Introduction: Rome is perhaps one of the most well known Italian cities, but there is no absence of great cities and small towns within driving distance that are rich in Italian culture, cuisine, and beautiful sights. From the medieval town of Siena to the leaning tower in Pisa, to exploring the Amalfi Coast, there is something for everyone. Explore 11 great options for day trips from Rome!
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Montefiascone was a town of Popes since early Medieval time. Before Italy was united, it is a city under Popo’s direct control. It is only one hour and a half drive away from Rome, or you can take a train from Roma Termini.
The authentic Italian lifestyle takes the roots in every little corner of the town. After passing the ancient gate of the old town, the stones, the old wooden doors, and the colorful flowers are everywhere. From time to time, you can spot a half-household-half-wild cat passing by. The must-visit places in Montefiascone are its Cathedral, Basilica Santa Margherita, and Rocca dei Papi, where the Popes took the seat there for many years.
Food and wine is also a major topic in Montefiascone. You can find typical Roman cuisine with double-portions and ½ price. Ristorante Albergo Dante, with a nickname “Taro” by the locals, is where you will go for Roman dishes. Pizzeria Bar Roma La Rotella serves the best Roman pizza in town, and they truly serve their pizza on two pieces of paper.
Like many Italian small towns, Montefiascone has its legend and it is about their local white wine. “Montefiascone Est Est Est” is a local white wine nominated after the legend of a German bishop who abandoned his meeting with the Pope for the wine in Montefiascone. Cantina Stefanoni and Falesco are the two wineries the locals go to frequently. They also offer a small wine tasting.
Last but not least, Montefiascone is a town sitting on top of the volcano lake, Largo Bolsena, as well as the neighbor of Viterbo and Orvieto. A relaxing lake-side afternoon or seafood dinner from the lake is ideal. A day trip to the other famous towns is also manageable.
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You may not think of Vatican City as a “day trip” from Rome because it’s so close by, but Vatican City happens to be its own country! In fact, it’s the smallest country in the world and it’s also the country with the smallest population in the world.
That’s not the only reason why you should visit, though. Vatican City has some of the most incredible churches, basilicas, museums, and world-famous paintings. While you’re there, I recommend at least visiting the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. I’d also suggest hiring a tour guide to take you through, so you’ll get as much information as possible. There are even some tours that let you skip the line.
If you’re able to, climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica to get sweeping views of Vatican City and Rome.
Vatican City is about a fifteen-minute drive from Rome’s city center and I’d recommend planning to spend an entire day in and around Vatican City because there’s so much to see!
After a day of wandering around Vatican City, I suggest a short walk to Pizza Zizza which, as you can probably guess, is a pizza restaurant! The staff was incredibly accommodating to our group of 8 and even let us order a “sampler” pizza which came with several different topping combinations. That way, we could all try different types of pizza. Needless to say, it was delicious! We tried to give a tip for their kind hospitality and they politely declined saying this is just what they love to do. Now, that’s dedication!
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The medieval town of Siena, situated 230 kilometres north of Rome in the stunning region of Tuscany is deservedly one of Italy’s most visited destinations.
Train journeys from Rome take just under 3 hours and require a change in Florence. Instead consider enjoying your day trip by car as the route via the E35 motorway will take around 2 1/2 hours. Easily achievable in a motorhome too check out our ‘Top 10 Motorhome Stops in Italy to get you off the Beaten Track’.
On arrival in Siena a stroll through the narrow cobbled streets will inevitably lead you to the impressive Piazza del Campo. Dating back to 1300 ‘Il Campo’ is one of the largest medieval squares in the world and home to the famous Palio Horse Race. Held twice a year in the months of July and August this primitive race between the 10 neighborhoods of Siena attracts thousands of spectators.
For the vast majority of visitors though, the central focus of their trip to Il Campo will be the Palazzo Pubblico and its imposing 87 metre tall Torre del Mangia. For a truly spectacular view climb the 400 steps to the summit.
A short walk west of Il Campo lies the equally impressive Siena Duomo. This stunning Gothic building dating back to the 13th century boasts a fabulous black and white facade as well as treasures by Donatello and Michelangelo. For a much needed break from your walking tour of Siena and its UNESCO World Heritage Listed centre head away from the more expensive restaurants and cafes in and around Il Campo. Look for simple but delicious pasta and pizza in Il Cavaliere Errante in the north of the city toward the Basilica di San Francesco.
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While your staying in Rome, take a day trip to the hilltop town of Montepulciano! The city offers many things to do including Tuscany wine tasting.
Getting to Montepulciano:
To get to Montepluciano from Rome you have several options- Bus, train or car rental. The easiest and most convenient is a car rental, especially if you are going to enjoy some wine tasting. The drive will take roughly 2 hours.
Please note that cars are not allowed inside the city walls without a permit, so make sure to wear your walking shoes. Suggested parking is P8 (Via dei Filosofi, 53045) or P7 (Via dell’Oriolo, 53045)- both are close to the city center.
Top Things to see in Montepulciano:
Climb up (Montepulciano is a hill town after all) to the top where Piazza Grande or the city center is located. The piazza is surrounded by beautiful 15th-century buildings including, the Duomo and the town hall. The Duomo is lovely and visitors can walk in and tour – a small donation is custom.
If you have energy left, climb the Palazzo Communale tower! For a small fee, visitors can climb many flights of stairs to the top where you will find panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside. On a clear day, you can even see Siena and Mount Cimone in the distance.
Other recommendations include wine tasting at De’Ricci, their store room is made up of ancient cellars built into the rock. The main wine to taste is Vino Noblie meaning “the perfect wine for Noble men”. After, I would suggest having a pastry and relaxing on the balcony at Caffe Polizano.
Looking for another great Italian city? Why not Cortona?
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One of my favorite day trips from Rome is one to the Ostia Antica ruins. It’s easy to get there, shows you a great insight into Roman history and is a beautiful peaceful place to explore. Even if you’re for the first time in Rome, make sure to include this trip on your must-do list.
The ancient city of Roman times used to be the main harbor city of the entire empire. Ostia was a powerful center of trade in those days and flourished for decennia. It’s not located at the sea anymore though, but the city of Ostia with its popular beaches is.
Ostia is one of the best-preserved Roman cities. The highlights are the beautiful and intact mosaic floors, but seeing the old sanitary blocks gives you a – very different – insight into daily life in the ancient Roman city.
You can easily get to Ostia Antica by public transport. There’s a direct train connection with the Piramide station, not far from the Colosseum.
I suggest you take the metro to San Paolo fuori le Mura first. It’s one of the biggest and most impressive basilicas in Rome and one of the four churches in Rome with the honorary title Basilica Major. The church was built on the grave of the apostle Paulus. Make sure to look up and spot the portraits of all popes since Saint Peter himself.
From there take another metro and get off at the Lido Centro stop. It’s only a short walk from there to the Ostia Antica sight.
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Volterra is a beautiful town situated in the Italian countryside only about 3 hours from Rome by car. This village has had residents continually since the 700 BC! It is a great place to explore archeological sites, get a taste of Tuscan wine, or just catch a slice of small town Italian life.
Volterra is an amazing place to visit for any history buffs. There is several attractions such as the Roman Theatre and the Acropoli Etrusca where you can get up close to the ruins and imagine life thousands of years ago. You can even descend into an ancient cistern! Several museums also reside in the town, including Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, which was founded all the way back in 1761.
Of course, Volterra is worth visiting for more than the history. There is also an abundance of quaint places to grab a bite to eat, sip some coffee, or taste-test the region’s wine. You can also grab a gelato and explore the winding cobblestone streets or take in the view over the town’s thousands of years old protective walls that still stand. A trip to Volterra also wouldn’t be complete without visiting their famous alabaster shops. Alabaster carving is a tradition to the town and you can find everything from chess pieces to jewelry hand carved out of the beautiful white stone.
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Capri, a beautiful little island in the Bay of Naples, is famous for it’s gorgeous natural landscapes, great shopping, and of course the Blue Grotto. As a day trip from Rome, you’ll need to start out as early as possible since getting to Capri will take about two and a half hours. Take an early high speed train from Rome Termini Station to Naples and make your way to Molo Beverello port to grab a high speed ferry to Capri.
Upon arrival at Marina Grande, ride the funicular to Anacapri, to take the chair lift to the top of Mount Solaro for amazing panoramic views of the island and the sea. Now that you’ve seen Capri from above, see it from the water. Head back down to Marina Grande, grab a quick bite to eat and head out on a boat tour of the island. Midday is the perfect time to get out on the water, and it’s also prime viewing time for the Blue Grotto, a natural sea cave whose water appears to be glowing blue. So, make sure a trip inside the grotto is included with your tour.
After getting back to the harbor, you’ll have just enough time to explore the beautiful streets of Capri, shop for some handcrafted leather or limoncello, and have an early dinner at the island’s most famous trattoria, La Capannina before heading back to Rome for the night.
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Naples has a bit of a bad reputation, but its location across from Mount Vesuvius in Naples Bay as well as its 4000 years history, make it a must-visit. If you only have a few hours in the city, I would suggest heading to Sant’Elmo Castle in the morning, stopping for pizza on Via dei Tribunali, and then making your way to the beautiful promenade by the Thyrennian Sea. You would need a few more days though to get through most of the things to see in Naples.
The archaeological museum in Naples and the beautiful churches should also be on the must-see list. I mentioned pizza because Naples is its birthplace, but food in the Campania region is said to be the best in Italy. I guess it would be worth the day trip from Rome even just for lunch. The easiest way to get to Naples from Rome is by train. The distance is about 220km and the train ride takes a little more than 2 hours on a regular train, or even 1 hour on a fast train (Freccia Argento). A train ticket can cost anywhere between 20€ to 56€, depending on the train type and the moment you purchase your ticket. I wouldn’t drive there because the traffic in the city is chaotic.
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If you’re looking for a great day trip from Rome, make your way up to Pisa. While you can drive to Pisa in just under 4 hours, it’s more easily accessible by train. Taking a train from Rome Termini Station to Pisa Centrale Station will take about 3 hours.
It’s easy to explore Pisa in one day. This beautiful town in Tuscany right by the coast is best known for the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Originally built as the bell tower to the adjacent Cathedral, it started to tilt once the second floor was added in the 12th Century. While you’re at the Tower, take time to explore the rest of the Piazza dei Miracoli, including the Cathedral, the Baptistry, and the cemetery.
You can also enjoy a walk along the Arno River, which cuts the city into two parts. There are restaurants and businesses all along the waterway, and you can get lost for hours exploring the different shops. Argini e Margini is a great restaurant next to the water and is a great location to catch the sunset over the river.
Pisa Centrale is about a 20-minute walk from Piazza dei Miracoli, so it’s best to walk straight there to maximize your time wandering the grounds. Then, work your way back towards the Arno River, in the direction of the train station.
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Tivoli, high up in the Sabine Hills, is an easy day trip from Rome. It has been a popular retreat from the city since Roman times, the hills providing a welcome breeze in the summer heat. Today you can explore Roman remains and historic buildings, churches and piazzas. However, the main tourist attractions are the gardens of the Villa D’Este and the Villa Gregoriana.
The Villa D’Este is a World Heritage Site. Built as a summer residence in 1550, the house and its frescoes are worth a visit, but it is the gardens that are spectacular. They tumble down a steep hill, with terraces, waterfalls and lots of fountains. And there are views across the countryside. By way of contrast, the 19th century gardens of the Villa Gregoriana are a less formal space. Centered around an artificial waterfall, they feature rocky hillside paths, caves and the remains of a Roman Villa.
Tivoli is around 30km east of Rome. You can get there by train from Tibertina station (the journey is just over half an hour). Villa d’Este is about 2km from the station, but there are buses or taxis if you don’t want to walk. There are lots of places to eat in Tivoli, but a good choice is the friendly Lucignolo Risto Wine Bar.
Read more about Tivoli and its villas
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You might not think of Positano on the Amalfi Coast as an easy day trip from Rome, but when you consider the number of high-speed trains from Rome to Naples or Sorrento, the decision gets much easier. And well, it’s Positano, after all, one of Italy’s most iconic destinations. From the station, it’s a short ride to the Costiera Amalfitana. Even easier is to arrange a full-day tour and leave the driving to the professionals.
Positano sits perched on the cliffs overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea, and the colorful buildings appear set to tumble into the sea. But winding through the village is a maze of narrow streets and alleyways that are a joy to explore. The scene is one of Italy’s most famous landscapes to behold.
There are so many fun things to do in Positano from dining at amazing restaurants to getting out on the water to explore the Amalfi Coast by boat. But for a day trip, plan on walking around town for Instagrammable photo ops, heading to the main beach of Spiaggia Grande, and doing some serious shopping for limoncello, ceramics, and handmade leather sandals while you wait. For a truly unique experience, catch the small boat with the little wooden fish hanging from its mast from Spiaggia Grande to Da Adolfo restaurant, tucked in a hidden cove nearby. Here you’ll enjoy one of the most amazing fresh seafood lunches in Italy and can lounge on their hidden beach.
Whatever you do, wear comfy shoes and prepare to be dazzled for your day in Positano, the jewel of the Amalfi Coast.
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Tuscany: the land of rolling hills, charming Italian towns, and, of course, wine! Located only 100 miles (160km) north of Rome, Tuscany makes for one of the best escapes from the capital city.
The Tuscany region is located in central Italy and has been attracting visitors since the days of the Romans. Most people associate Tuscany with the Chianti region, with its unspoiled nature and fertile land. Made famous for its wine and natural beauty, this region is home to generations of Italian wine producers, most living and working alongside their family owned castles. This means you can experience the best of both worlds – wine and castles – all within a day trip from Rome.
You can reach the region of Tuscany by train or car, but there’s really only one way you should experience this stunning countryside: on a Vespa. What better way to explore the winding roads and endless vineyards than feeling the wind in your hair (or helmet!) on the back of a Vespa? It’s the quintessential Italian experience.
The easiest way reach Tuscany is by taking the 90-minute train ride from Rome to Florence, then joining a Vespa Tour from Florence. There are plenty of tours to choose from, but I highly recommend Tuscany Vespa Tours. You’ll not only have the bucket-list Vespa experience, but you’ll also get to tour a family-owned vineyard with wine tasting, a real Italian lunch, and a peak into the daily lives of those lucky enough to live here. Who wouldn’t want to spend a day under the Tuscan sun?