Looking for some ideas for unusual day-trips from Rome? Here a list of lesser known Italian towns around Rome that make for perfect day-trips from the city.
Please Note: Every place that I mention in the post below links to the google map location. So all you need to do is click it and save it. That way you will have all the important places marked for when you actually visit the city. Hope you find it useful!
High up on my list of unusual day-trips from Rome is the little island of Ponza. Located in the province of Latina, the island is picturesque with it’s colorful little houses, beautiful beaches and grottoes.
Getting from Rome to Ponza:
You can easily reach the island from Rome by Public transportation. Trains run at regular intervals to the sea side town of Anzio which is about an hour away from Rome. The train station in Anzio is a short walk away from the Port where you can get on a ferry to Ponza. Click here for an updated time-table by Laziomar or Vetor Aliscafi, the two ferries that run to the island.
Top Things to do in Ponza
Ponza is a relatively small island with beautiful beaches all around. You could start off the day walking through the pretty city center. Treat yourself to some fresh seafood for lunch before exploring the beaches. Cala Feola Beach, Chiaia di Luna are some of the prettiest on the island.
You could also choose to do a boat tour around the island. These might be in Italian as the island is popular among local Italians and isn’t very touristic. These tours take you around the island with the guide explaining the history and pointing out the top spots around the island. The boat also stops for various swimming and snorkeling stops in the middle of the sea giving you a chance to glimpse at the underwater life of the region. On the last swimming stop, you get a chance to swim to the center of a grotto where the guide asks you to stop and look at the color of the water on either side. One side is emerald green and the other is glowing light blue shade.
Top Reason to Visit
Unlike other destinations in Italy, Ponza is a lesser known destination and is mainly visited by local Italians. Due to this, the island has not yet been ruined by tourism.
Check out my full guide to Ponza here.
Ariccia is a town located in the Castelli Romani region, just a stone’s throw distance from Rome. It is a typical Italian town, with its quaint winding streets and cobble stoned roads making it one of the perfect unusual day-trips from Rome.
Getting from Rome to Ariccia
Ariccia is very easy to get to from Rome. You can get the train from Roma Termini to Albano Laziale. There is a bus from the Subagusta Station to Albano Laziale as well. The frequency for both the bus and the train is high making it extremely accessible.
Top Things to do in Ariccia
Ariccia is a typical italian town, making it a perfect getaway from the city. Spend the day walking the streets and trying the local food around the city. The local family run restaurants in the town are called Fraschette and are known for some of the best local food. Throughout the year you will find Romans visiting these Fraschettes with friends and family in the late evenings for dinner. The wine and pasta from the region is very fresh and absolutely delicious giving you the feel of traditional Italian cuisine
When in Ariccia, the other famous thing to try is the Porchetta as it was invented here. Porchetta is a whole oven fired pig that is cooked for a minimum of 8 hours after removing the bones and stuffing it with spices. Traditionally it is roasted a wood fired oven till the outside is crispy and the inside is decadent, soft and savory.
The one highly recommend Fraschetta in Ariccia is Osteria Gusto. The little family run restaurant offers the local fare of the region along with a range of mouthwatering pasta and desserts to choose from. Start with the platter of locals starters along with a portion of the local Porchetta. For main couse select from a range of typical pasta from the region along with a glass of the local wine. You can also sample some of the traditional Italian desserts here.
Top Reasons to Visit
If you’re a foodie, this is the city for you to visit. The local family run restaurants in the city will give you the chance to experience Italian cuisine as it was meant to be.
If you really want to go back in time, this is the city you should visit! The ancient city center which overlooks the valley of river Treja was abandoned in the 1930’s for the fear that the volcanic cliffs that the city was built on would collapse. It was later repopulated by artists and hippies and they were the ones responsible for restoring the ancient town and they are the ones who inhabit the city till date, making it one of the grooviest cities in Italy according to The New York Times.
Getting to Calcata from Rome
The easiest way of getting to Calcata from Rome is by bus or by car. The drive takes about an hour where as the bus from Roma Saxa Rubra takes about an hour as well. Click here for more details on timetables and routes.
Top Things to do in Calcata
Calcata is one of those hidden Italian gems that has retained it’s charm through the years. The main things to do in the city is just wander through the streets and explore the tiny picturesque corners of the town. There are some corners of the city where you can see the pretty valley of the Treja river. The town also has a couple of restaurants and tea cafes in the center that serve the tastiest local food. Make sure to try the wild boar sauce pasta which is found in this region.
Top Reasons to Visit
The city take you back in time with it’s architecture and the vibe of the city. You will also find just a handful of tourists around, letting you really enjoy the town without any chaos.
Castel Gandolfo is considered to be one of the most scenic towns in Italy and is situated in the Albano hills overlooking Lake Albano. It is also popular as the Popes summer destination as the papal palace is located in this quaint little town. This makes it one of the most unusual day-trips from Rome.
Getting to Castel Gandolfo from Rome
Castel Gandolfo is situated in the Castelli Romani region south of Rome making it very accessible by train or car. The easiest and fastest way to get there is by train from Roma Termini. There are trains running between the two destinations at regular intervals. The journey takes about 45 minutes with tickets costing about 2 euro each way.
Top Things to do in Castel Gandolfo
The tiny town on Castel Gandolfo makes for a full packed day-trip. You can actually visit the summer house of the pope along with the gardens around it. The ticket for the same can be bought at the ticket window outside or you could book a tour for the visit. Click here for the tour options.
The city center of Castel Gandolfo is also very picturesque with some really local and family-run restaurants dotted around. During spring, the city is decorated with flowers making the quaint streets even more beautiful. Make sure you take a walk in the city center and get some lunch at the family run restaurants in the town.
The other thing to do in Castel Gandolfo is to visit to the lake which is a short downward hike from the city. You can spend the rest of the day kayaking and swimming around the lake.
The town of Castel Gandolfo also hosts a Wild Strawberry festival every year in late May to early June. This makes it the best time to visit the city as you can experience an Italian sagra firsthand. The traditional event takes place on the first Sunday of June with traditional costumes and parades. The city also serves a range of products prepared with the local wild strawberries to celebrate the festival.
Top Reasons to Visit
A chance to visit the bedroom of the pope himself followed by a fun day swimming and kayaking in the lake.
Sperlonga is a small sea-side town in the province of Latina, located between Rome and Naples. The beautiful beach and quaint city center make it one of the unusual day-trips from Rome.
Getting to Sperlonga from Rome
The seaside town of Sperlonga can be reached from Rome by train followed by a short bus ride. You can get the train from Roma Termini to Formia-Gaeta which takes about 1.5 hours and costs about 8-18 euro one way. From there, you can get the bus straight to the city center of Sperlonga. The journey takes about 30 mins and costs about 2-3 euro. Click here for the updated bus time-table.
Top Things to do in Sperlonga
Sperlonga makes for the perfect beach day-trip from Rome. While there are many other beaches closer to the city, the beach in Sperlonga is pristine and beautiful. And if you’re planning a perfect beach day here, don’t forget to pack a durable beach umbrella!
Besides that, the rustic city center of this town is filled with white houses and cobbled stoned streets that make for one of the most picturesque locations around Rome. And while the city center boasts of its old-world charm, the other more beautiful side of the city is the pristine beaches around. Definitely makes for a perfect day trip!
Top Reasons to Visit
Beautiful beaches, great seafood and pretty whitewashed city-center which will make you feel like you’re in Greece.
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