If you visit Rome and want to get a taste of Italy outside the hectic capital, here are five places that make ideal day trips from Rome…
The harbour city of ancient Rome Ostia Antica is only a 45-minute train ride from downtown Rome. The archeological park contains the uncovered Roman city and the vast remains give you a good idea of what a city of the Roman Empire would have looked like. The site has been compared with Pompeii and include baths, temples and a forum. One of the unique features here is the ruins of apartment buildings (did you know they had apartment buildings then?) and there is also a museum at the site. The village of Ostia Antica is home to the Ostia Castle and if you have time, also visit Portus (the old city port) and take a look at the Isola Sacra Necropolis.
Via Appia (Appian Way)
For some rural peace away from the mainstream Rome tours try visiting the Via Appia. This used to be the main road leading into the city (312BC) is now an ideal hiking, walking and cycling route through green parkland. Exit Rome past the Aurelian Walls (Porta San Sebastiano) and the sites of the Appian Way appear starting with the Church of Domine Quo Vadis with Christ’s footprints left in a slab of stone. Continue on to the Church of San Sebastiano, the Catacombs and the Tomb of Cecilia Metella. From this point the countryside opens up in front of you and you can walk along the Roman road past the occasional ancient ruins and tombs. Reach the Via Appia by the Archeobus (€8) which is a hop-on-hop-off bus that takes you to the Tomb of Cecilia Metella. From the Via Appia Regional Park you can rent bicycles and enjoy a day in the car-free Italian countryside.
The fishing village of Fiumicino is in the Roman Coastline Nature Reserve, it is a town centered on one of the Tiber River’s “little rivers”. If you would like to see some wildlife around the water’s edge follow the river banks, if you want to wander around the fishing village and have a very fresh fish meal go into Fiumicino, and then there are the beaches. Isola Sacra has a unique beach with dark sand and calm blue sea water. The town and area on the whole is geared towards tourists and all the facilities and amenities you could desire are here – chairs, umbrellas, stores, cafes, clubs and sports activities. Capocotta Beach is also nearby. Fiumicino is accessed through its neighboring town of Ostia Antica which is about 15 minutes away, and from Rome to Fiumicino shouldn’t take you more than 45 minutes.
Tivoli – Villa d’Este
The city of Tivoli is famous for Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa which makes it worth the hour long journey from Rome. The Villa d’Este is a UNESCO site and has remarkable Renaissance architecture, frescos, Cardinal Ippolitos’s library, furnished bedchamber and chapel. However the stunning gardens are the main attraction. In the terraced gardens are 500 fountains, ponds, a grotto with a statue of Diana, mosaics, a nymphaeum and sculptures with each terrace connected by sweeping staircases. The historic town of Tivoli and the other villas in the town make a peaceful escape from the hectic pace of Rome.
Tarquinia – Etruscan tombs
Tarquinia was one of the capitals of the ancient Etruscan civilization which pre-dates the Roman Empire. The historic city boasts the Medieval Piazza Cavour, the 1508 Tarquinia Duomo and the Etruscan Tombs. The tombs are on the outskirts of the town dug into volcanic earth created after an eruption. 6000 tombs were discovered here some with brightly colored murals on them dating back to the 2nd century BC. To see the tombs you need to navigate the steep stairs carved out of the hill side. In the town square is an archeological museum with an outstanding collection of Etruscan artifacts like the terra-cotta winged horse statues. While in Tarquinia check out the medieval town walls, the stone turrets and the nearby beach. This day trip is an hour to an hour and a half journey from Rome.