Rome‘s nickname is the Eternal City, but unless you have an eternity there you’ll never see everything. And you shouldn’t try – you’ll just wear yourself out completely, which is no way to spend your holiday. But even though you’d never really run out of things to see or do in Rome, there are still plenty of good reasons to get out of the city for a day or two. Luckily, there are plenty of great options for day trips from Rome.
One of the best reasons to escape for a day is the city itself. If Rome is getting to you after a couple days and you still have enough time left in your visit, then getting beyond the city limits for a break is an exceptionally good idea. Another good reason is that while traveling around has its perks, all that packing and unpacking when you’re constantly moving from place to place can be a headache. Which means that if you’ve gotten comfortable at one of the hostels in Rome or found a steal of a deal at one of the cheap hotels in Rome, you might as well stay there and just make day-long excursions. And if you’re like most people, having found the best airfare deal on airline tickets to Rome instead of splurging on open-jaw tickets, that means you’ll be starting and ending your trip in the capital city. If that’s the case, why not take advantage of an extra day or two in Rome by visiting another place nearby?
Most of the places on this list are easily accessible via public transportation from central Rome, which makes them ideal day trips – even if you’ve got a rental car and are planning to drive your way out of the capital eventually. I’ve also tried to include a variety of kinds of destinations, so that you can visit another city if you’re not all citied out – but you can also take a break from the big city in some of these places as well. And it’s likely I’ll be adding to this list eventually, so if you have suggestions of places I should add, please let me know in the comments below.
Did you know you can book discounted shore excursions in Rome without going through the cruise line? And that they’ll guarantee to have you back at the ship in time for depature? Find out more: Discount Shore Excursions from Rome
Day Trips from Rome
- Vatican City – Okay, so this is hardly leaving Rome, but it is technically another country, and it’s definitely worth an entire day of your trip.
- Pompeii – This is, admittedly, an exceptionally long day trip from Rome. But if your life won’t be complete without a stop in Pompeii and you’re not going any further south than Rome, it’s do-able. You may want to book Pompeii Tours from Rome to save on the logistical hassle, but it’s totally possible to do a trip without a tour. Among the tour companies offering day trips to Pompeii from Rome is Context Travel (which is based in Rome); their Pompeii Excursion from Rome is a 12-hour trip, so you can see why Pompeii is better and easier as a day-trip from Naples!
- Tivoli – If you like gardens and old villas, then Tivoli’s a good day trip. The gardens at Villa d’Este are an excellent spot to spend a few hours on a nice day, and you can explore Hadrian’s Villa nearby as well.
- Ninfa – And for another garden option, the Ninfa Gardens are way less visited than Tivoli. They’re a bit tougher to get to (train to Latina, local bus or taxi to Ninfa), and you can’t just show up and expect to be let in (they limit the number of people who can enter, so you’ll want to book your entry ahead of time), but if you’re a serious gardens person Ninfa is worth the effort.
- Naples – This is certainly not a break from the big city, but at less than 2 hours one-way from Rome on the fast train it’s definitely worth considering. This is especially true if you won’t be going to Pompeii or Ostia Antica, because you can check out the fantastic Archaeological Museum in Naples and see many of the goodies that used to be at Pompeii and Herculaneum anyway.
- Ostia Antica – These Roman ruins are a much quicker trip from Rome than the more famous sites of Pompeii or Herculaneum, and they’re not nearly as visited. So you’ll save money on the train ride and won’t be fighting as many crowds. Double win!
- Orvieto – At around 1.5 hours from Rome, the Umbrian hilltown of Orvieto is an excellent day trip. It’s small, so you can visit the whole place in a day, and it’s uber-charming. You’ll forget about the chaos of Rome in a few minutes. Miss Expatria has all the details about spending a day in Orvieto from Rome.
- Frascati – You might think that a city as big and expansive as Rome just goes on forever, but it doesn’t. A whopping half-hour train ride from Termini puts you in delightful Frascati, from which you can look back down the hill into Rome, and in which you can enjoy the local white wines the town is famous for. You can spend a day, or just go for lunch like Miss Expatria describes.
- Ostia Lido – If it’s summertime (or any time when there’s nice weather) and you’re longing for a lazy day at the beach, your closest option is Ostia Lido and roughly a half-hour from Rome. As is often the case in Italy, the best sections of the beach are private (meaning you’ll have to pay to use them).
- Sperlonga – Another beach option that’s a bit further away, Sperlonga is southeast of Rome and about a 1.5-hour bus or train ride from Rome.
- Tarquinia – For a bit of history from a group other than the Romans, head for Tarquinia and its excellent Etruscan Museum. The town itself is a bit of a museum piece as well, with Etruscan tombs dotting the area (some of which you can visit). The train from Rome takes about an hour.
- Cerveteri – Another important piece of Etruscan history, the town of Cerveteri is the site of an Etruscan “city of the dead” where many ancient tombs have been discovered. The bus ride from Rome to the town is just over an hour, and then you’ll need to walk the roughly 2km to the necropolis, so make sure you’ve got your walking shoes on.
- Viterbo – This medieval town in Lazio is chock full of sights worth having on any Italy to-do list. There’s enough to do, in fact, that you might want to consider it for longer than just a day trip! Depending on the method of transport, it’ll take between 1.5-2 hours to get there from Rome.
- Appian Way – This road, the Via Appia, is another spot that’s going to feel like it’s actually in Rome rather than outside it. But rather than making it one of many stops during a packed day in Rome, bring a picnic lunch and take your time strolling or cycling this ancient Roman road. As a bonus, this is also where you’ll go to visit the Roman Catacombs. The road is now part of a national park, and it’s closed to car traffic on Sundays – making that the best day to visit.
- Assisi – At 2.5 hours one-way on the train, Assisi isn’t the easiest day trip from Rome. But it can be done. Be aware that this Umbrian town is very much a pilgrimage site almost year-round, so you (like all the other day-trippers) are likely to be seeing the city through the crowds.
- Anzio – If the name Anzio is familiar, then you might know a thing or two about World War II history. In addition to being an Italian beach town with Roman ruins, Anzio is now home to a museum at the spot of the Allied landing during WWII. It’s about an hour from Rome.
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photo at top by rdesai