5 Best Day Trips from Rome
Rome, the Eternal city and capital of Italy, has a lot of glorious sights and attractions to offer. But the surrounding regions, cities, and towns can be just as alluring. Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery or great things to do outside of Rome, there are lots of stunning Italian destinations just a short train, bus, or helicopter ride away. Here are five that are absolutely worth a visit.
Do you know that Italy has about 20 winemaking regions? Of them, Tuscany produces world-class quality red wine. Among the region’s best wines, visitors must try a bottle or two of Chianti. Other popular wines from a local variety of red Italian wine grapes, Sangiovese (the blood of Jove), are Brunello and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (named after the endearing wine-tasting town of Montepulciano). These wines are famous for their sweet and dry taste.
Many tourists are also delighted to sample glasses of Antinori, Isole e Olena, and Castello dei Rampolla. Do you like joining organized tours? Most guided winery trips include a three-course meal and your choice of red wine as a grand finale.
Want more out of this region? Breeze through the highlights of Tuscany’s largest city and cultural capital, Florence. As the birthplace of the Renaissance, this city is packed with tourists, so to escape the crowd, sign up for a Skip-the-Line tour. Then tick off magnificent historical landmarks, such as the Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Repubblica and Duomo. Listen as your guide shares stories and information while strolling past these structures.
Have a huge capacity for wonder? Let your imagination run wild during this journey to one of Italy’s most extravagant imperial residences. Head over to Tivoli, and look for the ruins of Hadrian’s massive villa that rival the majestic mansion of Nero of Domus Aurea, Rome. Hadrian, an ex-Roman emperor, intrepid traveler, and architect, constructed his dream residence like it was a sprawling small city. It had baths, a library, theatres, gardens, an art gallery, pools, fountains, a palace, and even an island.
He based the construction of his villa on the finest, most luxurious things he had seen from his trips. Canopus is the villa’s manmade lake that’s meant to resemble a part of the Nile River. Bring your camera because you’re going to want to take pictures of this most-photographed tourist spot in Hadrian’s Villa. The key to knowing what architectural treasures you are looking at is to hire an expert local guide.
3. Ostia Antica
Here’s an underrated tourist destination outside Rome very few tourists visit. Although it’s not as popular as other Italian spots, its prized sights and attractions are easily on par with Italy’s well-known tourist destinations, minus the crowd.
The Roman ruins found in Ostia are more intact than most of what you see in big cities. If you have only a few hours to spare, it is a viable tour option. Take an excursion as far back as the 4th century B.C. through the town’s awesomely preserved archeological site complete with temples, villas, and the oldest synagogue in Europe.
The best thing about this trip? It only takes about an hour by train from Rome to reach this fascinating historic port.
Yes, Ostia has a beach, but it’s often crowded by locals and tourists looking to cool down in the height of the summer. But if you want a breathtaking beach getaway, head out to Italy’s best-kept secret: Sperlonga.
Though Italy has plenty of beaches to suit every traveler’s mood, this scenic seaside town easily wins the hearts of many beachcombers. It has unique beauty to boast. It’s so picturesque that artists and writers who have stayed here before have struggled to leave its splendor.
Unlike other Italian beaches, Sperlonga’s sprawling shores are pristine. Its distance from Italy’s big cities was a boon to the town. Wear comfortable shoes if you wish to explore off-the-beaten-path spots near the town. This requires a bit of a hike. How long does it take to reach Sperlonga from Rome? About an hour by train.
5. Castel Gandolfo
Travelers with a healthy dose of curiosity discovered Castel Gandolfo long before guidebooks began covering it. It is about 12 miles away from Rome, but it only takes 10 minutes to get there from the Vatican by helicopter.
This town is a good escape for everyone seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. It also enjoys an extended summer, much to the delight of tourists and locals.
Look toward its rocky hillside, and you will spot the 17th century Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo facing the lake. According to the latest news, it’s been abandoned by the current pope because the property was deemed too luxurious for the religious leader. While that’s a let down to the locals, it’s good news for the visitors who now have the chance to visit the summer residence as if it’s a museum. The former Vatican estate is now open to every tourist who wants a glimpse of the pope’s immaculate lawn, elaborate gardens, grand bedroom, and 400 years of history.
Bonus: Pompei. Granted, it takes about three hours to reach Pompeii from Rome, but there’s a reason why the city receives a steady stream of travelers each year. Pompeii rose to fame due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius (the volcano has actually erupted more than 30 times since 79 AD), burying an ancient Roman civilization under volcanic ash. More than 2.5 million tourists come here every year to uncover the mysteries and stories from the Vesuvian archaeological sites.
Whenever you book your next flight to Rome, plan to stay a few extra days to explore the places surrounding Italy’s capital. You’ll be amazed by what you’ll discover when you take day trips outside of Rome.