome, we have some advice for you.
If you plan to visit Rome without stress and trying to see as much as possible, a tourist pass is the best solution for you.
With Visit Rome Pass 72h you enjoy three days in Rome with free access to public transportation, free and discounted admission to Rome's best museums, such as the Vatican Museums and Borghese Gallery.Discover Rome in 3 days with Visit Rome Pass❯
Trieste and Parioli Districts
Located close to each other, the Trieste and Parioli districts are undoubtedly the most prestigious in the capital, home to numerous professional offices, theaters and buildings with a refined structure.
Indeed, walking through the streets and alleys feels like being in a place apart, with a fascinating and vaguely sinister atmosphere, but absolutely worth visiting on your tree days in Rome.
You will be able to reach the area in about 20 minutes by bus from Termini Station.
Between the Trieste and Parioli districts lies the Coppedé neighborhood, such a peculiar area that director Dario Argento used it for some of his films. And indeed, you only have to look at a few frames to realize why.
It is a 26-houses and 17-mansions-compound designed and built, between 1915 and 1927, by the eclectic architect Gino Coppedè.
The gateway is a monumental arch, with a large wrought-iron chandelier hanging from it, as entering in a strange living room.
The buildings show a fascinating mix of architectural styles – Art Nouveau, Baroque, some flashes of Middle Age figures – and some truly evocative names, such as the Palazzina del Ragno and the Villino delle Fate (the Spider Mansion and the Fairy Mansion).
In the heart of this fairy-tale place, in Piazza Mincio, you can admire the enchanting Fontana delle Rane (Frogs Fountain), where the Beatles took a dive after one of their concerts at Piper, a memorable Dolce Vita club.
Among the largest green areas in Rome, Villa Ada is a city park where you can enjoy the sunshine and the sparrows' singing, go for a run or a picnic, or just for a walk.
It is also known as Villa Savoia, because between the 19th and 20th centuries it belonged to the royal family, but for a period of time it was given to Count Joseph Tellfner, who named it after his wife Ada.
It is also possible to visit the air-raid bunker that was built during World War II for the Savoy family.
In addition to its historical importance, the park is famous for being home to many varieties of trees and wildlife, such as squirrels, urchins, rabbits and several species of birds.
Catacombs of Priscilla
Just outside one of the entries to Villa Ada lies the Catacombs of Priscilla, built between the II and V centuries.
This evocative site takes its name from a funerary inscription dedicated to a certain Priscilla, a member of a noble family of senators who owned the land on which the catacomb stands, and who was therefore sanctified.
Also known as Regina Catacumbarum (queen of catacombs), thanks to the 40,000 burials articulated in a maze of 13 kilometers of tunnels, this place is made up of a set of common and frescoed burial niches, within which numerous popes and martyrs are buried.
It is a place rich in frescoes of various kinds, mainly of sacred subjects, allowing for a full immersion in the late antique world.
House of the Owls
Let's get back to esoteric echoes by moving inside the Villa Torlonia park to visit the Villino delle Civette, which is so called because of the stylized owls depicted on the stained glass windows and in many other interior and exterior sections of the structure.
You can also admire fairy-tale, colorful and sinister Art Nouveau decorations here, for a ride through a place out of time and space.
Pigneto is a popular neighborhood in East Rome that has recently experienced a remarkable renaissance, thanks to a general requalification and the opening of the subway station of the same name.
It is currently one of the most vibrant areas in the Capital, full of ethnic restaurants, vintage stores, small places to drink and eat, discos and many nightlife spots. It is also known for its youthful and alternative imprint, which particularly attracts university students: the perfect place to have fun during your three days in Rome but also to discover some gems.
You can reach Pigneto by taking the subway line C.
The murals for Pier Paolo Pasolini
Murals for Pier Paolo Pasolini at Pigneto: find it out in your three days in Rome
Wandering along the streets of Pigneto, you'll come across a series of murals and street art works dedicated to the great Pier Paolo Pasolini, who had set Accattone (1961) here following the example of Roma Città Aperta (1945), Roberto Rossellini's neo-oralist masterpiece starring Anna Magnani.
Near the historic Bar Necci and the Lodi subway stop, you can admire artworks created by famous Italian street artists, such as Marupal, Mr. Klevra and Omino71, aiming to pay homage to the late director and intellectual's thought, poetics and characters.
Let's carry on our outdoor walk by reaching Villa Gordiani on Via Prenestina, a splendid archaeological park that belonged to the family of the same name that lived in the Augustan era.
Among the green spaces you can admire the remains of a vast compound, including the vestiges of what seems to have been one of the most beautiful baths in the capital.
Basilica Sotterranea di Porta Maggiore
Also in Pigneto, as you approach the San Lorenzo neighborhood, you can take a dip into the past by visiting the fascinating underground Basilica Sotterranea di Porta Maggiore, found by chance in 1917.
Descending 13 meters below street level, you will plunge into a real pagan temple dedicated to the mysterious Neo-Pythagorean cult or perhaps a funerary site dating back to the time of Emperor Tiberius. In the various tunnels and vestibules stand out beautiful frescoes in excellent condition and splendid mosaic floors depicting mythological scenes.
Reservations are required for a visit.
Apericena e Speakeasy bars
Back in the main pedestrian area, at the moment of sunset, Pigneto lives its most vibrant moment.
One after another, there are plenty of bars where you can enjoy a rich apericena (happy hour + dinner), paying a fixed price for a drink or beer + unlimited buffet formula.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a more fancy after dinner, you should know that here you'll find plenty of speakeasy bars, where the access is possible by a password or going through a hidden passage. This is a very popular kind of lounge bar in the Capital, evoking the 1920s Prohibition atmosphere and allowing you to enjoy delicious cocktails with sophisticated ingredients, made by experienced mixologists.
Ostiense district, Pyramid Cestia
Not far from the Circo Massimo lies another of the Capital's most dynamic areas, the Ostiense district. The massive Piramide Cestia, which gives its name to the subway stop, will greet you on arrival, and guide you to the entrance of the street.
Not far away, about a kilometer, you will find the Testaccio neighborhood, celebrated for its lively nightlife.
From the Piramide station you can also take the train to reach the coast of Ostia and Fiumicino in a short time.
You can reach Piramide by taking the B subway to the station of the same name.
Section of murals by Blu in Ostiense district
Rome is a city full of urban art masterpieces, but the most famous ones can be found mostly in this area.
Taking a walk between Via del Porto Fluviale and Via dei Magazzini Generali, you will come across an authentic open-air exhibition of street art. On the walls of the buildings in the neighborhood you will be enchanted to admire splendid murals in extra-large format that cover the entire facades - to be clear, you won't be able to embrace them with your gaze completely by standing still.
Here we mention a couple of them by famous Italian artists.
On the facade of the former Air Force warehouse-with only eco-friendly paints-you'll find the most famous work by artist Blu. Elsewhere, you'll find JB Rock's Wall of Fame, depicting a red carpet of some of the most important icons of our time - from Obama to Tarantino. Finally, on the Cartoon Network headquarters, you'll find a work by Omino71 and Mr. Klevra depicting the famous television channel's cartoon characters.
Returning to the surroundings of the Piramide you will come across a very special place: the Non-Catholic Cemetery.
This space was created in the eighteenth century to house foreigners who died in the Capital and who practiced a different religion than Catholicism. In fact, throughout the cemetery area there are no explicit symbols that recall Christian spirituality.
Access is through a portal that says "Resurrecturis" (to those who will resurrect) and it is quickly clear that you are about to immerse yourself in a serene and contemplative atmosphere, not at all sad or macabre.
There are several burials of famous people from history, including those of poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, that of Antonio Gramsci, and that of Andrea Camilleri. But the most worth admiring gravestone is the famous statue with the angel of sorrow, created by sculptor William W. Story to honor the memory of his beloved wife.
Here, in addition, you will find one of the largest cat colonies in Rome, who will surround you to be cuddled.
You will be able to access the cemetery for the symbolic price of 3€, useful to support maintenance services.
Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura
Colonnade overview of Basilica San Paolo Fuori le Mura
After a short walk you will reach the foot of the majestic Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura, a splendid example of Byzantine architecture.
The building stands on what is believed to be the burial place of the Apostle St. Paul and is the second largest church in Rome after St. Peter's both in size and in the importance of the artworks inside.
As in any Byzantine building, the interior of the Basilica is a triumph of golden mosaics, bordered by a beautiful white marble colonnade, while outside a striking cloister with a large garden awaits you.
It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1980.
To complete your three days in Rome on a high note, we recommend spending the evening in Testaccio, famous for its typical taverns and discos for all genres of music and for hosting, during the summer, the Gay Village and all the events organized by LGBTQI+ associations.
If you want to finally enjoy the authentic Roman carbonara and then enjoy a fun evening with the best of house music, Testaccio is the perfect neighborhood for you, giving you a worthy conclusion to your Roman Holiday.