The 9 Best Day Trips From Rome

Rome is the ideal base from which to dive into the incredible art, history and cuisine of Italy
Rome is the ideal base from which to dive into the incredible art, history and cuisine of Italy | © Frank Bach / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Gareth Clark
24 July 2020

Rome isn’t just the geographical centre of Italy, it’s the country’s historic heart, too. Whether cycling a 2,000-year-old Roman road, glimpsing the birthplace of the Renaissance or road-tripping to vineyards and medieval hill towns through Umbria, Rome is the perfect base from which to dive into Italy’s incredible history and cuisine.

ToursPompeii Ruins and Mount Vesuvius Tour
From $155 per person
13 hours
4.7 (3800)

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in CE 79, it preserved the last few seconds of life in the Roman city of Pompeii. Entombed within compacted ash, its ancient streets, bathhouses and homes remained eerily intact. It even left a grisly snapshot of the townspeople, with those caught in the disaster interred in the calcified rock, their final poses recreated by pouring plaster into the hollows within. This day trip takes in both the city and its infamous volcano, ascending all the way to Mount Vesuvius’s steaming crater during summer (this part is exchanged for a tour of Naples in the winter). The views alone are worth the thigh burn.

ToursThe Appian Way, Aqueducts and Catacombs E-Bike Tour
From $90 per person
3 hours

It’s true – all roads did lead to Rome. The Appian Way was once a lifeline of the Roman Empire, the first link in a network of roads that would eventually total some 80,000km (50,000mi). Today, much of its 370km (230mi) route has been modernised, but flickers of its cobbled past can still be spotted. It’s also an easily pedalled artery to some of Rome’s most iconic sites. Explore a snippet of the Way, stopping at tombs and relics of its imperial past. The highlight is surely a visit to the Catacombs di San Callisto, the largest in Rome, which contains the entrance to a tunnel network that stretches more than 20km (12mi).

ToursThe Villa D’Este and Villa Hadrian Tour
From $81 per person
7 hours
4.6 (1033)

Thanks to its spring waters and mild climate, Tivoli has long been a popular getaway for Romans. Even emperors found peace here, including Hadrian who built a grand villa at the foot of the Tiburtine hills in CE 124. Its size is palatial, while the eccentric design records his travels through its architecture, from Grecian theatres to an Egyptian-style canal. This guided day trip combines a visit here with the region’s other man-made wonder, the Renaissance-era home of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este. His vast Italianate gardens reveal a weakness for elaborate water features, with a musical water fountain and the 130m-(427ft-)long Avenue of the Hundred Fountains among the most remarkable sights. It’s a double delight.

ToursThe Assisi and Orvieto Tour
From $135 per person
12 hours 30 minutes
3.8 (906)

Umbria is the green soul of central Italy, where dense forests and cypress-spotted plains still wrap its hilltop towns. It’s a scene played out on repeat as you hurtle north of Rome and into the Tiber Valley on this fascinating day trip. The first stop is the second of these two towns, just 90 minutes from the capital. Orvieto’s beautiful Gothic cathedral still forms the centrepiece here, its frescoes said by many to rival those of the Sistine Chapel. Then it’s on to Assisi, whose name will forever be linked to its most famous son, St Francis. Visit his childhood home and birthplace, plotting his life and deeds in the frescoes and basilica that followed in his honour.

ToursTuscany Day Trip With Lunch and Wine Tasting
From $155 per person
12 hours
4.7 (1411)

“Italian food” is a rather misleading term. Cooking in Italy is highly regional, dictated by what grows in the farms, fields and forests nearby, and even by an area’s history. Tuscany’s heartland is a rural place, where rustic cooking mirrors the hard-won olive groves and vineyards that scatter its hills. This round-trip tour eschews the noisy bustle of the capital for the green embrace of Italy’s breadbasket. As well as a three-course dinner, pit stops include Montepulciano, Montalcino and the UNESCO-listed town of Pienza, with time to stock your larder full of nutty pecorino cheese, fatty soppressata (dried salami) and truffles aplenty.

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ToursThe Castelli Romani Vineyard Tour
From $74 per person
4 hours
3.7 (105)
Castelli Romani encompasses 13 towns swaddled by the velvet-green caldera of the Alban Hills, south of Rome. It is a historic getaway for frazzled Romans and, apart from its lakes and peaks, is known for one thing in particular: wine. Volcanic soils make the area especially fertile for winemakers, with the hilltop town of Frascati at its heart. Its eponymous wine was even said to have flowed from the fountains of Rome upon the inauguration of Popes Clement X and Innocent X. This private Castelli Romani Vineyard and Wine Tastings tour heads for its medieval cobbles and that of neighbouring Grottaferrata, before touring the Santa Benedetta winery, set in a secluded former convent. Sate your palate with local Lariano bread, cheese and wines made from Malvasia, and Bellone and Trebbiano Toscano grapes amid this beautiful hill country.
ToursCapri Day Trip with Blue Grotto Tour
From $197 per person
13 hours
3.7 (1221)

Sheared from the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula, south of Naples, the beauty of Capri is no secret. The notoriously capricious Roman emperor Tiberius even moved the imperial capital here to the island at the end of his reign so he could indulge in his vices away from the clucking of the Senate. A Capri Day Trip tour (via a 70-minute high-speed train to Naples, then jet boat on to Capri) reveals just what a seductress it is. But while the island’s late fame as an escape for Italy’s super-rich may have lent an artisanal veneer to its rugged, bushy terrain, its stylish boutiques, grand villas and fine restaurants still pale in comparison to the twinkling waters of its famous Blue Grotto sea cave. It’s a true natural wonder.

This article is an updated version of a story created by Livia Hengel.

These recommendations were updated on July 24, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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