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This Rome tour reveals the unusual side of the city, a city of illicit affairs and unimaginable cruelty. The beauty of Rome is obvious to every visitor, from the cobbled back streets of the Jewish Ghetto to the vibrant market of Campo de’ Fiori. As you go on our group tour off the beaten path in Rome, our expert guides will take you deeper into the dark heart of Rome, uncovering the hidden scandals in Renaissance palazzi, the Vatican, and the imposing Castel Sant’Angelo. You’ll also have the chance to admire breathtaking views of Rome.
We begin on the Capitoline Hill, the political centre of Rome. An enormous temple to Jupiter once towered over the city, and the foundations of this ancient building can still be seen today. As you explore the Capitoline Hill on your walk, you’ll learn about the early history and religious rituals of Ancient Rome. After admiring the beautiful piazza, which was designed by Michelangelo, and gazing up at the imposing statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback, you’ll discover the spectacular views of Rome from the back of the hill. The Capitoline offers stunning panoramic views not only of the Roman Forum, but also the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. These archeological sites are widely explored on our in-depth Colosseum tour.
On our unusual Rome tour you’ll also visit the fascinating Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, with its imposing stairway of 124 steps inaugurated by Cola di Rienzo in the 14th century for the end of the Black Death. This magnificent church was built on the summit of the Capitoline Hill in the 6th century AD, covering the remains of one of the grandest Roman temples. As you admire the grandeur of the church, which is decorated with a multitude of chandeliers and a spectacular cosmatesque marble floor, your personal guide will tell you about the myths and legends of the church and the Capitoline Hill. You’ll also see beautiful tombstones designed by Donatello and Michelangelo, as well as the intriguing statue of the Santo Bambino (Holy Child). This devotional image has long been beloved by the people of Rome, and your guide will tell you all about its rich history.
The Jewish Ghetto has a dark history - a story of discrimination and persecution that spans the centuries. Although no longer a ghetto, it’s still the centre of Jewish life in Rome, and is one of the most lively and authentic parts of the city. As you wander through its alleyways on your Jewish Ghetto tour you’ll learn about the neighbourhood’s fascinating history, and discover a charming combination of art and myth in Piazza Mattei, one of the loveliest squares in Rome. This is the location of the quirky Fontana delle Tartarughe, a 16th century fountain with a surprising story.
Your guided visit continues in the busy market square of Campo de’ Fiori, where locals come to buy food and flowers during the day, and enjoy a glass of wine at aperitivo time. Many visitors admire the beautiful display of flowers in the piazza while remaining oblivious to the solemn, hooded figure who watches over the square. When you learn the story of cruelty and persecution behind this statue of the famous philosopher Giordano Bruno, the beauty of the square becomes transformed into something rather more sinister.
A walk through the atmospheric back streets of Rome takes us to the imposing Castel Sant’Angelo. Originally built as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian, the building was turned into a papal fortress and residence in the 14th century, and was even used as a prison - the philosopher Giordano Bruno and the artist Benvenuto Cellini were both held prisoner here. The castle is a fascinating labyrinth, the result of centuries of transformations, and history has left its mark on every stone of the castle.
On this alternative Rome walk you’ll explore the sumptuously decorated rooms that were once inhabited by the popes, before climbing up to the roof, which offers unparalleled views of the river, the Vatican and the dome of St Peter’s Basilica, and the historic centre of Rome. If gazing across the river at that spectacular dome inspires you to explore the Vatican for yourself, why not join our Immersive Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s basilica tour?
If you are ready to have your preconceptions of Rome radically challenged, join our itinerary for an unforgettable journey in the Eternal City.
At the top of the Capitoline Hill. You will receive full details, including a map and photo, on booking
This is a leisurely walking tour through various areas of Rome with some steps and uneven walkways
Aug 03, 2018
Aug 01, 2018
Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for Rome's inspiring cultural heritage. Experts in their fields, they will immerse you in the hidden histories and intriguing lives of history's great protagonists. So much to see, so easy to miss out: with the help of our guides, visit the most absorbing sites and uncover the stories that have changed the world. Don't miss this fascinating journey!