If you’ve had enough of Rome’s crowds and traffic, it’s time to brainstorm ideas on the best day trips from Rome Italy by train. 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. You’re to discover incredible off-the-beaten-track destinations, and to do 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. You can of course reach stunning art cities near Rome by train, but don’t forget the woods, ghost towns, and picturesque villages. I love these day tours from Rome because they allow you to immerse yourself in beautiful natural scenery, try fresh local food, and learn more about the ancient and sometimes mysterious history of Rome and Italy.
WHAT’S THE BEAST MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION FOR YOUR DAY-TRIP FROM ROME?
Most of these destinations are served by a train station. It’s advisable to book tickets online on the Trenitalia or Italotreno websites. For other more secluded places, you better rent a private car or a driver. Traveling by bus in Italy is very convenient, but routes to countryside villages aren’t always guaranteed or sporadic.
Day trips from Rome by train to art cities nearby
There are a few gorgeous art cities that you can visit as a day trip from Rome by train. Maybe you won’t be able to take off and visit Padua or Venice in one day and be back (unless you fly), but rest assured that you’ll have plenty of occasions to fill your eyes with beauty and to run out of space on your camera.
Day trips 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
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. Naples is rich in artistic treasures and local cultures. It’s the most epic day trip from Rome by train and you’ll regret you didn’t plan to spend more days here.
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 straight away. 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. In case you’ve already visited Florence, consider other options to visit Tuscany from Rome.
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… not as picturesque as the ones in Saturnia, Tuscany, but more accessible, less crowded, bigger, and cheaper!
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 a 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.
The porticos in Bologna
Day trips from Rome to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast
Both these sites can be a day trip from Rome, but I discourage you to visit them on the same day. To really enjoy the Amalfi Coast properly, you should treat it as a cup with the sweetest of juices and sip it as slowly as you can. These are not destinations to be covered in a hurry, therefore they’d be better enjoyed as a weekend trip from Rome.
Rome to Pompeii and Herculaneum Archeological Parks
The Herculaneum and Pompeii archeological parks are both UNESCO Heritage Sites on the coast close to Naples. Even if they were inhabited for centuries prior to becoming part of the Roman Empire, they are interesting nowadays because the archeological remains of the two Roman cities have been incredibly preserved beneath the lava from the eruption of Vesuvio in 79 A.D. The excavations in Pompeii are more spectacular and extended, and it will take you 5 to 6 hours to visit, so you may not want to spend the entire day there. The Herculaneum ones are doable in 3 hours. You will need to walk for kilometers through the remains of all the temples, theaters, and villas, and if you visit during summer, know that the sun of that region is implacable. Therefore, in order to organize your day trip from Rome efficiently, skip the lines at the entrance of the archeological areas by getting the Pompeii official tickets and the Herculaneum tickets online.
From Rome to Herculaneum and Pompeii by train
The most convenient solution is to travel from Roma Termini to Napoli with Italotreno, and then change to a Trenitalia train to Portici-Ercolano (one every 30 mins, €1.60). When you have visited Herculaneum, take a train from the Portici-Ercolano station to Pompei Scavi (one train every hour, €3.30).
Rome to the Amalfi Coast
If the weather is nice and you want to spend an unforgettable day by the sea on the Amalfi Coast, you could arrange a day trip from Rome to Amalfi. Besides rejoicing in the spectacular views of Amalfi Bay, possibly eating a pizza and sipping Limoncello liquor from a rooftop restaurant, you could explore the attractions in the historical center and stroll around the small stores along the shopping alleys. This quaint small town boasts a record in economic power over the Mediterranean Sea during part of the Middle Ages, when it used to cover the main marine commercial route between Italy, North Africa, and Istanbul.
From Rome to Amalfi by public transport
Take a train to Salerno and then a ferry to Amalfi (€8, every 50 mins). Booking online in advance is necessary if you are traveling during the high season. It would also be possible to take a bus from Salerno to Amalfi, but consider that the road has plenty of bends, even though it is panoramic.
Ancient Ostia archaeological site and beach town
Ostia corresponds to the place where, according to the Roman poet Virgil, the mythical Prince of Troy, Aeneas, went ashore after the defeat at the hands of the Greeks. Aeneas was destined to be the founder of Rome, following the legend. Whether this is true or not, it remains a mystery. What is clear under the sky, or it may be better to say “under the earth”: it’s the archeological site of ancient Ostia, which, together with Pompei, results in the most extended archeological site on the planet. Excavations are still a work in progress. An entrance ticket is €10. Besides the archeological area that the locals call “Ancient Ostia,” you can explore the town of Ostia with its pedestrian street and lovely seaside. Ostia is still the favorite beach for a big part of Rome’s citizens. Spending the day at a beach resort and having lunch or dinner at a seafood restaurant is an idea for a relaxing day tour from Rome. However, Ostia has only some of the best beaches near Rome. Ostia Antica and Ostia Lido should be at the top of your list of day trips from Rome by train if you don’t really want to go too far from the city.
Tivoli: from thermal baths and majestic villas
The ancient “Tibur” might be even older than Rome itself! After the Romans conquered the territory of Tivoli, noble Roman families started to build their holiday villas there. The presence of three majestic mansions from different eras open to visitors in this quaint town 30 km east of Rome in the Tiburtini Mountains makes this town perfect for a day trip. Villa Adriana (a UNESCO Heritage Site), was realized by Emperor Adriano in the 2nd century, and is preserved better than any other mansion of this kind in Rome. The Renaissance Villa d’Este employs the waters from the Aniene River to feed a complex of fountains, while Villa Gregoriana is a natural park accessible from Tivoli’s historical center. The most ancient part of the town has a priceless view of the green plain and of Rome in the distance. If this wasn’t enough to make you want to visit, consider the Tivoli natural therapeutic thermal baths. The oldest thermal center in town is called Terme di Roma. To get there, take a 30-minute train ride from the Termini station to Tivoli.
Train from Rome to Tivoli
Take a Trenitalia train from Rome Termini at Roma Tiburtina Station and get off at Bagni di Tivoli (30 mins, €2.10) to go to the thermal baths, or at Tivoli (1 hour, €3) to visit the villas and the old town.
Strolling around on the dock of Lake Bolsena
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 the farthest lake from Rome, expect a lot of opportunities to relax, especially if you visit on a weekday. Bolsena is an authentic hidden gem in Italy. It is overlooked even by the Italians! 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 to 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 of the lake.
Inside the Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri
Cerveteri, a Unesco Heritage Site near Rome
Only 7 km from the many beach resorts on the Tyrrhenian 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
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 a doubt at the top on the list of the most picturesque 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).
The Cathedral of Orvieto
Orvieto town and the 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.
Climbing the spiral staircase inside the Farnese Palace in Caprarola
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. The 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!
A couple of swans approaching the beach in Anguillara Sabazia
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 to 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.
Admiring the field from Castelluccio di Norcia
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.
The Macchia Grande forest in Manziana
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. The 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: easiest day trip from Rome by train
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.
Train from Ostiense or Trastevere to La Storta, then walk to the Isola Farnese Village and enter the park.
A look at a secluded bay in the Argentario Peninsula
Discover the treasured Argentario peninsula
Rome is so close to the Thirrhenyan Coast, you might want to know which are the best beaches near Rome. Sandy beaches stretch for hundreds of kilometers, 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 that 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. You can get to the Argentario region by taking a train to Orbetello. Put aside one entire day as the sandy beaches are a few kilometers out of the cute little towns of Orbetello and Porto Ercole.
Best day trip from Rome by train with kids
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 offers a service of train+shuttle bus for €4.50/person from Roma Termini to the entrance of the park.
Let me know if I inspired you to go on some of these best day trips from Rome Italy by train!