Three Stops in Rome

Rome, as you probably know, is one of my favorite cities in the world. Very few places offer such a vast amount of sites. One would need a lifetime to see everything in this fascinating city. We all know the most famous sites - the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps. You don't need me to clue you in on the obvious. While all those places should be visited, there is so much more to see than the standard tourist stops.

Next time you’re in Rome (whether your first trip or a return trip), try to squeeze in one these three stops while wandering around town. All are easily accessible and are best found by foot:

Piazza Fontanella Borghese – On the other side of the Via Del Corso and just a short walk from the famed shopping streets near the Spanish Steps is Piazza Fontanella Borghese. On the south side of the piazza are several stalls selling antique prints, reproductions, books and other various curiosities. Prints of famous local sights like Piazza Navona or St. Peter’s sell for a premium. For a good value, look for single pages pulled from 17th or 18th century books or other "less desired" prints. Many feature Biblical scenes or architectural drawings from French, Italian or German books. They are quite handsome when framed, inexpensive and make for a unique souvenir or gift. We have several Biblical scenes from the 17th century that we picked up for a song.

Santa Maria Della Concezione – Located on the famed Via Veneto, Santa Maria Della Concezione offers one of the creepiest experiences in Rome. The church itself is small but worth visiting. Yet, located in this capuchin church is a crypt dedicated to the four thousand or so friars who have served the church since the 16th century. Inside the ossuary are thousands upon thousands of bones arranged in arches, columns, ceiling designs and chandeliers. The experience is quite macabre but is truly unforgettable. Be sure to leave a donation with the friar by the door or you will get a dirty look (…and not much else since they’ve taken a vow of silence).

Piazza Margana – I love wandering around the old Jewish ghetto in Rome. The area still looks as it did hundreds of years ago and simply walking in the area will allow you to come across one discovery after another. One of those gems it Piazza Margana, at the end of Via Tor Margana. The piazza, located in the middle of the ghetto, offers a peaceful break from the cars and mopeds of nearby Piazza Venezia. A popular local restaurant, Vinando (called La Taverna Degli Amici the last time we ate there) , is located in the piazza. Call for reservations to reserve a coveted table in the piazza. The romantic setting is incomparable.

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