Today’s tourists have the ancient and modern Romans to thank for the many attractions in Rome. The nobility of ancient Rome fled the city in the heat of summer to enjoy the sea breeze in Ostia and the cooler air of Tivoli and the Alban Hills, building lavish villas in extensive parks and gardens. Emperors and cardinals followed suit, as did popes and wealthy merchants. Emperor Hadrian surpassed his contemporaries in founding an entire city in his gardens in Ostia, replicating ancient marvels he had witnessed. In addition to these attractions being short day trips from Rome, the city is also a good base for trips to attractions around the Bay of Naples – Pompeii, Capri and the Amalfi Coast – as well as north to Florence and the hill towns of Tuscany.
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1 Ancient Host
Founded around the fourth century BC, Ostia was the ancient port of Rome and the main naval base of the Roman Empire. Next to Pompeii, Ostia is the largest excavated Roman city and gives a good idea of urban life in Imperial Rome. The main things to see are the intricate mosaic floors of the Baths of Neptune, the semi-circular theater, the Capitolium, Forum, Decumanus Maximus, the well-preserved Thermopolium, the bakery, the Grandi Horrea, (grain storage building), several temples, apartment blocks, and houses with gardens and well-preserved marble floors. At the main entrance to the excavations are rows of graves, some of which are quite impressive. The Places Archaeological Museumshows some of the sculptures and artifacts found during excavations. Because the site is large, a well-informed guide is a good way to get the most out of a visit. The Ancient Ostia Small Group Day Trip from Rome includes round-trip train travel from Rome and a 2.5-hour guided walking tour of the ruins.
Address: Viale dei Romagnoli 717, Ostia Antica
Official site: https://www.ostiaantica.beniculturali.it/en/
During the Roman Empire, Emperor Augustus and his nobility escaped the summer heat of the city in their villas in Tivoli, in the nearby Sabine Hills. Two major attractions, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites , are well worth the trip from Rome: Hadrian’s Villa and the Gardens of Villa d’Este. Hadrian’s magnificent estate included a whole complex of buildings set in gardens, where he attempted to recreate some of the great sights he had seen on his extensive travels. You will see ruins (and a few reconstructions) of buildings based on the best Greek and Egyptian architecture, all set in beautiful gardens. Villa d’Este Gardens have later inspired gardens across Europe and are considered the pinnacle of Italian gardens. A whole series of gardens are filled with fountains, pools, waterfalls and other water features, along with grottoes, pavilions and terraces. Set on a hillside, the gardens offer beautiful views of the Campagna countryside. The Villa d’Este palace is known for its painted ceilings and spiral staircase.
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3 Pompeii in Vesuvius
In the middle of an otherwise normal day in AD 79, the violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost immediately halted life in the city below, leaving the visitor feeling as if they had stepped back through the ages. Excavations of Pompeii over several centuries have ripped away six meters of ash and pumice to reveal houses, shops, temples, stadiums and public squares, many with their original murals and mosaics intact. Many of the artifacts found in the excavations are displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Pompeii, On the website. One of the most exciting things to do here is to climb to the cone of Vesuvius (you can drive most of the way), where you can look down into the caldera of the still active volcano. You can combine both experiences and enjoy a lunch of traditional Neapolitan pizza in Naples, on the Pompeii and Vesuvius Day Trip from Rome, traveling with a guide via air-conditioned coach as you learn about the history of Pompeii.
4 Amalfi coast
Carved into sheer cliffs, the Amalfi Drive hangs high above the Tyrrhenian Sea, curving in and out of the deep ravines that cut the rugged coast. Each bend in the road reveals a new vista more beautiful than the last, of villages clinging to the sheer cliffs in terraced strata. The town of Amalfi climbs up the sides of a deep gorge, a picturesque setting made even more beautiful by the flowers draping from every balcony and wall. Cafes overlooking the sea are filled with tourists, who stop here to see the bright majolica domed church and Chiostro del Paradiso (Monastery of Paradise).
One of the world’s most famous roads, the Amalfi Drive is an unforgettable experience, but one you don’t have to dive (and to see one of the views you shouldn’t drive). You can combine a bus ride along this scenic coastal drive with a visit to the ruins of Pompeii on a semi-private day trip to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast from Rome, with a guide to point out the sights and share their history.
5 capri pants
In the Tyrrhenian Sea, within sight of Sorrento and just 43 kilometers from Naples, the island of Capri can be reached by ferry from both cities. One of the world’s most beautiful islands, it was a favorite escape for Emperor Tiberius, who settled here built great Villa di Tiberio. You can explore the ruins, take a boat to the famous Blue Grotto , or swim in the charming Marina Piccola . Although a small island, only about four miles by two miles, it has two separate towns, Capri and high above it, Anacapri. An easy way to get to the island is on a Capri day trip from Rome, which includes bus transport to Naples and back, the boat to Capri, lunch in Anacapri, and a boat trip to the Blue Grotto, all with a local guide.
The city that gave birth to the Renaissance, Florence is still filled with its greatest achievements, crowned by Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome at the Duomo, the great cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Florence’s palaces and museums are legendary, especially the vast art collections of the Uffizi Gallery. As you explore the relatively small Centro Storico – the old town center – you will see some of the most beloved masterpieces of Italian Renaissance art and architecture, by artists that include Donatello, Giotto, Ghiberti and Michelangelo. High-speed trains and the Autostrada E35 make the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence a convenient day trip from Rome, or you can take a day trip to Florence from Rome with lunch, as you travel through the beautiful Tuscan countryside with an expert guide before embarking on a walking tour. includes the Duomo, Accademia Gallery, Piazza della Signoria, and a visit to one of Florence’s leather-working schools
7 Hill Towns of Tuscany
Some of Europe’s most charming towns are the medieval stone villages that crown the hilltops of Tuscany. Their beginnings go back to the Etruscans, and their hilltop positions, castles and towers were needed for protection. But at the same time fighting looters, they developed a rich culture of art and architecture that you can see today in the palaces, churches and public spaces. Several of these are close to the highway between Rome and Florence and can be easily reached on a day trip from Rome. Among these are two of the most charming: Montepulciano and Montalcino; Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage city, is not far away.
High above the Paglia valley, 100 kilometers north of Rome, Orvieto stands atop a limestone outcrop whose steep sides protected it from centuries of attack. So strong was it that several popes fled here to protect themselves from anti-papal forces. The stone on which Orvieto stands is soft tuff and has been carved into caves and passages since Etruscan times. The beautiful cathedral showcases the work of some of the finest craftsmen of the time, the alternate courses of black and yellow limestone decorated with sculptures, mosaics and stained glass. It is considered one of the finest – and certainly the most magnificent – examples of Italian Gothic architecture.
9 Caserta Royal Palace
The magnificent 1,200-room residence of the Bourbon dynasty that reigned here from 1734 to 1860 is often compared to Versailles for its size and grandeur. The palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been the setting for several films, is well preserved and retains its original decorative arts and furnishings. Highlights include the 116-step Grand Staircase, the Cappella Reale, the theater and the Royal Apartments. Behind the palace is a large park with an English garden, fountains and a Grand Cascade. Towards the end of World War II, the palace was the headquarters of the Allied Middle East Command, and it was here that the German armies in Italy signed the surrender in 1945, heralding the end of the war.
10 Etruscan Sites of Tarquinia and Cerite
An excellent Etruscan Necropolis and two Etruscan museums are worth a day trip north along the Tyrrhenian coast. Just outside the medieval hilltop town of Tarquinia are the sparse remains of ancient Tarquinii, the most notable of the 12 cities of the Etruscan federation. But around the old city stretches the necropolis, one of the best preserved Etruscan cemeteries. A tour of the tombs takes from one and a half to five hours, depending on your interest (and stamina). The beautiful painted decoration of the tombs carved out of solid rock gives a picture of Etruscan culture, art and religion. In town, the beautiful Gothic/Romanesque Palazzo Vitelleschi houses the important collections of the Museo Nazionale Tarquiniense, including Etruscan sarcophagi, vases, jewelry, glass, carved ivories, coins and fragments of large decorative reliefs. Note the fourth- or third-century BC terracotta statues of two winged horses and the magnificent fifth-century BC Tomba del Triclinio murals.
The Museo Nazionale Archeologico Cerite is inside near the 13th-century Castle of Cerite. The collection of burial furniture and ornaments from the 1st millennium BC is excellent and complements what you will see in Tarquinia. The earliest comes from the necropolis of Sorbo: urns and ceramics, helmets, bowls, fibulae and spindle-shaped ornaments, bronzes and armor. Finds from the later period, excavated from the necropolis of Monte Abatone, contain very rare early bucchero utensils made by the ceramic masters of Caere from the 7th century BC. This remarkable collection of beautiful thin-walled black vessels alone is worth the trip.
11 Frascati Villas en Tusculum
About 20 kilometers southeast of Rome, Frascati is the most important of the Castelli Romani, the castle towns of the Alban Hills. It is still a popular summer retreat for the Romans, and is best known for its beautiful villas belonging to ancient noble families. Most of these date from the 16th and 17th centuries and are set in beautiful parks and gardens. The focal point of Frascati is Piazza Roma with the adjoining Piazza Marconi, south of which are the gardens of Villa Torlonia . Above the southeast side of Piazza Marconi, Villa Aldobrandiniis set in an impressive terraced park with extensive views, caves, fountains and waterfalls. The wide Teatro delle Acque is the main fountain, with steps curving in terraces around a series of fountains. Just outside the center of Frascati, to the east, you will find the picturesque park of the Villa Falconieri , redesigned by Borromini in 1545-48. These gardens also have a Teatro delle Acque, similar to the nymphaea popular with the ancient Romans, decorated with statues and artificial caves.
From Frascati, a panoramic road winds up through beautiful landscapes and woodlands to the remains of ancient Tusculum. Tusculum was a birthplace of Cicero and was the birthplace of Cato the Elder. Destroyed by Rome in 1191, the ruins are atmospherically overgrown and include an amphitheatre, a theatre, the forum, a residential house and a section of the old city walls. Above is a ruined castle with impressive views.