The Hidden Relics of Rome

Pyramid of CestiusA trip to Rome certainly isn’t complete without visiting the Coliseum and the Forum, but there are ancient buildings and ruins literally all over the city (and under it.) To truly experience ancient Rome, you should dig further into the city than what the standard tour books offer. See the hidden areas of Rome that have some of the most interesting and impressive sights you’ve never heard about.

Temple of Neptune
Built in 145AD, the gigantic temple was not for Neptune, the Roman god of the Sea, but for Emperor Hadrian. Regardless, the structure still towers over a small piazza. The temple edifice is truly fascinating because the large columns simply disappear into the ground beneath the modern street level. The temple was ingeniously worked into more modern structure, a trend that the Romans have perfected over the centuries.

Pyramid of Cestius
Build at the end of 12 BC, this tomb is impressive for many reasons. Not only is the entire structure covered in marble and in perfect condition more than 2,000 years after its construction, it is also modeled after the pyramids of Egypt. A wealthy and self-important Roman visited the foreign land and then built his own pyramid to rival the ostentatious nature of the pharaohs.

Arco della Ciambella
The baths of Agrippa were built in the first century BC by the same man who erected the first Pantheon. The only remains of the baths today is a perfectly round fragment of ancient wall standing, literally, in the middle of 17th century residences. It is just one more example of beauty, antiquity and practicality combining.

A battered and dated bust of Menelaus has a rather amusing history worthy of seeing for yourself. A local tailor who also served the papal court was known throughout town for his self-granted freedom of speech concerning the Pope and the papal system. It didn’t take long for the locals to begin attributing any comments about the Pope to Pasquino.

The statue of Menelaus was unearthed around the time of Pasquino’s death and was erected near his shop. At night, locals would come and pin outlandish comments to the chest of the statue possibly as tribute to the eloquent Pasquino. Today the entire piazza is dedicated to the tailor’s memory and his (and Menelaus’) statue is called one of three “talking” statues of Rome.