Rome holiday itinerary, days 6 and 7: Surprising places in Rome

It was a rainy Tuesday when we found ourselves close to the end of our Rome holiday. But the sad weather didn’t stop us: we took the subway to Termini and started to look for an umbrella. There were still some surprising places in Rome, just waiting for us!

Oh, I think I forgot to mention this: you know how there are some people, like myself, who collect magnets from the places they visit? Well, Mathieu collects umbrellas. So he is very excited when he gets a rainy day when he is traveling: a new umbrella!

From Termini station, happily covered by a large rainbow umbrella, we headed to visit yet another building of the National Roman Museum: Terme di Diocleziano.

Diocletian’s Baths (Terme di Diocleziano)

We had expected Terme di Diocleziano to be an open-air museum, but the largest part of it was indoors. We entered in through a nice rose garden surrounding a fountain, then continued with a visit inside the museum.

Finished in the year 306 AD, the Baths of Diocletian were the largest imperial baths at the time. Its pools with water maintained at various temperatures were named in accordance with their properties: calidariumfrigidarium, and tepidarium. They were all supplied by the 2nd-century aqueduct Aqua Marcia.

Diocletian’s Baths also had a central hall, an outdoor swimming pool, plus several other rooms which served various purposes.

Besides the visit to the halls of Terme di Diocleziano, one can also visit the archaeology museum, in a third-century charterhouse designed by Michelangelo himself.

I liked catching glimpses of the interior courtyard from various angles, through the windows of the museum.

We enjoyed the visit to Terme di Diocleziano a lot more than we initially expected.

Villa Borghese

The weather got a bit better by the time we left Terme di Diocleziano. We decided to go for a walk through the wonderful Villa Borghese Park before the rain started again.

Talk about surprising places in Rome: we passed by a Gelato festival! But the weather just wasn’t fitting to dive into all those flavors, though I’m sure they were delicious.

We wandered the long streets for a while, then stopped to get a hot beverage at a kiosk near the horse track.

We left Villa Borghese when we started feeling hungry.

Ristorante Cantina Cantarini

After admiring the buildings on the beautiful Via Veneto, we entered the cozy Cantina Cantarini.

Here’s a bit of history from the restaurant’s website:

“The restaurant was born in 1903 from the enthusiasm of Mariano Cantarini, handed down to his son in 1925, which continues with the success of the tavern’s activity, where once sandwiches were served for the Romans accompanied by wine, beer, and other drinks.

The kitchen began to take on a key role when guests began to bring raw food to be cooked directly by the cook of our tavern.

In 1943, just 8 years old, Mario Fattori began his work at the tavern, starting from a simple waiter and then becoming, in 1980, the current owner.”

We enjoyed the delicious pasta and dessert,  it was like an Italian mamma had cooked it just for us. (By the way, when I praise the food but don’t have any photos, it’s because I was too eager to taste it. Just so you know! 😉 )

The history of the place and the food it served made us add it to our list of surprising places in Rome. We were simply looking for a place to eat that had a good rating and we came across his hidden gem.

Quartiere Coppedè

Whimsical and romantic, Quartiere Coppedè is a must-see. Its creator, the Florentine architect Gino Coppedè, must have had a lot of fun when creating the buildings that are part of Rome’s smallest district. Though he daringly combined a lot of architectural styles, the result is beautiful:

Personally, I find this quarter to be one of the best surprising places in Rome.

After Quartiere Coppedè, but before a long tram ride, we stopped for a coffee in Piazza Buenos Aires, at Streatart.

Vecchia Roma, at last!

It had been ten years since my last dinner at Vecchia Roma. Inside, the decorations had changed, naturally, but I was happy to learn that their food tastes as good as it did a decade ago.

We had the mouthwatering Bucatini Amatriciana Flambé and Spaghetti Parmigiana Flambé, the reason why we actually went there. In the past, when they didn’t host such a high number of guests and space allowed it, they used to make a whole show of these meals. They would have a table with two large cheese wheels, scooped in the middle. The hot pasta and the delicious sauce would be thrown inside the cheese wheel, some alcohol would go on top and then they lit it on fire.

But even without the show, it was so worth going there for the flambé pasta. And, la pièce de résistance, their Tiramisu. I promised in the previous post that I would show you Mathieu’s favorite tiramisu. Well, Vecchia Roma has it!

First of all, it’s huge. Initially, the waiter brought us one with two spoons, thinking we’d share like most couples used to do. But I asked him for my very own portion, knowing that I’m not ready to compete with Mathieu over Tiramisu.

Mathieu considered it perfectly balanced. And we both enjoyed it to the very last sprinkle of coffee powder.

Though we didn’t do much on our sixth day, all the walking during a damp day plus the wine we had with dinner made us go to bed quite tired.

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

In our final hours in Rome, we decided to go visit Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano. I already knew how beautiful its interior was, but it also had the advantage of being close to where we stayed.

Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano was founded in the 4th century and it used to be a papal residence until 1309. This is also where the popes were crowned until the 19th century.

le foodie cafe bistrot in rome italy

Le foodie Cafe Bistrot

Time was pretty short before our bus ride to the airport. We quickly looked and found a terrace to have a last glass of wine in Rome. A glass turned into two, so we also ordered some food.

It wasn’t the best meal we had in Rome, but, in the end, Le Foodie Cafe Bistrot was ok. The ambiance was nice, and the waiter was funny, though a bit of an over-sharer.

Arrivederci, Roma!

Famous, hidden, or surprising, the places we visited in Rome have stayed in our hearts and minds. We actually watched Woody Allen’s To Rome with love the other day and reminisced together every time we saw a place we recognized.

We will definitely return to Italy, I barely opened Mathieu’s appetite for all this beautiful country has to offer.  Next time, we’ll probably explore Tuscany, and I can barely wait!

36 Thoughts to “Rome holiday itinerary, days 6 and 7: Surprising places in Rome”

  1. Lovely photos! Rome is one of the places I want to reach. But I still have to same a big amount of money. I want to visit the churches there and I want to taste their food. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

  2. Erin

    I always love it when people do my travel planning for me! Rome is beautiful and there is so much to do.

  3. Rome looks like an awesome place and perfect for travel. Like your photos of you!

  4. Matija

    Ohhhh yes yes yes, this is exactly what I have been looking for, a friend is going to Rome for the new years and I have been thinking what to put in the itinirery for the last day, and a few of those places might just make the list, the basilica I have heard is immensly beautiful, and it’s already on there, but the diocletian baths i forgot all about them, and the villa, talk about lucky in finding this blog post, all those places look beautiful, as well as the food it looks yummy.

  5. Love this post! I love finding places when traveling that don’t feel too touristy so I will definitely reference this post on my next trip to Rome!! (Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later!) love the blog, can’t wait to read what you post next!

  6. These photos are beautiful! Rome is seriously my dream destination

    1. I’m glad you like the photos, Briana, and I hope you get to visit Rome soon.

  7. The photos are stunning! ? It looks as though you were very busy in Rome. I have been to Italy before, so I can relate to the delicious large portions of food that you get in restaurants. I love that the architecture is breathtaking and artistic and that it is everywhere. You captured that nicely! ?

  8. Lovely pictures and very well described. Rome has always been on my bucket-list. One day, hopefully! Keep up ?

    1. Thank you, Stuti! I really hope you do get to visit this soon.

  9. Italy is top on my bucket list! I loved reading about parts of Rome I’ve never heard of before!

    1. I am so glad to hear that, Katie! I am currently working on a complete and affordable travel guide for Rome. Check back soon, it’s full of useful stuff to plan you perfect holiday in Italy’s capital city!

  10. A dream destination for me, someday I will like to visit Rome. The architecture is amazing.

    1. Hi, Jasmeet! Rome is a dream destination even to those who have already visited 🙂 I really hope you get to make your dream come true soon, I’m sure you’ll love it.

  11. Amazing photographs and well planned itinerary for Rome. I recall my visit to Italy.

    1. Thank you, Indu, I’m happy you enjoyed this article from my Roman Holiday series. And I’m also glad it brought back lovely memories for you, too 🙂

  12. Very nice! I collect magnets from every place I visit as well.

  13. Neil Alvin Nicerio

    Beautiful. I have always wanted to go to Rome. I will surely follow your articles so that I would have an idea of what I could do there. ?

    1. Thank you, Neil. I’m actually working on a complete and affordable Rome travel guide at the moment, filled with useful tips and information. Stay tuned, I’m sure it will be very handy to you when you plan your trip to Rome 🙂

  14. Thank you for this ! I have always wanted to travel to Rome Lovely pics aswell

  15. remo

    ROMA! I want to visit the city since long time. Beautiful pics of stunning architecture. Wine looks divine!

    1. I hope you get to visit Rome soon, Remo, because it is an amazing city. And yes, Italian wine is divine 🙂

  16. Rome is an always interesting place to visit as it as so much history. The Baths seem like an interesting place to visit as I never been to an open-aired museum.

  17. The interior courtyard of Diocletian’s Baths Look pretty amazing. Great images. Thanks for introducing us to such great wonders.

    1. It really was breathtaking, Keshia. I loved it a lot more than I initially thought I would. I’m glad you liked this and I hope you return soon to discover other wonders I have to share with fellow travelers.

  18. Beautifully written
    loved it!
    Do you have any plans to visit Pakistan? 😀

    1. Thank you, Jibran, I’m glad you liked it. You should also check the other articles in the Roman Holiday series, I’m sure they’ll also be to your taste.

      As for Pakistan, I don’t plan on visiting it in the next two years (which are already drafted 🙂 ), but it’s definitely on my bucket list. My top three things I wish to see in Pakistan are the Noor Mahal, Mohatta Palace, and the Rohtas Fort. 🙂

  19. I never been to Rome, and i always wanted to! i´ll save this article and follow the amazing tips you provided! thank you ! very good article

    1. I hope you get to visit Rome soon and I’m happy that this article’s been helpful. I’m also working on a complete and affordable Rome travel guide, so check back soon or subscribe to the newsletter to get all the useful advice I’m gathering there 😉

  20. Loved reminiscing about my trip to Rome through your post. I appreciate how you captured this beautiful city.


    1. Glad to know that my article brought back beautiful memories from your own own Roman Holiday, Sultan. 🙂

  21. I love the Bath of Diocletian, i’ve been to public Bath but Diocletian is something because water run through an ancient aqueduct….. And thanks to a movie reference….i’m looking forward watching To Rome with Love….

  22. OMG I loved your post.. I really want to visit Rome someday.. eat their food, walk through the streets just enjoy their culture..

  23. So interesting. I never thought that yu might need so many days to enjoy the real fun. Thanks

  24. Rome is so beautiful. I definitely want to visit to see the churches. Thank you for sharing.

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