What Not To Miss In Rome

By: Gaizka Pujana

There isn't really very much that could be considered truly off the beaten track in Rome it's largely a city where all tracks have been well and truly beaten. However, one must never cease to try, and so here's an idea for if not quiet, then certainly a quieter option for your visit in Rome.

The Basilica di San Clemente is a beautifully attractive church located just a few minutes away by foot from the Colosseum. This is a great place to take a break from the throngs of tourists, and to take in the airy basilica and gorgeous cloister. For the appreciative amongst you, the mosaic to be found in the apse is an excellent example of its craft, as well as rich and pleasant to the eye. For all the peace of the church, it is what lies beneath it that is the true attraction however.

Rome is one of just a few cities that has experienced inhabitation level after inhabitation level, leaving it with layer upon layer of material culture and remains this is just what can be seen under the Basilica di San Clemente. Here you will find 3 layers of history preserved for you to see with your own eyes.

The current church was restored in the eighteenth century, but was originally build in 1108. Below the original foundations is an ancient holy place which St Jerome mentioned in 392. You can actually enter the remains of this building that was destroyed by the Normans, and even view some of the original frescoes, one of which illustrates the life of St. Alexis. Below this however, is the earliest level which dates to the period before which Christianity was accepted in the Roman Empire. During this time Christians were persecuted and had to meet in secret this level attests to such a reality with its small rooms and narrow alleyways which indeed may have been meeting places for early Christians. Entrance to the underground layers costs 3 Euros, and is worth every cent of it.

Of course this is just one of the literally thousands of things to do in Rome, and will provide you with a slightly more interesting story to tell your friends at home than all the regular locations. Due to the sheer mass of places in Rome to visit and see, it doesn't really make too much difference where you choose a hotel.

It is important however that the hotel you choose will be close to public transport and close to eateries again something that there is an abundance of. You will quickly learn, that the closer you get to La Vatican the more expensive everything becomes, so in terms of accommodation, a little removed is recommended.

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