28 of the best day trips from Rome, Italy
If you’ve had enough of Rome’s crowds and traffic, it’s time to check out these ideas on the best day trips from Rome, Italy. Since I was born and grew up in this part of the world, I’ve spent years exploring all the amazing natural places and interesting towns near Rome. Congratulations on choosing to visit the Rome countryside! This will make you discover incredible off-the-beaten-track destinations, and you will be doing exactly what the locals do in order to unwind and recharge from the big city. You don’t need to make it to Tuscany to find worthwhile places outside Rome. There are stunning art cities near Rome which you can see on a day tour. There are forests and hiking trails and ghost towns and picturesque villages. I love these day tours from Rome because they allow you to experience smaller towns, immerse yourself in beautiful natural scenery, try fresh local food, and learn more about the ancient and sometimes mysterious history of Rome and Italy.
Note about public transport mentioned in this article: you’ll find all the train tickets you need either on the Trenitalia or Italotreno websites (you can buy online), while for buses, I’ll point them out in each paragraph,
Cities near Rome
There are a few gorgeous art cities that you can visit as a day trip from Rome. Maybe you won’t be able to take off and visit Venice in one day and be back (unless you fly), but rest assured that you’ll have plenty of occasions to fill your mind with awe and to run out of space on your camera.
Day trip from Rome to Naples
Just about one and a half hours by train from Rome, you’ll find the home of the Italian food which is the most popular all over the world: pizza! Make this day trip an occasion to feast on Neapolitan delicacies and to stroll around the city which overlooks the sea and the Vesuvio Crater. Naples was founded by the Greeks during the 5th century B.C. and its historical center is a UNESCO Heritage Site. You can do, see, and taste amazing things in Naples in one day. From Napoli Centrale train station it takes you only a 20-minute walk to arrive at “Spaccanapoli,” one of the main attractions in the city, while you can reach the other sites easily by subway, as everything is quite close by. If you leave from Rome early enough in the morning, you could even get on a ferry to Capri. And don’t forget that in Naples, the most exciting New Year’s Eve in Italy happens 🙂
View of the Vesuvio from Naples[/caption]
Train and train tickets from Rome to Naples
There are about 45 trains each day departing from Rome to Naples with the Italotreno company. The first train leaves from Rome Termini at 07:45. Tickets can be as cheap as €15 if you get them online a couple of weeks in advance, while they can cost €40 if you buy them on the day before departure. The trip usually takes from 1.10 to 1.30 hours. Trains operated by Trenitalia are as frequent but usually much slower (even 2.30 hours) and can be more expensive. The first train leaves at 05:00 and reaches Naples at 08:00.
Michelangelo’s David in Florence
Day trip from Rome to Florence
Florence can easily be a day tour from Rome. Florence’s train station Santa Maria Novella is right in the city’s historical center, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. If I were you, I would leave very early in the morning for this trip, as Florence is so charming that you’ll likely want to spend more than a day there. Rome is great, but after a few days of sightseeing in Rome, when you arrive in Florence, you might feel like Cinderella transforming into a princess. The enchanting Renaissance architecture will hypnotize you with its harmonious shapes and colors. And it’s less crowded than Rome by half. The rhythm of Florence is relaxed and merry, as if the huge artistic heritage wouldn’t be enough to make you want to move there straightaway. Think of the iconic Renaissance Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the sights of the Ponte Vecchio from the Arno River, the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo’s David. There’s so much to see in Florence, and even if you only have 24 hours, you’ll still be able to be satisfied with your trip.
How to get from Rome to Florence
You can get a ticket with Italotreno for €20, a 1.5-hour trip, if you book a couple of weeks in advance, while a ticket with Trenitalia is more expensive.
The Terme dei Papi spa and natural hot pool on Viterbo
Viterbo, home of popes and thermal baths
Founded among the hills covered in Mediterranean shrub and shaped by gorges and rivers, Viterbo holds the wonderfully preserved San Pellegrino medieval district, and untouched city walls. The locals look at Viterbo as the “city of the popes,” in memory of the 24-year period when the site of the papacy was moved there from Rome for safety reasons. That event transformed the architecture of the city. One of the most charming buildings is the Palace of the Popes, but the whole historical center is intriguing and pleasurable to walk through, with its many fountains in dark peperino stone and convenient local restaurants and cafes. The city is more laidback than Rome, and it will be easy to explore churches, palaces, and museums (the highlight is the Etruscan Museum of Viterbo). The cherry on the top is that the whole area is full of natural hot thermal baths. There are hot-spring spa complexes like “Terme dei Papi,” as well as more “popular” pools nearby the city. Choose Viterbo if you want to chill and be off-the-beaten-path for a bit. Consider that Viterbo has the best thermal pools near Rome and Italy in general.
Rome to Viterbo by train
The fastest routes go from Rome Valle Aurelia, Ostiense, or Trastevere stations to Viterbo Porta Romana. The arrival station is 1 km walk from the medieval district through the ancient city walls.
Fountain in Piazza Maggiore, Bologna
From Rome to Bologna
With a day trip from Rome, you could have a chance to take a stroll around the city of Bologna. Bologna sits at the heart of the Emilia Romagna region, popular for its culinary tradition, which gave birth to some of the renowned Italian dishes: parmigiana, lasagne, tortellini… Bologna also hosts what is considered the most ancient university in the world, the University of Bologna, therefore the city is full of students and its atmosphere is youthful, cheerful, and creative. There are countless dining aperitivo places, small restaurants, and wineries, and they’re humming with enthusiastic people. Also the architecture of Bologna’s historical center is something, with its 4 km of porticos that make it unique among all the cities in Italy. The easiest way to get from Rome to Bologna is by Italoreno train.
Day trips from Rome to towns in the Tuscia region
Bolsena town on Lake Bolsena
The town is named after the lake, which is the largest lake in the Lazio Province. Locals visit here to benefit from the salubrious air and the tranquil environment. Since this is farthest lake from Rome, expect a lot of opportunities to relax, especially if you visit on a weekday. The place was sacred to the Etruscans, who considered it the center of their “country.” Copious ruins were found underwater in all the towns facing the lake, and on the two tiny islands in the lake (some researchers noticed how the cults here reminded them of the ones related toe Lake Titicaca in Peru). Bolsena’s historical center is fascinating, particularly in the surroundings of the Monaldeschi Fortress (14th century). The fortress hosts the Territorial Museum of Lake Bolsena, which focuses on the geological and anthropic history of the area. Among the activities you can enjoy here are eating at a local restaurant, exploring the medieval town, and walking on the city walls to admire the view on the lake.
Cerveteri, a Unesco Heritage Site near Rome
Only 7 km from the many beach resorts on the Thyrrhenian Sea, the town of Cerveteri is another great day trip from Rome for history and wine lovers. The annual “Festival of grapes and wine of the Ceriti Hills” is held in the last weekend of August and features costume parades, firecrackers, and tasting stands with local winemakers. Just outside the city center, you’ll find the UNESCO Heritage Site of the Etruscan Necropolis of Banditaccia. The visit is halfway between a relaxing walk in a huge pinewood and a tour through a ghost town, and you can enter the majority of the tombs. The experience will leave you speechless, totally worth the €6 entrance fee, which includes a 45-min guided tour.
From Rome to Cerveteri by public transport
By bus: take a Cotral bus to Cerveteri from the Cornelia subway station.
By train: from Roma Termini to Marina di Cerveteri (50 mins for €3.60).
Civita di Bagnoregio: the town which is fading away
The old city of Civita di Bagnoregio sits in the middle of an extraordinary landscape called the “Valley of Calanchi.” Founded by the Etruscan population something like 2,500 years ago, nowadays it counts only 11 citizens. The ticket to cross the bridge and to enter the old town is €5. There are small restaurants and museums at the top, a church, and breathtaking views all over the valleys. This is without doubt at the top on the list of the most picturescque towns near Rome.
Get there by public transport: by train to Viterbo, then a Cotral bus to Bagnoregio.
About 55 km north of Rome, the town of Sutri will surprise you with its 2,600 years of history and the legends that surround it. It was built from tuff and has been inhabited since the Etruscan civilization, as we can see from the necropolis of grottoes/tombs. Later, as with all the other Etruscan centers, it fell under the rule of the Romans, who built an amphitheater from the rock, still viewable just outside Sutri’s center. The legend says that no less than the god Saturn founded the town, introducing there the techniques of agriculture, for the first time in the history of Italy, and this event is remembered on the emblem of Sutri, depicting the god with grains. The city became an important commercial town during the Middle Ages, as it was strategically located on the Via Francigena, one of the most beaten routes in Europe. Sutri is also the first town of the Pontifical State in Italy, given up by a Lombardic king in the 8th century. Beside the historical glory, Sutri shares with the other towns of the Tuscia region a rich food farming tradition, with beans being the protagonist. The Italian Touring Club bestowed upon Sutri the “orange flag,” highlighting the excellence of Sutri’s hospitality offer.
How to go from Rome to Sutri
The nearest train station of Capranica-Sutri is unfortunately 7 km from Sutri’s historical center. The most convenient way to reach Sutri from Rome is to take a Cotral bus direct to Viterbo from Roma Saxa Rubra bus terminal and get off at Cassia/Sutri (44 mins for €3.40).
Orvieto town and gothic cathedral
The city of Orvieto rises on a huge tuff cliff in between the three provinces of Latium, Tuscany, and Umbria. Its historical and artistic heritage is abundant, and most of the visitors go there to see the Gothic cathedral of Orvieto. The cathedral is one of the most important examples of Gothic-style architecture in Italy, and it resembles the Cathedral of Siena in Tuscany. You will catch sight of the cathedral peeping out from one of the small picturesque alleys of the old town. It will be easy to find a cute restaurant to try the typical food of the region for lunch, and handicraft shops to buy a souvenir to take home. Orvieto is relaxed and has a spectacular view of the valleys surrounding it.
From Rome to Orvieto
There are Trenitalia trains from both Roma Termini and Tiburtina stations. The trip takes 75 mins and tickets start from €8.25.
Caprarola is one of the ancient villages you will meet halfway from Rome to Viterbo. This is the place where the powerful Italian Farnese family, who had large estates in the northern part of Lazio starting in the Middle Ages, built the stunning Farnese Palace of Caprarola. The walls of this three-storey Renaissance mansion with a unique pentagonal design are completely covered in frescoes. Each room has a clear explanation of the frescoes, so that the palace is easy to visit independently. Cherry on top: the Italian garden and the nymphaeum. Entrance ticket to the palace is €5.
How to reach Caprarola from Rome
Take a Cotral bus to Caprarola from the Saxa Rubra station.
Alatri: the megalithic citadel south of Rome
The anonymity which still surrounds the town of Alatri in the province of Frosinone is inexplicable and undeserved. The citadel of Alatri is one of the rare examples of cyclopean architecture in Italy and Europe. The technique which an unknown civilization (presumably the Hittites) used to cut, move and assemble the gigantic stones together is still fuel for debates and hypotheses. The effect of this work of art and engineering on the bystander is striking: all those boulders of different shapes cut precisely and organized side by side without a cohesive substance. Historical records about the acropolis of Alatri are really poor. There are only two bas-reliefs preserved, and of difficult interpretation. The city was also a thriving hub during the Middle Ages, and a site of the Templar Order. Furthermore, a couple of decades ago, some mysterious frescoes were discovered in a tunnel adjacent to the medieval Church of San Francesco, representing a labyrinth identical to the one in the Cathedral of Chartres in France. All in all, Alatri is certainly one of the best day trips from Rome for history lovers!
Day trips from Rome for nature and adventure lovers
Explore the towns in the Lake Bracciano Natural Reserve
It takes only a 35-40-minute drive and you arrive at the most beautiful lake area in the northern province of Rome. Lake Bracciano is quite large. If you want admire it from every possible angle, you must visit all of the three old towns overlooking its shores: Anguillara, Trevignano, and Bracciano. Read this travel guide to Lake Bracciano to plan your trip perfectly. When you are there, besides strolling in the tiny quiet street of the historical center, you could visit the Bracciano Castle, which overlooks the lake, and is considered the highlight of the area. Many influential families, both Italian and foreign, fought for the supremacy of the castle and of the region over the centuries. Now the castle is a museum and you can visit it for €8.
How to reach Lake Bracciano by train
Take a train direct to Bracciano/Viterbo from Valle Aurelia, Trastevere, or Roma Ostiense stations. Get off at Bracciano or Anguillara.
Hike from Anguillara Sabazia to Lake Martignano
Right next to Lake Bracciano lies another lake, much smaller, set in an idyllic natural context. Since the area is protected under a regional park, you might need to hike to the lake there from the nearby town of Anguillara Sabazia, unless it is high season, when you would have the option to take the park shuttle up to the top of the hill that hides the lake. This place is so special that you won’t believe you got there on a day trip from Rome… You might be the only visitor there, if you travel off-season. Bring water, some food for a picnic, and a swimsuit.
Walk to the amazing flower fields of the Castelluccio di Norcia Plateau
If you plan to travel Italy during the late spring or early summer, you might witness one of the most spectacular natural phenomenon of Central Italy: the flowering of the plateau of Castelluccio. The plateau is part of the Sibillini National Park in the Umbria Region and is a unique environment in the Italian peninsula for a few reasons. The landscape recalls Tibet, with two plains surrounded by barren hills at 1452 mt. altitude. The village of Castelluccio di Norcia, which rises on one of the hills dominating the plateau, has lost a huge part of its inhabitants following the earthquake of October 2016. A part of the town is still accessible, and you should certainly pay a visit after you’ve wandered through the flowering fields. Some special local products are lentils and honey. It will take you 3 to 6 hours to explore the fields and it will be a truly breathtaking experience. To visit the Castelluccio Plateau on a day trip from Rome you need to travel by car and use the highway. Bring with you water, a hat, sunscreen (there are no trees on the plateau, just flowers!…), and snacks to go until you climb to the village where you’ll find restaurants and cafes. The best period to visit is between the end of June and the first two weeks of July.
Try the zip-line in Rocca Massima, one of the longest in the world
The village of Rocca Massima is nestled in the Lepini Mountains, at an altitude of roughly 750me, and numbers only 1,000 inhabitants. This quaint, isolated town has probably the most spectacular view of the countryside and valleys south of Rome, which you can enjoy sitting with a cup of tea at the coffee shop “Bar Volo.” But if you’d rather throw yourself down into the valley, tied to the zip-line “Peregrine Falcon,” you can still do it! The zip-line is extremely steep and you could reach the speed of 175 km/hour, with an average of 110 km/hour. Look at the video to have an idea of the flight. You can find more info on the website of the zip-line. Moreover, the team will pick you up at the nearest train station, which is in the town of Velletri.
Visit the Macchia Grande Forest in Manziana
The forest of Macchia Grande is located 50 km north of Rome in the direction of Viterbo and 2.5 km from the town of Manziana. The woods cover 580 hectares and consist almost entirely of tall old oaks. Walking on the wide cobblestone path which starts at the entrance of the forest and bisects it will make you feel like a medieval traveler. This place is ideal for running, mountain biking, and walking. There are several clear trails which go in different directions, and a spring on the main trail where you can refill your bottle. Please avoid visiting Macchia Grande during the hottest months (July and August and the first weeks of September) because horseflies can be annoying at that time of the year. Entrance is free.
How to reach the Forest of Macchia Grande from Rome
Take a train direct to Viterbo from Valle Aurelia, Trastevere, or Roma Ostiense stations, and get off at Manziana-Canale Monterano.
Hike in Parco di Veio
Just outside Rome, the Park of Veio ranges for 15,000 hectares and is delineated by the Roman consular roads Cassia and Flaminia. This is the territory of the ancient Etruscan city of Veio, therefore you will meet the ruins of a necropolis inside the park. There is a big waterfall known as the “Hell Waterfall” but it’s not so easy to reach, since it’s inside a gorge. The park is best explored with hiking shoes or with a mountain bike. One of the highlights is the Sorbo Valley, a big meadow where you can have a picnic, an ideal playground for kids. To reach the park, get the FL3 train direct to La Storta/Bracciano/Viterbo and get off at La Giustiniana. From there, take bus 201 to Isola Farnese. Then follow the signs to the entrance of the park, for which there is no charge.
Ride a motorbike in the Lake Salto region
Lake Salto is the biggest artificial lake of Lazio, and occupies what once was a riverbed and the town of Borgo San Pietro, now a submerged village. The lake is 11 km long and 90 m deep. Its 57 km perimeter is shaped by fjord-like banks, which will please all the passionate motorbikers. The landscape changes continuously, and along the lake’s perimeter lie quaint villages with only a few dozen inhabitants, forests, and small bridges. During summer, you can also swim in the lake and practice wake-boarding.
Discover the treasured Argentario peninsula
Rome being so close to the Thirrhenyan Coast, you might want to know which are the best beaches near Rome. Sand beaches stretch for hundreds of kilometres, actually, but not everywhere is the water as crystal-clear as in the Monte Argentario region that lies just beyond the border of Lazio and Tuscany. By the name “Argentario,” we mean a peninsula which is intriguingly attached to the mainland by three lines of land, one of those being a 7 km long beach at the back of an umbrella-pine tree forest. The area is best explored with a car, so that you’re able to cover the whole perimeter of the peninsula and search for the small bays where you can swim in the emerald green water.
The ghost city in the Natural Reserve of Monterano
The extended ruins of the ancient city of Monterano, which include two churches, what was a noble palace with a fountain from the school of Bernini, caves and a monastery, are hidden in a natural reserve, off the common traveler’s path. The landscape is so evocative, it has been chosen as the set for several Italian and foreign movies and adverts. With a 4 to 6-hour easy hike from the village of Canale Monterano to the ghost town, you can also visit a waterfall that recounts a romantic legend, a zolfatara at the edge of a stream which was inhabited in pre-Roman times, and a megalithic path excavated in the rock with mysterious techniques.
How to get to Ancient Monterano town
By car would be best, but keep in mind that the last part of the road is not sealed and you need to be very careful. If you use public transport: get to Bracciano train station and take a public bus to Canale Monterano, then start walking.
Best day trips from Rome with kids
Gardens of Bomarzo
Bomarzo is another ancient town immersed in the part of Rome’s countryside that the locals call “Tuscia.” The name Tuscia refers to the lands between Rome and Viterbo which border the regions of Tuscany and Umbria. The village of Bomarzo is mostly popular for an artistic attraction, the “Sacred Wood,” which the locals have renamed “Park of the Monsters.” This is a huge garden realized in the 16th century on the commission of the powerful Orsini house. Huge sculptures representing ancient mythical animals, divinities, monsters, and a leaning house populate the garden, with only a few allusive inscriptions to interpret the meaning and the aim of the statues. Researchers have proposed that the work be regarded as an alchemic path and that it is connected to other creations of that age, like the Palace of Caprarola. If you’d like to try and solve the mystery while your children follow along in the park, protected by the shade of many trees, consider paying a visit. Ticket for adults are €11, children below 4 are free, and for children between 4 and 13 it is €8.
How to get here via public transport
Take a train to Viterbo or Orte Scalo, and then a bus to Bomarzo.
Wander in awe inside the Tarot Garden
Exploring the Tarot Garden can be a happy experience for little kids and adults alike. This contemporary work is the idea and ten years’ work of French artist Niki De Saint-Phalle. This woman had an unstable life affected by childhood trauma and an unhappy marriage. She eventually managed to devote her life to art, and, inspired by Gaudi’s Park Guell in Barcelona and by the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo, having received from the Italian Agnelli family land near the town of Pescia Fiorentina in Tuscany, she brought her vision to life. The garden has been a museum since 1997. It displays impressive sculptures of the major arcana made from a mixture of cement, steel, colored glasses, and clays. The garden is open half the year from April 1st to October 15th. Tickets cost €12. The best way to get there is by car.
Spend a relaxing day at a didactic farm near outside Rome
This is one of the favorite weekend activities of city families with kids. Many farms in the countryside outside of Rome have become “agri-tourism farms.” The offer may vary from place to place, but basically it consists of a restaurant which takes care of its visitors with homemade pastas and its own products in a natural environment. The animals on the farms usually run free, to the kids’ delight, and there are recreation grounds, and sometimes, a swimming pool. Some proposals are :
Poggio Nebbia Farm near Viterbo
Agriturism La Cerra near Tivoli
Have fun at the Acquapark Acquafelix
This aquatic park near the Civitavecchia cruise terminal is open from June to September and is a must-visit for all the kids in Lazio who love swimming and having fun. There are pools with artificial waves, aqua-slides of many kinds, a stream for playing with rubber boats, and jacuzzis. Moreover, the park offers music, entertainment, a coffee shop, and a restaurant. This is not the place where you can chill out, probably, but your children would have a lot of things to do with 2 km of slides and 4,000 sqm of swimming pools.
Rainbow Magicland Amusement Park
The amusement park located 50 km south-east of Rome has 35 attractions designed for both kids and adults. Alongside roller coasters for different degrees of bravery, haunted houses, and rapids, you’ll find naval combat and 5D reality. The park is extremely successful and can be very busy on weekends.
How to reach Rainbow Magicland from Rome
Trenitalia offer a service of train+shuttle bus for €4.50/person from Roma Termini to the entrance of the park.