Via del Portico d’Ottavia is the main street of the Jewish Ghetto and the heart of the community where there are kosher restaurants, traditional Jewish bakeries and stores that cater to the Jewish community in Rome. Street musicians play traditional Jewish folk songs and classical music while roaming from table to table.

Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

The Villa d’Este is a villa in Tivoli, near Rome, Italy. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, it features Renaissance architecture and Italian Renaissance gardens. The villa epitomizes the height of Renaissance culture and the gardens have influenced garden design world wide. There are hundreds of fountains and pools. Inside the villa there are also hundreds of frescoes which are painted from floor to ceiling. ] Richard Sennott/Star Tribune Tivoli Italy Tuesday 10/1/13) ** (cq)

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Hidden Rome

  • Article by: BILL WARD
  • Star Tribune
  • November 30, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Stand within the Colosseum’s massive bowl, and you can practically hear the roar of the ancient crowd. But to capture the sounds of today’s Rome, it’s best to get away from the flurry of tourists and settle into a quaint trattoria like Da Tonino, where everyone within its rustic walls chatters away in Italian.

No sign outside announces the restaurant; my wife and I dined there courtesy of a local’s tip. And that cloaked quality was precisely its appeal.

Hidden gems — ignored by the guidebooks, well off the tourist path — await in nearly every nook of this wondrous city. Of course visitors should crane their necks at the Vatican, sip espresso at an open-air bar in Piazza Navona and climb the Spanish Steps. But in a place with a history so long and rich that it is dubbed “the Eternal City,” only one approach seems plausible: Peel away the layers, savoring each one, to get a deeper sense of the place.

In our journey to do just that, we hoofed everywhere, from an underappreciated villa with some of the world’s foremost fountains to a neighborhood bakery with marzipan confections — and places beyond.

Our feet are still recuperating, but our souls are soaked with indelible memories.

Read about our finds on page G6.

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