Rome can seem overwhelming. It is one of the most exciting cities in the world, and it can be exhausting. Many people spend more than one day in Rome on their Italy vacation. This is partly to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Rome, but also because there are many great day trips nearby.
Day trips that aren’t too long in transit are my favorite – at least two hours. I also try to avoid missing out on potential sightseeing opportunities that might be so close that I may regret it later. It’s important to have options, even though these instincts can sometimes be conflicting.
Below are the options. They are sorted by how long it takes for you to get there and back. I started with the nearest places. All of them are easily accessible via public transport. This is not a comprehensive list of day trips to Rome. However, I think that this list is enough to get you started.
Guided Tours in & from Rome
These places can all be done as day trips. But if you prefer to leave the planning to others, here are some tours from Rome.
Context Travel Walking Tours to Rome
Viator Tours to Rome
Select Italy Tours of Rome
Select Italy Tours of the Vatican
Walks of Italy Tours
Rome, 2 hours or less in transit
- Ostia Antica You can visit ancient Roman ruins in Rome’s center, or you can take a longer day trip to see the excavated city Pompeii. If you have already seen the Forum, and don’t want to travel all the way up to Pompeii, then you can hop on the Roma Lido train at Porta San Paolo/Piramide station. In 27 minutes you will reach the Ostia Antica excavation site. This was once Rome’s most important port city. However, it is now two miles inland because of sediment buildup. Although the ancient city is believed to have been built in the 7th century B.C.E., the oldest structures and objects found here are from the 3rd Century B.C.E. You can continue to the beach in your beach clothes.
- Lido Di Ostia– A nearby town is called “Ostia”, which is the modern version of the ancient city. Although Ostia is still a port town, it’s also a popular destination for Rome’s beach-goers. It takes only 32 minutes to get to Rome by train, or five minutes if you are coming from Ostia Antica. Although it isn’t the most beautiful beach in Italy, it is easy to reach from Rome. This can be a blessing if you are tired of the city.
- Tivoli – The town of Tivoli, just 41 minutes from Rome by train, has two UNESCO World Heritage sites to be visited. Hadrian’s Villa, which was excavated from Rome in the 2nd Century C.E., is a reminder of the Emperor’s country retreat. It is misleading to call it “villa”, as the complex consisted of over 30 structures, many of which are still unexcavated. Villa d’Este is another Tivoli attraction. It was built in the middle of the 16th century for Cardinal d’Este. This large garden features multiple fountains, sculptures, grottoes, and other sights.
- Frascati It may seem like Central Rome is far from the wine-producing areas, but it is not. You can reach Frascati in half an hour by train from Termini Station. This hill town is famous for its wine. Frascati is just one of many wine-growing villages in the area, collectively called the Castelli Romani. These towns produce light white wines, which are perfect for warm days. Castel Gandolfo is another Castelli Romani town, and it was once the retreat of the pope, currently the retirement home for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Medium Day Trips From Rome: 2-4 hours in Transit
- Naples & Pompeii – A day trip to Naples is not about escaping Rome for a calmer place, but about discovering one of south Italy‘s most interesting cities. The National Archaeological Museum, which is also where pizza was invented, is a must-see. This is where the majority of the items from Pompeii or Herculaneum are displayed. You can visit Pompeii’s excavation if you have a planned day or an organized tour. It is just a short train ride away from Naples. It takes approximately one hour and ten minutes to travel from Rome to Naples by high-speed train.
- Florence or Florence might already be on your Italy itinerary. If it isn’t, this is a great way for you to see the best of the Renaissance capital. It takes about an hour and twenty minutes to travel from Rome by train. To avoid long lines, it is highly recommended to book guided tours or buy tickets in advance to places like the Uffizi Gallery or Accademia.
- Orvieto is located in Umbria, just 15 minutes away from Rome. It’s a beautiful hilltop town. The town is high above the countryside. You can take a funicular to the train station and then into the historic centre. There are many attractions, including a beautiful cathedral dating back to the 13th century, former papal residences and an extensive network of underground tunnels.
- Anzio History buffs might want to add a day trip from Rome to the coastal city Anzio. Anzio, which is less than an hour from Rome by train, was the location of the Battle of Anzio and one of the landing sites for the Allies in 1944. The area is home to the Anzio Beachhead Memorial, the Commonwealth of Nations Anzio War Cemetery and the Beach Head War Cemetery (also for Commonwealth of Nations burials), as well as the nearby Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Memorial and Memorial.
- Cerveteri If you are amazed at the age and beauty of ancient Roman ruins in Rome then head to Cerveteri to learn about a culture that predates the Romans. Cerveteri used to be an Etruscan city. You can visit the Etruscan necropoli, which are ancient tombs in earthen mounds, as well as the archaeological museum, which has some of the items found in the region. Cerveteri can be reached by train in just under an hour and ten minutes.
- Viterbo The medieval center of the ancient city Viterbo is remarkably well preserved, just an hour and a quarter by train from Rome. Another city, this one was once home of the papacy. The 13th-century Papal Palace is a top attraction. Viterbo is also known for its natural hot springs, which have been a popular health retreat. The baths at Viterbo attracted both ancient Romans and Etruscans. There are still resort hotels and spas in the area.
- Civita di Bagnoregio – For impressive hilltop towns, it’s hard to beat Civita di Bagnoregio. In the 17th century, earthquakes and erosion destroyed the buildings along the rocks on which they were built. The city’s historic center was abandoned and replaced by a more modern town called Bagnoregio. Because it is only accessible by a long walkway from Bagnoregio, the historic center has been a popular tourist attraction. You will need to take the train from Rome (one hour and fifteen minutes) to Orvieto, then hire a taxi to cover the 10.6 miles to Bagnoregio. From there, you can walk to the historical Civita di Bagnoregio.
It takes 4+ hours to transit longer day trips from Rome
- Assisi The Umbria town of Assisii is most well-known as the birthplace of St. Francis. For centuries, the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisii has been a major pilgrimage site. Two churches were built in the complex, one of which was established in the 13th century after St. Francis was canonized. The other is a crypt where St. Francis’ tomb can be found. The churches contain frescoes by Giotto, Cimabue and some of them were destroyed or damaged in the 1997 earthquake. It takes approximately two and a quarter hours to reach Assisii from Rome. Take the train from Rome, then take the Foligno to Santa Maria degli Angeli. From there, it is a three-mile walk to central Assisi. It’s then a five minute bus ride to the historic center.
- Sorrento You can reach Sorrento by train in just two and a quarter hours from Rome. From there, you can enjoy the view of the Bay of Naples while sipping limoncello. This town is located between the busy Amalfi Coast and Naples. It’s an excellent alternative to the Amalfi coast because it has train service. The Amalfi Coast can only be reached by boat and bus. Enjoy a day shopping and sightseeing in Sorrento, or take a hydrofoil to reach the island of Capri, Positano, or Amalfi.
- Milan. It takes nearly three hours to travel from Rome to Milan. But, if you look at the map you will see the distances between the cities. It’s easy to discover Milan’s historic center in a day if you book your tickets for Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” fresco in advance. After that, you can have an aperitivo in Milan and then hop back on the train to Rome.