While I can easily spend weeks on end in the Eternal City - Rome itself has so much to offer (the gelato! The number of cool palazzos! The energy of Itay’s capital!), there are also incredible day trips that will give you a wider taste of what Italy has to offer. Each time I’m in Rome, I can’t help but to sneak away for a day or so to these nearby gorgeous areas to escape the rush of the city. From ancient ruins to charming towns, these hidden gems are just waiting to be explored.
So here’s a run-down with all the information you need for an unforgettable day trip experience. We'll share Italian train travel tips to make your journey smooth and enjoyable. Whether you're looking for destinations within 1 hour of Rome or willing to venture further for a 2+ hour journey, we've got you covered. From Ostia Antica to Pompeii, Naples to Pisa, each destination has its own unique charm and attractions.
Rome Day Trips Within 1 Hour
Escape the hustle and bustle of Rome and embark on a journey to discover the hidden gems that lie just outside the Eternal City. Within just an hour's reach, you can explore breathtaking landscapes, historical sites, and charming towns. Hop on a short train ride to Tivoli, home to the magnificent Villa d'Este with its stunning Renaissance gardens and historical fountains. You'll be transported back in time as you stroll through the perfectly manicured landscapes and admire the architectural beauty. Another must-visit destination within an hour's reach is the ancient city of Ostia Antica, once Rome's bustling port.
Roam through the well-preserved ruins and get a glimpse into the daily life of the ancient Romans. If you're in the mood for a scenic getaway, Frascati is the perfect spot. This charming hilltop town is known for its vineyards and delectable wine. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the picturesque streets, soak in the panoramic views of the countryside, and don't forget to indulge in some local delicacies. And last but not least, make sure to explore Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence, nestled on the shores of Lake Albano. From the stunning views to the tranquil atmosphere, this little gem is a true haven just a stone's throw away from Rome.
Ostia Antica is an extraordinary archaeological site located just outside of Rome, offering you a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Roman world. Once a bustling port city at the mouth of the Tiber River, Ostia was an essential hub for trade and commerce. Today, the remarkably preserved ruins of Ostia Antica showcase the daily life and history of ancient Rome. Each time I walk through Ostia Antica, it’s a wonder for the senses as I explore its well-preserved streets with a feel of what it was like to walk among the Roman citizens of centuries past. The ancient city's grid-like layout includes grand public buildings, residential quarters, shops, and thermal baths. The Via dei Dipinti, a road flanked by colourful frescoes, adds a touch of artistic grandeur to the experience.
You definitely cannot miss seeing the amphitheatre in Ostia Antica, since its a grand structure that once hosted gladiatorial battles and theatrical performances. It may not be the Colosseum in Rome, but it’s still significant in its own right! As you stand amidst the towering arches and seating tiers, you can almost feel the excitement and anticipation that once filled the air.
Ostia Antica also boasts well-preserved examples of Roman villas, showcasing the luxurious lifestyles of the wealthy elite. The House of Diana and the House of Cupid and Psyche are particularly noteworthy for their exquisite mosaics and intricate frescoes. For a deeper understanding of the site's history, a visit to the Ostia Antica Museum is a must. The museum displays a variety of artefacts found during excavations, including Roman statues, jewellery, pottery, and everyday objects, providing insights into the daily lives of the people who once inhabited the city.
You can also book this trip with train tickets in advance here, since it’s most likely to sell out.
Orvieto, located in the Umbria region of Italy, is a medieval marvel that sits atop a volcanic plateau, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a chance to escape the heat of Rome and see other sites, like the stunning Orvieto Cathedral (Duomo di Orvieto). This masterpiece of Gothic architecture dominates the city's skyline with its ornate façade and intricate sculptures. Step inside to admire the breathtaking frescoes, intricate mosaics, and the Chapel of San Brizio, adorned with magnificent frescoes by Luca Signorelli. Don't forget to visit the Cathedral's underground section, where you can explore the ancient Etruscan ruins and tunnels.
Wandering through Orvieto's medieval streets is a delight in itself. The city's historic centre is a labyrinth of narrow alleys, charming piazzas, and quaint shops. For a fascinating glimpse into Orvieto's past, visit the Orvieto Underground. This underground network of tunnels, caves, and wells dates back to Etruscan and medieval times. Art enthusiasts like me will also find solace in the city's art museums. The Orvieto Museum (Museo dell'Opera del Duomo) houses an impressive collection of religious art, including sculptures, paintings, and goldsmith works. Then there’s also the National Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale) displays Etruscan artifacts, providing insights into the city's ancient roots.
If you want a guided tour of Orvieto, don’t miss out on booking an easy day trip from Rome here.
Now this gem is a romantic locale for anyone who wants a little less cobblestones of Rome and a little more nature of Italy. Nestled on the shores of Lake Bracciano, Bracciano is a tranquil destination that is a perfect retreat for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the magnificent Castello Orsini-Odescalchi, an imposing medieval castle that dominates the town's skyline. This well-preserved fortress is famous for its striking architecture and rich history. You can explore its opulent halls, climb its towers for panoramic views, and learn about the castle's connections to noble families and historical events.
Lake Bracciano itself is a natural loved spot that adds to the town's allure. The serene lake is surrounded by lush landscapes and dotted with picturesque lakeside villages. I’ve spent many evenings strolling the promenade with my scoops of gelato here! You can also rent a boat or kayak to explore the lake's crystal-clear waters, or simply relax on the lakeside beaches.
Nature enthusiasts can also explore the Regional Natural Park of Bracciano-Martignano, which surrounds the lake. This protected area is a haven for hikers, cyclists, and birdwatchers, offering picturesque trails, diverse flora and fauna, and breathtaking views of the lake and its surroundings.
If you’re escaping Rome’s intense heat in the summertime - then you would also be in Bracciano while they host various festivals. The most notable event is the Infiorata, a flower carpet festival held in June, where the streets of Bracciano are adorned with intricate floral designs.
Tivoli, a picturesque town located just an hour away from Rome, offers a delightful escape for tourists seeking a blend of history, natural beauty, and local charm. One of the prominent attractions in Tivoli is Villa d'Este, an architectural gem from the Renaissance period. This magnificent villa showcases exquisite gardens with elaborate fountains, lush greenery, and colourful flowers. The terraced gardens invite visitors to take leisurely walks and enjoy the enchanting sights and sounds of the water features. Another site many people love to visit is Hadrian's Villa, or Villa Adriana, which served as Emperor Hadrian's retreat. This sprawling complex features extensive ruins that provide a fascinating glimpse into the emperor's luxurious lifestyle. Highlights include the Canopus, a grand pool surrounded by columns, and the Maritime Theater, an impressive circular structure.
For panoramic views, don’t miss out on Rocca Pia! This fortress situated atop a hill provides breathtaking vistas of Tivoli and the surrounding Italian countryside. The view from the castle walls is a perfect spot for capturing memorable photographs. Within Tivoli's archaeological park, you'll find the Temples of Vesta and the Sibyl. These ancient Roman temples offer a glimpse into the town's historical significance. The Temple of Vesta, with its iconic circular architecture, was dedicated to the goddess of the hearth. Close by, the Temple of the Sibyl boasts an impressive Corinthian-style facade. You can easily book this as a hassle-free day trip here.
Day Trips 1–2 Hours From Rome
Got a bit more time? Embark on a remarkable day trip from Rome and let the rhythmic hum of the train transport you to captivating destinations within a two-hour radius. Whether you crave a spiritual journey, cultural exploration, or a taste of authentic Italian life, these enchanting day trips promise to ignite your wanderlust. You can easily expand on this to make a weekend trip out of it too! Lucky for us that Rome is basically in the middle of the country, right?
Naples, a captivating city in southern Italy, is a treasure trove of cultural, historical, and culinary wonders that beckon to curious travellers - we even made a 72 hours in Naples itinerary that you can use for your day/weekend trip. Delve into the city's rich past by visiting the Naples National Archaeological Museum, where ancient artefacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum are displayed, offering a glimpse into the life and art of the ancient Romans. Then there’s also the Naples Cathedral, with its intricate frescoes and impressive chapels, stands as a testament to the city's religious heritage. Spaccanapoli, a long street that divides the historic centre, serves as a gateway to the city's architectural treasures. Along this winding path, you'll encounter magnificent churches, including the Gothic-style Santa Chiara and the elaborate baroque Gesù Nuovo, as well as charming shops and eateries.
Food lovers will find themselves in gastronomic paradise in Naples! Prepare to eat your way through the city. Indulge in the city's iconic invention, pizza Napoletana, with its deliciously thin crust and fresh, flavorful toppings. Venture into the lively neighbourhoods of Spaccanapoli and Quartieri Spagnoli to savour authentic Neapolitan cuisine, including pasta alla Genovese, a rich and savory meat sauce, and sfogliatelle pastries, a flaky delicacy filled with sweet ricotta cream.
Assisi, located in the picturesque region of Umbria, is a captivating hilltop town that holds immense historical, cultural, and spiritual significance. Renowned as the birthplace of Saint Francis, the town exudes a serene and spiritual ambiance, making it a popular destination for pilgrims and tourists alike.
One of the most prominent things you have to see in Assisi is the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This majestic complex comprises two magnificent churches, the Upper Basilica and the Lower Basilica. The Upper Basilica showcases exquisite frescoes by renowned artists such as Cimabue and Giotto, depicting the life of Saint Francis and other biblical scenes. The Lower Basilica is adorned with captivating frescoes as well, including the captivating frescoes by Simone Martini and Pietro Lorenzetti.
Don't miss the opportunity to visit Piazza del Comune, the main square, where you can admire the impressive Temple of Minerva, an ancient Roman temple converted into a church. As you can see, Assisi is also home to several other noteworthy religious sites. The Basilica of Santa Chiara, dedicated to Saint Clare, offers a serene and contemplative atmosphere. Its rose-coloured facade and serene cloister are highlights worth exploring. The Eremo delle Carceri, a hermitage nestled in the tranquil woods outside Assisi, is a place of quiet reflection and natural beauty, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. If you want to easily book this day trip from Rome, with everything taken care of with a guide and transportation, check it out here.
Viterbo, the City of Popes, is a captivating medieval city located north of Rome. Its historical centre, enclosed by ancient walls, beckons visitors to step into a bygone era. Wandering through its narrow cobblestone streets, you'll encounter a wealth of architectural treasures, including the magnificent Palazzo dei Papi, once the residence of popes during the 13th century.
The heart of the city lies in the picturesque Piazza San Lorenzo, where the San Lorenzo Cathedral stands with its impressive Romanesque façade. As you explore further, the San Pellegrino District reveals itself, boasting medieval towers and well-preserved buildings. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the renowned Santa Maria della Verità, a beautiful church adorned with Renaissance-style artwork. Viterbo's thermal baths, such as the Terme dei Papi, offer a serene retreat, allowing you to indulge in relaxation and rejuvenation.
If you love doing what the locals do then you’re in for a treat. Throughout the year, Viterbo hosts lively festivals and events that showcase the city's rich cultural heritage. One such event is the "Macchina di Santa Rosa," an awe-inspiring procession in September that honors the city's patron saint, Santa Rosa.
Lago di Bolsena
Lago di Bolsena is a pristine and enchanting destination that beckons travellers seeking natural beauty and even an adrenaline rush! This stunning volcanic lake, situated just northwest of Viterbo, offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Lago di Bolsena boasts crystal-clear waters and picturesque surroundings, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The lake's expansive shoreline is dotted with charming beaches, inviting visitors to bask in the sun, take refreshing swims, or indulge in various water sports. Whether you prefer to relax on the sandy shores or venture out onto the tranquil waters, Lago di Bolsena provides a rejuvenating experience. For those seeking adventure, the lake offers opportunities for sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking. The gentle breeze and calm waters create the perfect conditions for these activities, allowing you to explore the lake's beauty from a different perspective.
Lago di Bolsena is also home to several charming lakeside towns, such as Bolsena and Marta, which exude a quaint and authentic Italian atmosphere. Stroll along the promenades, explore the cobblestone streets, and discover local shops and eateries that offer a taste of the region's culinary delights. Be sure to sample the lake's renowned freshwater fish, such as coregone and persico, which grace the menus of many lakeside restaurants.
One of the lake's highlights is the striking Bisentina Island, located near its centre. Accessible by boat, this island is a nature lover's paradise, with lush greenery, hidden coves, and breathtaking panoramic views. Take a leisurely hike through the island's trails, discover its secluded beaches, or simply enjoy a picnic surrounded by the serenity of nature.
Italy Train Travel Tips
What better way to embark on these adventures than by hopping on an Italian train? It's your ticket to experiencing the best that Italy has to offer, from charming hill towns to historic cities. So, before you board that train, here are some savvy Italian train travel tips to ensure a smooth journey.
First things first, do your homework. Check train schedules and book your tickets in advance to secure the best deals and guarantee your spot. And when it comes to trains, variety is the spice of life. Get familiar with the different types available, like the speedy intercity or the scenic regional trains. Now, before you embark on your journey, make sure to validate your ticket.
Trust us, you don't want to deal with fines or unnecessary hassles. Safety is key, so keep a close eye on your belongings, especially in bustling train stations like Rome Termini. So, hop on board, sit back, and get ready to be awe-inspired by the beauty that awaits you beyond Rome's borders.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some tips for making the most out of a day trip from Rome?
To make the most of a day trip from Rome, carefully plan your itinerary and focus on the attractions you're most interested in. A guided tour can help you make the most of your time and gain insights into the destinations. Check opening hours and ticket availability beforehand, and leave early to beat the crowds and maximise your day. If you’re travelling by train, I hate to say this, but Italian trains as wonderful as they are, are also prone to delays. So be sure to leave some extra time in your itinerary just in case!
How can I travel to these day-trip destinations from Rome?
To travel to day trip destinations from Rome, you can conveniently take a train for most places. However, some locations may require a combination of train, bus, or ferry. It's advised to check schedules and plan ahead. A regional transportation pass can be beneficial for unlimited travel within a specific area.
Additionally, a car rental will get you quite far for day trips from Rome. Like if you rent a car with Rent A Car, you can easily compare prices with different companies for the best booking.
What transportation options are available for day trips from Rome?
There are various transportation options for day trips from Rome. Trains are convenient for nearby cities like Orvieto. Buses are ideal for destinations without direct train connections.
Or otherwise, a car rental is the best option to travel around the region. We prefer renting a car with Rent A Car, due to their wide availability of different vehicles and locations to choose from. Make sure to rent your car a bit in advance of your trip, especially if you’re going during summer, as Italy can get quite busy with tourists who have the same plan to drive around to discover the area.
Are there any guided tours or organized excursions available for these day trips?
Certainly! You can find a variety of guided tours and organised excursions specifically tailored to Rome's best kept secrets day trips. These tours are led by experienced guides who provide valuable insights, historical context, and local stories about the destinations. Booking a guided tour or organized excursion will enrich your experience and ensure you uncover all the hidden treasures along the way.
Check out these easy bookable day trips:
- Rome to Tivoli with pickup available
- Rome to both Assisi and Orvieto
- Rome to Ostia Antica including train tickets
Above all - Rome is not just about the Colosseum and the Vatican. It's a city filled with hidden gems waiting to be explored. Whether you have just an hour or a whole day to spare, there are plenty of amazing day trips that will leave you in awe. From the ancient ruins of Ostia Antica to the charming town of Orvieto, each destination has its own unique charm and history. So hop on a train, embrace adventure, and discover Italy’s best-kept secret a stone-throw away from Rome!