If you're looking for a road trip that will take your breath away, look no further than Rome, Italy. This magnificent country is home to some of the most stunning architecture and landscapes in the world, not to mention some of the best food you'll ever taste. In this article, we'll give you a breakdown of the best cities and towns to visit on your road trip around Rome, as well as some tips on where to eat and what to see. So buckle up and get ready for an adventure you'll never forget!
Road tripping around Rome: what you need to know
When it comes to road tripping, there are a few things you need to take into account before setting off on your journey. The first is, of course, your vehicle. If you're planning on doing a lot of driving, we recommend renting a car that's comfortable and has good fuel economy. You'll also want to make sure you have a valid driver's license and insurance.
Once you've got that sorted, it's time to start planning your route. If you're not sure where to start, we recommend taking a look at a map of Rome and its surrounding areas. This will give you an idea of what cities and towns are within driving distance. Once you've decided on your route, it's time to start planning your itinerary.
When it comes to road tripping, the best way to see a country is by taking your time and making plenty of stops along the way. That being said, there are a few places that are absolutely essential to visit on your trip around Rome.
The best places to visit around Rome
The first is the city of Rome itself. This is, of course, the capital of Italy and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. There's so much to see and do in Rome that you could easily spend weeks here and still not see everything. Rome doesn't need much of an intro but while you're here to pick up your car, don't miss the big ticket items:
The Colosseum - one of the most iconic tourist destinations in Rome, this ancient amphitheater is a must-see
Vatican City - home to the Pope and some of the most beautiful churches and artwork in the world
Trevi Fountain - perhaps the most famous fountain in Rome, make sure to toss a coin into it for good luck!
Pantheon - an ancient temple that has been standing since 126 AD and is still in use today
Spanish Steps - these steps are a popular spot for tourists and locals to gather and socialize
Piazza Navona - this square is full of restaurants, cafes, and shops and is always lively
Only 40 minutes away from Rome, Tivoli has 2 of Italy's most stunning villas:
Villa d'Este Palace & Gardens: The garden in Villa d'Este, located in Tivoli, Italy is a great example of Renaissance culture. This garden is unique because of its innovative design and the various architectural features, such as fountains and ornamental ponds. According to UNESCO's statement, this garden was one of the first wonder-gardens and it became a model for the development of gardens all over Europe.
When Cardinal Ippolito d'Este became governor of Tivoli, he immediately set architect/artist Pirro Ligorio to renovating the governor's palace, in a former Benedictine monastery, to his own taste.
Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa): The villa was a vast complex built by Roman Emperor Hadrian at the foot of Tiburtine Hills between 118 and 138 AD. The area covered about 120 hectares (300 acres) which made it look much like an ancient city in Italy! The city was surrounded by walls and had temples, baths, barracks, theatres, gardens, fountains, and nymphaeums. The imperial residence was divided into two levels: the upper floor was quiet and friendly, while the lower floor bustled with the activities of slaves.
If you’re planning a road trip through Italy, be sure to add Sperlonga to your itinerary. This charming town is located on the Tyrrhenian Sea, about halfway between Rome and Naples. Sperlonga is known for its beautiful beaches, whitewashed buildings, and stunning views. And while it may be small, there’s plenty to do in Sperlonga. Here are a few of the best things to see and do in this picturesque Italian town.
If you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up some sun, head to one of Sperlonga’s many beaches. The sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and boating. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go scuba diving in the clear waters off the coast of Sperlonga.
No visit to Sperlonga would be complete without sampling the local cuisine. The town is home to several excellent restaurants, serving up everything from traditional Italian dishes to fresh seafood. Be sure to try the spaghetti alla chitarra, a specialty of Sperlonga.
Ostia Antica, Italy
This charming town is located just outside of Rome and is full of beautiful buildings and cobbled streets. Plus, there are plenty of great places to eat and drink.
First of all, make sure to visit the Roman ruins. Ostia Antica was once a thriving Roman port town, and there are plenty of well-preserved ruins to explore. You can also visit the Archaeological Museum, which houses many artifacts that have been found in the area.
Of course, you'll want to enjoy some of the delicious food and drink on offer in Ostia Antica. There are plenty of great restaurants, cafes, and bars to choose from. Make sure to try the seafood - it's fresh and delicious! And if you're looking for a photo op, head to the La Terrazza degli Amorini. This picturesque terrace overlooks the town and makes for a perfect Instagram shot.
The town's medieval architecture is the main draw: the ruins of its magnificent Papal Palace (Palazzo dei Papi) and the less-glamorous medieval streets. A couple of museums, a town cathedral, and other palazzos and churches are among the other sights worth seeing.
Thanks to the town's lack of development since its heyday in the Middle Ages, it is now famed for one of the best-preserved medieval centres in Italy. Film crews looking for an authentic atmosphere often come here. A pleasant half-hour can be spent wandering the medieval lanes of San Pellegrino, a historical area of unaltered stone houses with the original external staircases, little lanes, squares and towers. Viterbo is also a popular destination for antique collectors, with antiques fairs and small galleries lining the medieval streets.
Bullicame is a natural mineral bath about 20 kilometers from Viterbo. The Bullicame Natural Hot Springs, which have been known since ancient times, are located outside the city. Terme dei Papi (Spa of the Popes), the current thermal spa complex on the premises, offers baths and treatments.
In Italy's Lazio region, Bomarzo is a little town that is known for its wooden monsters' park. The main draw of Bomarzo is the Sacred Grove, which consists of a marvelously beautiful garden filled with many strange larger-than-life sculptures carved out of big lumps of volcanic rock that littered the area. The Palazzo Farnese was built in the 1570s by Pier Francesco Orsini.
Orvieto is a small town located in the Umbria region of Italy. The town is known for its beautiful medieval architecture, and there are plenty of places to visit in Orvieto. First of all, make sure to visit the Duomo di Orvieto, which is a stunning cathedral with intricate Gothic architecture. Have you heard that there are 1200 caves underneath Orvieto? They're all man-made and some date back to the Etruscans. The underground is definitely something you should consider adding to your list of things to do in Orvieto! It's really incredible to learn about how the caves have been used over the years.
Pitigliano is a town located in the Tuscan region of Italy. The town is known for its beautiful architecture and its carved from volcanic stone. Pitigliano is also home to several excellent restaurants, serving up everything from traditional Italian dishes to fresh seafood.
The best way to explore the city is on foot, so you can park your car outside the city walls and stroll around. If you visit the northwest part of town, you'll see remnants of Etruscan walls and Porta Sovana, which was originally built by Aldobrandeschi family in medieval times but reconstructed later. This excavation site leads to vie cave (ancient roads) and Sovana necropolis.
The southern part of the town, which was almost certainly built during the late medieval period. You will find the pillars of the imposing Medicean aqueduct here. The redevelopment work carried out by Orsini, who took over after Aldobrandeschi had no more male heirs, features a fortress bastion and other fortified structures surrounding the historic center.
The Terme di Saturnia or Mulino Cascate, known in Italian as Saturnia Hot Springs, is one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Tuscany. Warm water naturally pours into travertine stone pools, providing a lovely setting for tourists to observe nature's majesty and unwind.
The steam rising from each pool, the resident Italians soaking up the warm bath, and the atmosphere of Tuscany will draw you in to the aquamarine-hued hillside hot spring with its billowing clouds.
Although Elba is a small island, there are many hidden gems waiting to be explored. The breathtaking views and diverse landscapes are unlike anywhere else in the world. Elba will gratify the mind and senses, from the ferrous heart of Ginevro's most magnificent underground mining system to the breathtaking crystal clear seas of Capo Sant'Andrea. Follow the bike paths through picturesque chestnut groves or plunge into dramatic shipwrecks on the seabed to enjoy the beauty of the heights, such as Mount Capanne with its spectacular view over the Tuscan Archipelago.
There are so many layers to the island that there's much more to see than meets the eye. Why not discover Napoleon's hidden rooms and then enjoy an evening of festivals, folklore, and cuisine?
If you're looking for a historic, beautiful, and delicious destination, look no further than Castagneto Carducci on the Etruscan Coast. This province of Livorno offers visitors lovely medieval towns to discover and an array of cultural and culinary experiences. You'll be made to feel welcome here with the warm hospitality offered by hotels, campsites, and agritourism farmstays.
Castagneto Carducci's historic centre was built around a castle belonging to the Della Gherardesca family, which was constructed during the year 1000. The heart of Castagneto Carducci is made up of cobblestone streets and natural terraces that overlook the sea and countryside; elegant squares, old artisan workshops, and a plethora of traditional restaurants.
The town's Palazzo Pretorio (now the town hall), churches of San Lorenzo and the Santissimo Crocifisso, and other significant historic buildings are among it. Originally known as Castagneto Marittime, the settlement was renamed in honour of great poet Giosuè Carducci who spent many years here. His home is now a museum that houses objects from his life including personal belongings. Finally, you should not miss out on the Bolgheri Nature Reserve, which is a lovely and unique natural environment.
The city of Arezzo is a wonderful blend of old and new Tuscany. It's full of culture and beauty, but without the tourists or fast-paced lifestyle that you might expect.
Arezzo shares many similarities with Florence, from the cobbled lanes and pastel buildings to the Medici influence visible in its public artwork and architecture.
Arezzo has a number of museums and churches housing some of the most iconic works by Renaissance artists. With under 100,000 residents, it's a perfect size to provide all you need while still being friendly and easy to navigate. It doesn't even compare to Florence, which is filled with millions of tourists every year.
The spectacular drawing room of Arezzo, which is still partly surrounded by defensive walls and contains its magnificent gates, is the historic center. The remains of the Medici fortress overlook the views of picturesque Tuscan countryside dotted with olive orchards and vineyards at the top of town. The lower, newer city has its charms and amenities, preventing the city from stagnating in the Middle Ages while also providing a contemporary feel to it—a pleasant balance for everyday activities.
Birthplace of Pope Pius II, Enea Silvio Piccolomini. Set at the heart of the Tuscan landscape in the province of Siena, this is a hill town like no other: Symbolizing Renaissance ideals, and renowned for its exceptional beauty and harmony.
Pius II entrusted the construction of the magnificent Piazza Centrale, Pienza Cathedral, the Papal Residence, and the Municipio to architect Bernardo " il Rossellino" and humanist Leon Battista Alberti. In three years they constructed the beautiful Piazza Centrale, Pienza Cathedral, the Papal Residence, and the Municipal palazzo as well as establishing a new town. With his redesign completed, Pius II made Palazzo Piccolomini his summer residence; if you are fortunate enough to visit this area of Italy, it's easy to see why.
Pienza is a treasure: the buildings blend into the countryside beautifully, and the town has some of the most spectacular views over the Orcia Valley around. Pienza is one of the finest towns to visit in the area due to its charming alleyways, lovely food, and thriving tourist industry.
The Franciscan convent, founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1218, is named after a plant he grew there- The Scarza. He also built himself a hut from the plant. In the church apse, there is an eighteenth century fresco depicting Saint Francis levitating.
The Ideal City, created by architect Tomaso Buzzi between 1958 and 1978 was bought in 1956 and restored. It is located next to a convent and includes 7 theatres, culminating with the Acropolis. The buildings inside are empty but have an abundance of termite nests that offer multiple vistas.
Since the 13th century, people have made pilgrimages to Assisi, Italy to honor St. Francis. However, you don't need to be religious to appreciate the beauty of this picturesque town. With long rolling hills of Umbria and forests of Monte Subasio as its backdrop, Assisi is one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in all of Italy and definitely a hidden gem.
Assisi is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which means it has another significance: It's the home of two UNESCO World Heritage sites. The entire city enjoys this coveted distinction because of its rich artistic and historically significant structures, including the Basilica di San Francesco. According to the UN, Assisi has an "exceptional importance" for its role in Franciscan Order diffusion and "continuity of a city-sanctuary" from Umbrian-Roman beginnings to present day.
Spello is an Italian town located in the province of Perugia. The town is densely populated and built with stone, giving it a very medieval appearance. It also has several ancient features such as Roman walls and gates, an amphitheater, and various small churches from the middle ages.
The town is home to the Spello Festival, which is a large music and arts festival that happens every July. The festival features performances from both local and international artists, making it a great event to experience while in Italy. If you're looking for a place to stay in Spello, there are plenty of options available. There are several hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals.
While there are many wonderful places to visit in Italy, Spello should definitely be near the top of your list. With its beautiful medieval architecture, historical landmarks, and lively festival, it's a place that has something for everyone.
Norcia is located in the heart of Umbria and is known for its large historical and artistic heritage, making it one of the most important art cities in the region. In addition to its renowned Art scene, Norcia is also home to a number traditional economic activities, such as wrought iron manufacturing - which produces chandeliers, lanterns, tools and objects shaped like animals.
In conclusion, this is the guide you need to road trip around Rome successfully!
If you're looking for a beautiful and interesting Italian road trip, consider checking out some of the towns near Rome. With its stunning architecture, rich history, and lively culture, Rome is a great place to start your journey. From there, you can explore some of the smaller towns and villages that are located in the Umbria and Lazio regions. Each town has something unique to offer visitors, so be sure to plan your trip carefully so that you have time to see everything! We hope you enjoy your travels in Italy!