Rome is a beautiful city, brimming with stunning architecture and tourist attractions that astound and educate hundreds of global travellers each day. But for visitors that enjoy stepping away from the crowds and exploring a quieter side of Rome, there is so much to explore and admire.
Wheelchairs and crowds don’t always mix; so we broke away from the selfie stick clad crowds and found a few quiet spaces, so here is our Top 5 Things to do in Rome:-
1. Villa del Priorato di Malta
The beautiful Villa del Priorato di Malta, is located on Aventine Hill, which is stunning to walk around. Surrounded by ornate cypress gardens, the Roman headquarters of the Sovereign Order of Malta (known as the Knights of Malta) has one of Rome’s most famous and beautiful views. At first the large wooden door appears to withhold a hidden secret, but then as you peer through the famous keyhole in the villa’s green door, you will be treated to a spectacular view of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica perfectly aligned through a hedge tunnel. The gardens are closed to the public except for rare occasions but if you manage to get a good photo through the keyhole, you are in for a winning shot!
2. Basilica de Santa Sabina & The Orange Garden Along the street from Villa del Priorato di Malta on Aventine Hill, you will come across the beautiful Orange Garden, Giardino degli Aranci situated next to the Basilica de Santa Sabina. Originally built over the Savelli castle by the Savelli family around 1285, the garden is full of sweet smelling orange trees. The quiet, decorated gardens are rarely crowded, and overlook Rome, with an incredible view of the city. The Basilica itself is a small but beautiful church, built between 422-432 is thought to be one of the original early christian churches built in Rome, with its high windows and large supporting columns and an incredibly ornate original cypress wood door from AD430-432. This 5th Century door, has detailed etchings of different scenes covering each of the 18 surviving original panels, including one of the oldest depictions of the crucifix scene, it is hard not to be amazed at the level of intricacy displayed.
Located across the Tiber river, Trastevere, known as the bohemian, working-class district, has become an increasingly popular area to visit, away from the bustling crowds. With a fantastic nightlife and a charming medieval neighbourhood to get lost in, it is a lively area to spend an afternoon. The Piazza di Santa Maria, with the beautiful fountain is a hub of activity. With musicians playing in the square and the smell of food filling the air from the boutique restaurants lining the narrow streets, it is a real joy to experience. We spent the afternoon strolling around the beautiful streets, eating at a cute small pizzeria off the Tiber river and ice cream in the square. We watched musicians play and then got lost down ivy covered streets. For those looking to see the real Italy at a more relaxed pace, I would recommend a stroll across the river to experience this place for yourself.
4. Rome Vintage Fiat 500 Self Drive Tour
Our favourite highlight of Rome was a Self Drive Tour in a vintage Fiat 500. Nestled down a narrow street, opposite the colosseum, there is a little garage hidden amongst the houses. Inside the garage, you will find a selection of tiny retro 1950’s Fiat 500 cars. After a brief introduction on how to drive these vintage cars (there is a knack!)you set off in convoy to explore Rome and driving around this ancient city is both a terrifying and exhilarating experience, as the roads do not have lines and it really is a free for all. During the tour we explored Aventine Hill and many other sights of Rome, visiting the orange garden and the Knights of Malta in this tour. The cars were a great option for seeing the sights for wheelchair users, providing a unique perspective and a fun afternoon out, although Dave was terrified of letting me drive! We still frequently look back fondly on this tour and I highly recommend this to anyone visiting Rome. Click on the image below for more information.
5. Eataly Roma
Now most people wound not normally list a supermarket as a highlight in a city such as Rome, but as a passionate foodie, I had to put this on here. Smaller Eataly food markets can be found around the globe but the large Eately Roma is worth a visit for any food lover. With all food produced on site with several restaurants throughout the store, you can eat the produce whilst watching it be made and they give demonstrations on how they produce delicious Italian delicacies. There are fresh sections for Pasta, Pizza, Fish, Meat, Veg, Salami, Cheese, Piadina and Mozzarella, with its own brewery and wine cellar, patisserie, chocolatier and ice cream bar it really is FOOD HEAVEN! Oh and I forgot the coffee bar! It is a foodies dream day out! Check out the store HERE and if anyone visits, I can personally recommend the ice cream!
These are our top 5 things we loved in Rome, besides the incredible main attractions. If you have been or are planning to experience any of these highlights, then we would love to hear about your experiences! But for now, Happy Travels!
Much Love, J & D x