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Rome's Top 10 : Hidden Rome

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  1. Capuchin Crypt

    If you like a good haunted house, this is your first stop. The bones of thousands of deceased monks have been used to decorate every conceivable surface in the most ghoulish designs. Those corpses that weren’t taken to bits have been hung on walls, decked out in cowled robes .

  2. Museo della Casina delle Civette

    One of the restored buildings in Villa Torlonia, Mussolini’s abode as prime minister, this Art Nouveau cottage displays ceramic and stained-glass decorations, including owl motifs, which gives it its name, “The Little House of the Owls.” The setting is now a public park.

    • Via Nomentana 70

    • Open Apr–Sep: 9am–7pm daily; Mar, Oct: 9am–5:30pm daily; Nov–Feb: 9am–4:30pm daily (museum)

    • 060608

    • Adm

  3. Museo Nazionale delle Paste Alimentari

    The National Museum of Pasta proudly proves that pasta was invented in Italy in the 12th century. Discover how pasta is made from durum wheat, which processes are used to create pastasciutta (dried pasta), and how eating it al dente (chewy) makes it easier to digest.

  4. Museo delle Anime del Purgatorio

    The Gothic Sacro Cuore del Suffragio church is host to a truly spooky display. A glass case preserves various types of physical “evidence” (mostly handprints burned on to surfaces) of visitations from dead souls, waiting in Purgatory to move up into Heaven.

    • Lungotevere Prati 12

    • Open 7–11am, 4:30–7pm daily

    • Free

  5. Pyramid of Caius Cestius

    Following the Egyptian fashion, many ancient Romans used to build their tombs as pyramids, but this is the only survivor. It was made to form part of the defensive wall around the city .

  6. Cat Sanctuary at Largo Argentina

    Dr Silvia Viviani is the guiding genius of this loving undertaking, but what makes it work is the volunteers’ enthusiasm. Tourists are welcome to visit the veterinary clinic, and are also encouraged to adopt one of the cats. The sanctuary has a “no-kill” policy.

    • Largo di Torre Argentina (southwest corner of square)

    • Open noon– 6pm daily

    • Donation

  7. Palazzo Zuccari

    Noted for its door and window frames shaped into screaming mouths of grotesque ogres, this bit of 16th-century Mannerist fantasia was the atelier of the painters Taddeo and Federico Zuccari.

    • Via Gregoriana 28

    • Closed to public

    Doorway, Palazzo Zuccari
  8. Museo Barracco

    This select collection traces the development of sculptural art in the ancient world. Assyrian and Egyptian works are highlighted, along with Etruscan, Roman and paleo-Christian art. Its original Greek sculpture is second only to the Vatican’s.

  9. Museo della Civiltà Romana

    A Fascist Art Deco Temple of Karnak is home to this fascinating museum. The most striking exhibit is a 1:250 scale model of what Rome looked like in the 4th century. Other items include models of ancient furniture and musical instruments.

    • Piazza Giovanni Agnelli

    • Metro EUR Fermi

    • Open 9am–2pm Tue–Sat, 9am–1:30pm Sun

    • Adm

    • DA

  10. Museo delle Mura

    Porta San Sebastiano is the most impressive gate surviving in the Aurelian Wall . It now houses a museum containing prints and models illustrating the wall’s history. Take a short walk along the restored parapets, which provide great views, especially along the Via Appia.

    • Via di Porta San Sebastiano 18

    • Bus 118, 218

    • Open 9am–2pm Tue–Sun

    • Adm

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