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Once you have seen the Colosseum, visited the Vatican Museums and wandered around the historic center, you should venture off the beaten track to get a true taste of the Eternal city. From industrial archeology to contemporary and street art, here are 10 lesser-known spots that you won’t find in your pocket guide.

1. MURo, the urban museum of Rome, Quadraro

Top 10 lesser-known sites of Rome.MURO_Quadraro.Blocal

Rome is not exactly full of street art, but there are still a few areas worth a graffiti hunt, such as the open air urban museum at the old Quadraro neighborhood. Since 2010 the organizers of this street art project have invited several international artists (such as Jim Avignon and Ron English) as well as Italian artists to re-paint this hood, which is worth a visit anyway, if only for the charm of its decadent villas and the quaint atmosphere.  (more…)

Untapped Cities Rome Ara Pacis E Ryan museum plaza

One thing you learn quickly in Rome is that there is not a lot of contemporary architecture in the historic center. Newer high profile works tend to be clumped at the edges, like Renzo Piano’s Parco della Musica and Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI Museum.  So it’s notable when a bold new work, like the Ara Pacis Museum, muscles its way into the historic core.

The Ara Pacis, or “altar of peace” is a remarkable artifact. Lost for over a thousand years, it was discovered piece by piece, over centuries, and involved everyone from archaeologists to members of nobility and even Mussolini himself. (more…)

Source: Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that Roman Holiday, the 1953 film that launched Audrey Hepburn‘s career, was the first American movie to be shot entirely in Italy? In addition to Hepburn’s career, it also launched Rome onto the world stage as a major cultural destination once more. Today, we’re touring of some of Roman Holiday‘s most memorable filming locations.  (more…)

Untapped Cities Capuchin Crypt 6 E Ryan

Of all the places you might find the Capuchin crypt, the Via Veneto in Rome seems to be the unlikeliest location.  But amid this district of four star hotels, expensive restaurants and swanky habitués, there resides a strange ossuary that has survived the centuries. Here, five successive chambers are decorated in carefully wrought patterns and vignettes constructed entirely of human bones and mummified corpses.  (more…)

Untapped Contributor: Ellen Ryan

06/29/2013 at 10:00 am

Posted In Arts & Culture, Rome

by diksha

Ellen Ryan Untapped Cities

Every week, we highlight one of our 300+ Untapped Cities contributors worldwide. This week, we’re featuring Ellen Ryan, an Untapped city correspondent based in Rome.

What’s your “day job”?

Right now it’s exploring Rome while my husband completes his felllowship at the American Academy here. Previously I was interim executive director at openhousenewyork and before that I was a senior staff member at three great organizations: Brooklyn Bridge Park, the NYC Department of City Planning and the Municipal Art Society.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city?

Pamphili Park is a true gem, a local park the way only Rome can do them. A former estate of one of the city’s wealthy Renaissance families, Pamphili is lush, filled with decrepid follies and the perfect retreat from the constant hum of motorinos and carabinieri.

Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped?

Centrale Montemartini, a beautifully restored thermoelectric plant filled with imperial era sculpture. This museum is the perfect pairing of industrial architecture and classical archaeology. (more…)

Untapped Cities EUR Rome E Ryan 1

Originally named E42, EUR stands for Esposizione Universale Roma, a worlds fair that Benito Mussolini and his administration planned for 1942, to celebrate 20 years of Fascist rule in Italy.  The exposition, of course, never happened, due to the intervening of World War II.  This district, located on the edge of Rome’s historical center, was intended to showcase the new Italy and its leadership, and was built according to a master plan by architect Marcello Piacentini.  (more…)