LENGTH

3-5 hours

Difficulty

Easy

Budget

Low

Route stops

  1. The Pyramid of Cestius

    Visit schedule, ticket prices and all useful information to visit the pyramid of Rome

  2. The Protestant Cemetery

    Opening times, artists buried and ticket fares of the non-catholic cemetery in Rome

  3. St. Peter seen through the Key Hole

    Seeing St. Peter through the Key Hole? Where to go and how to get to the Aventine Hill to discover one of Rome's hidden treasures

  4. Mouth of Truth

    Location and opening times of one of the attractions made immortal by the movie Roman Holidays

  5. Circus Maximus

    Circus Maximus: what to see, history and how to get to one of the most beautiful archaeological sites of Rome

If you have half a day to visit Rome and you already know the big classics of the capital, like the Colosseum, the Imperial Fora or il Vittoriano, we suggest this alternative route between sacred and profane. Put on a pair of comfortable shoes, bear in mind that you will walk for about two kilometers but it will be worth it.

1. Our tour starts at the amazing Pyramid of Cestius. Take metro B line and get off at “Piramide”. Once outside the station you will notice a huge pyramid built with concrete bricks. You are in front of the Pyramid of Cestius, built as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a Roman magistrate and member of the religious corporation Septemviri Epulorum, who stated on his will that he wanted a pyramid-shaped tomb.Built between the 18 and 12 BCE this is the only building of its kind in Rome. It is also possible to book a guided tour that will take you inside the pyramid until the tomb of Gaius Cestius.

The Pyramid of Cestius beside Porta San Paolo and the remains of the Aurelian walls

2. At the back of the pyramid you will find an oasis of peace and quiet: you are admiring the Protestant Cemetery, place of burial of all the non catholic foreigners who lived and died in Rome. This cemetery is famous both for the many artists, writers and diplomats buried here -like John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Goethe's son or Antonio Gramsci-, and the artistic value of the tombs.

Walk about the English cemetery and you will discover many tombs and sculptures like this one

3. Once your visit to the non-Catholic cemetery is over, walk towards via Marmorata and take the second street at the right side of Via Asinio Pollione. Continue along the street and in less than one kilometer you will arrive at The key hole. A stunning view may be enjoyed, through the key hole in the gate of the Priorate of the Knights of Malta, allowing you to take a "furtive" look straight onto St. Peter's Dome under a whole new an different view. A unique experience in the world.

Through the key hole it is possible to see St. Peter's Dome

 

Giving a furtive look onto St. Peter's Dome: a unique experience in the world, a hidden treasure in Rome
The Key Hole

Wander for 10 minutes for a short visit at the Garden of Oranges, a park located 500 meters away from The Key Hole that will offer you a breathtaking view over Rome.

4. Go now towards the Tiber and in 5 minutes you will arrive at Bocca della Verità ("Mouth of truth"), a 1.80-meter diameter man-like face carved from marble, well-known for Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck's film Roman Holiday. According to the legend, the mouth bites the hand of whoever don't tell the truth.

Before heading to the next stop of our tour, don't miss the chance to stay a couple of minutes in the square and admire the magnificent Temple of Hercules and the Fountain of the Tritons.

According to the legend, the Mouth of truth bites the hand of those who don't tell the truth

5. Go to the back side of the square and take via del Circo Massimo, you will be in front of Rome's oldest and most famous circus. Here, over 2,000 years ago the quadriga races took place. Today, the Circus Maximus is a great park where big events, concerts and parties are held. Take a walk inside and you will have the feeling of walking in living history. Next to it you will notice some archaelogical remains from the Palatine Hill.

Circus Maximus with the Palatine Hill in the back

The tour ends here. If you keep walking wou will get to the metro line B “Circo Massimo” stop.
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