Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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Rome is an epic and iconic city in Italy that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Unlike many other places in Italy, it also makes an easy home base to explore the surrounding areas. There are quite a few places that you can reach from Rome by hopping on a train. And other towns and regions are totally worth renting a car for.
Here are some of the best day trips from Rome during your visit.
Tivoli is one of the easiest and most convenient places to visit when you’re in Rome because you can take an inexpensive train ride to get here. The ride will only take you about an hour, making it a perfect day trip destination. Make sure to see the Villa d’Este, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 16th century, and all the lovely fountains and gardens. Trattoria del Falcone is a recommended place to get lunch by the fountains. Another big site to see in Tivoli is Hadrian’s Villa, which is famous for opulent columns and well-preserved statues. There are city buses that take you from the city center to the villa, which is a bit outside of town. Villa Adriana is also worth visiting and about three miles away from the city center. Terme di Roma is a spa complex that’s a welcome retreat after busy days of sightseeing in Rome.
Tuscany is one of the most famous wine regions in the world and definitely worth seeing for yourself when you’re in Rome. Even if you’re not a huge wine fan, the food and scenery can’t be beaten. When most people refer to “Tuscany,” this is actually an entire region, so it’s important to pick out a few individual towns to visit if you only have a day to spare. For example, Pienza is a great town to visit if you want to see the castle at Montalcino and go shopping. And Bagno Vignoni is a town known for its hot springs.
You’ll only need to travel about two hours by train to reach Assisi from Rome, and this is a lovely medieval town with many religious sites and ruins. Also known for its artistic beauty, Assisi is in a hilly region of Umbria and centered around the Basilica of St. Francis. This is the final resting place of Italy’s patron saint. You can wander down the town’s cobblestone streets to reach the cathedral and check out all the medieval shops and houses along the way. The top sights to stop by are the Piazza del Comune, which is the town center, and the Church of the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. You can also get some amazing views of the region from St. Claire’s Basilica.
It may surprise some visitors in Rome that the seashore is just a short distance away. Head to Terracina to experience the shore, which is only about 35 miles away from the city. This is where you can swim in the Tyrrhenian Sea and also explore Terracina Alta, which is the historic quarter of town. If you plan to hit the beach, you may have to pay for amenities in the developed areas or opt for no amenities in the free sections. This is a favorite day trip among foodies because of the local culinary specialties to try, such as spicy boar sausage and sugar-coated doughnuts.
For a lively and fascinating day excursion from Rome, Naples is a favorite family-friendly destination. Come here to experience some of the greatest archaeological museums and art museums anywhere in the world. You can hop on a train in Rome to reach Naples for a ride that takes about an hour and 10 minutes. While in the area, you can check out the historic churches and try some delicious food. Neapolitan pizza is a local specialty and should definitely be tried for lunch. The Museo Archeologico Nazionale is a great place to check out if you enjoy art. This is a day trip that requires a fair amount of energy since there is so much to see and do when you arrive. Get as early of a start as possible for the best day in Naples!
If you’ve already checked out Tuscany or want an alternative experience with its own unique flavor, don’t miss Orvieto. It’s easy to visit this town from Rome in a day, and the train ride from the city only takes about an hour. Orvieto is a charming town located on a large piece of volcanic rock. There are tunnels and caverns that date back thousands of years and scenes that have been inspiring generations of artists. Take your time strolling through the medieval streets and viewing the magnificent cathedrals. The Duomo cathedral is here and nothing short of impressive, with its frescoes and mosaics. San Giovenale is the oldest church in the city and is worth a visit too. Orvieto is about halfway between Rome and Florence, so this is a good day trip destination if you’re coming from Florence as well.
Pompeii is one of the most historically significant cities in the world, and you can reach it by public transportation or by renting a car. However, it would be a shame to visit Rome and not see Pompeii while you’re in the area as well. One popular route is to take a train from Rome to Naples and then the Circumvesuviana route on to Pompeii, for a total travel time of about two hours. There’s a lot to see here, so you may want to book a guided tour to hit the highlights if you want to learn as much as possible. Audio tours are also recommended to learn about the sites at your own pace. On a tour, you’ll learn about the history of what remains of a society dating back over 2,000 years ago. It’s also worth visiting the National Archeological Museum of Pompeii to see artifacts that were excavated from this historic place.
Ostia Antica is another excellent day trip from Rome, and you can reach it in about half an hour. This is an ancient port city that has been very well preserved and is easier to work into a busy travel schedule than some other destinations, like Pompeii. Ostia Anica is sometimes referred to as a smaller version of Pompeii because it’s also an archaeological site that gives travelers a glimpse into Rome’s seaport past. It’s located at the mouth of River Tiber and is best known for the well-preserved ancient apartment buildings, known as insula. The top things to see here are the Terme di Nettuno baths complex and Thermopolium, which is a historic café. The House of Cupid and Psyche are historic homes with some opulent marble décor.
You’ll need to travel about 55 miles northwest of Rome to reach Bagnoregio, which sits on a steep outcropping in an impressive rock valley. Come here to escape modern civilization and to experience a haunting and charming vibe. This rustic town is a favorite spot for traveling photographers. You can hop on a train from Rome to Orvieto and then catch a bus from there to reach this off-the-beaten-path site. Come in the spring or autumn for the most comfortable weather for walking around. You can explore this area in about half a day, which includes time for lunch and checking out some of the local shops. Or make a weekend out of it and spend time in Orvieto as well.
Herculaneum offers a day trip experience similar to Pompeii but that is a little closer to Rome. This is a good option if you are pressed for time and not able to get out as far as Pompeii for the day. This town is close to Naples, so you may be able to combine both of these destinations on a two-day excursion.