7 Lesser Known Roman Sites In Rome

Ostia Antica Rome

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Roman ruins are one of the many reasons for tourists to visit Rome, and sites such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill are amongst the city’s foremost visitor attractions. However, there are many smaller Roman remains in Rome and the surrounding area, some reasonably well known and others less visited. And “new” sites are always being discovered and excavated. Here are seven lesser known Roman sites in Rome for you to explore.

Circus Maximus

The Circus Maximus is one of the city’s more recently redeveloped sites. Although it dates back to the 6th century BCE, it was only excavated and opened to tourists in 2016.

Remains of Roman spectator areas at the Circus Maximus with road and trees in background
Excavations at the Circus Maximus

This vast area of grassland was once a sports and entertainment complex (supposedly the biggest of all time), where 150,000 people would watch games and gladiator fights or participate in religious festivities. Today you can walk around the Circus Maximus and explore the remains of seating, shops and other public areas at one end of the stadium.

Read more: Recent Excavations At The Circus Maximus.

Diocletian’s Bath

Built at the end of the 3rd century CE, Diocletian’s Bath was the largest public bathing complex in the Roman Empire, with facilities for 3,000 people. The baths remained in use for more than 200 years. The buildings then fell into ruin but were later incorporated into a monastery on the site.

You can explore the remains of the baths and the monastery. The complex is part of the National Roman Museum, and holds an extensive collection of Roman and Etruscan artefacts. Read more about The Baths Of Diocletian And The National Roman Museum.

Case Romane Del Celio

The Case Romane del Celio are a small complex of Roman houses and shops beneath the Basilica Santi Giovanni e Paolo on the Caelian Hill. They are remarkable for their frescoes and for their place in Rome’s early Christian history.

Archway and walls with frescoes
Frescoes of the Case Romane

Read more: Case Romane Del Celio, Ancient Houses On The Caelian Hill.

Mausoleum Of Augustus

A very recent addition to the ancient sites in Rome open to the public is the Mausoleum of Augustus. Closed since 2007, the monument re-opened in 2021 following major restoration work.

Another massive structure (the largest circular tomb in the world), the Mausoleum is the burial place of the Emperor Augustus and other eminent Romans. Visitors can explore the building and learn about those who were buried here.

Read more: Mausoleum Of Augustus Now Open To Tourists.

Parco Degli Acquedotti

Ancient Rome needed a source of water, and aqueducts were built to bring water down from the surrounding hills. Remains of these can be found in various places around the city, but the most impressive structures are in the Parco degli Acquedotti, a little way from the city centre.

Parkland and trees with the remains of two long Roman aqueducts
Two aqueducts meet in the Parco degli Acquedotti

The park contains long sections of the Aqua Claudia and the Aqua Felice/ Aqua Marcia. You can also see part of the Via Latina, an old Roman road. Read more: Parco Degli Acquedotti And The Aqueducts Of Rome.

The Appian Way

Not far from the Parco degli Acquedotti is the Appian Way (Via Appia Antica), a section of the Roman road that once ran from Rome to Brindisi. The road is lined with the remains of houses, tombs, catacombs and much more.

Explore the Via Appia Antica on foot, by bike or as part of a guided tour. Read more about Walking The Appian Way In Rome.

Shady Roman road with tall trees on either side
Along the Appian Way

Ostia Antica

Around 25 km from Rome is Ostia Antica, the city’s ancient sea port. Here you can explore the remains of a complete Roman city, with houses, shops, forum and amphitheatre. The warehouses and other commercial buildings act as a reminder of the town’s past trade, and the site is famed for its mosaics and frescoes.

Read more: Exploring Roman History At Ostia Antica, Rome’s Ancient Sea Port.

Pinnable image of lesser known Roman sites in Rome showing Roman remains at Ostia Antica
Pinnable image of Ostia Antica

Other Roman Sites In Rome

You are likely to discover many more ancient sites just by keeping your eyes open as you wander around the city. In my last visit alone I found several Roman sites that were new to me. There was the Largo di Torre Argentina, a temple complex that is now a cat sanctuary. Then there was the Portico d’Ottavia (remains of a fish market), part of the Ludi Magni (where gladiators once trained), and much more.

Roman pillars in front of a double row of arches at the Teatro di Marcello
Roman remains at the Teatro di Marcello

Do you have any other lesser known Roman sites in Rome to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.

About Bewitched by italy

Bewitched By Italy is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), but Italy remains one of my favourite destinations. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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