Lovers of walking in nature will be spoiled for choice when dealing with what the area surrounding Rome has to offer. After a few years of hiking near this city, I am convinced that the most satisfying day hikes near Rome are those that can be done in the area commonly known as “Tuscia”.
Although all the places around Rome are worth exploring, the area between Rome and Viterbo is particularly rich in fascinating elements: waterfalls, lakes, lush woods, and charming villages. In there, you will also spot some of the most secret historical landmarks of Italy (ever heard about the winding canyons carved into the volcanic rock by human hand thousands of years ago, the “Vie Cave”?).
I’ve jotted down some ideas for places where you can go hiking in the Roman countryside.
TIP: If you are interested in organizing a day of hiking near Rome with an official environmental tour guide, please get in touch with us immediately to request information.
TOP 5 HIKES NEAR ROME, ITALY
For each of these routes, I recommend that you equip yourself with the appropriate clothing and equipment:
- trekking shoes
- hiking sticks (optional)
- a hat
- multilayer clothes
- Minimum of 1.5-liter water and snacks
- head lamp
If you’re a woman, you’ll find it useful to contemplate the basic hiking tips for women before setting out.
Hiking in the lush Treja Valley | Is this Rome countryside or Southeast Asia?
Here is a natural landscape that you don’t expect if you are used to walking exclusively in the historical center of Rome. The valley of the River Treja was formed after the explosion of the Sabatino Volcano. The environment is that of a lush gorge, where you can walk under the shade of thick vegetation. In this area, you will discover the vestiges of the Faliscans, who inhabited the area more than 2000 years ago, neighbors to the Latins and the Etruscans. The most important urban center was Falerii, today’s Civita Castellana.
The walking route develops between the historical centers of the villages of Calcata and Mazzano Romano, which are two of the most picturesque villages near Rome, perched on cliffs of tuff, rock formed by ancient volcanic lava. Calcata is also known as the village of artists: it was abandoned for centuries and doomed to destruction until during the 1960s artists from all over the world moved there to pursue their art in freedom and nature.
Before you start walking, leave your car in the free parking lots just outside one of the villages and continue on foot.
Hidden in the Treja Valley Regional Park are the remains of the ancient Faliscan city of Narce.
- The Sanctuary of Monte Li Santi-Le Rote is dedicated to an unspecified female deity. Hundreds of peculiar terracotta artifacts have come to light that archaeologists have called “masks” (they are very similar to masks but there are no holes for the eyes), a selection of which can be seen at the MAVNA museum in the village of Mazzano Romano.
- The remains of the acropolis of ancient Narce, including the walls, are located on top of a cliff.
- There is more to see. The Waterfalls of Monte Gelato are called so because the water is very cold even during the hottest months and are among the easiest waterfalls to reach around Rome.
- It’s worth taking the short climb that leads to the ruins of the Church of Santa Maria to admire the village of Calcata from afar, this place also has tables where you can sit for a picnic lunch.
If you do this hike from April to December on weekends, I recommend you also book a guided tour of the art installations in nature at Opera Bosco, an open-air museum just outside Calcata.
MIND: We can help you arrange this hike as a day tour from Rome that includes a visit to the artists’ village of Calcata, the museum of art in nature Opera Bosco, and a meal with organic local products at a nearby agriturismo. Send us an email here.
2 Hike near Rome from the Necropolis of Cerveteri to the 5 waterfalls of Castel Giuliano
Here is one of the most complete hikes you can do near Rome. The difficulty is medium, so not recommended if you’re completely out of shape!
Leave your car in the parking lot in front of the main entrance to the Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri. This is a UNESCO heritage site, one of the most important monuments in Italy, and the largest necropolis in the Mediterranean area.
The necropolis is divided into three parts. The one with mound-shaped tombs is paid and contains thousands of tombs to walk through, but there are also hundreds of tombs you can visit for free along the hike. You’ll find the two largest tumuli right in the parking lot! Head towards the “Via degli Inferi” or Way of the Underworld, passing through the Necropolis of the Pond (both free entry).
The Way of the Underworld is what archaeologists call a “Via Cava”, or “Etruscan cut“. It is a path entirely excavated through a rock wall with something similar to an ice axe. The vibe of the place is surreal, it feels like suddenly being in a movie about archaeological mysteries. The walls of the path have hundreds of openings that house tombs and you can explore them with a flashlight. You can see beds carved into the rock and the remains of decorative bas-reliefs. The tombs are spread out over two floors. It definitely takes a couple of hours to explore most of them, but it is absolutely worth it.
After visiting this secret part of the Etruscan Necropolis, you continue walking in the direction of Bracciano through the woods. You enter an uncontaminated gorge-like territory where you can admire at least 5 waterfalls, 3 of which are over 20 meters high. The loop route is about 15 km long.
For an easier and way shorter version of this walk, you can leave the car in the main square of the small village of Castel Giuliano, 10 km from Lake Bracciano, and reach first the Cascata Della Mola and then the Cascata dell’Ospedaletto, leaving out the necropolis.
4 Hikes in the Parco di Veio
If you are familiar with the city of Rome, you surely know that it is one of the greenest metropolises in the world and that it can boast some remarkable public parks, such as the estates of Villa Ada and Villa Pamphili. The Parco di Veio is a regional nature reserve located just outside the city, suitable for those who need to escape the traffic and the queues but don’t want to stray too far from Rome.
The Veio Park extends between the ancient Roman consular roads Flaminia and Cassia. In this reserve, it is very easy to come into contact with wildlife: cows, horses, wild boars, even traces of wolves have been found. The paths are mostly flat. The most fascinating paths are two, one starts from the official entrance of the park near the village of Formello, the other from the village Isola Farnese, not far from the train station “La Storta”.
Some curiosities about hiking in the Veio Park, one of the best hikes near Rome
Veio is remembered in the history of Rome as the last Etruscan city to fall, the siege lasted 10 years. In the park, there are many vestiges of this ancient greatness. From the temple dedicated to the deity Apollo of Veio, statues have been extracted and are now exhibited at the National Etruscan Museum of Rome. The most impressive work, however, is the 40 km of tunnels that allowed the management of water, which are still viable in part.
Accessing from the town of Formello you immediately arrive at the enchanting Sorbo Valley, crossed by the River Cremera that forms waterfalls. It is here that you will find the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sorbo, a stop along the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route that went from Canterbury to Rome.
3 Canale Monterano Nature Reserve | Ghost towns and sulfur spring
The abandoned town known as “Antica Monterano“, is located in the middle of a nature reserve a few kilometers away from the village of Canale Monterano, which was founded by the inhabitants who abandoned the ancient settlement. The reason for the transfer was an epidemic, followed by the pillage by the French army at the end of the 18th century.
The majestic ruins of the ghost town include 3 churches, what remains of the noble Palazzo Altieri, an aqueduct, two fountains by Bernini (an octagonal basin and one decorated with the statue of a lion) remains of houses, peasant dwellings, and workshops. The atmosphere is so suggestive that it has been chosen as the set of several films, including Ben Hur.
Taking a walk around here, you can also explore ancient caves and an ancient sulfur mine. There is also a sulfur spring that colors the surrounding land yellow and a waterfall, called “Diosilla“. The spur of volcanic rock where the ghost town stands is bordered by two rivers and dense woods.
During the summer, are held in the reserve and in the new town medieval festivals with parades with costumes, races of strength and speed among young people, music, and stands with local delicacies.
5 From Anguillara Sabazia to Lake Martignano | Half-day hike near Rome
This is a relaxing walk that can be done in half a day and that allows you to visit a hidden jewel of Lazio, Lake Martignano. Not far from Lake Bracciano, it was also formed as a result of the explosion of the Sabatino Volcano, back in time.
The best time to do this walk is from May to October when you can combine it with a refreshing swim in Lake Martignano. Park your car at the Carrefour supermarket in Anguillara Sabazia (the town can also be reached by train, leaving from the Valle Aurelia station in Rome). Proceed on foot along Via Della Mola Vecchia and then along Via Lago di Martignano. The difference in height is minimal. From the highest part of the route, you can two of the most beautiful lakes near Rome.
These are just some of the infinite possibilities for hikes near Rome that this incredible land has to offer! Do get in touch if you want to have a hiking experience with an English-speaking Italian environmental guide, we organize excursions every day.
These are just some of the infinite possibilities for hikes near Rome that this incredible land has to offer! Do get in touch if you want to have a hiking experience with an English-speaking Italian hiking guide, we organize excursions every day.