Exploring alternative Rome.
Today we decided to get out of central Rome and see some of the lesser known sights. Using our Omnia Card we took a hop on and off bus to get to the Colosseum. Seeing the Basilica of St John the Lateran on the way.
Arriving just past the Colosseum We headed towards Via di Porta S.Sebastiano, which would take us to our first spot, the old Roman road into Rome.
The walk was lovely, past lush green parks and through old gateways, one part of the road had no pavements but it didn’t feel dangerous.
It was nice and relaxed and we got some drinks and ice creams along the way. We walked along Via Appia Antica which is the old Roman road and took a detour onto a grassy tree lined path which was much nicer. Imagining what it used to be like and the legions of Roman centurions who would have trampled their way through was great fun.
Our destination was the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, located beneath the grounds of a church with the same name, there are so many underground tombs here and we couldn’t wait to explore.
We paid the fee and were led down into the catacombs, it was seriously spooky and I felt like I was in Indiana Jones. We passed crypts and I was sure you would get lost down here if you didn’t have a guide.
The catacombs were built by Christians during their persecution, as they were forbidden to be buried inside the walls of Rome. There are also Roman mausoleums located here from the 2nd century, these were incredible. They are in amazing condition, with 3 mausoleums each decorated with different designs.
The crypt of St Sebastian is also located here, with a Bernini – associated bust of Sebastian in the room. He was a martyr after being killed for his Christian beliefs.
There are lots of different catacombs dotted around this area, but we just stuck to doing one. We left the tombs into the lovely Basilica and had a look around before departing back towards the City.
Little did we know there was more ancient road to explore! Our one regret as we managed to do most other things in Rome that we wanted to do.
After looking at google maps we realised we could walk through the Ostiense area, a rejuvenated part of Rome that was known for it’s interesting street art. We wandered through checking out the graffiti and stopped for pizza slices. It was really tasty and totally cheap, we chose 3 slices each and devoured them.
We carried on walking in the general direction of the apartment and on the way stopped at the old protestant cemetery. The famous poets Shelley and Keats are buried here, and it was quite a nice peaceful place to walk around. We also got the bonus of great views of the pyramid, a tomb built for Gaius Cestius, a high ranking Roman. Built between 18-12BC, I can’t get over how old some of the buildings are here!
After this we just headed back to the apartment, stopping off for a glass of wine and getting ready to give Trastevere another go.
This time we relaxed a bit more, not rushing to find food we had a drink at a bar where you could go upstairs and sit on a wall looking out over the street and the river.
We carried on wandering but everywhere was pretty busy, so we ended up somewhere that had one spare table. The food was again just ok so we decided that was the end of our Trastevere meals. We finished the night off with a few drinks in a nice bar watching the world go by.