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Escape to Nature: Day Trips in the Roman Countryside

Posted on January 29th, 2024

by Sal

Guest Article written by Sal from Nature of Sal


Residing in the heart of Rome immerses you in a rich tapestry of history and urban life. Yet, for expats yearning for a break from the city’s hustle, the Roman countryside presents a myriad of charming day-trip destinations. Here is your guide to rejuvenating excursions amidst the natural beauty surrounding the Eternal City.

1. Tivoli – Exploring Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa

Commence your countryside exploration with a venture to Tivoli, an enchanting town east of Rome. Delve into the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa, where manicured gardens and historic architecture weave a captivating tale. Another highly recommended visit is Villa Gregoriana, although bear in mind that, at the time of writing, they reopen in March. Tivoli is also one of my favorite hiking destinations. Monte Catillo is a raw, rugged experience for regular hikers.

2. Lake Bracciano

For a tranquil day by the water, venture northwest to Lake Bracciano. Stroll along the lakeside promenade, paddleboat on the serene waters, or indulge in a lakeside repast in the town of Bracciano. The medieval charm of Castello Orsini-Odescalchi (fun fact: Tom Cruise got married there – back in 2006) adds to the allure of the surroundings. Of course you could also hike around the lake, although personally I prefer driving a bit further (e.g. Manziana, or Oriolo) and hike in the forests there.

3. Cerveteri – Etruscan Tombs and Coastal Retreat

Merge history with relaxation in Cerveteri. Explore the UNESCO-listed Etruscan Necropolis, followed by a walk along the dunes at Marina di Cerveteri, or Santa Severa Beach for a stroll along the Tyrrhenian Sea. If you’re into hiking, Cerveteri is a great starting point for the adventurous Etruscan Trail, or Waterfall Trail (also known as Sentiero degli Etruschi / Sentiero delle Cascatelle).

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4. Subiaco – Seeking Solitude at the Monastery:

Nestled in the Simbruini Mountains, Subiaco offers a peaceful haven for expats seeking solace. Visit the Sacred Cave of St. Benedict and the imposing Subiaco Monastery. A leisurely mountain hike promises breathtaking vistas and a communion with nature. Subiaco is also accessible by bus, with departures from Anagnina (Metro A), Ponte Mammolo (Metro B), for an updated timetable of busses, visit the Cotral website.

5. Nemi – The Tranquil Waters of Lake Diana

Known as the “Mirror of Diana,” Lake Nemi is ensconced in verdant woodlands. Explore the charming town of Nemi, celebrated for its strawberries, and meander along the lake’s shores. Delve into history at the Museo delle Navi Romane, showcasing ancient Roman vessels.

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6. Castel Gandolfo – Papal Gardens and Albano Lake

Retreat to the Papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. Roam the meticulously landscaped Papal Gardens, boasting panoramic views of Albano Lake. Indulge in a lakeside repast in the town and embark on a serene boat excursion on the placid lake. Of course, there are many interesting hiking trails to be found, as the lake is part of a Regional Park, called “Parco Regionale dei Castelli Romani”.

7. Calcata – Artistic Enclave in the Woodlands

For a bohemian escapade, set your sights on Calcata, a medieval village embraced by dense forests. This artistic haven exudes a unique ambiance with its cobblestone streets, art studios, and a castle. Traverse the surrounding woodlands for a culturally infused nature experience. Of course also here you have interesting options for hikes, including the peaceful “Treja Valley”.

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The Roman countryside unfolds a diverse array of day-trip possibilities for expats seeking respite from the urban rhythm. Whether your preference leans towards historical landmarks, lakeside serenity, or mountain seclusion, these destinations promise a perfect retreat into the embrace of nature. Plan your day excursion, rejuvenate your spirit, and relish the natural beauty surrounding the Roman countryside.

Of course, there are plenty of opportunities for hikes around all of these areas! For a map of hikes that are accessible by train, click here.

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