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