Time to Explore: 6 Day Trips From Rome
Whether it be a town north or south, east or west, Italy will surprise you with hidden gems just outside of the big city.
After spending this past spring in Rome, I fully believe that it is one of the most interesting places in Europe. The city is packed with the best cuisine, colorful people, and endless artistic and architectural wonders. But another awesome characteristic of Rome is that it is a major transportation and travel hub. When Rome is your starting point, all other parts of Italy are extremely accessible. When studying in Rome for a quarter, semester, or even a shorter summer program, you can easily visit other parts of Italy while still spending an extensive amount of time in Rome. Exploring the surrounding regions will build your understanding of Italy and also give you a newfound appreciation for everything that is Roma.
Pisa is most famous for its iconic Leaning Tower. The train ride from Roma Termini, the main train station in Rome, is between 3-4 hours long. More expensive tickets usually result in quicker rides with less stops. Get off at the Pisa Centrale station and walk about a mile walk to the Leaning Tower and surrounding square. There is not a lot to do in Pisa, but I still recommend a visit. Take a classic picture of you and your friends “holding” up the tower and get a bite to eat. It is possible to climb the tower, but you usually have to reserve a time in advance. You can also visit the Baptistry of Pisa and the Pisa Cathedral.
2. Santa Marinella:
A sleepy beach town 45 minutes from Rome, Santa Marinella provides a great afternoon trip for anyone who wants to soak up some sunshine. Catch a train from the San Pietro station near the Vatican, and upon arrival the beach is only a few minutes away from the station. There are not a lot of food options in the area, so this would be a great opportunity to pack a picnic of delicious Italian specialities and eat it on the beach!
This small hillside town is a short distance away from Rome and makes for a scenic trip out of the city. Visit Hadrian’s Villa to see the ruins of Emperor Hadrian’s vacation home, and then head over the the main town of Tivoli to see Villa d’Este. Sometimes called Tivoli Gardens or the “House of A Thousand Fountains”, Villa d’Este is an beautiful example of an Italian Renaissance garden. Nothing is more relaxing than strolling around the gardens of the villa, admiring the fountains, and taking in the beautiful view of the hills below.
Sperlonga was one of my favorite beach destinations in Italy. It is about an hour and a half ride from Roma Termini, and then after a quick bus ride, you arrive right at the beach! The sand feels amazing on your feet and the water is perfectly calm for bodysurfing and swimming. The town of Sperlonga is so charming, and feels almost like you are walking through the tiny streets of a Greek island. There are tons of restaurant options and cute shops in the upper square and beautiful views of both sides of the coast.
It is said that pizza originated in Naples, and travelers come from all over to experience traditional Italian pizza. “Napoli” pizza is composed of tomato, cheese, and anchovies. Some people love it, some people don’t. Naples is also home to the Naples National Archaeological Museum, which is full of ruins and artifacts from the ancient city of Pompeii. Naples does have a bit of a reputation, so stay on main streets with a big group of people, and utilize travel tools such as a money belt. However, I would suggest those same tips for almost any place you may travel to!
Pompeii has been a tourist destination for over 250 years. Pompeii was heavily damaged in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. However, the ruins are well preserved and tell the story of a prospering ancient civilization. The excavations at Pompeii have provided major insight into the Pax Romana period, the strongest and most peaceful time of the Roman Empire. Pay a little extra to get a guided tour, because then you will actually understand the significance of what you are looking at. After the tour, eat some Pompeii pizza, admire the view of the looming Mt. Vesuvius, and head home.