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Day Trips from Rome

Bill Turner

This article helps you research day trips from Rome using the Slow Travel Message Board and Trip Reports, and other travel sites.

Are you looking for interesting day trips to take from your base in Rome? On this page I have listed possible day trips with references to threads on the Slow Travel Message Board: Italy forum and to Slow Travel Trip Reports discussing day trips from Rome that can be made using public transportation. There is also a list of places that are frequently asked about that are not doable as a day trip.

Note that the criteria for selection in this article is "can you do this in a day?" and not "is this worth seeing?" I have shamelessly excerpted from the threads referenced; please read them to see what the original posters said!

General Discussion

These are interesting threads about Rome day trips from the Slow Travel Message Board, Italy forum:

Destinations Suggested

Click on the place name to get more details for that destination.

  • Anzio - City on the Pontine coast with ancient ruins and beaches, and also the site of a major Allied invasion in WWII with museums, memorials and cemeteries. On the Pontine coast, South of Rome.
  • Appian Way (Appia Antica, Via Appia) - Just outside the city walls; a walking day trip with a picnic basket is suggested.
  • Assisi - Home of St. Francis.
  • Bracciano - Castle on the way to Viterbo.
  • Cerveteri - Etruscan necropolis; one of the two most important Etruscan sites.
  • Florence - A long day-trip from Rome (2 hours each way), but to check off a "must see" or meet a friend, doable.
  • Formia - Roman ruins, and the nearby tomb of Cicero (or transfer to Gaeta or island of Ponza).
  • Gaeta - A stunning town with a great beach on the Pontine coast.
  • Ninfa - Gardens.
  • Orvieto - Doable, but a bit far (on the way to Florence).
  • Ostia (Ostia Antica) - Roman ruins, an easy day trip from Rome suggested as an alternative to Pompeii.
  • Paestum - Well-preserved Greek temples even farther away than Pompeii.
  • Pompeii - A long day trip from Rome, but doable if it's on your "must see" list.
  • Sperlonga - Beach on the Pontine coast.
  • Subiaco - Benedictine monastery.
  • Tarquinia - A beautiful walled city whose roots go back to the Etruscans, with a number of medieval towers; one of the two most important Etruscan sites.
  • Tivoli - Villa D'Este (gardens) and Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa).
  • Viterbo - Europe's best preserved medieval quarter; Etruscan sites.
  • Via Appia - Appian Way.

In addition, Bill Thayer mentions Civita Castellana, Rignano Flaminio, Norchia, Palestrina, Marino, Nemi, Castel Gandolfo, Ardea, Nettuno, Terracina as day trips. Almost all of these are on train lines. Further information on these, and most of the other places mentioned, can be found at Bill Thayer's Web site.

The Traveling with Ed and Julie site is gone, but fortunately is archived, and their Rome - Sights and Walks - Excursions Outside Rome page has information about trips to Ostia Antica, Florence, Pompeii, Orvieto, Assisi, Perugia, Civita di Bagnoreggio, Tivoli, and Paestum.

Destinations by Subject

Via Appia (Appia Antica)

The queen of roads is now the center of a sizable park with catacombs, Roman ruins, museums, and even a few short segments of surviving Roman road. The major road of the Park is closed to private vehicles on Sundays and holidays, during which the Park offers walking and bicycling tours. The park's Web site describes routes, including cautions about the high-traffic areas.

Via Appia, October 2001

Getting there

Take a cab to Domine Quo Vadis? and walk from there; take the Archeobus; or read the directions and view the maps on the official site.

Ostia Antica

"Having been to both [Pompeii and Ostia Antica], I recommend going to Ostia Antica instead. Okay, it wasn't once covered in lava, and it's not as famous, but it's far closer, jaw-droppingly impressive, completely gives you your "ruined Roman city" fix, and isn't as hot/crowded/lacking in ameneties."

Mosaic from Ostia Antica, September 2002

Mosaic from Ostia Antica

Getting there

Metro Line B: Piramide or Magliana, then take the "Ostia Lido" local train to Ostia Antica. (TIP: Buy a daily ticket 4.00 euro to cover your metro and train rides.)

Pompeii

It's not recommended by most posters, but is doable if you accept that your travel time will exceed your time in Pompeii.

If you take an organized tour day trip from Rome, it will be expensive. Ercolano (Herculaneum) is suggested by one poster as an alternative because it is smaller (though just as far) and therefore easier to see in a short time. Ostia Antica is suggested as an alternative that is quite near Rome and may be just as satisfying.

If Pompeii is a must-see, it is suggested that you plan to fly into or out of Naples and spend at least one night there.

Debra's trip report (link above) describes a successful day trip to Pompeii.

Getting there

Southeast of Rome past Naples: Train from Termini station to Napoli Centrale (about 2 hours), then catch the local Circumvesuviana train to Pompei Scavi (about 30 minutes, 1.60 euro). Factoring in connections and mild disorientation in the chaos of the Naples station, the trip from Rome to the site takes about 3 1/2 hours one way.

Paestum

One can enjoy some of the finest Greek architectural remains without taking a trip to Greece. Paestum, located not far from Naples, is the site of the Greek colony city of Lucania. It flourished through the 6th Century (B.C.E) and was taken by the Romans in the Republican era, early in the third century. The ruins of the city contain some of the most well-preserved Doric-style temples remaining, anywhere.

Paestum is even further from Rome than Pompeii is; although it can be done as a day trip, it probably shouldn't be - travel time will be about 4 hours each way. It's somewhat far even as a day trip from Naples!

Getting there

Southeast of Rome past Naples and Salerno: Train from Rome to Naples, then change trains going south toward Sapri; Paestum is the 4th stop after Salerno. The ancient site is a 10 minute walk from the station. Buy all tickets at Termini (Rome) to save time in Naples. If your connections are good, travel time is about 4 hours each way.

  • Daytripping to Paestum: Out-of-date detailed instructions can be found at the now-defunct Traveling with Ed and Julie site.

Assisi

Another long but doable day, 2.5 hours each way.

Getting there

Northeast of Rome past Spoleto and Foligno: The main train line between Rome and Ancona has a station at Foligno (on the branch line to Spello, Assisi, Perugia and Lake Trasimene), so coming from Rome, take one of the nine daily trains on the line to Ancona, stop at Foligno (1 hr, 40 min to 2 hr), where you can transfer to a Perugia-bound train (10 to 15 min). All the cited lines are part of the FS state-run railway system and stop at a station on Santa Maria degli Angeli, well away from the historic center (about 3km) but a 30-minute ride on buses from the center of town (C Line). Bus services leave from the forecourt outside the station and drop you in Piazza Matteotti.

Tivoli

Attractions include Villa D'Este if you are interested in gardens, and Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa).

Getting there

East of Rome: Metro Line B to Ponte Mammolo, then blue COTRAL bus to Tivoli. If you would like to see both villas in one day, we recommend visiting the Villa d'Este first, then catching the local orange bus from out in front of the Villa d'Este down the hill to Villa Adriana. This bus will leave you in front of a bar, then it's a five-minute walk to the entrance of Hadrian's Villa. At the end of the day you can either take an orange bus back to Rome (Ponte Mammolo metro station) from the bar, or walk a little bit farther to the main road (Via Tiburtina) where the blue COTRAL bus back to Ponte Mammolo runs more frequently.

Subiaco

The attraction is a Benedictine monastery, the hermitage that gave rise to Western monasticism.

Getting there

East of Rome: Metro B to Ponte Mammolo bus station (Rebibbia direction from Tiburtina), then COTRAL bus to Subiaco.

Viterbo

From the message board - "It's one of the most carefully maintained medieval places of some size in central Italy, lots of old churches, narrow medieval streets with arched doorways, lions carved on just about every conceivable surface; and then there's the Palace of the Popes... to say nothing of all the sights in the immediate area, which include most of the best Etruscan stuff anywhere."

Getting there

80 km North of Rome: Depending which metro line is more convenient to you:

  • On Metro line B, go in the direction of Laurentina (South), get off at Piramide (Ostiense station) and take the regional railway line Linie fm3. Trains leave Ostiense for Viterbo every hour at 20 min to the hour: 10:40, 11:40, etc. Travel time is 1:48. This is a Regionale train; tickets and schedules at Trenitalia.
  • On Metro line A, go in the direction of Battistini (West), get off at Valle Aurelia (near West end of Line A). Trains going north towards Viterbo from Valle Aurelia leave every 30 min. but go only as far as the Cesano station; the trains that go all the way to Viterbo leave every hour at 10 min to the hour: 10:50, 11:50, etc. It's a beautiful ride and worthwhile. Travel time is 1:38. This is a Regionale train, and in fact the same train as from Ostiense just boarding at a more northerly station.
  • The Ferrovia regionale Roma-Viterbo commuter train (Metro system) offers extra-urban service from Metro Line A: Flaminio (Piazza del Popolo) starting at 05:45am and ending at 11:06pm, except for Sundays and public holidays when trains run from 06:13am to 11.33pm. This line provides 43 daily trips with a train leaving every 25 minutes during rush-hour. Each trip is approx. 155 minutes long. Schedules and maps are at the link given.
Buy the BIRG ticket (biglietto Integrato regionale giornaliero) which costs 9.00 euro and gets you around the region (bus, train, metro) for the entire day. Don't forget to stamp it in the yellow machines before boarding.

By bus: Saxa Rubra. First take Metro Line A to Flaminio, then a Ferrovia Roma Nord train to "Saxa Rubra;" from there Cotral buses depart for Bolsena-Calcata-Sacrofano-Sutri-Viterbo. The diretta (direct) bus takes about 75 minutes.

Bracciano (Lake Bracciano)

If you just need to see a castle.

Getting there

25 miles (40 km) to the northwest of Rome, on the way to Viterbo. Trains from Rome to Viterbo pass through the Bracciano station.

Tarquinia

Etruscan - winged horses from the temple of the Ara della Regina on display in the Etruscan Museum in Tarquinia

Tarquinia is an important Etruscan site. About 600 painted tombs dating from 8-6th century BC have been discovered in Tarquinia but only a handful are open to the public. Buy the necropolis area double ticket to visit both the necropolis and the museum housed in beautiful Palazzo Vitelleschi. The Lido di Tarquinia is 5 km away from the city. The necropolis is outside the city gates; the Civita (the ancient necropolis) is 7 km away on the Monte Romano road.

Getting there

Northwest of Rome: Tarquinia is on the Roma-Ventimiglia railway; the station is 3 km outside the city linked by the shuttle service. A diretto train from Roma Ostiense station (Metro Line B Piramide) takes 50 minutes.

Cerveteri

The archaeological site of Cerveteri is a 7th to 5th century BC necropolis, consisting of dozens of "tumulus" tombs (earthen mounds with carved interior chambers). The necropolis is about 2 km (1 mi) from Cerveteri's main piazza. Bring a flashlight.

Getting there

COTRAL buses leave for Cerveteri from the Lepanto stop of Metro line A, with service every 40 minutes or so during the day. The ride takes about 70 minutes. Once you're at Cerveteri, it's a 2km (1 1/4-mile) walk to the necropolis; follow the signs pointing the way.

Florence

Florence is a long day trip from Rome, but if you want to either schedule museum tickets to just hit a "must-see" such as Michelangelo's David or just spend an afternoon soaking up the ambience, it is doable.

The trip reports (links above) describe successful day trips to Florence.

Getting there

North of Rome: From the message board - "Here is an itinerary Rome/Florence/Rome for October taken from the Trenitalia website, 19 July 2004:

  • Train # 9428 departing Roma Termini @ 07:30 arriving in Firenze S. M. Novella @ 09:06
    First class 42.35 euro, Second class 29.44 euro
  • Return: Train # 9473 departing Firenze S. M. Novella @ 19:29 arriving in Roma Termini @ 21:05
    First class 42.35 euro, Second class 29.44 euro, Travel time each way is 1hr 36min.

Orvieto

Attractions include the Duomo, the Signorelli frescoes in the recently restored San Brizio chapel, the underground caves, the well (Pozzo di San Patrizio), lots of shopping and an all around nice ambience.

Getting there

North of Rome: Orvieto is about an hour by train from Rome on the main Rome-Florence line (though not all trains stop). Take the funicular across the street from the Orvieto station to the top of the hill; save your funicular ticket for the bus on which it is valid.

Ninfa

The beautiful Gardens of Ninfa (Giardini di Ninfa) are located in the Lazio region of Italy, about 40 miles south-east of Rome. Known mostly to garden enthusiasts, Ninfa and its unique setting are still a fairly well-kept secret. Getting to Ninfa is a challenge, but the garden is worth the effort. Admission is limited, so reserve in advance; in Rome, tickets can be bought from the WWF offices at Via Po 25c (close to the Galleria Borghese).

Gardens of Ninfa have been written about in the New York Times - twice!

Getting there

Southeast of Rome: Take a train to Latina (half an hour from Rome). The station (which is actually at Latina Scalo, 9km from Latina itself) is the closest to Ninfa. Infrequent local bus services will take you a little nearer your destination, but the simplest method is to take a taxi. The taxi bay outside the thirties-style station is clearly labeled, and white taxis arrive and depart frequently. The taxis use a meter for the fare, which is around 12 - 14 each way. Make arrangements to be picked up afterwards, or take the number of the station taxi rank so that you can call for a taxi back.

Anzio

Battlefield museum (WWII Allied landing), Roman ruins, beach, ferries to Ponza.

Getting there

South of Rome on the Pontine coast: Hourly trains Rome Termini, less than an hour travel time. The center of town and the port are a 10-minute walk downhill from the train station.

Sperlonga

Recommended answer to "From Rome, what is a good beach?"

Getting there

Southeast of Rome on the Pontine coast: COTRAL buses for Sperlonga leave Rome from the EUR Fermi stop of Metro line B. The trip takes about 1-1/2 hours.

By train, take the Rome-Naples line, get off at the Fondi-Sperlonga station and catch a bus for Sperlonga (make sure you're going toward Sperlonga and not Fondi; fare is about 1 and you can pay the driver). The trip takes about 1-1/2 hours. Bus service is reduced on Sundays.

Formia

On the Appian Way south of Rome. Cicero's tomb and other Roman ruins; beaches.

Getting there

Southeast of Rome on the Pontine coast: An IC/ICplus from Roma Termini to Formia takes about 1 hour and costs 10.85 euro. If you take a Diretto - or Regionale - train it takes about 85 minutes and costs only 6.70 euro.

Gaeta

Interesting town with a great beach within 2 hours of Rome by train and bus (15 km from Sperlonga).

Getting there

Southeast of Rome on the Pontine coast: Take a Rome-Formia-Naples train to the Formia Station which is located six km from Gaeta. From there you can either take a taxi or a public bus to Gaeta.

Getting back from Gaeta: Buy a BIRG daily ticket (biglietto giornaliero) from ITT or Red Point (across the street from the ship). Take the Gaeta/Formia long orange bus along the Lungomare and stamp your BIRG ticket upon boarding the bus (back of the bus). The last stop is the Formia Train Station. Take the underpass (sottopassaggio), located in the terminal, to Track 3. Get off at Roma Termini.

Bicycling day trips

There are some suggested bicycling day trips from Rome in the Travel Notes.

NOT doable as a day trip from Rome

Siena - in short, no! It is not a good day trip from Rome.

  • Jan 10, 2004 Message Board: Daytrip Siena from Rome (But other destinations are discussed on this thread: Tivoli, Ostia, Palestrina, Anzio, the Via Appia just outside the city, Civita Castellana, Viterbo, Rieti.)

Todi, Sorrento, Capri, Venice - all No!

Public Transportation Information

There are detailed pages about using Italian trains and Rome transportation in the Instructions for Visitors section.

Trains from Rome

www.trenitalia.com

Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) is the national railway service. Rome has four major train stations:

  • Roma Termini (call 06 4744146)
  • Roma Tiburtina (call 06 44245104)
  • Roma Ostiense (call 06 5750732)
  • Roma Prenestina (call 06 47301)

The Trenitalia Website lets you search for trains and buy tickets. You can buy a ticket online (not for all trains, and only within certain date windows), print the receipt, and show the conductor the receipt when you're actually on the train; this avoids the lines at the ticket windows. In the stations, there are ticket windows, and also machines where you can buy tickets with a credit card. In Rome, you can also buy tickets at the American Express office near the bottom of the Spanish Steps.

For railway information: call 06 47301; assistance center for the disabled: call 06 4881726; Railway police: call 06 4819561. If you have a real ticket, punch your ticket before boarding the train. DON'T figure on getting on without a ticket and paying the conductor in cash.

Rome Metro

www.metroroma.it

Rome's Metro system has two lines; they both run from 05.30 to 23.30, and on Saturdays until 00.30.

  • Line A connects the southern quarters of the city (Cinecitt and Anagnina) to the center and to the quarter of Prato.
  • Line B connects the EUR quarter to the center and to the areas of Via Tiburtina and Rebibbia.

Both metro lines go through Stazione Termini. Tickets are good for 75 minutes travel once you stamp the ticket in the machine on the bus or train; no transfer is required as long as you're within the 75 minutes.

Rome Buses

www.atac.roma.it

Most buses run from Monday to Sundays. There also is a night bus service in Rome. Buses ride from Stazione Tiburtina all through Italy and between the city center to the region of Lazio. Trams and local buses are run by ATAC; Cotral operates the suburban train service, the metro and the blue suburban buses. Metrebus tickets cover transport by metro, tram and bus; these tickets have to be bought before boarding, and when you board you must stamp, punch, or otherwise obliterate your ticket. The tickets can be bought at stations, booths, from machines and tobacconists. It is worth buying a ticket, and punching it when you get on, as the fine is 51 euro.

Tickets

B.I.T. (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo)
Validity: 75 minutes from validation (no transfer needed if you change as long as you're within the time limit).
Cost: 1 euro
Use: Atac buses, Cotral buses (urban only), Metro lines A and B (one ride only), selected trains to Lido, Viterbo, Pantano (second class, one way, ask before using).

B.I.G. (Biglietto Integrato Giornaliero)
Validity: until 12.00 p.m of the day of validation, valid for an unlimited number of trips.
Cost: 4 euro
Use: Atac buses, Cotral buses (urban only), Metro lines A and B (one ride only), Met.Ro trains to Lido, Viterbo, Pantano, FS trains only second class (one way, ask before using).

Ticket must be validated as you get on the first bus/train. Always keep the tickets with you, you may be asked to show it, and if you don't have a ticket or your ticket is not validated, the fine is 51 euro.


Bill traveled abroad for the first time in Spring 2001 at the age of 49. He now spends entirely too much time daydreaming about Rome.

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