Unusual (But Fabulous!) Things To Do In Rome

This past week on the blog was spent on 5 fantastic things in Rome that most tourists miss.
If you are making your way to the Eternal City make sure you see the big sights, but don’t miss out on these too!
(Click on each link to see the original post)

Teatro Marcello

It looks somewhat like the Colosseum, doesn’t it? The Teatro Marcello actually isn’t too far from the Colosseum – read about it here


The Jewish Ghetto

Discover the world famous artichokes and a fascinating slice of history here in the Jewish Ghetto.

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The Pyramid of Cestius

Did you know there is a 2000 year old pyramid right in the heart of Rome? Read about it here.


The Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners

With the best view of the pyramid you could ever ask for, this final resting place for Goethe, Shelley and Keats is a must see when in Rome.
Read about it here.

Street Art In Ostiense

World renowned street artist Blu took over this building as well as some other walls in Ostiense, and created some amazing, modern street art.
Have a better look at his work in this blog post.





Unusual Things To Do In Rome ~ Street Art In Ostiense

It’s day five of the week long series on unusual things to do in Rome.

During the Glam Italia Tour last month I took my ladies to see some of the things the tour buses don’t go to. It’s amazing how there can be (literally) thousands of people at a famous tourist sight, but 5 minutes walk away there is something else equally incredible, and no one there to see it.

If you are planning a trip to Rome I hope you will read these blogposts and venture away from the crowd to experience some extra wonderful things in the eternal city.

If you haven’t read the rest of this series yet, either keep scrolling, or check out these links for the Teatro Marcello, Jewish Ghetto, Pyramid Of Cestius and Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners posts.

Today we are going to the Ostiense neighborhood to look at some spectacular street art, orchestrated by one of the best street artists in the world.

Street Art In Osteinse

Much of my beloved Trastevere has been defaced with graffiti over the past few years. Redundant tagging blamed on the immigrant population, lacking the quirky political messages and artsy vibe of typical Italian graffiti. It is such a shame.

Not too far away from Trastevere in a neighborhood called Ostiense there is some absolutely incredible street art. (big difference between mindless tagging and street art.)

image via Fotografia Errante

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image via New York Times

Fronte Del Porto is an former aeronautical barracks on the via del Porto Fluviale, given a facelift by one of the 10 best street artists in the world, Blu.

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The windows have been turned into the eyes of monsters, each in it’s own color, and each a work of art in itself.
There are also oceanic motifs.




Blu’s work addresses social and political issues including pollution, war and housing problems.



Hombre Banana apparently already appeared in a mural in South America.


I experienced the murals courtesy of a taxi driver. I was asking him about the murals while en route to the ghetto for drinks. He said “lets go now!”, pulled a U turn in traffic and jetted us over there (less than a 5 minute drive), and then gave us a guided tour of the art work and stopped for us to take photos, before catapulting us back to the other side of the Aventine for carciofi and spritz.

He had already quoted the fare to the Jewish Ghetto, butĀ ever the gallant Italian he refused to accept any extra money for taking us to Ostiense, telling me it was his duty as a Roman to show me this fantastic art!


Unusual Things To Do In Rome ~ The Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners

It’s day four of this week’s series about unusual things to do in Rome.

Everybody visits the Colosseum, The Vatican, The Pantheon, The Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps when they go to Rome. While these sights are sensational they are just the very tip of the iceberg – there is so much more to see and do in Rome!

That’s why this week I’m looking at other things to do while you’re in the eternal city, things that are a little more unusual.

So far this week we looked at the Teatro Marcello, the

Jewish Ghetto and the Pyramid of Cestius. Today we are visiting the Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners, which just happens to be at the base of the pyramid.

The entrance to the cemetery

The Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners

I love going to French cemeteries. Resplendent in statues of wailing women and aching angels they are spectacular to visit. Italian cemeteries tend to be more streamlined, more about the business of the dead. This one however is beautiful. Statues, gardens, flowered walkways – it is gorgeous. And it has some fantastic statues, wailing.


This cemetery was the final resting place for all kinds of fascinating folk including, Keats, Shelley and Goethe.









Located in the Testaccio neighborhood, which borders Ostiense,
the Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners also has a park-like area from which you can look at the Pyramid of Cestius.

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one of my travelers fraternizing with the felines

In the ruins at the base of the pyramid there is a cat sanctuary!


Romans love cats and provide sensational sanctuaries for strays, in this case, the fattest stray cats you will ever see.
These fat cats roam the cemetery, stretch out their full bellies on the walls in the sunshine, and generally enjoy life.
They are medically treated, spayed and kept very healthy.

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one of the cat ladies lining up giant bowls of tuna for the fat cat strays

An added bonus are the crazy cat ladies who work the sanctuary and walk through the cemetery with giant bowls of food for the felines. Like caricatures of themselves they speak to my deepest fears of one day becoming a crazy cat lady myself. Although if you are going to be a crazy cat lady, you might as well be one in Rome!


To find the Cemetery For Non Catholic Foreigners take Via Marmorata from the bottom of the Aventine Hill in the direction of the Aurelian Wall. Look for the giant pyramid gleaming in the sunshine and you will find the cemetery sitting right beside it.


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