10 Best day trips from Rome: my favorites for a great day in the surroundings!

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6. The necropoleis in CERVETERI and TARQUINIA. The Etruscan civilization was an ancient Italian civilization that flourished in the north of Latium and Tuscany, from 700bc until the assimilation to the Roman republic. They influenced the culture of Rome significantly, and left a heritage of art and architecture that we can still see today: in particular the necropoleis, their cities of the deads.

For this day trip I suggest you an itinerary that touches the two most interesting etruscan towns: Cerveteri and Tarquinia. Each one has an ancient necropolis nearby, and they are both listed in the UNESCO world heritage sites.

Cerveteri is the nearest to Rome, located north-west. Here is the Banditaccia necropolis, an archaeological area with thousands of ancient etruscan tombs. It's estimated a total number of 20.000 tomb rooms just in this area, and this is the widest necropolis of the entire Mediterraneum area. The funeral monuments have different shapes depending on the period, and they're built with the tuff stone, characteristic of this area.

Then we have Tarquinia, another town on the coast of the Tirrenian sea, that has a glorious etruscan history. Here is the Monterozzi necropolis. The characteristic of this necropolis is the presence of hundreds of painted tomb rooms. Many etruscan tombs had paintings and decorations, but it's only in Tarquinia that this phenomenon was so frequent, and continuous along history.

Today, around 20 tombs are accessible to tourists, and they are signaled in the surface by modern buildings, that are there to protect the paintings from humidity and rain water.

How to go from Rome to Cerveteri and Tarquinia:

Car. Once you leave the center of Rome, head north-west and follow the indications for Civitavecchia. You'll soon see signs for Cerveteri. To reach Tarquinia you have to drive over Civitavecchia, which is the biggest city in this area.

Train. From the central Termini station you can take one of the frequent trains heading to Cerveteri-Ladispoli. At the arrival you can take a local bus that will bring you to the Banditaccia necropolis. The same way, once you're back to the train station, you can take another train to reach Tarquinia, it's another 40 mins. These are regional trains, frequent and cheap. I'd say just start with Cerveteri, and after you've done there, decide if to add Tarquinia to your day trip or not.


7. The amusement park in VALMONTONE If you want a family friendly tour, Valmontone, a small town 40 km south of Rome, is the best choice for a number of reasons. It is very well connected to Rome with trains, from the central Termini station. The town is not worth a visit, but there are two very interesting things in its territory.

One is the "Rainbow Magicland", the biggest amusement park around Rome. The park is still "young", it's been built just few years ago, and it still has some flaws (lacks shade in hot summer -bring sunscreen- and price is a bit too high, I suggest you to bring your own food), but it's a big park, one of those where you can spend hours between rollercoasters, water games, movies, animation and everything. Kids will love it.

Then, just in front of the park, there is the "Fashion District", which is like a little shopping town. All colored buildings full of shops, mainly clothes and accessories. But there's also a big electronic store, and of course bars and restaurants. If you come here in group, but not everybody wants to go to the park, there is the possibility to split: someone goes to have fun in the park, someone goes shopping in the fashion district.

How to go from Rome to Valmontone:

Car: Drive south, following the A1 road direction Naples (Napoli), and you'll reach Valmontone in 50 minutes.

Train: There are frequent trains for Valmontone from Roma termini station. Once at Valmontone station, there's a bus that connects to the park and the fashion district.


8. FLORENCE is definitely doable as a day trip from Rome. It's down here for the distance. But among all the farther destinations that you can choose in central Italy, I would definitely give priority to Florence. This city is almost as big and as rich of treasures as Rome, so take into account that in one day you'll only see the main attractions.

This trip makes sense if you go there with the quick train, which brings you to destination in 1 hour and 30 mins. You must be very motivated to see Florence however: the round-trip ticket is 86 euro. You want to go for it? Well if you can afford it, you will love it. The main city of Tuscany is a real diamond, there is so much art and beauty that you will surely feel like coming back.

The good thing is that, not much differently from Rome, almost all the  important monuments are located in a restricted area in the center, so with few hours you can see many of them. Of course in a day you can only enter in one or two places. I advice to skip the Offizi: wonderful place, but another solid expense and there are long queues, you probably won't make it (unless you reserved online)

So enjoy all the rest: Ponte Vecchio (my favorite place in Florence), a tiny and super picturesque bridge with a lot of jewelries embedded on its sides, with a stunning view on the river Arno. Piazza della Signoria, where you can admire the wonderful statue of David. The Dome, with its wonderful marbles and the beautiful internal. The gardens of Boboli and the paintings in palazzo Pitti.

Basically, there is a wonder everywhere you turn, so it's actually pointless to list them all :) Just decide if you want to do it. If you want to spend some money because you really don't want to miss it, one thing is certain: you will love it.

How to go from Rome to Florence:

Car. By car would be 2 hours 50 mins, not considering potential problems with the traffic. Too much for a single day. Do it with the train.

Train. There are frequent trains from Termini station to the main station of Florence, called Santa Maria Novella. The trip takes 1 hour 30 mins and costs 43 euro (86 round trip).


9. TRISULTI is a place I fell in love for. Let's be clear: this is one of those treasures you have to earn. It's a little monastery between the mountains, unknown by many people, Romans included. There are no trains, and it's 1 hour and a half drive.

But! If you like hidden gems, this is the place. You can really feel a spiritual atmosphere here. When you arrive and get out of the car, an intense odor of resin will welcome you. There are pines all around on the mount. Few monks still live in the monastery, so off the beaten track that, they explained me, in winter when it snows they're completely isolated.

This is a place of peace. Some (smart, I'd say) Italians who discovered it organize their weddings here. There is a little internal lake, with green water, fish and a silent statue in the middle that really hit me. It was beautiful. The chapel where they organize religious functions is covered with frescoes everywhere. And there's an ancient pharmacy with all sort of spices and decorated containers. Now, if you happen to be in Rome in Christmas, really (REALLY) consider coming here to see the nativity representation the monks make.

I saw it last winter and it was something special. Off course, the best I've ever seen in my whole life!

Since the visit will not take you many hours, I suggest you to make a little tour in two cute and small towns nearby: Collepardo (where there are some caves that you can visit) and Vico Nel Lazio. These are great places if you want to see real insiders!

How to go from Rome to Trisulti:

Car: The Certosa di Trisulti is in the south area of my region called Ciociaria. You have to drive 1 hour 30 mins to reach it, and in the last part you have to climb the mountain a bit, on a street with several curves.

Train. Pass. Only car for this trip.


10. CASTELLI ROMANI is an area in the south of Rome, which includes lakes, a natural reserve and several interesting towns. I selected an itinerary which I think is the best for a one day trip.

There are a couple of big volcanic lakes here. The bigger one is the Albano lake, and it's probably the most interesting one because it's bigger, there are more structures on its coasts (bars, restaurants, beaches, sport facilities) and especially because there's is Castelgandolfo overlooking it, a nice town popular mainly because it's the summer residence of the popes.

This residence, called Apostolic Palace, is actually property of the Vatican, in fact it has the status of extra territorial property of the Holy See.

If you come to Castelgandolfo in summer, you may even be able to assist to a mess celebrated by pope Francis in person.

Now, after you've done with the visit at the lake and in Castelgandolfo, I recommend staying for dinner in Ariccia.

Ariccia is a town near Castelgandolfo which is a very popular destination among Romans for food crusades.

How to go from Rome to Castelli romani:

Car:

Train:


007 Notes: Updated last time May 29, 2015

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