I've been to Rome beforeLove the city, enjoyed a great tour with Context Travel of Ancient Areas of Rome We are going again to Rome and would love to hear from others what they loved seeing and doing off the beaten path in Rome and maybe a Tour of an area or part of Rome which isn't as common For example like to hear about the underground tours , Jewish Ghetto , etc. Ciao!!
Not in Rome but nearby is the ancient port of Ostia Antica. I always visit the Jewish Ghetto in Rome, never have taken a formal tour, just wander around. You can get a kosher Pizza Re David (King David). Take the tour of the Synagogue and museum (preceded by a film on the history of the Jews in Italy). I also like the Catacombs of Priscilla, at the north end of the city near Via Nomentana. They are close by the Mausoleum/Church of Costanza.
Here's a good blog for you to check out: http://romethesecondtime.blogspot.com/ And here are three museums that don't get visited as much as they should: National Museum of Rome at Palazzo Massimo Villa Farnesina
By accident my wife and I discovered a hidden gem while walking between Metro Cavour and the Coloseum. San Pietro in Vincoli (Saint Peter in Chains) a church located at the top of some long stairs that take you from Via Cavour up to the Esquiline Hill neighborhood. Inside this church is the magnificant Michelangelo sculpture of Moses. Truely awesome! Then, if you continue to walk toward the Coloseum you pass by the ruins of Trajan's baths. There is a wonderful little corner cafe where Via delle Terme di Tito ends at the Coloseum. They offer for 10 euros a one trip buffet which includes a drink (beer or wine). Enjoy!
Steven sure is right about San Pietro in Vincoli. That is one difficult church to find, depending on which direction you approach from. There's an interesting theory about the statue of Moses in that church. It says that Michelangelo originally carved it with the head looking straight ahead, and later recarved it to have it looking to the left. It had something to do with some sort of secret society that was questioning the authority of the Vatican. More info here: PBS documentary on Michelangelo
Context Rome's underground Rome tour is great. I think they always include San Clemente and vary the other sites, depending on what's opwn. If you enjoy art, the Galleria Doria Pamphili is wonderful. I think the family still lives in private part of the palace, and the recorded audio tour, narrated by the family patriarch, also gives some background on the family and collection. As a caution, the art is displayed as it would be in private homes a couple 100 or 200 years ago, rather than as in a museum... walls are covered with paintings, so you need to be prepared for that.
This article from this week's NY Times might be of interest. The reader comments are interesting too. http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/travel/3-quiet-museums-in-rome.html?_r=0
Thanks for comments-- We like to see areas less explored and known or written about-- We will put these on our list when in Rome....We'll also be in Florence, Bologna, and maybe Venice for a day or two this trip-- Any "off the beaten path" comments appreciated as you all gave great feedback on Rome!
I did a four hour food tour of Testaccio with Eating Italy. An interesting old neighbourhood with Roman and Medieval remains,Mt. Testaccio which is the accumulation of thousands of broken amphora used to transport olive oil in Roman times. A fascinating tour of a lesser known Rome neighbourhood and lots of good food plus a great guide. WWW.eatingitalyfoodtours.com. I think they might do a similar tour of Trastevere.
I agree with Sydney... try Testaccio, which is a lovely (and, above all - still authentic) neihbourhood; however, it has nothing Medieval beside the city walls. It's Rome's traditional working district. Alternatively, if you'd like to see another modern face of the city, try the EUR area with its wide boulevards and its Rationalist buildings; landmarks include the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (also known as the "Square Colosseum"), two overlooked museums - the Museo Etnografico L. Pigorini, hosting a wide collection of artifacts from Italy's former colonies as well as others from Asia and Oceania, and the National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions - plus the basilica of St. Peter and Paul.
My wife and I stayed last year at www.OliveTreeHill.com It's the #1 rated bed and breakfast in the Rome area, and they're located in Zagarolo, 20 minutes south of Rome Termini. We took the commuter train into Rome the days we were going to the tourist sights. There is as much to see in the suburbs of Rome as there is within the city. Our B&B host, Ivano, is famous for his midnight tour of Rome. His knowledge of local history is incredible, and he's willing to take you to the different sights. He's also a great cook. We were driven to the top of a 2500' mountain fortress called Castel San Pietro Romano, and then we walked down 1000' (vertical) to a pagan temple called Palestrina. It was a great day.
See http://www.olivetreehill.com/places-to-visit-outside-of-rome for samples of sights outside of Rome.