A Recommendation from an American Man Outside an Irish Pub in an Italian City
When travelling we all like to discover something a little different, something that those to whom we tell our tales upon our return are not expecting to hear about. Walking down that winding side street, moseying into that little shop – it’s the little discoveries we enjoy the most. Even if they turn out to be reasonably well trodden paths, the process of discovery is always the best part of travel.
Stick with me here! Rome is a city filled with a nigh on endless number of things to do; ancient sites to see, delicious food to eat, bars to relax and spectacular hilltop views (seven of them) from which to admire the cityscape. When flying over there with some friends for a long weekend there was bound to be a packed to do list of all Rome has to offer – the city’s reputation certainly proceeds it.
It goes without saying that sites such as the Colosseum and The Vatican are some of the most wonderful, awe inspiring ever built by the human race and are simply unmissable when visiting the city. There are many paths in a city like Rome; many of them are well trodden and some less so. I love finding the paths less trodden as much as many adventurers, however before I risk sounding like a preacher of the “off the beaten track” school of thought, I firmly believe that many of the world’s most trodden paths are so for a good reason. These paths contain beautiful places (such as The Colosseum and The Vatican) but discovering something slightly different is always a spiffing thing.
Our introduction to one of Rome’s (slightly) less trodden paths came when we found ourselves in one of the city’s Irish pubs, talking to a wise old American man who told us about the different police forces of the city (there are three of them) and a a crypt decorated entirely with human bones.
Walk along Via Vittorio Veneto – one of Rome’s most expensive streets where you can find the Rom branch of the world famous Harry’s Bar – and you will see the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. The church itself is free to enter and is stunningly beautiful, however pay an extra €8 and you will be able to wander the corridors of the museum and enter the crypt. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Learning about the Capuchin order of monks was completely fascinating but the real highlight came at the end of the museum, where visitors are allowed to tour the Capuchin Crypt. The Crypt is adorned with the bones of thousands of Capuchin Monks from throughout the ages. From chandeliers to wall borders, bones are used to create a spooky, macabre and hauntingly beautiful feat of design. Photos were strictly forbidden, but do give the Crypt a Google to get an idea of the incredible detail.
While the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini is by no means a hidden gem (see TripAdvisor) for many reviews from past visitors) it was certainly a sight we would not have planned to see when considering a Roman adventure. Our process of discovery (an American man outside an Irish pub in an Italian city) was part of our adventure and led us onto a path which we would not have otherwise trodden.