Did you know there is an entire city below the modern city of Rome?

Underground Rome, ruins from 3rd century A.D
Underground Rome, ruins dating to 3rd century A.D.

After two millennia of accumulated dust and dirt, building and rebuilding, filling in old buildings with sand and dirt and rocks and building something new on top, the current city sits as much as 25 meters above the various old cities.

Underground Rome, the city beneath the city. Ruins of a 4th century chapel
Heading below street level into the ruins of a 4th century chapel in Rome

If you stand at street level and look down into the Roman Forum you will see what I mean. It seems as though every time they go to build something new or dig up the basement of a property to do routine repairs they find some new site dating back to antiquity. In fact, 90% of the old city hasn’t been excavated and probably never will be.

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In my new book Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome (available worldwide on Amazon.com) I have an entire chapter on Underground Rome, with 10 really cool places to go below ground and experience the ancient, ancient city.

2000 year old mosaic floors in the city beneath rome
2000 year old mosaic floors in underground Rome

It is honestly one of my favorite things to do. Walk around the city below the city, seeing 2000+ year old mosaic floors and inlaid marble floors.

2000 year old roman homes below the current city of Rome
Walking through an area of ancient Roman homes and apartments, dating back 2000 years. These ruins are underneath the modern city of Rome

First century frescoes and frescoes that date back to the Republic. Plaques and columns and sarcophagi  – they’re all down there!

frescoes in Teatro Pompeo date back to 55 B.C.
Frescoes underground in Teatro Pompeo date back to 55 B.C.
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I take my Glam Italia Tour groups to a variety of these places. One of them is a 4th century chapel below a current day working church. It still has frescoes dating back to the 300’s on the walls.

ruins of a 4th century chapel in underground Rome
These ruins of a 4th century chapel are underneath a functioning church in Rome

Normally we are the only people down there. This nice old man who has been working there for as long as I can remember has to unlock the door and turn on the lights to let us in.

1st century sarcophagus below the city of Rome
First century sarcophagus in underground Rome

Meanwhile right up the street there are thousands of tourists waiting in line to get a postcard photo of a famous site (albeit with a bunch of other people’s heads in the frame), completely unaware of what is quite literally beneath their feet!

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fresco'd ceiling in Nero's Golden Palace in underground Rome
Frescoes on the ceiling of Nero’s Golden Palace date back to 64 A.D.

In Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things to Do in Rome I tell you about Pompeo, his rivalry with Julius Caesar and the huge theater he built back in 55 B.C.

column in teatro pompeo, rome
This column dates back to 55 B.C. and is in the ruins of Teatro Pompeo, beneath a restaurant in Rome

Julius Caesar was actually assassinated in the curia of Teatro Pompeo, which backs onto Largo Argentina. (I tell you where to find this in the book).

ruins of teatro pompeo below the city of rome
Ruins of Teatro Pompeo (Pompey’s Theater) below a restaurant in Rome. I tell you where in the book!

I also tell you about a restaurant that sits atop the ruins of the other end of Teatro Pompeo, where you can go downstairs and walk around inside the ruins. It is mind blowing!

ruins of teatro pompeo, 55 B.C.
Part of Teatro Pompeo, dating back to 55 B.C. sit below a restaurant in Rome
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If you are making a trip to Rome, be it for a day or for a month, I highly recommend picking up this book and using it to find all manner of totally fascinating places, most of which will be a short walk down the street from where you will be going anyway.

sarcophagus in underground rome
Sarcophagus in underground Rome

Read the chapter on Underground Rome and do your best to get to at least one of the places to experience the subterranean city. I can pretty much guarantee there will be almost no one down there, so not only will you get to experience something really sensational but you will also get to escape the crowds!

See you in Rome!

How would you like to end your day in Rome with a glass of something fabulous at one of the city’s stunning rooftop bars? I have made a downloadable PDF of my absolute favorite rooftop bars in Rome. Each of these bars are stunning and offer a gorgeous view of the Eternal City. Download your PDF of The Best Rooftop Bars in Rome HERE

Are you going to Rome this year? or ever? Then you need to know about the best Rome travel guidebook. Because I wrote it!

The best Rome Guidebook Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome

I am so excited to tell you that my new book is finally here! Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things to Do in Rome: Beyond the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps is now available worldwide on Amazon.com

Did you know that Rome is the 3rd most visited city in Europe and the 12th most touristed city in the world? Every year millions of people come to Rome. The problem is, most of them just hit the same handful of major tourist sites – The Colosseum, The Forum, The Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, plus a few others. So everywhere they go they have to deal with huge crowds, long lines to get in, too many selfie stick selling vendors, and pickpockets. They eat at tourist restaurants close by the big sites and overpay for underwhelming food that no self respecting Roman would ever eat. And at the end of it all they are happy to leave the city in the rear-view mirror.

I on the other hand LOVE Rome. I just absolutely love this amazing city. I spend a lot of time in Rome every year and along the way have discovered incredible places to visit and things to do that the tour buses don’t know about.

You will not even believe how many staggeringly brilliant sites there are in Rome, hiding in plain sight, right under your nose, just around the corner from the big tourist spots! Even better, hardly anyone knows about them. You can look up the street and see (literally) thousands of people waiting to get into a well known attraction like the Colosseum, then walk inside one of these mind blowing places and have it all to yourself, or maybe share it with a handful of others in the know.

What’s In This Book?

Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome

In Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things to Do in Rome I don’t tell you about the big sites – you already know about them! Instead every page is devoted to telling you about places you probably haven’t heard of before. (You may know of a few of them but chances are you won’t know them all). Rather than just tell you the name of a building, set of ruins or place to visit, I tell you the story behind it. The stories are at time hilarious, frequently intriguing and other times just plain crazy!

Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To do In Rome is broken up into 18 categories:

* 13 Places To Discover Ancient Rome
* 12 Places To Find Underground Rome
* 5 Special Places To Look for At The Forum and Palatine Hill
*10 Fascinating Churches and the Intriguing Stories That Go With Them
* 11 Really Unusual Things To See In Rome
* All About Piazza Navona
* The Battle of Bernini and Borromini
* The Caravaggios in Rome and Where To Find Them
* 12 Magnificent Museums In Rome
* The Ghosts of Rome
* 8 Fantastic Markets In Rome
* What To eat In Rome
* Where To Go Wine tasting In Rome
* The Best Instagram Spots In Rome
* The 7 best Places To watch The Sunset in Rome
* Rome After Dark
* 10 day Trips From Rome
* Tips For Travelers To Rome

There is something here for everyone. If you’re not into ancient history, art and churches you can enjoy learning about the best markets, the ghosts of Rome and the best Instagram spots in the city.

The best Rome guide book! Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome

How To Use This Book:

The last thing I want you to do is to try and see everything in the book! Instead read it all and then pick and choose items to add to your itinerary. You may not be interested in Caravaggio, but after reading some of the crazy stories in the chapter may decide to pop around the corner and go see one of them.

You may not have any interest in visiting churches, but find yourself intrigued with the story behind one of them and decide to go inside for a quick look.

You may want to add to your itinerary a market or two, a couple of underground Rome sites, and a museum before snacking on Rome’s best street food, taking in the sunset, going wine tasting and then seeking out the city’s famous ghosts. It’s all easy, close by and walkable!

Find out the best Instagram spots in Rome in the best selling guide book Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome, available worldwide on Amazon.com
Learn where to find the very best Instagram places in Rome!

If you are coming to Rome on a cruise and have only a few hours in town, chances are you will choose to spend that time visiting several of these places instead of spending 3 hours doing the Vatican or the Colosseum. If you are here for a few days you will find lots of places to add to your existing plans, or maybe replace some of them!

Each place in the book has a What’s Nearby section at the end so you can see just how many cool things are all grouped very close together. In fact almost everything in this book is within a mile radius of the Largo Argentina, a fantastic ancient site in the very heart of the historic center of Rome. You won’t need a taxi – just walk from one to the next!

CHECK OUT MY OTHER BOOK: GLAM ITALIA! HOW TO TRAVEL ITALY

Which Formats Are Available?

Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome is available on Kindle and the Kindle App, and within the next two weeks (late May 2019) will also be available in paperback.

If you have one of the Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans plans you can download it for free! (These are plans where you can download books for free on any kindle device or on the kindle app) You can download the Kindle App to any Android device HERE or to any Apple ios device HERE

Generally the digital/eBook/Kindle version of any book is much cheaper than the hard copy as there is no manufacturing cost.

I sincerely hope you will get a copy of Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome. If you are on Pinterest please share the pin below to your boards. If you are on social media please share this post!

See you in the piazza,

Corinna

XO

The best guide book for anyone traveling to Rome, Glam Italia! 101 fabulous Things To Do In Rome

Are you heading to Rome anytime soon and want something new and cool to see? I just found out about a new ancient site that has recently re-opened that I absolutely have to visit, and maybe you will want to too!

Let’s Talk Nero…

Bust of Nero

I didn’t know too much about Nero until somewhat recently. I knew he was a madman and an emperor, but not much more. During a visit to his golden palace in Rome (you can read about it in the Underground Rome section of my new book Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome, available on Amazon.com) I was asking my guide, an archaeologist from the site, some questions about him. She pulled me to the side and very emphatically told me Everything you know about Nero is wrong! I am down here with him every day. I know him! They have lied about him and I know the truth.

Which is why I say I didn’t know too much about him until then. It would appear the senate changed the stories of more than one emperor once he died, so maybe we will never know the full truth, but her urgency got me interested in Nero and I plan on tracking her down when I get back to Rome to get the next part of the story.

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Who Was Nero?

bust of Roman emperor nero
Nero

Nero was the last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was born December 15 in 37 A.D and died June 9th in 68 A.D at the age of 30. He ruled the empire for 13 years and 8 months.

A Guy With Mommy Issues…

Nero’s mother, Agrippina the Younger was an interesting character. He was adopted by his great uncle Claudius and became the her and successor upon Claudius’ death. Agrippina is thought to have had a hand in the death of Claudius and in Nero’s nomination to be emperor. Apparently she dominated his early life and weighed heavily on all of his decisions a.k.a. controlling mother/stage mom. Five years into his reign he had her murdered.

… And A Guy With Many Wives

The story of Nero’s marriages is intriguing by itself. First he married his step sister Claudia Octavia, daughter of Emperor Claudius.

bust of Claudia octavia first wife of nero
Claudia Octavia

It was a very unhappy marriage (because he was nuts) and he tried to strangle her on more than one occasion. While married to her he had many affairs including one with Poppaea Sabina, the wife of his friend Ortho.

poppaea sabina was nero's 2nd wife
Poppaea Sabina

Poppaea divorced Ortho and became pregnant with Nero’s child, which in turn prompted Nero to divorce Claudia and banish her to Campania. The baby died at 4 months old.

Claudia complained about her banishment, so Nero had her maids tortured. The people of Rome like Claudia and marched in the streets to have her returned to them, which scared Nero so he not only had her brutally murdered but also had her head chopped off and sent to Poppaea.

Nero and Poppaea had a tumultuous relationship but it would seem that she was his favorite wife, even though he ended up killing her too. In the summer of 65 A.D Nero kicked a pregnant Poppaea in the belly, killing both her and the child. After her death he went into deep mourning.

Statilia Messaline was Nero's 3rd wife
Statilia Messalina

While married to Poppaea Sabina Nero had been having an affair with another married woman, Statilia Messalina. When Poppaea died in 65 A.D Statilia’s husband was forced to commit suicide so that Nero could marry her.

And then things got even crazier.

In sometime around 66 A.D-67 A.D Nero also married a young boy called Sporus, who bore a remarkable resemblance to Poppaea. Nero had Sporus castrated and paraded him around dressed in the clothing of a Roman Empress, and called him Lady, Empress, Mistress, and Poppaea. It is thought that he used his marriage to Sporus as a way to assuage his guilt for killing Poppaea.

Sporus was a boy nero had castrated and then married
Sporus

After Nero’s death Sporus was then taken on by Praetorian Guard Prefect Nymphilius Sabinus who treated him as a wife and also called him Poppaea. Nymphilius wound up getting killed by his guardsmen, and the story got even crazier when in 69 A.D Poppaea’s ex husband Ortho, who now became emperor albeit for only 3 months, then took up with Sporus!

Sporus ended up committing suicide to avoid being used as a victim in a gladiator show. He was probably not even 20 years old at the time.

But back to the wives of Nero, there was actually one more. Back in 64 A.D after a series of banquets during the Saturnalia Nero married one of his former slaves, a freedman named Pythagorus. Except this time Nero was the bride and Pythagorus the groom. Nero even wore a bridal veil! After the ceremony the witnesses had to watch the consummation of the marriage too.

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The Rule Of Nero

Nero’s time as emperor is generally associated with tyranny, compulsive behavior and extravagance. (As well as lunacy). Many historians believe he started the great fire of Rome in 64 A.D to clear the way for him to build his gigantic pleasure palace, the Domus Aurea. Apparently he blamed Christians for the fire and had them burned alive.

There are modern historians however who believe the ancient sources who wrote about Nero were unreliable. The archaeologist I went through Domus Aurea with is convinced that the history we know of Nero is in fact based on lies and hatred, not the truth.

The Domus Transitoria

Nero’s first palace, the Domus Tansitoria is now open to the public after a 10 year renovation.

Stairway down to nero's Domus Transitoria
The stairway down to Domus Transitoria

Transitoria was a lavish palace decorated with marble, inlaid marble, porphyry, mother of pearl, frescoes and mosaics, dating back to 54 A.D. It connected the Palatine Hill with the Esquiline Hill, which is how it got its name. It was built partially underground to help Nero beat the Roman heat.

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Ceilings at Domus Transitoria
ceilings inside Domus Transitoria

Most of the Domus Transitoria was burned to the ground during the great fire of Rome in 64 A.D. The ruins were discovered, robbed and looted during the 18th century.

Frescoes in neros's first palace, the Domus Transitoria
2000 year old frescoes inside Domus Transitoria

What remained has been restored, so you can see the floors, frescoes and structure. One of the best preserved areas of the complex contains the 50 communal toilets thought to have been used by the slaves and workers, almost 2000 years ago.

Domus Transitoria

You can take a guided tour of Domus Transitoria, but the tours are for small groups only, around 12 total. There is new lighting down there, so you are not wandering in twilight. There is also a virtual reality component to the tour. This is something that Rome is doing so brilliantly, the multimedia and V.R. components to the newer tours are just sensational.

Nero's Domus Transitoria
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Domus Transitoria is open Friday – Monday and is part of the new SUPER Foro-Palatino ticket. Check the website for more details and ticket options.

Bonus Content

Would you like to enjoy a cold prosecco with a mesmerizing view while in Rome? I have created a downloadable PDF of the Best Rooftop Bars In Rome. Each of these fabulous spots is right in the heart of the city and easy to get to, especially after a long day of sightseeing! Download your PDF here

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