Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Top ten super hidden gems of Rome, an introduction

My wife and I will soon be going to Rome. This will be our fourth trip. The last trip was only a year and a half ago, and it was for a month, so I'm pretty well acquainted with all the main sights of the city. And as an inveterate researcher and travel blogger I can tell you it doesn't add much to the discussion to say:

"You're going to Rome? You might want to check out the Pantheon."

You've got to dig deeper!

I have dug deeper!

I am going to tell you about the secret, hidden, off-the-beaten-path, little known treasures of Rome.

Now a neophyte traveler might wonder "Rome has over 200 epic, world class, live-up-to-the-hype tourist sights. Why would I need to seek out the obscure ones?"

Thank you for your question neophyte! You will find that even if you go to Rome for a month, and you tramp in and out of every famous place you possibly can, the only question anyone will ever ask when you return is if you went to the one place you didn't go. 

Like "Did you go to the Colosseum?"

There are, technically, three answers to this question:

1. Yes! (But, if this is your answer they won't be asking this question. They will instead be asking about some other place you couldn't get to because you got caught up in the lines at the Colosseum for longer than you expected).

2. No. (Mumbled ashamedly, like you somehow failed your $8,000 vacation to Italy).


3. Pfft. The Colosseum is for amateurs! You do realize it's broken don't you? And that anyone can go and they all do? No, I spent that time poking around illegally in the Mausoleum of Augustus. I brought back what I think is part of his femur. (At which point just keep talking because if you take a single breath they will change the subject since people only pretend to want to hear all about your vacation). 

But it's not just about your superiority and being a more awesome traveler than everyone else, which, as you might gather from the above passage, no one but you will care about anyway, and probably not you very much either when it comes right down to it.

It's about fun. Enjoyment. Satisfaction.

I can't fault your desire to see the Sistine Ceiling, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, or the Colosseum (though you do realize that the Colosseum is broken and looted, don't you?). Depending on your taste one of these gloried sights might be the greatest experience of your entire 11 hours in Rome. But it also helps to have something a little personal too, something not in the guidebooks, with no pictures on the Internet, that is all yours. Something that is almost like a magical accident, which is the best part of travel, just with the slightest help on your way over to it. 

Which is what I will offer here tomorrow. But first you probably need to gather yourself, and go get a pen and paper for notes. But you're definitely going to want to tune in tomorrow for my top ten list of super hidden gems of Rome. So you might want to save this page for future reference traveler. I have found the best way to do that is to put a piece of tracing paper over this screen and copy everything in colored pencils.

But if there's a new-fangled technique you prefer don't let me stand in the way.

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