The 14 Best Day Trips from Rome

Where to Go for a Day Outside Rome

While Rome itself is worthy of a visit in its own right, there are a number of noteworthy neighboring towns, archeological sites, romantic villas, gardens, and beaches within a few hours’ drive of the Eternal City that are just as intriguing. From ancient ruins and beautiful chapels to medieval villages and cooking classes in the countryside, there are plenty of places to go if you want to venture off the beaten track or enhance your trip to Italy’s capital city. 

Many of the sites and cities on this list can be visited on your own or by guided tours through travel sites like Viator if you prefer to go with a group. For the following day trip itineraries, plan on leaving Rome as early as possible and returning in the evening to make the most of your time outside the city.

01 of 14

Vatican City: Saint Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy

Maremagnum / The Image Bank / Getty Images

00120, Vatican City

People often think of Vatican City as part of Rome, but it's actually a separate country, the smallest in the world, sharing a two-mile border with Italy. Start at Piazza di Ponte Sant’Angelo and walk across the bridge toward Castel Sant’Angelo (also worth a look if you have time), then continue down Via Della Conciliazione until you reach St. Peter's Square and the dramatic entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Just around the corner are the Vatican Museums, where you’ll find Michelangelo’s treasured Sistine Chapel and rooms full of art by Raphael and Caravaggio. Plan to spend at least half a day exploring the vast art collections and wandering St. Peter’s Basilica.

Getting There: It’s a beautiful walk (see above) or if you’re coming from other parts of Rome, take Line A of the Metro to the Ottaviano–S. Pietro station. From there, it’s about a five-minute walk to St. Peter’s Square.

Travel Tip: Admission to the Vatican Museums is free on the last Sunday of the month, however, it’s often more crowded as a result.

02 of 14

Via Appia Antica: The Appian Way Road and Catacombs

Stones marking the Appian Way

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Via Appia Antica, Roma RM, Italy

You’ve heard the phrase, “All roads lead to Rome,” right? Via Appia Antica (Appian Way Road) is the oldest road in Italy and once linked the Roman Empire from Rome to the port city of Brindisi. Nowadays, part of it is preserved in a regional park called Parco Regionale Dell'Appia Antica.

Spend one to three hours in Appia Antica Regional Park strolling or cycling the historic path, visiting sites like the Catacombs of San Sebastiano and San Callisto, the ancient city gates at Porta San Sebastiano, the Circus of Maxentius, Church of Domine Quo Vadis, and the Tomb of Cecelia Metella. Plan to have lunch at Ristorante Cecilia Metella, a beautiful place to take a break when the weather is nice and you can eat out on the patio.

Getting There: From Rome, it's about a 15-minute drive. For public transportation, take the Metro A line to the San Giovanni stop, then the 218 bus.

Travel Tip: Sunday is the best day to go since much of the Appian Way Road is closed to traffic.

03 of 14

Ostia Antica: Rome’s Ancient Port City

Ostia Antica in Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Viale dei Romagnoli, 717, 00119 Roma RM, Italy
Phone +39 06 5635 8099

The ruins of the ancient port city of Ostia Antica, part of Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica (Ostia Antica Archaeological Park), are well worth a visit, as they’ll give you an inside look at how Rome’s ancient inhabitants built the empire’s grandest cities.

You can easily spend several hours wandering the old streets, shops, and houses of this huge complex, which generally sees far fewer tourists than Pompeii. Visit archaeological sites like the Roman theater, ancient bakery, communal toilets, and stroll along streets and alleyways built back in the 7th century B.C.

Getting There: It’s a 40-minute drive or a 90-minute train ride from Rome; take Metro Line B to the Piramide or Magliana station, then take the Ostia Lido train.

Travel Tip: Parco Archeologico di Ostia Antica is closed on Monday, so plan your visit accordingly.

04 of 14

Ostia Lido: A Day at the Beach

Ostia Lido Beach, Rome, Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Ostia, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy

If you're in Rome and want to escape the heat of the city, the closest place to go is Ostia Lido. Just a 15-minute drive from Ostia Antica (mentioned above), it might make sense to head here for lunch or a relaxing day of sunbathing and swimming after a morning touring the historic site.

While it might not be as glamorous as some of the other Italian beaches, this posh resort town still has some nice private beach areas available for day use, while you can spread out a towel in any of the public sections.

Getting There: It’s a 40-minute drive from Rome, or take the Roma Lido train from the Roma Ostiense station to get there in about 35 minutes.

Travel Tip: If you want to go a little farther, there are several great beaches to the north and south of Rome, like Sperlonga Beach, Santa Marinella Beach, and Anzio Beach, among others.

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05 of 14

Tivoli: Villa d'Este and Hadrian's Villa

The Roman bath on the site of Hadrian's Villa
Ellen van Bodegom / Getty Images
Tivoli, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy

Head east to Tivoli to visit the impressive 16th-century Renaissance-style villa, gardens, and fountains of UNESCO World Heritage site Villa d’Este. Then take a short bus ride to view the extensive grounds of Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa), created by Emperor Hadrian during the second century; today, it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At Villa d’Este’s, the Fountain of Neptune, Fontana della Proserpina, Fontana del Bicchierone, Fontana dell’Organo, Fontana dell’Ovata (also called Fontana di Tivoli), and Vialle delle Cento Fontane (Italian for "Avenue of 100 fountains") are the most famous. Then, catch a shuttle over to Hadrian’s Villa to check out the 300-acre complex, home to impressive theaters, ancient baths, and several Greek and Latin libraries.

Getting There: Tivoli is about a 35-minute drive or 50-minute train ride from the Roma Tiburtina Station. From Tivoli's main square, you can catch a shuttle to Hadrian’s Villa about a 10-minute drive from Tivoli’s main square.

Travel Tip: Stop by Villa Gregoriana, east of Villa d’Este, where you can visit a temple built in honor of Vesta, a beautiful waterfall, and gorgeous gorges within Parco Gregoriana.

06 of 14

Orvieto: Umbria’s Famed Etruscan Hill Town


TripSavvy / Lauren Breedlove

05018 Orvieto, Province of Terni, Italy

Perched atop tufa cliffs, the Umbrian hill town of Orvieto makes an impressive sight. Inhabited since Etruscan times, its monuments and museums cover millenniums of history. Orvieto's stunning Duomo (cathedral) with its mosaic facade is one of the best medieval monuments in Italy. There are plenty of shops and restaurants where you can try some of the culinary specialties of the Umbria region.

Visit St. Patrick’s Well (Pozzo di San Patrizio), an impressive Etruscan well that dates to the 16th century. Then, spend the rest of your day taking in amazing views of the Italian countryside from the top of the hill at Torre del Morro, stopping by Orvieto’s beautiful gothic cathedral, and strolling along medieval streets.

Getting There: It's a little over an hour’s drive from Rome (check out our expert guide for more tips about how to get there). Once in Orvieto, a funicular connects the station and lower town with the medieval center above.

Travel Tip: View even more Etruscan ruins at the Temple of Belvedere, Necropolis, and at the Museo Claudio Faina.

07 of 14

Tarquinia: Famous Frescoes and Tombs

Frescoes of the Tomba Claudio Bettini
Klaus-Peter Wolf, Imagebroker / Getty Images
01016 Tarquinia, VT, Italy

Tarquinia, located northeast of Rome, is known for its nearby Etruscan tombs as well as its excellent Etruscan Museum. The town also has a medieval center; its Cathedral houses frescoes dating back to 1508.

Visit the tourist information center in Piazza Cavour before heading to the archaeological museum, Museo Archaeologico (Archaeological Museum) in Palazzo Vitelleschi. Your ticket also includes admission to the Necropolis, where more than 6,000 Etruscan tombs were dug and decorated with frescoes, some of which date to the 6th and 2nd centuries B.C.

Getting There: Tarquinia can be reached in about 90 minutes by car or train on the Roma-Ventimiglia line via the Roma Termini station; it's 15 minutes faster if you leave from the Roma Ostiense station.

Travel Tip: Head to nearby Norchia for a look at Etruscan tombs that have been carved into the cliffside, or Sutri, home to an ancient amphitheater.

08 of 14

Frascati and Castelli Romani: Volcanic Hill Towns

Aerial view of Papal palace or Apostolic palace of Castel Gandolfo
De Agostini / U. Colnago / Getty Images
00044 Frascati, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy

Frascati, located in the hills about 13 miles south of Rome, is part of the Colli Albani and Castelli Romani area, a volcanic complex of hills and lakes where well-to-do Romans have had summer homes for centuries. Today, it’s known as the City of Wine and makes a fun place to escape Rome's summer heat.

For a full- or half-day adventure in Frascati, start at Villa Aldobrandini, where you can visit Scuderie Aldobrandini, the fully restored former stables and home of the local history museum, Museo Tuscolano. Stick around to wander the gardens, then continue to the Cattedrale di San Pietro, where the heart of Bonnie Prince Charlie (otherwise known as Charles Edward Stuart) is buried. Lastly, if you’re traveling by car, stop by Tusculum to view the 4th-century ruins of an ancient villa and amphitheater.

Getting There: From the Roma Termini station, you can reach Frascati in about 30 minutes.

Travel Tip: Other Castelli Romani volcanic hill towns worth visiting as day trips include nearby Grottaferrata (known for its abbey), Marino (a popular spot for caves and hunting), and Castel Gandolfo (home of the Pope's summer palace).

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09 of 14

Sabina (Sabine Hills): Medieval Villages and Cooking Classes

Casperia in the Sabine Hills
Jan Sluijter Fotografie / Getty Images
02032 Fara In Sabina, Province of Rieti, Italy

Take a day trip into the the Sabine Hills, a beautiful piece of Italian countryside dotted with medieval towns, ancient monasteries, and historic castles, most easily visited by car.

The most popular spots to visit are Fara Sabina (not to be confused with Sabina, another town east of Rome), Toffia, Farfa, Montopoli, and Bocchignano, while those interested in castles should head to Rocca Sinibaldi, home of Castel Cesarini, which dates to 1084 A.D. and Frasso Sabino, home of Castel Sforza, which dates to 955 A.D. All are spectacular places to spend the day imagining what life was like during each town’s heyday.

Getting There: The train to Fara in Sabina takes less than an hour, while it’s about an hour’s drive from Rome’s city center.

Travel Tip: For an in-depth look at Roman and Tuscan cuisine, Convivio Rome Italian Cooking Holidays offers half-day cooking classes in a private Italian home, as well as longer tours focusing on olive oil and regional wines.

10 of 14

Florence: A Trip into Tuscany

San Niccolo neighborhood in Florence, Italy

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

Florence, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy

​​Although there is a lot to see in Florence, you can still get a pretty good overview in one day. Head to Piazza del Duomo to visit the Baptistery, Campanile (Bell Tower), and Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, where stained glass windows were created by Donatello; for a little extra, you can climb the 463 steps to the top of Brunelleschi’s Dome.

History buffs will love Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio, home to some of the oldest parts of the city and several copies of famous statues like Michelangelo’s David; to see the real thing, head to the nearby Galleria dell’Academia. Art lovers should also make time to visit Uffizi Gallery, which houses thousands of Renaissance works by legendary artists like Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, among others.

Getting There: It’s a three-hour drive from Rome, but if you take one of the fast trains, it's possible to reach Florence in under 1.5 hours (see our expert guide for more tips). Once there, the historic city center can be reached by walking 15 minutes from Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station.

Travel Tip: Whenever possible, book tickets to popular attractions like Galleria dell’Acadamia and the Uffizi Gallery online ahead of time to avoid long lines.

11 of 14

Pisa: The Leaning Tower and So Much More

The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy

Laurent Fox / Getty Images

Pisa, Province of Pisa, Italy

If you’ve dreamt of taking your own legendary photo by the Leaning Tower of Pisa, now’s your chance. Head to Piazza del Duomo, just a 20-minute walk from Pisa Centrale train station, where you can get some inspiration from your fellow travelers (who are there to take the same photo!) or pay to climb to the top of the 183-foot tower. The Cathedral, Baptistery, and cemetery are also worth a look.

For a relaxing day in Pisa, grab some fresh fruit, veggies, and other locally sourced sandwich-making ingredients from the Mercato delle Vettovaglie market and throw yourself an Italian-style picnic in Piazza del Duomo or in the Botanical Garden of Pisa, a stunning oasis built by the Medici family in 1544.

Getting There: Pisa is about two hours and 15 minutes from Rome by train (into Pisa Centrale station) or four hours by car. Once there, the city is easily walkable.

Travel Tip: Shop and stroll your way along Borgo Stretto or stop by Santa Maria Della Spina to view the 13th-century church’s impressive gothic architecture.

12 of 14

Naples: The Best Pizza in Italy

Pizza in Naples, Italy

Antonio Busiello / Getty Images

Naples, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

Come to Naples is for the pizza, which, depending on who you ask, is the best in Italy. Grab some pizza a portafoglio (folded pizza) as you stroll the main street, Spaccanapoli, or feast on Neapolitan (Naples-style) pizza at one of these top restaurants. The art of pizza making was officially listed as a culinary art on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in 2017, so you know it’ll be delicious wherever you go here.

Otherwise, Naples is known for its Duomo, which houses two vials of patron saint San Gennaro’s blood among other holy relics, and 14th-century Santa Chiara Church, home to a monastery, archaeological museum, and several tombs. Check out the Greco-Roman ruins beneath the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore, explore one of the city’s ancient castles, view artwork by Titian, Botticelli, and Raphael at the Capodimonte Museum, and take a joyride on one of the four funicular lines.

Getting There: It’s a two-hour drive or you can reach Naples from Rome by train in a little over an hour (see our expert guide for more tips).

Travel Tip: Consider buying a Naples Pass if you’re going to be visiting several attractions, as well as Pompeii or Herculaneum, as it can save you money on admission and transportation fees.

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13 of 14

Pompeii: Historic Ruins by an Epic Volcano

Pompeii ruins in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius in Italy

Photography by Jeremy Villasis, Philippines / Getty Images

80045 Pompei, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, The Archaeological Park of Pompeii is one of the most popular day trips in Italy, either from Rome or nearby Naples. Come see what remains of the city, which was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius on August 25, 79 A.D. (yes, that’s still Mt. Vesuvius looming over you in the background, and yes, it’s still an active volcano, but no, we don't know for sure when the next eruption will be).

Pompeii feels frozen in time, with frescoes and mosaic floors in wealthy Roman homes still intact and plaster casts of people and animals caught in the exact moment of what they were doing when the eruption occurred. Keep in mind that this is not just a museum, but an entire city, so wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to spend most of your time here walking between the various excavation sites and educational areas.

Getting There: It takes about 2.5 hours to reach Pompeii from Rome whether you travel by car or train (go to the Pompei Scavi or Pompei Santuario stop, depending on which line you take). A SITA bus between Naples and Salerno also stops at Piazza Esedra in Pompeii.

Travel Tip: TickItaly offers a three-day pass including public transportation from Naples and admission to Pompeii, plus one more excavation site (Herculaneum or Baia Archaeological Park, among others).

14 of 14

Capri: Beyond the Blue Grotto

Beautiful rocks by the ocean in Capri, Italy

Westend61 / Getty Images

80076 Capri, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

While most travelers come to Capri to see its famous sea caves like the Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra), the island is also known for its Roman ruins, gardens, monasteries, beaches, and views from Anacapri and Mount Solaro, two of its highest points. 

 Whether you’re here to see the ruins and gardens of Villa San Michele in Anacapri, gaze at the Faraglioni rock formations, or feast on limoncello (read: lemon liquor from heaven) or other traditional dishes like ravioli Caprese, wood-fired pizza, or refreshing Caprese salads, you’re sure to have a memorable trip to the island of Capri.

Getting There: From Rome, you’ll need to make your way to Naples by car or train (2.5 hours), then it’s another 45 minutes by ferry from either the Molo Beverello or Calata Porta di Massa ports to Capri.

Travel Tip: There is only one road on Capri, which means you’ll have to rely on public transportation, which can be crowded, taxis, or funiculars to get around.

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The 14 Best Day Trips from Rome