See a new side of Rome

15 Apr 2014

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Rome is a stunning Italian destination with a plethora of sights and activities to engage in.

The list of attractions is almost endless, and you could spend months exploring the winding laneways and ancient remains of this fascinating place.

Once you've ticked the most famous attractions off your list, such as the Pantheon and ruins of the Roman Forum, head to these lesser-known, but equally intriguing sites and discover a whole new side to the city.

Visit the district of Trastevere

Trastevere is Rome's only surviving medieval-era district found across the river Tiber, making it fascinating and palpably different from the rest of the city. Take in the distinct rusty red and orange coloured buildings often covered in bright green creeping vines and blossoming flowers.

Dine in the centre of the district at the Piazza di Santa Maria, which is known for its fashionable and upmarket eateries. For slightly more reasonably priced fare, head into the laneways that spill out around the square for some great local finds.

Visit the beautiful church of San Crisogono, an early 4-5th century place of worship with beautiful art and architecture, not to mention fascinating excavations that have revealed old wall paintings. Santa Cecilia is another wondrous church to see with its lofty ceilings and intricate details.

Stroll over the Ponte Sisto bridge for beautiful views of the area.

Stroll the grounds of Villa Doria Pamphili

Once the country estate of a noble Roman family, the Villa Doria Pamphili now offers locals and visitors a beautiful public green space in the heart of the city. It spans an impressive 184 hectares making it Rome's largest park.

There are three different parts of the park to explore, the palace and gardens, the pine forest and the farm grounds.

Wander the grounds and soak in the sights including stunning stone fountains and statues, lush floral gardens, tranquil water features and gorgeous old buildings from the 17th century.

The perfect destination for a leisurely afternoon, pack a picnic lunch and spend hours exploring the many wonders on offer here.

There are also regular events on offer such as Concerts in the Park, as well as theatre in the historic cottage Corsini Villa Pamphili building.

Check the park's opening hours before you visit. In the spring and summer the grounds are open until 8 or 9 p.m., while in the winter they close earlier at 6 p.m.

Visit the fascinating Roman Cat Sanctuary

Largo di Torre Argentina, also known as the Roman Cat Sanctuary, is impressive in more ways than one.

This complex was excavated in the 1900s, revealing ancient temples below street level. In fact, this complex was even recently confirmed by a number of scientists and historians as the site of Julius Caesar's murder and today you can visit the very spot he met his end.

What's more, Largo di Torre Argentina is also a local cat sanctuary. Hundreds of homeless cats, many of which suffer injury and disabilities, live in the old temple ruins, cared for by a group of dedicated volunteers.

A taste of Il Gelato di San Crispino

What's a journey to Rome without the sweet taste of gelato?

You'll find a new ice cream store around every corner in the city, but Il Gelato di San Crispino along the Via della Panetteria, not far from the Trevi Fountain, is one of the best.

This shop uses only quality, fresh ingredients with no artificial preservatives, just one of the reasons why it tastes so delicious!

Head along and sample the ever-changing range of flavours. If you just can't decide, the staff will be happy to help you pick out a delectable choice. You simply won't be able to resist coming back for more.

With your tasty gelato in hand, head out and enjoy your holiday in Europe with a difference, discovering all the delights this lesser-known side of Rome has to offer.