Skipping the Vatican and the Forum

Your kid is on his fifth-grade school trip to Rome, taking in all the obvious highlights, queueing for the Vatican and the Forum. So what’s the clever thing to do? Fly out to the Eternal City, pick him up at his hotel as his teachers and classmates leave for the airport, and show him all the things that he missed. Here are five more days in Rome, slightly off the beaten path.

His hotel is in the middle of Monti, the cool neighbourhood where you will return for coffee each day.

Day 1 - Tivoli

The first day you rent a car to leave the city for the small town of Tivoli and its two treasures - Emperor Hadrian’s Villa Adriana and the 16th-century Villa d’Este with its famous fountain-filled terraced gardens.

That ass, though.

And the kid’s sense of humour.

Day 2 - Doria & Keats

It’s a cloudy day when you wake up, and soon enough it starts to rain. So you decide on showing the kid some hidden gems around the corner of two very crowded squares: the Galleria Doria Pamphilj behind the Piazza Venezia, and the Keats-Shelley Memorial House right at one side of the Spanish steps.

The walls of the Doria picture gallery have three or four masterpieces hanging above each other. The house where Keats, Shelley and Byron once lived is a sanctuary amidst the Piazza di Spagna humdrum. While back in Monti, you end up witnessing a Greek-orthodox wedding.

Day 3 - Aventino, Regola & Parione

Fresh from the underground, you go straight by the Colosseum towards the quietest of Rome’s seven hills, and then embark on a lengthy city walk to Trastevere, the Isola Tiberina, the Campo de’ Fiori, the Pantheon, moving past the crowds at the Trevi fountain towards Piazza Barberini, and back into the metro towards ‘home’.

Your first destination is the Giardino degli Aranci vantage point on the Aventine, followed by your favourite Roman church, age-old Santa Sabina.

Clinched between the Santa Sabina and the Sant’Alessio is the small garden where you as a teenager used to spend your afternoons, listening to your walkman while feeling the summer breeze on your skin. You are happy to demonstrate to your kid what that was like.

Then you descend towards Trastevere for pizza...

...and retreat to the Isola Tiberina for a deserved break, before you go on an afternoon walk through some of the oldest parts of the city.

In front of the Santa Maria sopra Minerva - the only gothic church of the city - you discover that Lennon is still alive and has an iPhone.

Day 4 - Ponte & the Pincio

The next day you are back on the Martian fields for an exhibition in the Chiostro del Bramante, after which you visit the nearby Santa Maria dell’Anima, right around the corner of Piazza Navona. This opulent Renaissance church is the Dutch and German church in Rome, and the only Dutch pope in history - bonus points for his name - is buried here.

Then you go past the Spanish steps for a lazy afternoon in the Pincio park, only to return here for diner.

Day 5 - St John & St Mary

Your final day starts with a visit to the true main church of Roman Catholicism, the San Giovanni in Laterano. Next up is that other papal beauty, the Santa Maria Maggiore, from which it’s a short walk back to Monti for coffee, and that last blast by metro back to your friendly host down in the EUR district.


Mattijs Diepraam #places #travel #storyoftheday #rome #roma #italy #italytravel #italia #stelleritalia #city #cityglimpses #crestcontest Gear: #panasoniclumix GH3 & G3

  • Aury_ga

    A beautiful story, a different approach to the eternal city. Do you know that we took a picture more or less from the same perspective? In your story on page 30, in my on the 24th...curious! :)

  • mdiepraam

    @Aury_ga Thanks for the kind words, Aurelia! 🙏🏽😘 And great minds think alike: looking outside from the Pantheon is much more interesting than the obvious shot looking up at the dome... 😎✌🏽

  • Aury_ga

    @mdiepraam I also did that ... of course! hahaha

  • mdiepraam

    @kerrieturcic He was actually the first to like the story, so let’s hope he finds it interesting enough to give it a feature... 😉

  • simone_wit

    Fabulous story Matthijs!!! The photo’s are beautiful. Thanks for the guide, I will use it next time in Rome!!

  • mdiepraam

    Thanks for the kind words, @simone_wit, and it’s good to know that it’s been a help! 👍🏽😘

  • jordanfoy

    Mattijs, great use of Steller. I love seeing travel guides just like this.

  • mdiepraam

    @jordanfoy Many thanks for your kind words, Jordan. 🙏🏽👍🏽 I love telling stories in the way that Steller allows me to. The only thing missing from this one are a few bits of video, but this trip is from 2014, and I didn’t keep any videos from that on my phone... Monaco (with a bit of motorsport again 😇) and Paris coming up in the next month.

  • Giudit103

    Congrats! A good Rome point of view also for who knows it! Great photos🤩

  • mdiepraam

    @Giudit103 Thanks so much, Giulia, that is very kind of you to say. 🙏🏽😎 I have friends in Rome, and especially as a teenager and in my twenties I used to come to Rome quite a lot.

  • karen_claudia_

    Great travel story!

  • mdiepraam

    Many thanks, @karen_claudia_, happy to hear that! 👍🏽😘

  • Tinalouise

    Beautifully presented

  • mdiepraam

    Thanks for your kind compliment, @Tinalouise! 🙏🏽😎

  • mdiepraam

    Many thanks, @Steller, truly an honour! ✨🙏🏽

  • Omar_Ro

    I love your version of Rome. An incredible city!

  • mdiepraam

    Thanks for your kind words, @Omar_Ro, much appreciated! 👍🏽😎

  • veredit

    Very impressive story!!

  • mdiepraam

    That’s a wonderful compliment, Isabella, thanks! 🙏🏽😎 @veredit