We get it, there is so much to do in Rome, keeping your days full and busy when visiting the capital of Italy, however, there are also incredible places to visit outside the city. A break from the chaotic (but incredibly beautiful) Rome might be the right pause you need during your vacation to Italy.
Besides, nothing is more rewarding than getting a different approach, moving away from the touristic trail to discover hidden gems, smaller towns, and romantic villas off the beaten track. You will be able to experience a more authentic side of Italy, and you will love it!
In this article, you can check some of the best day trips from Rome, within the region of Lazio as well as in other neighboring regions.
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10 Best Day Trips from Rome
Let’s begin with day trips within the Region of Lazio
Tivoli, a small town that is quite close to the city of Rome, famous for two spectacular but very different villas, Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana, which you can visit independently or together during the same day trip.
Tivoli is about 30 kilometers northeast of Rome.
Other than these magnificent villas, when in Tivoli, you can also explore the spectacular castle of Rocca Pia, which was built in 1461 under the orders of Pope Pius II.
The ancient old town of Tivoli is a pedestrian gem, easy to visit in about an hour where you can check the spectacular medieval architecture and …why not? Shop for some local souvenirs.
Getting to Tivoli
The best way to get to Tivoli is by train. The trains depart from Roma Tiburtina Station and arrive in Tivoli Piazza Garibaldi Station, the trip by train lasts about one hour and the cheapest ticket is €3.
You can also get to Tivoli by bus. It also departs from Roma Tiburtina Train Station and the trip is about 50 minutes. The ticket is €2. Keep in mind that traffic tends to be heavy in the area of Rome and its suburbs, so the train is always the best alternative.
This is a magnificent residence that dates back to the sixteenth century, and which has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list especially thanks to the spectacular gardens that surround the property.
The terraced gardens were designed respecting the Italian Renaissance style and include unique statues and more than 50 amazing waterfalls and fountains with a constant flow of water, and over 200 water jets that give a refreshing and enchanting touch to the landscape… An engineering masterpiece worth seeing!
More than 35,000 square meters (about 9 acres) of garden with incredibly beautiful pools and grottos, but also featuring an immense variety of plants, flowers, and herbs.
The villa is not as sumptuous as you might think as much of the furniture has been removed, however, once inside, it is possible to admire the unique frescoed walls and the imposing Vialone, a terraced balcony area that connects the villa to the gardens offering amazing views of the surrounding countryside.
You can visit just Villa d’Este, or combine the trip to a nearby villa, Villa Adriana, to do so, you can rely on a local bus service that connects both sites, the trip is about 15 minutes.
Getting to Villa d’Este
Villa d’Este is in the small town of Tivoli. To get there you can take either the bus or the train to the city of Tivoli from Roma Tiburtina Station.
One more UNESCO World Heritage Site, Villa Adriana or Hadrian’s Villa, is something completely different.
There will be no Renaissance gardens waiting for you, but you will certainly feel that you’re stepping back in time during your visit.
The villa was both designed and commissioned by the emperor Hadrian.
According to different historical sources, it was a usual tradition for the Roman emperor to have a villa constructed that he would use as a place to relax from everyday life.
Hadrian lived permanently in the villa, actually governing his empire from the premises.
As a result, a large court lived permanently in the villa where he also often received a large number of visitors who stayed for short periods of time.
Villa Adriana is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in Italy.
It dates back to Ancient Rome, probably contemporary to the ruins of Pompeii (in the region of Campania, quite close to Naples), but much bigger and spectacular.
The complex develops over a vast area of land with many pools, fountains, and classical Roman and Greek architecture.
Much of the villa was, probably surrounded by landscaped gardens, wilderness areas, and cultivated farmlands.
Since the emperor traveled a lot around the empire during his rule, it is possible to find statues or buildings with foreign influences as well, such as Egyptian-style buildings and statues.
In the complex, you can also explore the several palaces, baths and thermal areas, an imposing library, and a wonderful theater.
Getting to Villa Adriana
Also located in Tivoli, to get to Hadrian’s Villa, you can catch the bus or the train from Roma Tiburtina station to Tivoli.
Another alternative is it to join a tour that takes you to both villas in Tivoli, and leave the logistics of getting there to someone else!
Frascati Wine Road
Another great day trip idea in the region of Lazio is to pay a visit to the Lazio wine region, Frascati.
This is a perfect trip for those interested in the gastronomic scene of the Lazio region.
The area is famous for its delicious porchetta (a roasted pork dish that can be served hot with baked potatoes or as a cold cut).
Frascati is also known for hosting some of the most ancient bakeries in the Lazio region which specialize in delicious biscuits made respecting a very old and traditional recipe.
In the region, you can discover the ancient Frascati Vineyard, as well as several historic wineries, most of them run by families for generations.
You will learn about the winemaking process used to produce famous Italian wines, including the white Frascati Superiore and Frascati DOC as well as the red Vagnolo wine.
Getting to Frascati
Frascati is located 20 kilometers southeast of Rome, on the Alban Hills, not far from the ancient town of Tusculum which you can also visit during your day out. It is possible to get there by train (the ride is about 30 minutes). The train leaves from Roma Termini Station and the ticket is about €2.
Joining an organized tour is also a good alternative for discovering the best of Frascati.
LEARN MORE: Best 3-Day Rome Itinerary
If Ancient Rome fascinates you, then Ostia Antica is an ideal day trip to take from Rome, either on your own or with a tour.
Ostia Antica is an impressive archaeological park with excavations that have brought to light one of the most remarkable settlements of ancient times.
This Ancient Roman harbor town was a very rich settlement, key in the intense expansion and commercial importance of the Empire.
It was the most important Roman port during ancient times receiving foreign goods for trade and supplies to cater to the city of Rome.
The structure was built back in the fourth century BC and much of it is still visible. Due to its importance in the city’s wealth and expansion, the coastal town of Ostia was a lively center, home to remarkable merchants that helped to increase the power of the Empire.
The ruins of Ostia Antica easily portray the richness of the settlement.
They include several religious temples and other buildings such as an impressive amphitheater, thermal baths, a forum, a center of all commercial activities, and villas that feature beautiful mosaics.
Getting to Ostia Antica
The best way to get there is by train (line Roma-Lido) from Porta San Paolo Station. There is also a train departing from the Roma Ostiense Train Station. The trip is about 30-40 minutes.
Another easy day trip from Rome is the city of Viterbo, a beautiful city with Etruscan origins.
This is an incredibly well-preserved old town dating from the medieval era, still surrounded by intact medieval walls that were built during the eleventh and twelfth centuries with the ancient access gates still in use.
Viterbo is also home to the gold reserves of the country but also hosts a remarkable Academy of Fine Arts and a wide thermal area which you can also visit for a relaxing time.
When spending your day in Viterbo, head directly to its historic center to explore the legendary Papal Palace where, back in the thirteenth century, Rome held the longest Papal election ever to take place in the history of the Catholic Church, lasting for almost two years and which reflected the political nature of the process.
During the election, and in order to have the cardinals reach a decision sooner, the magistrate of Viterbo locked the priests in the Palace and fed them just water and bread for an extended period of time.
Getting to Viterbo
You can travel to Viterbo by train (from Roma Termini Central Train Station or from Roma Ostiense Train Station), your destination will be the station of Viterbo Porta Fiorentina. The trip is about 1.5 hours and the tickets can range from €8 to €18, depending on the train (local, regional, or direct).
It is also possible to get to Viterbo by bus. The bus leaves from Rome Saxa Rubra bus station, the journey is about 2 hours and the ticket €6.
Civita di Bagnoregio
An incredibly romantic and somewhat nostalgic day trip from Rome is a visit to Civita di Bagnoregio, about 120 km north of Rome.
Also known as the city that dies (La città che muore, in Italian), Civita di Bagnoregio is a small settlement situated in the valley of the badlands (Valle dei Calanchi), close to the regions of Tuscany and Umbria, and not far from Viterbo (combining both cities on the same day trip can be a great idea!).
The town, probably founded more than 2500 years ago, has Etruscan origins and it can only be accessed by crossing a footbridge.
Since the town sits on a very unstable foundation that often erodes, this gave the place its status of a dying city as the area is slowly falling away into the valley beneath, and is sadly bound to disappear due to the constant erosion and landslides that characterize the morphology of the terrain.
Today, the isolated town counts just over a dozen inhabitants, making it a unique ghost town made of narrow cobblestoned streets and ancient houses.
Getting to Civita di Bagnoregio
You can reach Civita di Bagnoregio by train, taking the line that connects Rome to the city of Orvieto, once there, it is necessary to take a local bus to Bagnoregio.
It is also a good idea to book an organized tour that will also take you to Orvieto.
3 Day Trips from Rome Beyond Lazio Region
If ancient history and old towns fascinate you, then consider Orvieto as a day trip from Rome.
This small fortified city sits on top of a cliff in the nearby region of Umbria.
The curious geography surrounding the place, an isolated elevation made of volcanic rocks is enhanced by the defensive walls that protect the town which was built using the same volcanic material.
The historic town is home to an impressive church, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin, also known as the Duomo of Orvieto, famous for its colorful mosaics.
And even when this is a landmark you cannot miss when visiting the town, the most important reason for a trip to Orvieto is the enigmatic ancient Etruscan cemetery which has been the object of endless studies by archaeologists from all over the world.
Located on the northern side of the cliff Orvieto this ancient Etruscan necropolis known as Crocifisso del Tufo in Italian is an amazing mysterious place dating back to at least the sixth century BC.
The necropolis features an odd layout made of over 200 tombs grouped in blocks made from the local stone-like amalgam called tuff, a mixture of lava and ash. The cubic tombs take the shape of chambers arranged in a network of sepulchral streets following a rigid disposition.
The burials that can be visited today belong to individual families and each tomb has the family name in Etruscan inscribed on the entrance. Objects found at the site can be seen at the Museums of Orvieto.
And if you’re up for more, do not miss the extensive network of underground tunnels, which is open to the public, previously used as air-raid shelters during the Second World War.
Getting to Orvieto
The best way to get to Orvieto is by train from Rome Termini Station and the trip is about 90 minutes. Alternatively, you can book a day trip that combines visiting both Orvieto and the nearby town of Assisi, one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage destinations in Italy.
Located on a low hill about two hours from Rome, Assisi is universally known as the place of birth of one of the most beloved saints in the Christian religion, Saint Francis.
The town, which is among the most visited places in Italy, treasures a magnificent church, the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi which is also a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This building features a collection of ancient frescoes that portray famous scenes from the life of Saint Francis as well as statues and refined icons and other religious objects.
There are also other churches to visit in Assisi, the most important being a unique basilica in Gothic style dedicated to another important saint that originated in Assisi, Saint Claire.
Getting to Assisi
Traveling to Assisi by train is the most convenient way to get there. The train departs from Roma Termini Train Station and after two hours arrives at Santa Maria degli Angeli train station, From here, you will need to take a bus or a taxi to the center of Assisi.
The impressive archaeological site of Pompeii is situated in the southern region of Campania, facing the sea of the Gulf of Sorrento.
The ancient ruins are a popular attraction as they are often considered among the most important archaeological excavations in the country and in Europe, especially because of the fantastic conservation state of the objects found and buildings excavated in the area.
The excavations in this extensive archaeological site have unearthed the remains of an incredibly big and once rich Roman village that disappeared under the ashes, pumice, hot lava, and hot volcanic stones of the explosion of Mount Vesuvius, in the year 79 AD, which killed most of the residents of Pompeii with its constant flow of lava and the poisonous gases from the volcano.
In the area of the archeological site, it is also possible to see the ruins of Herculaneum, another smaller Roman City that perished in the same way.
The excavations of Pompeii are really enormous, and it could take you days to visit the whole site.
So, if you want to have a general idea about the area and learn about the most important buildings, villas, and details, an organized tour to Pompeii is much better than wandering around the site without really knowing where to go exactly to find its Forum, theaters, and the most remarkable villas.
Getting to Pompeii
Pompeii is in the Campania region, about 250 kilometers south of Rome and it is also one of the most visited places in the country.
Traveling from Rome to Pompeii can be long and tiring, so that’s the main reason why many tourists choose to book an organized tour which can also include a short visit to the most beautiful towns in the Amalfi Coast.
Rome to Pompeii by Train or Bus
Being such a popular landmark in Italy, it is also possible to get from Rome to Pompeii by train or bus, although both options can be quite time-consuming for a day trip.
There is a direct high–speed train that covers the route in about two hours however prices can be high (€30-€60).
The Frecciarossa train will take you from Roma Stazione Termini to Naples Central Train Station but consider that, from there, you will need to take another train to Pompeii, the Circumvesuviana train (it takes you about 45 minutes more).
A cheaper option from Rome is the commuter train (Regionale), but the journey can take up to 4 hours, so it can be a good idea for a weekend away more than a day trip.
Getting here by bus is another alternative. The bus leaves from Roma Tiburtina Station. The journey takes about 3 hours (the traffic can be intense on the highway Rome-Naples at any time of the year). Buses depart as early as 4 am while the latest bus from Pompeii departs for Rome at about 6 pm.
Final Thoughts – Day Trips from Rome
Yes, there is much to do and see in Italy’s capital but it’s also refreshing to take day trips from Rome for a change of scene and to see other important sites in Italy. Remember to factor in a few day trips when you plan your Italy itinerary.
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About the Author
Gabi Ancarola is a translator and travel journalist living in Crete. She regularly writes about Europe for several magazines about travel, gastronomy, and hospitality. She has published several travel guides about Greece and plans customized trips to the Greek islands. She loves cooking local dishes, taking photos, and driving on the mountain roads of Crete.