A little insider knowledge goes a long when you’re discovering a new city, and that’s especially true in a city as full of history as Rome. All onefinestay guests receive an iPhone packed with local recommendations from those in-the-know, and we recently met up with Emiko Davies to find out more about this magical place. If you want to take your urban exploration a step further, you can take a tour with our friends at Context Travel. With Context Rome tours, it’s possible to uncover a wealth of hidden details that pass your typical tourist by. Context’s experts have been kind enough to share a few pearls of wisdom on the Eternal City:
Hear the songs at the Church of Santi Quattro Coronati
Just a few steps away from the Colosseum sits one of Rome’s hidden churches. The monastic complex of Santi Quattro Coronati dominates one slope of the Coelian Hill. Despite its proximity to the Colosseum, this area is one of the most quiet in the city centre. There are many reasons to visit, including the gorgeous cloister with a fountain and walls lined with ancient fragments and the chapel of Saint Sylvester, which is covered in frescoes. Our favourite thing to do is simply arriving at Vespers or for mass on Sunday morning to hear the Augustinian nuns chant.
Nearby to Santi Quattro Coronati is the church of Saints John and Paul. If you slip around the side door, however, you can enter a series of ancient Roman houses from the 3rd century that lay buried here until recently. Because they were undiscovered for so long the original paintings on the walls are incredibly well preserved and quite rare. We also love how these private homes give an intimate look at everyday life for ancient Romans.
Everyone comes to the Trevi Fountain at some point during their Rome visit. It’s stunning, especially in the evening. But, try this. Turn your back to the fountain and look towards the Benetton store at the opposite end of the piazza where you might notice something curious. On either side of the shop’s doors stand marble columns embedded into the building. These columns were originally carved during antiquity and probably stood somewhere else, but in the 13th or 14th centuries, they were dragged here and used in the construction of houses. Those houses are long gone, but the columns remain embedded in the modern facade – a memory of time past.