Rome, the Eternal City, is undoubtedly a bucket-list destination for travelers from around the globe. With its incredible history, awe-inspiring architecture, and sumptuous cuisine, it’s no wonder it attracts millions every year. But while Rome’s wonders are innumerable, there’s a whole world beyond its ancient walls awaiting the curious traveler. Italy’s countryside and coastline, peppered with rustic towns, archaeological sites, and natural wonders, provide the perfect backdrop for day-long escapes. Ready to venture forth? Here are some day trips from Rome every traveler should consider.
Just a 30-minute train ride from Rome lies Ostia Antica, the ancient port city of Rome. Before the Tiber river silted up, this was Rome’s bustling port, responsible for feeding its vast population. Today, the archaeological ruins provide a snapshot into daily life during Roman times. From the preserved amphitheater to ancient baths, shops, and apartment blocks, Ostia Antica is a quieter alternative to the always-crowded Roman Forum.
Travel Tip: Visit during the weekdays to avoid the crowds and allow at least 3-4 hours to fully explore the site.
Nestled in the Sabine hills, Tivoli is home to not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa.
Villa d’Este: Renowned for its Renaissance architecture and stunning gardens, Villa d’Este boasts a series of terraces, fountains, and waterfalls that inspired many European garden designs.
Hadrian’s Villa: This sprawling estate was the retreat for Roman Emperor Hadrian. Today, its ruins echo tales of Roman opulence with its baths, temples, and theaters.
Travel Tip: Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal amidst the historical surroundings.
A series of picturesque towns set in the volcanic hills southeast of Rome, Castelli Romani is famous for its cool climate, sumptuous wines, and idyllic landscapes. Top towns to visit include:
Frascati: Known for its white wine, this town offers wine tours that let you savor the local flavor. Castel Gandolfo: Overlooking a serene volcanic lake, it’s the Pope’s summer residence. You can even visit the Apostolic Palace!
Travel Tip: Plan your visit during grape harvest season to witness traditional wine-making.
Situated atop a volcanic rock, Orvieto offers panoramic views of the Umbrian countryside. The city is famous for its cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece with a facade that glistens in the sun. Underground, a labyrinth of tunnels and caves reveals the city’s Etruscan past. Don’t forget to taste Orvieto’s classic white wine!
Travel Tip: Use the funicular for easy access from the train station to the city center.
A mere hour from Rome, the town of Bracciano overlooks a pristine volcanic lake. The town’s crown jewel, Castello Orsini-Odescalchi, is a medieval fortress offering spectacular views. The lake’s clean waters are perfect for a summer swim.
Travel Tip: Check the castle’s schedule before visiting; it’s a popular wedding venue (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were wed here) and may be closed for private events.
Civita di Bagnoregio
Known as “The Dying City” because of erosion, this hilltop village is connected to the world by a pedestrian bridge. It’s like stepping back in time. With its cobblestone streets and ancient arches, it offers a peaceful respite from Rome’s hustle.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes; the journey to the village is steep.
While Rome is a treasure trove of culture and history, venturing beyond its confines can be just as rewarding. Whether you’re a history buff, a wine enthusiast, or just someone seeking picturesque landscapes, the regions surrounding Rome have something to offer. So, the next time you find yourself wandering the cobbled streets of the Eternal City, consider taking a detour into its enchanting surroundings. Adventure awaits!