Top excursions outside of Rome
1. Tivoli - Lavish villas, and stunning countryside views
How to reach Tivoli from Rome
Over twenty trains leave from Termini station to Tivoli on an average day and take between thirty minutes and two hours. However, I will suggest Cotral bus over train as bus drops you off closer to Villa d'Este. (buses start from upper levels of the Ponte Mammolo bus station)
2. Santa Severa Beach - Convenient beach for relaxation
Santa Severa from Rome
Any train heading towards Civitavecchia will take you to Santa Severa. The beach is a short ten-minute stroll from the station. If you continue further, you will reach Civitavecchia, the cruise port closest to Rome.
3. Castel Gandolfo - Lakes and Castles
Castel Gandolfo from Rome
The town is well connected by trains. Return tickets from Termini station are a must, as there are no counters at Castel Gandolfo station itself.
4. Ostia Antica - Well preserved excavations just outside Rome
Ostia Antica from Rome
Ostia Antica can be reached by train in just 30 minutes from Rome’s Piramide Station with trains running every fifteen minutes.
5. Assisi - The pilgrimage site on the hill tops
How to get to Assisi
There are both fast and regional trains that run from Rome's central station to the station in Assisi (Assisi-Santa Maria degli Angel).
6. Pompeii - Open book of ancient Rome
You actually take just 75 minutes on a fast train to reach Naples. From Naples take a tour of Pompeii ruins. Depending on your interest you could decide whether you want to spend more time in Naples, or Pompeii. It is even possible to visit Vesuvius.
If you are NOT visiting Naples as part of your Italy itinerary, it may not be a good idea to visit Pompeii as day trip from Rome.
How to reach Pompeii from Rome
The Man is Seat 61 has all the details on how to reach Rome from Pompeii
7. Herculaneum - Pompeii's sister city
The city of Herculaneum is one of the wonderfully preserved ancient Roman cities at the base of Mount Vesuvius. Herculaneum is very similar to Pompeii in its history, but it is generally less crowded and both can be visited in one day.
How to get to Herculaneum :
From Roma Termini, take the train to Naples. From Naples, take the Circumvesuviana train line to Ercolano Scavi.
8. Orvieto - must visit town with many attractions
Orvieto is close to Rome yet it feels like a completely different world. There is a lot to see and do in Orvieto in 1 day. The key attraction being the Orvieto cathedral famous for its optical-illusion interior and extravagantly frescoed Chapel of San Brizio.
9. Anzio - Modern and ancient history
10. Capri - The vacation spot for the emperors of Rome
Capri is a stunning island in the Bay of Naples, and in the past it was frequented by the emperors of Rome. A day here will provide stunning views of the rugged landscape, a chance to window shop in the upmarket boutiques, as well as hiking or taking the cable car even further up the mountains.
How to get to Capri:
If you are coming Rome, it will be a long day trip. Take the train from Roma Termini to the Naples central station, take a bus to the port of Naples, and then catch a ferry out to the island of Capri.
11. Florence - a lot in 1 day!
I find it tempting that you can visit Florence as a day trip from Rome. Trains run from Termini and reach Florence in 90 minutes. You can start your day at the Uffizi Gallery, then break for lunch and see David at Accademia. You will have enough time to see the magnificent Duomo and have an early dinner too before you head back to Rome. But I also think that Florence deserves at least 2 days to visit.
It is extremely surprising to many visitors that you can go from Rome to pretty much anywhere in Italy and back to Rome for the night all in one day.
Rome is so centrally located in the country, and is served so well by public transport connections, especially Trenitalia, that make it extremely simple to get on an early fast train, and spend the day in a faraway place.
I highly recommend destinations that lie in the south of Italy as great day trip destinations to travel from Rome. Most visitors will definitely end up going to Florence and Tuscany anyway, on a separate trip. Most visitors will also go to Venice and spend a few days in the city. But very few visitors actually spend time in the south of Italy, unless they are going to Sicily, which is a separate destination in itself. Almost like another country.
I like Naples as a day trip from Rome because it is a unique city with its own culture, different than the rest of the country in a lot of ways. Naples can easily grow on you for a longer trip but for a visitor on a short trip to the country, a day in Naples is perfect. You can easily get to Naples by the fast train from Rome, it takes only about 70 minutes one way, and you can be back in Rome for dinner.
When you are in Naples you have to have the pizza, after all pizza was invented in Naples. The city has amazing street food, and desserts like the sfogliatella and rum baba. Make sure that you spend a couple of hours walking around in the lanes of the historic city of Naples, then take a little hike up to the Vomero hill and look down at the Spaccanapoli street that divides the city.
Vespa tours are my favorite thing to do in Naples. It seems like the Vespa belongs to Naples more than any other Italian city. For a few euros you can rent Vespas by the hour and zip around the lanes of Naples acting like a local.
Pompeii and Vesuvius
Many visitors like to combine Naples with Pompeii and Vesuvius on the same day trip. I am not a supporter at all of doing this.
Naples is a very different city on its own, and Pompeii and Vesuvius are so different in character and the nature of their attractions. So resist the temptation of stopping by in Naples for half a day and then spending another half-day in Pompeii and Vesuvius.
What I suggest is you should just use the Naples as a changeover point, then carry-on to the ruins of Pompeii, then on a bus tour to Vesuvius, returning to Rome via Naples in the evening.
The best way is actually to take off on a two day trip from Rome, where you spend one day in Naples, spend the night in Naples, giving you an idea of nightlife of the city which is full of amazing and interesting locals.
Then on the next morning carry-on to see the excavations of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and onto Vesuvius, before heading back to rome.
Day trip to Amalfi coast from Rome seems like a very challenging place to spend a day trip from Rome, and this is in fact correct. It is almost impossible to get any quality time of the Amalfi coast in just one day.
So what I recommend doing instead, is to take the train to Sorrento which is directly connected by Rome or via Naples (a ferry is involved). Spend the day in Sorrento which is across the bay of Naples.
The cool thing about Sorrento is that it is actually possible to have a meal in Sorrento, then maybe take a short drive on to Positano in Amalfi coast, or even a hydrofoil to the island of Capri, and make an entire day out of it.
From Rome to Sorrento is only three hours one way at the most. So if you start really early on the Freccia Rossa fast train, you should be in Sorrento well before lunch. And I mean it when I say that you can be back in Roam easily in time for bed.
The enchanting village of Calcata, built on a tuffaceous rock, overlooks the magnificent panorama of the Valle del Treja National Park. It preserves a decidedly medieval aspect and around the village there is a network of nature trails to be done on foot or on horseback. It hosts many artisan shops and is the destination of many artists who often settle there. On the village old legendary stories of witches circulate but, even today, it is said that esoteric rites are performed in the caves below Calcata.
2) Civita di Bagnoregio
Called "the dying city" is located in the province of Viterbo and was built by the Etruscans on a mountain of tufa constantly at risk of erosion. However, the town's layout is medieval and is a real treasure to be discovered. Called the ghost town for depopulation, the inhabitants of Civita di Bagnoregio are less than 20. Being on an isolated promontory, it can only be reached on foot via a viaduct that connects it to the largest Bagnoregio.
The village of Nepi, in the province of Viterbo, is a less touristy destination but not less beautiful. The town is famous for the Water of Nepi, but it is worth visiting for its monumental churches and for the Rocca dei Borgia an imperial fortification, at the edge of which is the Farnesiano Bastion, which hosted the famous Lucrezia Borgia and the Pope Alexander VI. It was a fundamental stage of the Grand Tour in Italy that carried out the young intellectuals and poets in the 1800s.
4) Necropolis of the Banditaccia
One of the best-known and best preserved Etruscan necropolis, is located in Cerveteri in Tuscia. The extension of the archaeological site is really great and is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside the necropolis is the "Tomb of the Reliefs", the only one that can not be visited but which can be seen through a glass, which still preserves original colorful frescoes.
5) Park of the Monsters of Bomarzo
In the province of Viterbo, the Parco dei Mostri di Bomarzo was commissioned in the 16th century by Francesco Orsini, a nobleman belonging to one of the most important aristocratic families in Lazio. Also called Sacro Bosco, it is a destination for lovers of esotericism. The park is dotted with sculptures representing mythological animals, monsters and deities, alchemical symbols, but there are also buildings elements such as the "slanted house".
6) Gardens of Ninfa
Around the ruins of the ancient city of Ninfa, around 1920, a monumental English garden was built to wrap up the ruins and buildings along the river Ninfa. Among the monuments restored at the beginning of the 20th century are the castle with the tower, the apse of a church, the town hall building and various ancient houses. The garden of Ninfa is a naturalistic monument but also a botanical garden, in fact in its perimeter are planted many species of plants.
Lago di Bracciano
In Bracciano there is a big lake with volcanic origin where you can spend a day (or more) of your trip in Rome. It’s recommended to rest until the sunset because there are beautiful colors at this time. Standing on the side of this lake you’ll be surrounded by nature and you’ll see a lot of seagulls and swan.
Bracciano’s lake can be reached by car in less than an hour. By public transports is a little bit more difficult but not too much: Go to Valle Aurelia stop by Metro A, go to railway station, take regional train to Anguillara or Bracciano stop.