The eternal city of Rome attracts millions of visitors every year. Mainly to pay a visit to Pantheon, throw a coin in the Trevi fountain, stroll around the Spanish steps, reminiscise the gladiators at the Colosseum, and may be catch a glimpse of the Pope at the Vatican.
All the while waiting in line amidst hundreds of tourists all waiting to do the same thing.
If you would like to tread off the beaten path and experience Italy beyond the popular attractions, you will be surprised to know that Rome and the region surrounding Rome – Lazio is much more than the five major attractions.
Exploring places around Rome allows you to discover the hidden gems of Rome province and experience a more authentic Italy with a handful of people around.
Here’s a brief overview of the day trips outside Rome all accessible by public transportation.
Albano, The Latin Capital, was known in the antiquity as Alba Longa, the capital of the Latin people and parent city of Rome. However, you can find flint tools dating back to the Paleolithic (300,000 – 10,000 years ago) and to the neolithic ages point to the presence of human activity in the Albano area at a much earlier date.
The huge cistern which supplied the camp is without a doubt one of the most spectacular monuments in Albano and in the Roman world as a whole. The Albano catacomb is the largest and the most important sites outside Rome.
In the central crypt there are some well-preserved wall-paintings. Nowadays, Albano is a flourishing and active city with a lot of interesting shopping streets to satisfy everybody’s taste.
Albano is only 25 minutes driving from Olive Tree Hill aka Il Colle degli Ulivi – B&B in Rome
Ariccia is well known as the home of the famous Porchetta (roast sucking pig) and Fraschetta.
From the Roman times the Porchetta has survived and is considered today a perfect dish, that can be served together with a slice of homemade bread and a glass of wine!
But Ariccia is much more than wine, Porchetta and fraschettas.
As the legend goes, during the Roman Empire, it seems that the Porcheta became favourite dish of the Emperor Nero, who used to organize luxurious feasts with his friends and moreover he used to gift it to his distinguished guests.
Its origins go back to about 3000 years ago when the Prisci Latini, once a year, got together and gave a big party in order to celebrate the birth of the Lega Latina. During these celebrations, the priests, who were at the same time butchers and cooks, sacrificed swines and boars for Mars.
Ariccia is another great day trip outside Rome. Ariccia is of latin origin, is situated between Albano and Nemi lakes on a spur in the middle of two verdant valleys having behind Mount Cavo and in the front a wide valley with view all the way to the sea.
The foundation of this town dates back to the 14th century B.C. It is still possible to see the side of the old volcano crater where there was a lake once which is now is dried out. Gian Lorenzo Bernini , architect genius, changed the face of Ariccia due to the will of Chigi family. Imposing Chigi Palace with its park is one of the best reserved 17th century residence in the whole province of Rome.
Ariccia is one of the things to do around Rome, and is only 25 minutes driving from Olive Tree Hill aka Il Colle degli Ulivi – B&B in Rome.
The Kingdom of Castelli Romani Area (wine area of Rome) is another hidden jewel around Rome. The name of Frascati appears for the first time in the Liber Pontificialis towards the half of nineteenth century of Christian era. In the place of present Frascati existed in the antiquity an important compitum, a crossing of roads that connected Rome with Tuscolo, the Labican & Latin way and Via Appia. But as Frascati has kept quite little from ancient Roman times it is impossible to rebuild its phases and happenings.
This begins the epoch of the splendid renaissance and baroque villas like Villa Aldobrandini, Villa Ruffinella,Villa Lancellotti, Villa Falconieri, Villa Mondragone, Villa Parisi, Villa Grazioli, just to mention some of them, still today constitute the wonder of Frascati.
Currently Frascati is an important residential center with so much character just outside of Rome.
Its position in the centre of Castelli Romani area makes it most popular town in the Rome and is loved by the Romans who arrive in crowds during weekend to stroll along its panoramic terraces, explore the fine boutiques. Eating out in typical fraschette is something that definitely needs to be experienced.
These fraschette are still run by local families who produce the world famous Frascati wine.
The idea is that the owners sell you their wine but you bring your own food and enjoy it in their place. These little restaurants are very picturesque to visit and specially in summer time to sit outside by wooden tables and chairs in the middle of square, is the most typical view of Italian life.
And as the italians say – Salute and Buon Appetito!
Frascati is only 15 minutes driving from “Olive Tree Hill” aka “Il Colle degli Ulivi” – B&B in Rome
Monteporzio is another one of the great places to visit near Rome. The hill where now stands the town’s historical center already seat of a villa of roman age and a small medioeval settlement, offers extraordinary beautiful view of Rome and its fertile countryside from the sea to the Prenestini mounts. The historical center is inserted between two imposing architectonic elements: the Dome of XVII the century and the Bourgeois Palace.
The ruins of the city of Tuscolo nearby (etruscan fortress) founded according the legend by Telegono, the son of Ulisse , which had a period of great splendor in imperial age and became the holiday place for emperors. In the territory of Monteporzio Catone are found some splendid historical dwellings of great roman families: Mondragone villa, that accommodated Gregorio XIII who promulgate the reform of the Calendar, and recently acquired from the University of Tor Vergata, is today center of numerous cultural and scientific manifestations, Villa Parisi, the seventcentury Villa Lucidi, Borgo Borghese and last but not least the Convent Eremo di Camaldoli (visit permitted to men only).
Not to lose, moreover, there is the Astronomical Observatory with the didactic Museum “Astrolab” where is possible to complete an interactive travel to the discovery of the Universe. Not to forget the visit to the Wine Museum (Museo Diffuso del Vino) as identity of the inhabitants of the entire zone are deeply connected to the culture of wine.Looking down from the town to valley below you can see fertile countryside with famous Castelli Romani vineyards and rests of other ancient villas.
Monteporzio is only 20 minutes driving from “Olive Tree Hill” aka “Il Colle degli Ulivi” – B&B in Rome.
A hidden jewel in the middle of the sacred forest, Lake Nemi is set in crater of ancient volcano has kept for millenniums the mystery of two ships which were built by Roman Emperor Caligula for the celebration of sacred rites. Unfortunately very little is left of these precious ships and now displayed in the museum beside the lake.
Nemi is also famous for its wild strawberries and other excellent local products.
Nemi is one of the wonderful places to visit near Rome for nature enthusiasts and is only 20 minutes driving from Olive Tree Hill aka Il Colle degli Ulivi – B&B in Rome.
The earliest settlements in the area appear to have been of southern etruscan culture and dated back to VII century B.C. Known in the antiquity as “Praeneste” it was already an important center around the 8th century B.C.
From this position Palestrina could control the road of trade and communication between north and south.
In Palestrina is the temple of Primordial Fortune, the most important monument from the Republican Era in Lazio with a series of beautiful terraces brought to light during second world war bombing.
In 338 the city partecipated in the Latin war against Rome and town was conquired by Romans.
Palestrina has been home land of Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina – the prince of polyphonic music, and cultural center for many artists in the middle age.
Palestrina is one of the top sights near Rome to visit and is only 5 minutes driving from Olive Tree Hill aka Il Colle degli Ulivi – B&B in Rome.
If you like to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city in a country side amidst the olive groves, then we welcome you to our cosy B&B just 30 minutes outside of Rome. Here you can eat and live like a local and experience the real Italy away from the crowds.