• Liz Roller

  • Liz Roller

  • Liz Roller

  • Provincia Di Roma

  • Santa Maria della Pace

We have a new pope! White smoke billowed out from the Sistine Chapel's chimney today as the Catholic church announced its new leader: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first South American chosen for the spot. In case all the commotion has you fancying a trip to Rome, we've rounded up some of our favorite, less-touristy spots—all away from the hustle of the Vatican.

  • 1. Gelateria del Teatro

    Liz Roller

    Sometimes a break just means a refreshing cup of gelato. One of our favorites is hidden down a narrow, dead-end side street just beyond Piazza Navona: Gelateria del Teatro. They use only the purest, freshest ingredient, and if you're lucky enough to be there when they finish the newest batch, you might get to taste it straight out of the machine! Cioccolato con Nero d’Avola is consistently one of our favorites. It’s worth the trek to find it (and don’t worry, we still get lost sometimes, too). Look for the ice cream cone-shaped, hand-painted sign. Via di San Simone, 70

  • 2. Giardino degli Aranci

    Liz Roller

    For a quick escape, we head to the Giardino degli Aranci (also known as the Parco Savello), a small park set on the Aventine that has incredible views of the city. What makes the park even more of a draw is a monastery down the street that belongs to the Knights of Malta. We won’t ruin the surprise completely, but if you wander over to the front door and peer through the keyhole, you'll be gazing through three countries at once. Piazza Pietro d’Illiria, Via di S. Sabina, Clivio di Rocca Savella

  • 3. Sant’Ignazio

    Liz Roller

    A Baroque church famous for its spectacular ceiling frescoes, Sant'Ignazio is an incredible example of illusion. Due to a trick of the eye, much of the decorations appear 3D—some have architectural elements added to increase the effect. Head toward the dome and see if you can discover for yourself the “fix” they decided upon after the the donors backed out. Via del Caravita, 8A

  • 4. Palazzo Incontro

    Provincia Di Roma

    Rome’s famous museums are well worth the visit, but the lesser-known provide more than just incredible history and art. They are rarely crowded and usually offer more unique, avant-garde exhibitions. We love the Palazzo Incontro, a palace that had been turned into apartments and now is used for event spaces. You can still see the original palazzo underneath the modern renovations as you head up to the second and third floors, and the courtyard has been turned into a bookshop and cafe. Check online for the latest exhibits. Via dei Prefetti, 22

  • 5. Santa Maria della Pace

    Santa Maria della Pace

    You'll find this church just around the corner from Piazza Navona; head to the Chigi Chapel to see Raphael’s Sibyls. The church's limited opening hours depend on whether the custodian is around, so if the doors are locked check out the nearby Chiostro di Bramante, located just to the left of the church. The cloister is one of the most perfect architectural spaces in the world and an inspiration to a whole generation of Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo. Head to the second-floor lounge, just past the cafe; there is a window that actually looks into the church and frames Raphael’s fresco. Where else can you view a Raphael with a coffee or cocktail in hand? Via della Pace, 5

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