Top 5 Alternative Sights To See In Rome

Within every city, there lies an abundance of alternative sights to see off of the beaten track. Many of which do not make an appearance in the travel guides as they may be viewed as unimportant, are yet to be discovered or are simply seen as a mere distraction from the top sights and tourist traps. If, like me, you are torn between being a dedicated tourist and backpacking explorer, you may feel the need to put down the guide book, follow your senses and take a detour from the top sights for something a little different.

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Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary 
Via Marco Papio 15, 00175 Rome, Italy 

Admission: Free

At the top of the list we find a place dedicated to the furry felines of Ancient Rome: the Torre Argentina Roman Cat Sanctuary. These ancient ruins are home to over 100 cats, all of which have been rescued in one way or another.

_DSC0649The organisation feeds, vaccinates and houses these furry creatures, allowing visitors to enter the sanctuary, to interact with the animals and learn more about what they do. You may even be lucky enough to meet the one and only Stevie Wonder, a blind kitty who is extremely friendly and cute. Unfortunately for us, he cannot sing nor play the piano, just miaow and lie blissfully in the sunshine. Although a free of charge sight to see, donations are encouraged to keep the sanctuary afloat as it relies solely on dedicated volunteers to look after the animals. Your donation can help cover the costs of the cats’ welfare and there vital vaccinations.

Donate Here

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Capuchin Crypt

Via Vittorio Veneto, 27, 00187 Roma, Italy

Admission: €8.50

At number two we have the Capuchin Crypt, the bone church of Rome, a dark and morbid sight which is not for the faint hearted. Located a short walk away from the Spanish Steps and the Barberini Metro, this crypt is home to over 3,700 Capuchin Friars skeletal remains. All arranged in intricate patterns on walls and ceilings alike, you are face to face with mummified remains, an abundance of skulls and hand crafted bone chandeliers.

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The Mouth of Fate

Piazza della Bocca della Verità 18 Roma, 00186 Italy

Admission: Free

 The Bocca della Verità, or Mouth of Fate, is an ancient stone carving which, as legend has it, was said to bite the hand of a liar. Roman citizens would place their hand within the stone mouth, tell it a tale and await their fate. Now standing as an attraction, tourists can wait in line to pose for a photograph, and place their hands within if they dare.

 

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Skull of Saint Valentine 

Piazza della Bocca della Verità 18 Roma, 00186 Italy

Admission: Free

In the Basillica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, hidden in a gold plated glass reliquary, there lies the skull of Saint Valentine. Myth or no myth, the skull is believed to be that of the patron Saint of Lovers, displayed in all it’s glory wearing a floral coronet and stencilled inscription across the forehead. During the early 1800’s at a catacomb excavation, skeletal remains and ancient relics were found that are believed to belong to the Saint. Whether the connections are true or false, you can find the skull placed upon a side altar on the left hand side within the church and stand face to face the Love Saint himself.

 

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Look Up, Look Left & Look Right

Although not necessarily categorised as an attraction, these hidden coves and courtyards can reignite the curiosity within all of us. As you may already know, when visiting an Ancient City, switching your viewpoint from straight ahead to looking up can make every adventure more exciting. Hidden just above above eye level, intricate detailing and ancient relics remain, only for the eyes of those who have an inner curiosity. But, we took it one step further and began to look to our left and our right. With many a winding side road and cobbled street, stumbling across hidden courtyards and decaying alcoves made each day more enjoyable. The inner child within us guided our feet along these hidden routes to seek beautiful sculptures, archaic roman features and dilapidated buildings. You may never know what you may find, when in Rome.

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