Five Day Trips from Rome By Train
Granted, Rome has so much to see that you may disregard any day trips outside of the city for, well, the next time. In reality, there are many great places of interest within easy reach of Italy's capital, and it may be nice to escape the crowds and noise of the big city for a few hours in charming, less frequented, history-rich small towns.
Viterbo, known as City of Popes because it hosted the papal seat in the 13th century, is about an hour and 40 minutes from the train station of Roma Ostiense. There’s much to see in this town in northern Lazio, starting with the historic medieval center, the largest in Europe. Main sights include the Papal Palace and the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. The city is also famous for the Macchina di Santa Rosa procession, which takes place every year in September and is included in Unesco’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
25 kilometers south-east of Rome, Castel Gandolfo is comprised in the lovely countryside area known as Castelli Romani, located at the feet of the Alban Hills. It overlooks Lake Albano and is the summer residence of the Pope. In fact, you can visit the first-floor museum and landscaped gardens of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo (prior booking required), the Pope's summer residence, a 17th-century building designed by Carlo Maderno (the architect who designed St. Peter’s Basilica’s façade). Castel Gandolfo can be reached in about 40 minutes from Termini train station on the regional train.
A smaller version of Pompeii can be found in Ostia Antica, which is approximately 30 kilometers to the northeast of Rome. Its ancient buildings, frescoes and mosaics are exceptionally well preserved and make for a fascinating trip back to the times of the ancient Romans (Ostia was the harbor city of ancient Rome). You can see the remains of mansions, warehouses, docks, squares and even a large theater. Ostia Antica can be reached in approximately 25 minutes from the Porta San Paolo train station (Piramide) via train Roma-Lido.
Tarquinia was once one of the most important Etruscan cities, listed as a Unesco World Heritage site for the number of painted tombs in the so-called necropolis of Monterozzi and the largest known Etruscan temple, Ara della Regina. The 15th century Palazzo Vitelleschi contains the largest collection of Etruscan art. Take time to just stroll the streets of this ancient city and make sure you taste the local wine. Tarquinia can be reached in an hour and 15 minutes on the regional train from Roma Termini.
The medieval hill town of Anagni is one of the major historical centers of the Ciociaria, an area within Lazio that coincides roughly with the province of Frosinone, south-east of Rome. The Romanesque Cathedral is one of Anagni’s major sights, as well as the 13th century Papal Palace and the Communal Palace. Anagni is the birth place of four popes and has many historical buildings that make for a fascinating stroll around its center. Anagni can be reached in an hour from Roma Termini on the regional train (get off at Anagni-Fiuggi).