9 Creepy and Cool Things to do in Rome Guaranteed to Impress Your Friends

The Eternal City, the City of Love, call it what you may, Rome, Italy is on the bucket lists of many. And for good reason! Rome is the treasure chest of Italy bursting with two millennia of artistic achievement. In a place where an entire empire of gold was crowned into centuries of rulers, where Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel and where the Vatican City upholds some of the longest kept secrets in the world, you can believe there are quite a few “off the beaten path” creepy, weird and all around cool (beyond your tourist map).

As my son like’s to say “in the olden days” Rome was an empire known for its fierce warriors and mighty reign. Today Rome’s formidable legacy is carried on by its people, its history, a lifestyle. Today’s Rome will always have footprints of the past while cultivating a modern society rich with art, food and tourism. And if you look close enough, you’ll find there’s a very dark and obscure side to the Eternal City. 

Here are 9 really creepy, weird and all around cool things to do in Rome.

#1 Torre Argentina 

A square in Rome where Julius Caesar had been killed. It’s also a really weird habitat for stray cats and acts as a no-kill shelter. I kind of hope its haunted.

 

By Wknight94 - Own work CC License

By Wknight94 – Own work CC License

 

#2 Porta Alchemica AKA the Alchemy Gate or Magic Portal

Built between 1678 and 1680 by Massimiliano Palombara, marquis of Pietraforte, in his residence, the villa Palombara, it is the only one of five former gates of the villa that remains. This mysterious door holds legends of a disappearing alchemist. Yeah, that’s just cool. On my top for things to do in Rome.

 

By Sailko - Own work, CC

By Sailko – Own work, CC

Vader by @thefairytaletraveler

#3 Santa Maria della Concezione Crypts

Said to be the inspiration of the Sedlec ossuary (1870) in the Czech Republic and the Skull Chapel in Poland, this crypt or ossuary has the remains of 4,000 friars buried between 1500 and 1870. It originated at a time when spiritual masters formed cults for the dead. Creepy? Definitely at the top of my list for things to do in Rome.

 

By Dnalor 01 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=32641593

By Dnalor Own work CC License

 

 

#4 St. Valentine’s Skull

A skull belonging to a St. Valentine. Perhaps the one we base Valentine’s Day around, perhaps not. Either way, it’s a skull in an old basilica in Rome which makes this creepy and pretty cool. And another super favorite for things to do in Rome.

 

Photo Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. under Creative Commons License

Photo Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. under Creative Commons License

AT-Disney-Native-1200x1200-StarWars-B

#5 The Protestant Cemetery 

The English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley were buried in this non-Catholic graveyard. I did graveyards. It’s the creepy side of my unicorn spirit.

 

Cimitero_Acattolico_Roma By LuciusCommons - Own work, Public Domain

By LuciusCommons – Own work, Public Domain

 

#6 Lacus Curtius

Some say this is one of the gateways to Hell. Ancient legend has it an oracle convinced a young horseman to plunge into the mysterious pit (now paved over with ancient stone), an effort to save Rome from peril. He did so, fully armored, on his horse and the earth closed over him, saving the day and Rome. You have to love a man and his horse right?

 

Roma Foro Romano Lacus Curtius By MM - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Roma Foro Romano Lacus Curtius By MM – Own work, CC

 

#7 San Silvestro 

Where you will find the head of John the Baptist. Yeah.

 

By Queenofthewilis at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=3101254

By Queenofthewilis at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain

disney-collection-300x250---StarWars

#8 The Catacombs of San Sebastian

One of the many ancient burial grounds beneath the city of Rome.

 

 

#9 Santa Francesca Romania 

Has the saint in which it’s named for on display in death. Like, ew. Certainly one of the more creepy things to do in Rome.

 

Saint francesca Romana by Antonio Acuña

Photo by Antonio Acuña under Creative Commons License

If you’re planning your list of things to do in Rome and you just don’t want to come home with another travel story that sounds like everyone else’s, check out a few of these places. You’re guaranteed to get a conversation going. If you’re looking for some extra help in the city to explore a little more like a local, check out.

This guide is presented by American Tourister. Our travel philosophy is to pack more fun into every moment and every bag, like our Star Wars, Disney and Marvel luggage collections. Keep up with us by keeping an eye on #PackMoreFun!

AT logo


About Christa Thompson

view all posts

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

5 Comments on this post

  1. This is such a cool list, I visited Rome many years ago but I would love to go back there’s just so much to see there xoxo

    Cate / Reply
  2. Great list! Not many people know about the Porta Alchemica, and I bet lots of people walk through the Forum without noticing the Lacus Curtius.

    I just wrote a blog post about the ghosts of Rome, which might be of interest!

    http://www.througheternity.com/app/webroot/blog/the-ghosts-of-rome/

    Alexandra / Reply
  3. […] is home to some really weird and creepy stuff. And you know I like weird and creepy. Here you can explore mummified remains of monks, walk into a […]

We love hearing your thoughts, stories and adventures. Share them here: