Attractions Nearby Rome, Day Trips and Excursions
(Rome, Lazio, Italy)
If you are considering a day trip from Rome, then there are certainly lots of very appealing attractions to choose between. Therefore, it makes sense to be a little organised and plan your excursions ahead, to save time and possible confusion when it comes to transport.
Many neighbouring towns and historic ruins enjoy sizeable visitor numbers and are therefore extremely well connected by public transport, namely buses and trains, although those who have invested in a rental car will no doubt enjoy the added freedom and lack of timetable constraints. Especially close to Rome are the many attractions of Tivoli, where Hadrian's Villa is roughly 40 minutes away from the city. Slightly further from home are the fascinating ancient remains of Cerveteri, where its Necropolis of the Banditaccia (Necropoli della Banditaccia) now ranks as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Also worth adding to your itinerary of day trips is the Castel Gandolfo - next to Lake Albano, the small town of Grottaferrata - on the lower slopes of the scenic Alban Hills, and the ancient city of Palestrina - on the Monti Prenestini. At the historical town of Frascati, you may like to enjoy a glass or two of its world-famous Italian white wine.
The small town of Tivoli is situated 30 km / 18 miles north-east of Rome, close to Villaggio Don Bosco. This is the most popular excursion from Rome, with its main attractions being the Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa) and also Villa d'Este. Tivoli can be easily reached by train from Roma Termini station or by bus, from the underground stop Ponte Mammolo (line B), and is one of the best places for a short trip outside the city.
Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa)
Address: Via di Villa Adrianna, Tivoli
Hadrian's Villa was an exclusive retreat for emperors, where the marvels of the classical world were reproduced for the enjoyment of Hadrian, who succeeded Trajan as emperor in 117 AD. Almost 2,000 years old, this villa took some 12 years to build and the visitors' centre at the entrance displays a scale model, showing what a wonderfully elaborate complex it used to be. Over the years, it has been visited by many famous people, including Pope Pius II, Pirro Ligorio. It was purchased by the Italian government in 1870, who then restored the villa at considerable expense, although many of the original works of art and sculptures are now displayed in the Museo Nazionale Romano.
Address: Piazzo Trento, Trivoli
Tel. +3907 7431 2070
Originally a Benedictine convent, the Villa d'Este was built on the ruins of an old Roman villa. Soon after it became the Governor's Palace and was magnificently restored in 1550. At one stage the building became the property of Austria and was returned to its rightful Italian owners in 1918, when it was further restored. The immense parkland, beautiful gardens and monumental part of the building were then opened to the public. The finest part of the main facade faces the city. Amongst the numerous attractions are waterfalls and more than 100 fountains, including the Fontana del Bicchierone (the Big Glass Fountain) by Bernini.
Situated some 25 km / 15 miles from the city of Rome and to the south-east, the Castel Gandolfo serves as the Pope's summer residence and is set amongst the hills of the Colli Albani, where it overlooks the picturesque Lake Albano (Lago Albano). The original palace was built in 1624 and has been used by pontiffs ever since.
Once known as Caere, Cerveteri lies roughly 46 km / 28 miles to the north-west of the city and used to be a wealthy and powerful Etruscan city. Today this site boasts some interesting remains of its stunning buildings and structures. The necropolis area was excavated and many of the treasures now displayed in the Villa Giulia in Rome were found here. There is also a tomb area near the village, dating back to the 6th century BC and still showing traces of the original paintings and drawings. Guided tours of the many attractions around Cerveteri are available.
As well as the splendid white wines that are produced here, this large town is also known for its country estates. Located just 22 km / 14 miles from Rome, Frascati is an ideal destination for a day trip into the Roman countryside. Places to visit include the Castelli Romani, Villa Torlonia, now a public park, and the Villa Aldobrandini, which was built for a nephew of Pope Clement VII in 1598, with spectacular views from its terraces. The town's main square and the ruins of the Roman town of Tusculum are also worth a visit.
There are many things to see at Genzano, including Lake Nemi - a large lake once known as 'Diana's Mirror', as well as a small museum housing the remains of two large Roman ships built in 37 AD. Genzano is approximately 30 km / 19 miles from Rome, being situated to the south-east.
Just 23 km / 13 miles from Rome is Grottaferrata, most famous for its abbey, founded in 1004 as a centre for Greek scholarship. One of the monks will happily show you around the monastery, where visitors will discover a large library with many rare Greek manuscripts and a museum of religious treasures. Nearby are some delightful ancient churches worth visiting.
Lake Bracciano (Lago Bracciano)
Ideal if you need a break from the city, this lake is situated 40 km / 24 miles north of Rome and fills a volcanic crater in the Sabatini hills. Lago Bracciano is bordered by a number of sailing clubs and waterside cafés, specialising in fresh fish caught from the lake itself. The shores are planted with pine and olive trees, with idyllic spots highly suitable for a picnic. Many people swim in the clear waters, which provide a great way to cool down on a hot day. Nearby is the town of Bracciano itself, which contains a fine example of a private castle, built in 1485, with family heirlooms on display.
Rome's ancient seaport is just 28 km / 17 miles from the city and provides visitors with a real understanding of the structure of a medium-sized Roman town, where at one stage around 100,000 people lived. You can see how the streets were arranged with rows of shops, taverns and laundries. Located at the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was a wealthy and busy port. The decline of the town came as a result of barbaric invasions and also a malaria epidemic, many years ago. The sand which covered the ruins has helped to preserve them well and there are plenty of attractions to see and appreciate, including temples, a theatre and a museum.
Located just over 40 km / 25 miles to the east of Rome, Palestrina was the home of a thriving community in the 7th century BC and the Temple of Fortune was built here over 2,500 years ago. This vast religious complex was reconstructed by the Romans in the 2nd century BC, being built over six terraced levels on the hillside. Look out for the Archeological Museum (Museo Archeologica Prenestino), which is famous for its wonderful mosaic of the River Nile.