Josie is a travel and lifestyle writer who enjoys telling her own experiences, as well as discovering new ones. She has previously written for the likes of The Huffington Post, The Times, London's Metro and anywhere else that will have her!
Published April 3rd 2014
The saying might claim that all roads lead to Rome… but truth be told, there are some pretty great places to be found by taking the roads leading out of Rome too.
Why not stretch your limits and take a day trip to somewhere new? Italy is so much more than just Rome and the chance to experience the authentic Italian life is no more than a train ride away…
Once known as the classical city of Tibur, Tivoli lays 18 miles north east of Rome in the Lazio region. This historical town is home to the beautiful UNESCO world heritage gardens of Villa d'Este, as well as to Hadrian's Villa. Built by Emperor Hadrian during the second century as a blissful retreat from nearby Rome, Hadrian's villa is these days a well preserved relic of all things decadent and indulgent about Roman life. Boasting acres of marble, theatres, libraries, baths and temples, a trip to Tivoli is a must for history-lovers the world over. Image source
Top tip: Tivoli's Terme di Roma is a luxury spa complex that will truly cleanse you of all that city grime. How to get there: Head to Tiburtina train station and simply take the Roma Tiburtina – Tivoli train. You should be there in 45 to 70 minutes.
One of the best-preserved medieval towns in all of Italy and just 30 miles outside of Rome, Calcuta has something of a magical past. Condemned by the government in the 1930s over fears that the crumbling cliffs it sits on were a dangerous hazard to all who lived there, Calcuta was deserted until the 1960s when daring artists and bohemians began to move back in. These days, Calcuta has a fairy-tale-esque feel and a laidback, friendly vibe that draws visitors in to see what the fuss is all about. With its cobbled alleyways, traditional restaurants and spectacular views, it's not hard to find out. Image source
Top tip: Be sure to visit La Sala dei 201 Tè, or 'the room with 201 teas', offering teas from all over the world, as well as delicious local pastries. How to get there: Take a 20 minute train from Rome's Ferrovia Nord station to the Saxa Rubra bus termina, from where you can get a blue Cotral bus to Calcata. The ride is about 45 minutes and buses leave almost every hour.
At 20 miles around its perimeter, Lago di Bracciano is one of the largest lakes in Italy. This stunning lake actually serves as a drinking water reservoir for the nearby city of Rome, meaning that since 1986, it's been under control to avoid any pollution of its waters and is still crystal clear as a result. Head to the lake for the day and enjoy one of the many activities on offer: from hiring a pedalo and gently paddling around the shore to sailing or windsurfing for the more adventurous. You can even hire a bike and ride around the pretty surroundings – just don't forget to pack a picnic! Image source
Top tip: If you fancy waking up to these spectacular views, why not book a hotel near Lake Bracciano? There are three surrounding towns of Anguillara, Trevignano and Bracciano, all offering quirky personality and Italian flair. How to get there: Take the fr3 Roma Ostiense train from Ostiense train station straight to Bracciano. Alternatively, you can take the metro from Roma Termini train station to Piramide and then switch to the fr3 train from there.
No list of Roman day trips could be complete without mentioning the world famous site of Pompeii. A catastrophic volcanic eruption in 79 AD saw this once thriving Roman city destroyed in an instant by extreme heat and volcanic ash. However, the lack of air and moisture perfectly preserved the city exactly as it was at that moment, forever more. Whether you take a guided tour, listen to an audio tour or simply wander the ruins by yourself, Pompeii is your chance to explore the extraordinarily detailed artefacts of 2000 year old homes, shops, restaurants and baths. It really is like nothing else on earth. Image source
Top tip: Make sure to visit the nearby Naples National Archaeological Museum, which is home to a fascinating collection of artefacts excavated from the Pompeii site. How to get there: Take the train from Rome to Naples and then the Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento line train route directly to the ancient site of Pompeii. It may take around 2 hours, but it's undeniably worth it.
So there you have it, five ways to escape Rome for the day and still be back in time for dinner. What are you waiting for? After all, carpe diem!