At the heart of Italy is Rome. Amazing food, iconic sights, bustling street, and shopping as far as the eye can see. But once you have seen what Rome can offer we recommend going on short day trips to experience even more.
Rome is in the heart of Italy which makes it the perfect large city to travel from. Since Rome has been the center of the world for centuries, there are many cities nearby that developed alongside Rome’s prosperity.
These are some of the best cities outside Rome to visit for a short time.
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List of the top day trips from Rome
Let’s get into our favorite day trips from Rome, Italy to start your adventure and explore Italy.
Before we dive in. Here are some of the top rated day trips out there.
The city of Pompeii is one of the craziest sights to visit in the world. In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted covering the city in lava. The city is perfectly preserved due to the lava hardening and literally freezing the city the way it was.
When you visit Pompeii look for wall art (original) and thousands of archaeological find including (sadly) a dog, pots, mirrors, brushes, and other household items. You can walk through homes and a Colosseum.
The best way to get to Pompeii is through a tour. We recommend booking through Get Your Guide here. The tour is the perfect amount of time and affordable.
How long to stay: one day. A half day is sufficient if you walk fast. No need to stay overnight
Distance from Rome: 2 hours (car or train). The best way to get to Pompeii is through a guided tour.
See Related: Best Trips from Naples to Pompeii
Tivoli is right outside of Rome and is packed with history.
Visit the Villa Adriana and bask in ancient Roman statutes. Visit Villa e’Este (created during the 16th century) for the Cardinal Ippolito d’Este. This magnificent estate has gardens and water fountains and amazing views.
Also check out the Rocca Pia, an ancient medieval fortress that was built during the 15th century. The structure is in fantastic condition.
How long to stay: We recommend visiting at least an entire day, overnight if you can. The city has a lot to see and is less-traveled than many other nearby cities so you can relax while you explore.
Distance from Rome: 45 minutes (car) 1 hour (train).
Best Tour: the full-day tour with transportation to and from Rome on GetYourGuide is the best. You can book our special rate by booking Tivoli with GetYourGuide at this link.
This tour (click here to book) also focuses on the UNESCO jewels and spots in Tivoli. Tour is 5 hours long with transportation to and from Rome.
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4. Cortona & Arezzo
Two cities near each other in the heart of Tuscany. These two cities are perfect to see in one day. Both cities sit atop hillsides giving you a fantastic view while you take in the quaint towns.
Cortona is a provincial town with all the elegance that goes with being provincial. Put on the map by the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, this small town has charm. The Piazza Garibaldi is where you want to start.
From here you can view Lake Trasimeno and vineyards for miles. From there, head to the Piazza della Repubblica where a clock tower shows you how slow time goes in provincial Italy.
Arezzo, most well known by the movie Life is Beautiful, is centered around a medieval square (Piazza Grande) that transforms into a festival (Giostra del Saraceno) in June and September.
The town also boasts Santa Maria della Pieve, a church built in the 1200s right in the piazza.
And, at the highest point of Arezzo you will find the Medici Fortress. From here you can really take in the views of the surrounding countryside.
How long to stay: 3 hours in each city.
Distance from Rome: just over two hours by car or train to either city. A short half hour drive or 45-minute train between the two cities. Easy peasy.
Best tour: this tour with GetYourGuide is by far the best tour to see both cities. Efficient, intelligent, and you get to see all the best spots. Book in advance, they take small groups so it is best to book early. Book your tour to Arezzo and Cortona here.
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3. Assisi & Orvieto
Assisi is by far the most underrated city in northern Italy. Home to St. Francis of Assisi, the city boasts a religious center with an amazing basilica. The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi has towering ceilings with hand painted frescoes. Many of the frescoes were destroyed during an earth quake in 1997, but it has been slowly restored. The basilica is on top of a hill with a beautiful view of the Italian countryside.
Assisi is also home to Rocca Maggiore, a 900-some year-old castle. You can adventure through tunnels built in the 1100s and climb to the top to see panoramic view of the Italian countryside. Whatever you do in Assisi, make sure to visit this spot and spark your imagination of fighting knights defending Assisi!
Orvieto is nearby Assisi and is absolutely stunning. There are two parts to Orvieto, an old-town hilltop and a new town. The new town is near the train station and a bit picked over. The older town portion is what you want to see. Medieval alleys and stunning buildings line every street. The Duomo (church) has a gorgeous mosaic facade. Under the streets is a network of caves with archeological finds.
These two cities are gorgeous and a must see for everyone who visits Italy. We hope you enjoy the views and the food!
How long to stay: you can easily see both cities in the same day. Reserve 4-6 hours for Assisi and another 2-3 for Orvieto.
Distance from Rome: Assisi is about a two-hour drive from Rome. A train takes over five hours because you have to connect through Florence. The best way to get around is through a tour (see link below for the best tour!).
Best tour: book a day trip using this link for a discount. If you are looking for a private tour, maximum of 6 guests, book here. We highly recommend the private tour, that way you can make small adjustments and you get to know your local guide.
2. Amalfi Coast
Crisp blue ocean, colorful warm towns, thin and crispy pizza, and sunshine. That is what you will experience on a tour to the Almafi Coast. There are a ton of small cities in the area that are fun to visit.
The top being Positano, Sorrento and Capri.
Positano is gorgeous. This cliffside town has steep, winding streets lined with small boutiques and little cafes and restaurants. Enjoy the beach or walking the quaint streets.
Sorrento is everything you could ever want in a southern Italian town. Plump oranges, sunshine, windy streets, and views of the ocean from all over. Enjoy some limoncello while you are at it!
Capri is an island off the coast of Italy known for the Blue Lagoon. Take a boat tour and get your camera ready-this is a picturesque island with fantastic views of the Italian coast and the ocean.
How long to stay: a full day or a weekend. Or a week. Or a month. These towns are sooo relaxing you will want to stay for a long time. You only need to stay in each city for a few hours to see the sights, but it is worth it to stay longer if you have the time.
Distance from Rome: 3 hours by train or car.
See Related: Best Books for Traveling to Italy
1. San Gimignano & Siena
Two beautiful renaissance cities just a short drive from each other. What more can you ask for?
San Gimignano is a historic walled city with medieval skyscrapers. Yes, skyscrapers! Back in medieval times San Gimignano had the tallest buildings (outside the Vatican of course). Visiting San Gimignano is known for fantastic white wine. We recommend spending a half day here to take in the sun, sip white wine, and view medieval skyscrapers.
A short drive away is another walled city of Siena. The city of Siena is home to il Palio, a medieval horse race that takes place to this day.
The square is filled with restaurants and a historic tower that overlooks the entire city. Siena was also the banking the capital of Italy for a very long time. We recommend staying the afternoon and evening to watch the sunset.
There is a special place,on the outside of the city, just near the wall, with a lookout that gazes over the hills of Tuscany. A perfect sunset spot just before the ride back to Rome.
How long to stay: Stay in each city for a day. San Gimignano only needs a half day, although a weekend is very relaxing. Siena is a great spot for a weekend, but you can also see the city in a half day. We spent two weeks in Siena and there was plenty to do.
Distance from Rome: about a three-hour drive or train.
Best Tour: the best tour is available here. You get to experience both cities in one day, with a fantastic guide and wonderful wine. If you are looking for a private tour, book here. This tour is limited to just your group.
See Related: Top Sites to Book Tours
Conclusion on best day trips from Rome
There are many cities to visit near Rome but these are some of the best. When you are deciding what day trip to take think about transportation and tour guides. The tours we recommend are based on real traveler experiences so you won’t be disappointed!
We hope you enjoy your trip to Rome and all the surrounding cities. Ciao!
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