Rome’s surroundings are extremely rich with archaeological sites, villas, and beautiful towns to discover.

Here’s a list of some of our favorite day trips from Rome!

1. Tivoli

Tivoli is a small town just one hour outside of Rome. It’s easy to reach by car, but not so easy with public transportation. 

This very cute town lies on top of a hill and it offers great views of the Roman countryside. 

Tivoli is the perfect town to visit on a private tour. Make sure that the company you choose will also offer private transportation, as it’s crucial to reach the town easily. 

In Tivoli, there are two gorgeous sites that you should not miss: Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este. 

 

  •  Hadrian’s Villa.

tivoli tour 2Hadrian’s Villa is the magnificent residence of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. The emperor himself contributed to designing the Villa which is a unique archaeological site.

The Villa is almost 1800 years old but it is in great condition. 

You will see gargantuan structures, courtyards, and pools, and you will enter the most private rooms of the emperor. 

Hadrian’s Villa offers you the unique chance to walk through an imperial complex that lies in a breathtaking landscape. 

You will wander through the rooms where the emperor received his guests, see his massive dining rooms, and take a close look at the life of the emperor himself. 

 

  • Villa d’Este

Tivoli tour from Rome day trip

Villa d’Este is one of the most beautiful Renaissance villas in the world. It was built in the 1500s, and it was the home of the Cardinal Ippolito d’Este. 

The great architect Pirro Ligorio designed the Villa and its legendary garden, decorated by some of the greatest artists of the 1500s, like Cesare Nebbia, Gerolamo Muziano, and Federico Zuccari. 

After you have admired the beautiful courtyards and rooms, you must walk out of the building and explore the garden, which is the most famous part of the Villa. 

Pirro Ligorio, together with several other architects and sculptors, designed a revolutionary kind of garden decorated with many marvelous fountains. 

The river Aniene, which flows through Tivoli, was diverted to provide water for the system of pools, water jets, channels, fountains, and water games. 

The Villa has fifty-one fountains and nymphaeums, 398 spouts, 364 water jets, 64 waterfalls, and 220 basins, all working without pumps.

The peaceful noise of water will accompany you everywhere during your walk, as you see artificial waterfalls decorated with Reinassance statues. 

Ask for a guide with a background in archaeology or art history: it’ll make the difference. 

 

2. Ostia Antica

ostia tour
Less than one hour away from Rome there is a marvelous, but not very famous, archaeological site: Ostia Antica. 

Ostia was the port of Rome back in the Roman age. It was an extremely important town, and it is really well preserved. 

When you go to Ostia, you feel feel like you’re back in the Roman age. 

You can walk on the ancient Roman roads, seat in a theater where the Romans watched their plays almost 2000 years ago, walk through the forum and enter the bathhouses. 

Some of the buildings still have its original mosaic and marble decoration. 

If you’re stayin in Rome, you don’t need to all the way to Pompeii to see an ancient Roman town; Ostia is equally beautiful and impressive, but much less crowded. 

The archaeological site also has a very nice museum, where you can see some of the most important artifacts that were found during the exacations. 

You can reach Ostia by taking a very cheap train (1.5 € each ride) from Piramide station, or by car. 

As it’s an off-the-beaten path site, most tour companies don’t offer group tours of Ostia. 

But, Ostia is the perfect site to tour with a private guide; ask for a guide that has a solid background in archaeology, as it’s quite the complex site. 

 

3. Banditaccia Necropolis in Cerveteri

cerveteri landscape

Cerveteri was a big Etruscan city not far from Rome. 

The Etruscans were a very important people in ancient Italy. Their civilization blossomed between the 8th and the 5th century B.C., and they had a huge impact on the city of Rome itself, which was ruled by Etruscan kings throughout the whole 6th century B.C.

Later, the Romans conquered the town of Cerveteri, a rival of Rome. Banditaccia was the cemetery of the city (necropolis) and, nowadays, it’s a very charming archaeological site. The Etruscan aristocrats from Cerveteri used to be buried in large, round tombs partially carved in the natural bedrock, called “tumuli”. Some of the tumuli were built in the 7th and 6th century B.C., and are among the oldest example of stone architecture in Italy.

Carved inside the tumuli, you can see the corridors and the burial chambers, which were often filled with treasures, a status-symbol for the Etruscan rulers, such as vases, often imported from Greece and painted by famous artists, jewels, and many other precious items. The achaeologists or, unfortunately, grave diggers found thousands of precious artifacts during their excavations. 

Museums all over the world, like the Metropolitan, the Getty Villa, the British Museum, display many of the treasures found in the Etruscan tombs.

The Banditaccia can be reached with public transportation, but it’s easier to get there by car. 

A private guide with a background in etruscology or archaoleogy is the best candidate to show you such a complex and fascinating site. 

Make sure the tour operator you choose also offer private transportation: it’ll make everything easier. 

Many of the most important objects found in the necropolis are on display at the Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia in Rome, that we have discussed in this article already. Visiting both the Museum and the Banditaccia Necropolis will allow you to understand a lot of the Etruscan civilization, which you will find certainly fascinating. 

 

4. Tarquinia Necropolis

Tarquinia

A bit further from Rome (about 1.5 hour drive), is the Necropolis of Tarquinia. 

Tarquina, like Cerveteri, was a very relevant Etruscan city. Two of the seven kings of Rome were from Tarquinia, and they gave a huge contribution to the development of the city of Rome. 

Later, the Romans also conquered  Tarquinia. However, you can still visit its very well preserved cemetery.

The tombs of Cerveteri are not as monumental as the ones in Tarquinia. Painted marvelous scenes decorate the fascinating chambers.  Exploring the Necropolis of tarquinia is like visiting an ancient Etruscan art gallery; some of the frescoes, painted in the 6th and 5th century B.C., are among the oldest paintings in Europe. Nevertheless,  their colors are still vivid after such a long time, and the scenes even more fascinating. 

The walls of the tombs are depicted with myths, duels, baquets and many others images, giving you the chance to dive into the Etruscan visual world.

It’s not easy to reach Tarquinia from Rome with public transportation; the easiest way of visiting the site is by booking a private tour with a professional guide and a driver. Also for this tour we definitely recommend choosing a guide who has a background in archaeology or ancient art history. 

If you have a car, you can also visit the nearby Ara della Regina temple, a gargantuan Etruscan temple in a dreamy landscape. 

 

If you’re looking for a tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.