After all the wonders of antiquity that you will have seen in the fabulous Rome , you might want to discover what to do near Rome … You might be surprised by the abundance of classical monuments, medieval villages and naturalistic attractions that make the Lazio countryside special. . Not far from Rome , you can visit with a day trip from the capital, there are Etruscan necropolis, Roman ports, seaside villages and Renaissance villas that will not make you regret having abandoned the beauties of the Eternal City . Whether for a day or a weekend, here are 10 suggestions to find out what to do near Rome.
Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world , but it can also be very tiring: the noise, the traffic, and the crowds of tourists sometimes weaken even the most trained and willing visitor. If you have the time, a trip or a weekend away from the airport can be an excellent solution to take a break and things to do near Rome are so many. The tourist offer ranges from the wonders of antiquity such as the ruins of the port of Ostia Antica , Villa Adriana , Villa d’Este or the necropolis of Cerveteri , to relax in the vineyards of the Castelli Romani or on the white beaches of the coast near Sperlonga. But we do not want to reveal too much: follow us and you will discover the 10 best things to see near Rome.
How to reach Rome
You can reach Rome with both national and low-cost airlines by landing on one of the two main airports of the Capital, located 30 kilometers south-west respectively (Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, or Fiumicino ), or 15 kilometers south ( Ciampino Airport) ). From both airports it is possible to reach the city center by train (Leonardo da Vinci International Airport) or by a dedicated bus (Ciampino Airport).
The main stations that connect Rome to other Italian cities are the Termini Station (center), Tiburtina Station (east) and Ostiense Station (south-west).
Rome is served by an intense bus network of both ordinary and low-cost companies (Flixbus and Megabus) and the main station is located in front of Tiburtina Station (east).
All the destinations mentioned in this article can be reached from Rome by public transport (usually by bus in the hilly areas), but you will need to get some patience. But if you have a private car or if you decide to hire one your life will certainly be easier and you can have much more autonomy in travel near Rome, and you can enlarge your tour to the nearby provinces .
What to do near Rome: the 10 most beautiful places
1- Villa d’Este
The small town of Tivoli is nestled at the foot of the Monti Tiburtini just 30 kilometers from the center of Rome and was a holiday resort of the Romans already at the time of the Empire. Tivoli became famous for the two wonderful sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites : Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este . The Renaissance complex of Villa d’Este was originally designed as a Benedictine convent and later transformed into a sumptuous villa surrounded by a splendid Italian garden in 1550 by the son of Lucrezia Borgia. The heart of the Villa is the gardenwith an impressive concentration of fountains, nymphaeums, caves, water games and hydraulic music. Do you think that once there was a fountain that even operated an organ!
2- Villa Adriana
Villa Adriana , as the name recalls, was the summer residence of Emperor Hadrian. It was built between 118 and 134 AD, and appears to be the largest villa ever belonged to a Roman emperorreflecting the extraordinary level of skill achieved by the architecture of the time. With a perimeter of 3 kilometers, occupied an area of at least 120 hectares and the emperor Hadrian, passionate about travel and architecture, was inspired by the monuments of all the places where he had been to build it. Among the wonders that can be visited are the fish pond, surrounded by an underground gallery, where the emperor walked in the summer, and the private quarters of Adriano in the Maritime Theater, a small circular palace built on an island and accessible only with a drawbridge. Let’s say that with Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana Tivoli is definitely an unmissable destination among things to do near Rome!
3- The Park of the Monsters of Bomarzo
The same architect who designed Villa d’Este, Pirro Ligorio, one of the greatest architects of the second half of the sixteenth century Italian, also designed this eccentric and dreamlike park near the town of Bomarzo , in the province of Viterbo , among our must-seenear Rome. The project was commissioned by Pier Francesco Orsini called Vicino (1523-1585) in honor of his dead wife (Giulia Farnese). The Ligorio built the beautiful leaning house and the funeral mausoleum of Giulia, while all the other sculptures present in the park were dug directly into the mammoth blocks of rock that are found in the valley. From the sculpted rocks come gigantic animals, Homeric heroes or simple sirens or Roman goddesses, between mythology and fantasy. Historical scientists and philologists have made several attempts to explain the labyrinth of symbols, and have found ancient themes and motifs of Renaissance literature, but there are still many mysteries around the park.
4- Ostia Antica
The archaeological park of Ostia Antica is located at the mouth of the Tiber 25 kilometers south of Rome, and was the ancient Roman port of the city. Established in the fourth century BC, Ostia Antica was a center of defense and trade strategically important for Rome and was inhabited by merchants, sailors and slaves. The barbarian invasions and malaria depleted the city near Rome of its inhabitants, the port almost completely buried – and this explains the excellent state of conservation of the ruins. Among the most beautiful things not to be missed: the long Decumanus Maximus, the Roman theater that welcomed up to 3000 spectators, the Piazzale delle Corporazioni and the House of Diana.
Visiting Viterbo is like taking a journey through time. The capital of Tuscia , a territory that partly corresponds to the ancient Etruria, houses one of the largest and best preserved medieval historical centers in Europe, where it is pleasant to wander aimlessly, between characteristic places and artisan shops. The heart of the city is the thirteenth-century Palazzo dei Papi , where the popes ‘ elections took place in the 13th century, when Viterbo housed the residence of the Popes. The other points of interest are also located within the walls of the historic center; Piazza del Plebiscito , the main square, is surrounded by fifteenth and sixteenth century palaces, the most impressive of which is Palazzo dei Priori, today the seat of the Municipality. Do not miss the cathedral , the Church of Santa Maria Nuova and the Church of San Francesco.
6- The Roman Castles
Do not be fooled by the name: of castles, near Rome, there are very few. With this wording, in reality we commonly refer to the Alban Hills, which are 20 kilometers south of Rome and on which there are 16 well-known towns, precisely as Castelli Romani , among the best choices among things to do near Rome. Places of holiday of the rich since Roman times, these towns were founded almost all by the popes and patrician families and even today they are one of the favorite destinations of the Romans in the torrid summer days. Castel Gandolfo and Frascati are certainly the most famous; the first because it houses the Pope’s summer residence overlooking Lake Albano, and the second for the white wine produced there. The other places that deserve a visit are: Nemi, Ariccia, Grottaferrata, Rocca Priora and Rocca di Papa .
The medieval Orvieto stands on a cliff of tufa overlooking the valley of the river Paglia, a tributary of the Tiber, and houses one of the most beautiful Italian Gothic churches . The Cathedral of Orvieto is in fact a real feast for the eyes. The construction work started in 1290 and the design of this grandiose building was originally in Romanesque style; however with the progress of the works and with the succession of the architects, Gothic elements were added to the structure. The white and gray horizontal stripes pattern of the central core of the church is overshadowed by the wonderful polychrome of the façade. Inside, do not miss the frescoes on the Last Judgment by Luca Signorelli. Orvieto is also famous for theSt. Patrick’s Well : 60 meters deep, it was excavated in 1527 by order of Pope Clement VII and has two helical staircases also suitable for pack animals that descended to get water.
8- Civita di Bagnoregio
Civita di Bagnoregio is infamously known as “the dying city” because the tuff rock on which it was built is slowly crumbling and is a picturesque medieval village now virtually uninhabited. It can only be reached on foot by crossing a modern bridge that ends at the Porta Santa Maria , or Cava, on which a couple of lions watch over two human heads, symbol of tyrants defeated by the inhabitants. Stroll through the narrow streets and tiny squares until you reach the Church of San Donato (with a wooden crucifix from the school of Donatello and a fresco from the Perugino school) and the Renaissance palaces of the Colesanti and the Bocca.
The cleanest beaches of the Lazio coast are located in the southern part of the coast, especially between Terracina and Sperlonga . The latter, with two sandy beaches on both sides of the promontory on which it is built, is one of the most popular and sought-after holiday destinations in the area. The town is divided into two parts: the medieval Sperlonga Alta is at the top of the promontory and is a charming seaside village with white houses, and the Bassa Sperlonga that stretches along the sea. To enjoy the beauty of Sperlonga Alta it is sufficient to walk through the alleys and squares of the ancient village, on which some watchtowers built in the sixteenth century are guarded. Do not miss the Tiberio Cave, in which there is a circular pool that was used by the emperor; in front of the cave there are the ruins of the villa of Tiberius. Sperlonga is really a good choice for a trip to the sea near Rome.
Cerveteri , called Kysry from the Etruscans and Caere from the Latins, was one of the most important mercantile centers of the Mediterranean from the 7th to the 5th century BC and a visit to its necropolis , included by UNESCO among the World Heritage Sites, is one of the most strange and memorable that can be done near Rome. The most interesting remains are those of the suggestive Necropolis of Banditacciawhere the tumulus burials are characterized by a circular-shaped tuff structure that encloses a representation of the deceased’s house, complete with a corridor to access the various rooms. The wealth of details of the interior of these burials has allowed archaeologists to learn about the home uses of the Etruscans. The most beautiful burial is the Tomb of the Reliefs whose interior has been kept in particularly good condition, allowing to observe also the frescoes on the walls and on the columns.