TREASURE HUNT ON ROME’S AVENTINE HILL

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How to explore one of Rome’s oldest hills, and have fun doing it!

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Rome is full of ancient ruins, monuments, and museums, but did you know it has lots of secret paths, gardens, and gorgeous views? Take a few hours to unwind with this off-the-beaten-track walk through one of Rome’s prettiest, and oldest, neighborhoods.

Peaceful cobbled paths, secret gardens, and beautiful vistas will revitalize, but there’s plenty of sightseeing, too — that’s the RWK way! Pack a picnic and head to the Piazza Bocca della Verità, where you can start your journey by sticking your hand in the “Mouth of Truth,” an ancient sewer cover on the portico of the church. Answer a question with your hand in the mouth, but tell the truth. It “bites” liars!

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If you make it past the Mouth of Truth, find the secret path that leads you right up the Aventine Hill. It’s called Clivo d. Rocca Savello (entrance pictured above). Just head south from the piazza, cross the large Via Cerchi, and look for the foot path on your left. Follow it all the way to the top (about a six minute walk), and turn right to walk along the street. Immediately on the right, you’ll find another treasure: the famous Orange Garden, called Parco di Savello.

This is a perfect place for a picnic, a game of tag, running around, or simply enjoying some down time, taking in the lush surroundings and pleasing scent of oranges.
Before you leave, make sure you walk to the edge of the hill for a view that stretches all the way to the St. Peter’s basilica–and beyond. So far, you’ve seen a mysterious, ancient stone face, climbed up an enchanted, secret path, and found your way to the little orange garden and its vista, but you’ve got one more treasure to hunt for: a keyhole!
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A KEYHOLE? WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL!

This one graces a door of the Knights of Malta, one of the world’s smallest independent states. Sneak a peek to see Michelangelo’s dome, perfectly framed by immaculate gardens. Pretty cool–so is looking over three countries at once: Malta, the Vatican, and Italy.

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