The best day trips from Rome
The Eternal City is full of sights, full of life, and it’s easy to spend days exploring everything Rome has to offer.
But if you’re using the Italian capital as your base, it’s also worth taking some day trips from Rome to discover other highlights in the region.
You’ve seen the Colosseum, climbed all through the Forum, explored the art galleries, and fought the crowds around the Trevi Fountain. Now it’s time to see what else there is to do around Rome.
Although Italy often feels old, with so many ruins and historic buildings, it didn’t become a unified state until the 19th century. Each region had its own heritage and culture and, even today, there are so many distinct characteristics to each small part of the country.
That’s one of the reasons why doing some day trips from Rome can be so worthwhile – particularly if you’re not planning to spend a lot of time in other parts of Italy. You only have to jump on the train for an hour to find yourself in a completely new environment.
Head to big cities like Florence or Naples to see some of the masterpieces of Italian architecture and art (as well as try that legendary pizza, of course).
Discover smaller towns that sit like glittering jewels at the top of hilltops, offering a very different feel to the frenetic streets of Rome.
Or head out to see iconic Italian landmarks, either close to the city or a bit further away. If this is your only chance to see them, it’s probably worth the effort.
How I put together this list of day trips from Rome
With this list of the best day trips from Rome, I’ve put together a variety of different types of experiences, so there’ll hopefully be something suitable regardless of your interests and logistics.
If you’re already planning a longer Italian holiday that goes to other parts of the country, you may want to look at some of the towns and landmarks closer to Rome (Orvieto and Tivoli are a couple of my favourites).
But if you’re only staying in Rome and you haven’t seen much of Italy before, then jumping on the train to cities like Florence and Naples would be really worthwhile.
It’s also worth considering this question: will you drive or catch the train?
Getting to Florence or Naples is much faster by train than car, so driving makes those cities hard as day trips.
But on the other hand, nearby places like Viterbo – or even Perugia, a bit further away – take much longer on the train and become more doable as day trips if you can drive there.
To get a sense of where all the destinations are, you can see them marked on this map:
I’ve broken up my suggestions for Rome day trips into different categories and, within in each group, ranked the trips from easiest to hardest.
Jut because Rome is a big city, it doesn’t mean you’ll find the same things in other big cities in Italy. These major historic centres deserve more than just a single day – but, if you’re short on time, a day is better than nothing!
By train: 1h 12m
By car: 2h 16m
Naples may be Italy’s third biggest city, but it feels completely different to its biggest, and a day trip from Rome will transport you to a whole new side of the country.
The reputation Naples has for being chaotic, a bit dirty, and a bit dangerous is justified – but it’s this authenticity that gives the city so much character. It was once one of the wealthiest urban centres in Europe and is full of grand buildings – palaces, castles, and epic churches.
As the home of pizza, you could just spend your whole time eating, but I would suggest wandering the streets and soaking up the atmosphere. I’ve got a story about the best things to do in Naples, including the excellent archaeological museum.
And while you probably won’t have much time to do more than see the highlights of Naples, I’ve also got some tips for day trips from Naples that you could possibly combine with your visit.
By train: 1h 36m
By car: 3h 3m
Like Naples, Florence is very easy to reach from Rome on the high-speed Frecciarossa train but will introduce you to a very different city.
Florence is cleaner and less hectic than Rome or Naples. It’s a city of art and architecture and the best museums in Florence are among the best in Italy. Artworks like Michelangelo’s David are worth the journey alone!
In fact, most of the historic centre of Florence is a tribute to the Italian Renaissance, with opulent palaces and public buildings constructed by wealthy families like the Medicis. Attractions such as the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Pitti Palace, and Ponte Vecchio are all highlights.
If you would like to visit Florence as a tour, there are a few good options here:
By train: 2h 3m
By car: 3h 40m
Florence gets a lot of the attention in this part of Italy, but one of my favourite cities, Bologna, is not much further away and can also be done as a day trip from Rome.
It is full of medieval historic sites – particularly its famous towers, churches, and World-Heritage-listed porticoes – but it also has a less-touristy atmosphere with a large student population giving it plenty of life.
As the capital of Emilia-Romagna, Italy’s food bowl, you’ll also find amazing cuisine here… including the famous bolognese sauce… And having a meal or a drink in the piazzas is a delight.
The art galleries here are good, but it’s exploring the streets and soaking up the city life that is one of the best things to do in Bologna.
By train: 2h 42m
By car: 2h 6m
And if you thought Bologna was not visited much by tourists, then let me introduce you to Perugia, the capital of the Umbria region.
Set at the top of a steep hill, the historic centre of Perugia is surrounded by medieval walls and filled with grand churches and palaces. It’s so well preserved, it’s like stepping back to the Middle Ages.
The views are also a highlight and, although it’s steeped in history, the local university means there’s plenty of action and contemporary culture around the city.
Perugia is probably a bit far for a day trip from Rome if you have to use public transport, but it’s doable by car and a nice alternative to the more famous cities.
The landscapes of Italy are dotted with small towns, each one filled with character, local authentic restaurants, and often priceless masterpieces. Although you would get a rewarding slice of local life by stopping into almost any of them, these three are particularly interesting for visitors.
By train: 1h 16m
By car: 1h 20m
Orvieto is one of the most popular day trips from Rome because it ticks all the boxes (apart from having no other tourists). It’s a perfect hilltop town, with a collection of ornate historic buildings collected around the centre – particularly the cathedral and its colourful facade.
Below the hill, green vineyards and olive groves stretch out across the countryside, giving you a scenic image on approach and wonderful views from the top.
The wine that’s produced here is fantastic, so you can try some of it in a restaurant in the town centre, or find the time to visit a winery nearby.
Because Orvieto is on the main train line north, it’s easy to reach by public transport, or takes about the same time to drive.
There’s a very good tour to Orvieto that also includes Assisi, or there are a few other options here:
By train: 2h 7m
By car: 1h 10m
While technically a city, Viterbo feels like a town because the historic centre is so densely built into a small area surrounded by medieval walls from the 11th and 12th centuries.
The most important landmark is the Papal Palace, from when Viterbo was the base for the Pope between 1257 and 1281. But, like everywhere else I’ve mentioned, the cathedral (or Duomo) is also a highlight.
Exploring the stone streets offers a wonderful trip into the Middle Ages, and the local restaurants have excellent rural food.
The trip to Viterbo by public transport is a little long but it’s an easy drive for a day trip from Rome.
By train: 2h 9m
By car: 2h 10m
While technically a town, Assisi feels like a city because of the enormous basilica built into the hill on one side of the historic centre. Dedicated to St Francis, it’s one of the best things to see in Umbria and worth the trip from Rome.
Again, the historic centre of Assisi is built on a hilltop and it is filled with treasures, including churches and fortresses. Climbing through its streets and alleys leads to artworks, sweeping views, and quaint local stores.
Assisi is a pilgrimage site for many and it can get busy, but the motivations for these pilgrims seems to hang in the air, giving the town a spiritual atmosphere.
For a tour, there’s this affordable trip that also includes Orvieto, or there are a few other options here:
If you are short of time on your holiday to Italy, you might want to see a few of the country’s most famous sights – and luckily a few of them are reachable from Rome as a day trip. Here are a few more suggestions that I haven’t already included.
Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
By train: 1h 55m
By car: 2h 10m
Although I’ve mentioned Naples earlier as a possible day trip, many people will bypass it and just do a trip from Rome to see nearby Pompeii (and/or Mount Vesuvius). It makes sense because the Ancient Roman city, preserved by the volcanic eruption, is a highlight of Italy.
It’s not just the urban layout of Pompeii that has been preserved with its streets, temples, theatres, and fora. Even the paintings on the walls of houses has survived under the ground for millennia, and there is so much to see when you visit Pompeii.
While you’re in the area to see Pompeii, it also makes sense to head to the top of Mount Vesuvius to see the volcano that caused the whole disaster! There’s a carpark near the top but the last bit is quite a steep hike… the views are worth it, though!
If you want to see both sites, I would recommend this popular tour of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. There are a few other Pompeii combo options here:
By train and ferry: 2h 30m
The island of Capri has become such a symbol of the rich and famous, a glamorous holiday retreat in the water just off Naples. Even a day on Capri can make you feel like a bit of a celebrity.
The island has wonderful nature for some walks, boat trips along the coast, and some historic buildings. But many visitors just enjoy the views at the restaurants, doing a bit of window shopping, and having a drink by the water.
Because you need to get the ferry from Naples, the logistics need a bit more planning, but it’s still possible as a day trip from Rome. However, this trip will be much easier with a guide and, luckily, there’s this excellent tour to Capri from Rome that I would recommend.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
By train: 2h 48m
By car: 3h 20m
This may be a bit too far for a pleasant day trip from Rome, with about six hours for the return travel. But, having said that, it’s perfectly doable and you don’t need too much time in Pisa once you’re there.
It means you can see one of Italy’s most iconic sites – the Leaning Tower of Pisa – and get THAT photo holding it up. But the other sites around the tower are also interesting and stunning, so you won’t be disappointed with what you’ll find here.
If you’re using public transport, you’ll have to transfer at Florence, so you could even time your day so you also spend a couple of hours there and see the Duomo and other parts of the historic centre.
Most of the tours from Rome include more than just the tower, and there’s this good tour to Pisa that also visits Florence.
Close to Rome
While some of the day trips from Rome that I’m recommending have a fair amount of travel involved, there are also sites much closer to the capital that offer fascinating experiences – without you needing to spend half the day in a car or a train.
By metro: 45m
By car: 30m
Just 30 kilometres from central Rome, on the coast (near Fiumicino Airport), Ostia Antica is an easy day trip and offers you a glimpse into an Ancient Roman city.
It was once a port of Rome and, even though it is now in ruins, they’re probably the best preserved other than Pompeii. It’s a huge site where you can easily spend hours exploring.
There are temples, theatres, and baths, with decorations like mosaics and sculptures. It really is quite impressive and a good alternative if you don’t want to go all the way to Pompeii.
You’ll learn a lot more about Ostia Antica with a guide and I would recommend this tour from Rome. There are a few other options here:
By train: 41m
By car: 30m
The Castelli Romani are a group of small towns in the hills southeast of Rome, near Ciampino Airport. For centuries, city-dwellers have come here to escape the summer heat and that’s still the case.
There’s a relaxed and rural atmosphere here, popular with locals, but tourists will also find a welcoming environment where you can drink wine while you look at the view, and discover some of the historic sites.
Castel Gandolfo has been one of the most popular destinations since 2016 when the Pope decided to allow visitors into this papal holiday residence. But Frascati probably still the busiest town and has lots of wineries for tastings.
It can be a bit tricky to get to the best spots independently, so there’s this great wine tasting tour from Rome. And then there are some other tours that cover different areas here:
By train: 48m
By car: 35m
It’s easy to get from Rome to Tivoli and you’ll find two very significant attractions here – both of them World Heritage Sites.
The first is Villa d’Este and Tivoli Gardens, a beautiful mansion built in the 16th century where the gardens are the highlight, with mechanised fountains, grand avenues of trees, and evocative sculptures.
The other reason to come to Tivoli is to visit Hadrian’s Villa, the vast estate built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century as his escape from the city. Although it’s in ruins now, there’s lots to see.
You’ll save time and hassle with a tour, if you want to see both sites. I recommend this popular day tour to Tivoli from Rome. Or there are some similar options here:
By train: 1h 2m
By car: 55m
The town of Bracciano is similar to many of the other ones I’ve already mentioned, medieval streets of stone hugging a hilltop with an impressive collection of historic buildings. But what makes Bracciano particularly special is its location.
The town is on the edge of Lake Bracciano, a pristine body of water that makes for photogenic views from town and lovely walks along its shoreline.
In the warmer months you can even take a dip in the lake, or catch the small boat that will ferry you between the three towns that are situated on the water (Anguillara Sabazia, Trevignano Romano, and Bracciano).
By train: 1h 15m
By car: 1h 5m
On the surface, Tarquinia looks like a lot of other historic towns around Rome, with a cathedral and various palaces. But it’s the history from before the Romans that makes it so special.
This was a town of the Etruscans, the mysterious race who lived here more than 2000 years ago. The excellent Etruscan Museum tells their story but the highlight are their tombs.
The Etruscan tombs at the Necropolis of Monterozzi are the best thing to see at Tarquinia, a World Heritage Site where you can go into the ancient burial chambers and see the vivid paintings that are still on the walls.
Tours of regions
Most of the day trips ideas I’ve already listed are single destinations and possible to do independently with public transport or a car. However, if you want to explore a wider region for the day, it is much easier to have a guide taking you between the various places.
The story of the Appian Way is quite incredible. It was the first long road built from Ancient Rome to transport troops towards the south of Italy – an engineering feat and a stroke of strategic genius.
These days there are many remnants of the road and they offer a journey through this period of history. The great thing about doing this as a day excursion is that you don’t need to travel far and you can maximise your time.
If you’re keen to explore the road of Ancient Rome, I would recommend this full day bike tour of the Appian Way.
Although a train trip to Florence will show you the best city in Tuscany, this is a region where the real pleasures are in the countryside – not just the small towns, but the wineries and local rural restaurants.
It’s hard to explore the countryside of Tuscany without a car, but this Tuscany taster tour will host you through some of the best that the region has to offer. Its focus is the Val d’Orcia and the small town of Pienza, both incredible sites. This is one of my favourite Rome day trips!
Another excellent option is this small-group tour of Tuscany that has the beautiful towns of San Gimignano and Siena as the focus. Or there’s a private tour of Tuscany that will give you plenty of wine, heritage, and landscapes!
For something a bit different, head to the water and discover the sparkling Amalfi Coast, with colourful towns rising up the slopes from the water, surrounded by green hills.
It’s such a beautiful part of Italy and, on a day trip, you’ll be able to explore a few of the towns, have a drink overlooking the water, and get some incredible views across the cliffs.
A lot of people combine a trip to the Amalfi Coast with a visit to Pompeii and, if you’re interested in that, I would recommend this small-group day trip from Rome.
But including Pompeii means you’ll hardly have any time on the Amalfi Coast itself, so I think you’re better off focusing on the region with one of these tours:
As you can see, there are so many options for day trips from Rome to so many different parts of the surrounding region and further across Italy. The Eternal City can be used as a base to explore for eternity.
THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN ROME
There’s so much to see in Rome, it’s worth finding somewhere comfortable to base yourself for a few nights.
If you’re looking for a hostel, I would suggest the very cool Generator Hostel.
With some incredible designs, the boutique hotel G-Rough is pretty amazing.
And if you want to really splurge for somewhere incredible, have a look at Portrait Roma.