Day trips from Rome, for all tastes! Today I will take you to the outskirts of Rome and its fascinating villages. Follow me on this wonderful journey to discover the best day tours from Rome!
When you last visited Rome, were you amazed and can’t wait to go back? Rome is a journey through history and antiquity. Passing by Circus Maximus and getting lost in the narrow streets of Trastevere after a carbonara dish, ending up at the Vatican and then down to the historic centre, reaching the Colosseum.
This itinerary is dotted with churches from all eras, well over 900 in the Roman area. Between villas, parks and archaeological remains, Rome is the motherland of culture. It is no coincidence that the city is also called “Caput Mundi”, the capital of the world. Rome is much more than just a city: it is impossible to remain indifferent towards it and its fantastic cuisine.
But if you’re planning to visit this wonderful city, you should know that there are also plenty of great places to see in and around Rome. You can choose day trips in Rome city or explore the outskirts of the city on a day tour from Rome, among villages, picnics in enchanted gardens, lakes, thermal baths, but also abbeys and Roman villas, all topped off with views of unspoilt nature. For unforgettable Rome day trips!
The best day trips from Rome: what to see in Lazio
If you are thinking of a day trip Rome has a lot to offer. I am sure you would like to take a relaxing weekend getaway, to be enjoyed in company or alone but always accompanied by great food. So I suggest you read on and let yourself be carried away by the charm of these lands.
1. Isola del Liri
Just in the province of Frosinone, you will discover this small village enclosed by the Liri river, which reaches its maximum splendour in the famous Cascata Grande (Great Waterfall). The latter plunges into the heart of the town from a majestic height of 27 metres. It is something exceptional that you don’t expect to see outside Rome.
Isola del Liri is famous for the Boncompagni-Viscogliosi Castle at the foot of the Cascata Grande, but also for the Church of San Lorenzo Martire, the Church of Santa Maria delle Forme and the Museum of Civilisation.
2. The Garden of Ninfa
It is an enchanted romantic place, ideal for taking your sweetheart. The Garden of Ninfa is a true hymn to biodiversity with over 1300 species of plants and countless smells.
The advice is to go in the flowering season, when the plants are at their most beautiful.
What day trips from Rome should you take? If you love medieval villages, you can’t miss a day tour from Rome to Tivoli to admire its squares, alleyways and palaces.
Two UNESCO World Heritage sites are a must: Villa D’Este, with its fountains and beautiful architecture, and Villa Adriana, which celebrates the greatness of the ancient Roman Empire. But you shouldn’t miss the Villa Gregoriana and the imposing fortress of Rocca Pia either.
At the end, you can treat yourself to one of the many typical restaurants, enjoying ghiozzi, a type of pasta similar to spaghetti but shorter and thicker.
4. Ostia Antica
Where better than Ostia Antica for a day tour from Rome? Let yourself be catapulted into the life of ancient Rome thanks to its fascinating architecture and domus. In fact, in the Ostia Antica Archaeological Park, you can contemplate the remains of the ancient Roman city of Ostia: the Decumanus Maximus and the splendid Roman theatre with up to 4000 seats.
The ancient Necropolis and the public latrines, based on a real sewage system, are also important. The medieval town of Ostia Antica is very close by, protected by walls that are still intact today.
For day trips from Rome not to be missed.
Also known as the “City of the Popes” since it had been a papal seat for 24 years since 1257, Viterbo is very old and dates back to the Etruscan period. The papal palace is a real gem, as are the cathedral and Piazza San Lorenzo in front of it.
Stop in one of the typical restaurants to taste local recipes such as acquacotta, made with stale bread, chicory, mint and extra virgin olive oil, and pignattaccia, paired with a good local white wine, for example the Est! Est! Est!!! from Montefiascone.
If you like hazelnuts so much the better! Viterbo is famous for its hazelnut-based desserts, such as tozzetti. It is no coincidence that the Viterbo area is the largest producer of hazelnuts in Italy.
In the next paragraph I will talk about the thermal baths, so I suggest you continue reading!
6. Thermal baths of Viterbo
As a day tour from Rome, you can’t ignore the Viterbo countryside: here you can take a Sunday to relax completely in its thermal baths. The Terme dei Papi are the most famous and have everything you need, but there are also other lesser-known spas with free access, such as the Piscine Carletti, just 2 km from the centre of Viterbo.
7. Sacred Grove of Bomarzo
If you’re planning a trip to Viterbo, you can visit the nearby Sacred Grove of Bomarzo (also called Park of the Monsters). You will enter a natural park dotted with numerous volcanic stone sculptures depicting gods, monsters and mythological figures.
It is an enchanted place where great artists, such as Salvador Dali, have found inspiration.
If you want to get away from the stress of the city as well as eat fresh foods and traditional recipes from Tuscia, you can drop by this small village near Viterbo.
The heart of this small town is the Ruspoli Castle, where you can walk through the magnificent Renaissance gardens. The baroque Church of San Sebastiano and the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria della Presentazione are also worth mentioning.
On your day trips from Rome, you can’t skip a visit to Caprarola where the famous Palazzo Farnese stands. This palace is one of the most important examples of Mannerist architecture: if you are an art lover, it is highly recommended.
Among the best day trips from Rome, Calcata, a charming ghost town, should not be forgotten. Now it is inhabited by artists who, fascinated by its ancient history, have repopulated it since the mid-1900s.
Losing yourself among the artisans’ workshops and breathtaking views, I recommend visiting the Church of the Santissimo Nome di Gesù and the Opera Bosco. You can’t fail to stop and savour the Calcatese-style sheep sauce in the local restaurants and make a trip to the magnificent Monte Gelato waterfalls just a few minutes away, I recommend!
11. Monte Gelato waterfalls
Have you finished your visit to Calcata? Now go and see the Monte Gelato waterfalls on the river Treja. It’s the perfect place to have a picnic and let the flowing water clear your head of negative thoughts. Imagine yourself there now, wouldn’t that be fabulous?
Remember, though, not to leave any rubbish and be respectful of this protected natural area.
12. Castelli Romani
When the weather is hot, Romans usually go out of town. The best day trip from Rome is to the nearby Castelli Romani to eat in one of the fraschette, trattorias in keeping with the culinary traditions of this incredible area. The Castelli Romani are ancient villages developed around the historic fortifications on the slopes of the Colli Albani.
But if you expect to still find the fortifications from which these towns derive their name, you should know that most of them have been destroyed or converted into summer residences.
The most famous of all the villages in the Castelli Romani is undoubtedly Frascati, which emphasises its connection to the volcanic territory by producing fine wines from indigenous grape varieties, including Frascati D.O.C.. These wines have a slightly bitterish aroma as a consequence of the volcanic territory.
After visiting the baroque Cathedral of San Pietro, located in the heart of the town, the Church of Gesù and the Church of Santa Maria in Vivario, a visit to the Palazzo Vescovile, which used to be the Rocca di Frascati, is a must.
13. Civita di Bagnoregio
Known throughout the world as “the dying city”, this village soars amidst nature and is among the most incredible villages in Italy. Currently, due to landslides and earthquakes, it is gradually disappearing. I strongly advise you to take a walk there before it is no longer possible to go.
There is little to say about this village, it is incredible! So, these are trips near Rome not to be missed for anything in the world if you happen to be in this corner of Lazio.
14. Lake Bolsena
Lake Bolsena, the fifth largest lake in Italy, is a very important naturalistic and gastronomic destination. It is home to natural wines and typical freshwater fish recipes, including Sbrocia, made with perch and pike. Yummy!
In Bolsena, let me recommend a visit to the historic palaces called “del Drago” and “Cozza Caposavi”, with an unmissable stop at the Basilica of Santa Cristina and the Rocca Monaldeschi della Cervara, rich in geological, archaeological and natural remains. In Latium, there is something for everyone!
15. Lake Bracciano
This wonderful lake offers water sports such as sailing, as well as activities on foot, by bike or on horseback, through magical paths and incredible landscapes. Clearly always in the vicinity of Rome.
On the shores of the lake stands Anguillara Sabazia, the oldest Neolithic village in Europe. Bracciano town is also worth mentioning: in the Odescalchi castle the weddings of super-VIPs are celebrated, most recently those of Tom Cruise and Martin Scorsese.
The best advice is to savour traditional dishes, including roast whitefish and fried dairy fish.
16. Lake Canterno
Among the day trips from Rome that should not be missed, a place should definitely be reserved for this beautiful lake. For nature lovers, this is an excellent option for a Sunday excursion.
From the lake, you can reach the village of Fumone, one of the most interesting in Ciociaria, as well as Anagni, which I will tell you about in a moment.
A walk through the centre of Anagni allows you to see the main attractions such as the enchanting Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Palazzo della Ragione and the Palazzo di Bonifacio VIII, where the famous Pope lived. But it also allows you to discover a quiet atmosphere, full of wonderful corners.
Moreover, in the morning, the market in Piazza Papa Innocenzo III is a whirlwind of colours and scents. Easily reached by train from Rome, Anagni is a great option for a day tour from Rome.
18. Circeo National Park and Riviera di Ulisse
If you love trekking, take day trips from Rome to the Circeo National Park, where you’ll find countless trails to enjoy! It is one of the oldest protected natural areas in Italy, and a walk there will show you why.
Another exceptional park is the Riviera di Ulisse, famous for Ulysses’ encounter with the sorceress Circe as recounted in Homer’s Odyssey. Who wouldn’t be interested in exploring the enchanting places between myth and breathtaking views?
19. Cerveteri and Santa Severa Castle
What trips from Rome should you take in summer in Lazio? When the weather is hot, you can’t do without a refreshing swim along the Roman coast. So I recommend a day tour from Rome to Santa Severa, where you can visit the imposing castle and take a dip in the water.
During the day, you can reach Cerveteri where you can recharge your batteries at lunch with typical Roman recipes. In Cerveteri you can visit the churches of Santa Maria Maggiore and Sant’Antonio d’Abate, pearls of this beautiful town. The famous Necropolis of Banditaccia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the vicinity of Cerveteri, is also worth a visit.
20. Cervara di Roma
This small medieval village, located in the Simbruini Mountains, is ideal to visit in summer when the temperatures are not yet too low. Immersed in unspoilt nature, it is known as the town of art. In fact, in the 19th century painters from all over Europe came to this wonderful village to portray it in their paintings.
Interesting, isn’t it? I’ll tell you more: going up the “artists’ staircase” and the “staircase of peace” you can admire a breathtaking view: the mountain is covered with paintings and sculptures. This is how the Museum of the Mountain, Transhumans and Painters was created, where you can find objects and works of art related to the history of the village.
On reaching the top, towards the Medieval Fortress, you can contemplate the spectacular landscape. Unfortunately, there are no hotels, as it is a very small village, but if you have time for a walk, you can enjoy typical mountain and forest recipes, including polenta, mushrooms, mutton and truffles.
Continuing with the list of places to see in Lazio and best day trips from Rome, Subiaco offers many unmissable experiences. On the Aniene river, which runs through Subiaco, rafting activities are organised, as well as kayaking and canyoning, passing under the San Francesco bridge, the town’s symbol and winner of the Cannes Film Festival in 2019.
The 10th of August is known for the Palio di San Lorenzo. Teams made up of Subiaco’s districts compete in a rafting challenge and the winning district displays its flag in its contrada for the next few months.
After a binge of salame del re, a typical chocolate roll, you can head to Livata, where you can ski for an unforgettable Sunday out of Rome.
22. Lake Turano and Borgo Antuni
Lake Turano is an artificial basin formed by the construction of a dam on the Turano river.
Antuni is a charming ghost town near the lake, scarred by bombings during the Second World War. However, thanks to restoration work, the Palazzo Del Drago and the village’s defensive walls can still be appreciated.
An unforgettable trek among the breathtaking views over the lake leads to the natural cave of the Hermitage, which abounds in 17th-century frescoes. Astonishment is guaranteed!
Here is another incredible village in Umbria, but on the border with Lazio, to treat yourself to an unforgettable day tour from Rome! On Saturday and Thursday mornings, in Piazza del Popolo, there is an open-air market of typical products, including various sausages and salami.
Not only that, but in the surrounding area you can enjoy countless typical recipes such as Lumachelle, or dishes such as Gallina ‘mbriaca and Umbrichelli, prepared with local wines, Montefalco and Sangiovese.
The magnificence of this municipality lies in the Duomo, the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and the Torre del Moro, which stands over 40 metres high and offers breathtaking views. When it comes to day tours from Rome, Lazio and Umbria offer many wonders, to be discovered on a fantastic Sunday out of Rome!
24. Hell’s Waterfall
Visitors in search of strong emotions should not miss an excursion to the Waterfall of Hell. To reach the foot of this fabulous waterfall, it is necessary to penetrate the meanders of the Parco di Veio. The route is arduous, but I assure you it is well worth the effort.
25. Farfa and the Sabina Countryside
Another place worth mentioning is the Sabina countryside, a territory that embraces the Province of Rieti, some areas of the Province of Rome and Umbria, and finally the Aterno Valley.
Farfa is a small village in Sabina whose ancient history is preserved in its Abbey. This Benedictine monastery was built during different historical periods and the result is architectural poetry.
If you plan to make this day tour from Rome, don’t miss the Museo dell’Olio della Sabina (Sabina Olive Oil Museum) and don’t forget to experience the local olive oil tastings. The olive oil produced in this area has a protected designation of origin (Sabina PDO) and is a jewel of Italian gastronomic culture!
Rome day trips, to discover a deep wine culture!
When it comes to day trips from Rome, Lazio also means discovering an interesting wine offer. In fact, if you don’t know it, since less recent times the viticulture has taken place in the area of the Suburbio romano, a small territory north of Rome.
Looking at the numbers of wine in Lazio, there are 3 D.O.C.G., 27 D.O.C. and 16 I.G.T., wine appellations guaranteed at European level that underline the high-quality of the production and the link with the territory.
Let’s discover together the most important wines: the red wine par excellence is the Cesanese del Piglio D.O.C.G. from the vines of Cesanese Comune and Affile. But also worthy of mention are the white wines such as Frascati D.O.C.G. and Canellino D.O.C.G.. a wine that is sometimes attacked by a type of mould that, contrary to what you might imagine, improves its organoleptic profile.
Now that you know all about Lazio, I’m sure you’ve already fallen in love with it. So what are you waiting for to organise your day trips from Rome? Get your shoes on and embark on this incredible journey! 😉