Visiting Rome for the First Time: 5 Little Known Must-Do’s

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Rome is one of the most sought out tourist destinations in the world. This vibrant Italian city is rich in history and has an endless array of exciting attractions. There is so much to do and see that it is very hard to take in everything in one trip. And while you most likely have your heart set on the city’s major world-famous attractions, if you’re visiting Rome for the first time, there are many little-known places that are very interesting and should be on your itinerary.

San Lorenzo

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San Lorenzo is one of Rome’s emerging hip neighborhoods that throb with the vibe of the city’s modern cultural and arts scene. As you walk along the streets, you’ll find dozens of cheap bars and sidewalk cafes serving both local and international specialties. If you go to Campo dei Fiori, you’ll find no shortage of artsy types as well as Italian and foreign students. Occupying two sides of part of the Via Tiburtina District, the neighborhood has a storied past. It was originally a working-class area that was heavily bombed by Allied warplanes during World War II.

Church of St. Ignatius Loyola

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Being the epicenter of Roman Catholicism for the entire world, there are countless churches and cathedrals in Rome. Two of these were built by the Jesuits, an ancient order of the church. When you travel through the inside of the church, you’ll be simply amazed by the frescos and trompe l’oeil paintings done by Andrea Pozzo in 1685 that line the cathedral ceilings. Construction of the Baroque–style church began in 1626 and was completed in 1650.

Villa Doria Pamphili

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At 180 hectares, Villa Doria Pamphili is Rome’s largest landscaped park. Located on top of Gianicolo Hill, this park has some of the nicest French-style gardens you’ll find anywhere. There are dozens of fountains with the faces of theatre statues carved into them. Villa Doria Pamphili was built in the seventeenth century and is located in the Monteverde district of Rome close to the city’s ancient walls.

The park was originally intended to be a villa for the Pamphili family. When the line of nobles died out years later, Prince Giovanni Andrea IV Doria received the park and gave it its current name.

Vegan Cat Café

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When you go to eat at this quirky establishment, at first glance you might think the people who work and hang out there are out to lunch – no pun intended. Romeow, which opened in 2013, is inspired by a similar café in Japan that combined peoples’ love of vegan food and cats. It certainly isn’t for everyone’s tastes, but if you’re looking for something very unusual (as well as little-known about), it might just be worth checking out this feline-friendly restaurant.

Pyramid of Cestius

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A 2,000–year–old pyramid in Rome? Seems a bit out of place, doesn’t it? It does make sense when you take into consideration the fact that in ancient times, there was continual trade between Rome and Egypt. Emperor Aurelian was so inspired by the pyramids during a journey to Egypt, he ordered that one by constructed right in the heart of Rome. In fact, this pyramid was designed to become the eternal resting place of famed Roman religious leader Gaius Cestius, who died in 12 BC.

Inspired to plan your trip to Italy? Consider other awesome destinations too:

The Best of Italy: Highlights & Hidden Gems

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