15 Lovely Small Cities & Villages Close to Rome and Throughout Lazio

Spanning out from the everlasting metropolis, the area of Lazio is sprinkled with a plethora of small cities and beautiful villages close to Rome ready to be relished, and with far fewer guests, they practically all ship a tranquil escape, particularly outdoors of the summer season season.

In fact, tearing your self away from the nation’s attraction-packed, sightseeing-centric and footfall-heavy capital is a tricky resolution to make. Nevertheless, in the event you’re not within the temper for a continuous metropolis break and as an alternative wish to decelerate and savour the nice issues in life alongside one of the best Italian experiences, the numerous small cities in Italy near Rome promise loads of historic perception nonetheless however served up with a way more laid-back environment.

Not too long ago, I heeded that invitation and set out alone Viaggio Italiano to find a few of the greatest locations close to Rome to go to by practice, bus, and the occasional taxi. Making an attempt to maintain sustainable journey on the forefront of my thoughts, I found even the loftiest hilltop villages had been accessible with a little bit endurance and planning, with loads of treasures awaiting after the climb.

Whereas every of the 5 provinces that make up Lazio all provide their very own tradition, delicacies and loads of picture-perfect day journeys from Rome, I rapidly realised that each borgo (small Italian villages, borghi is the plural) promised one thing in widespread.

The magic of those locations was the prospect to take pleasure in a slower tempo of life, join with the area people, and uncover quite a few historic websites and tales that maybe a day journey wouldn’t enable, so do your self a favour and keep some time. 

In fact, these awarded the ‘I Borghi più Belli d’Italia‘ (most lovely villages in Italy) title had been ravishing, however every one I set foot in had its personal fascinating appeal, and I hope you discover the prospect to craft your personal unforgettable journey by means of Lazio, removed from the crowds of Rome.

Listed below are 15 of probably the most lovely villages close to Rome I just lately found, damaged up into the 5 provinces throughout central, northern and southern Lazio, and shortly, I’ll add extra in-depth guides to every of those villages close to Rome on my Italy journey weblog pages.

Staying central: Province of Rome (Castelli Romani) and attainable day journeys close to Rome

Beginning closest to the nation’s capital, the world surrounding the everlasting metropolis is the best choice in the event you search day journeys close to Rome moderately than an in a single day keep or slow-paced rural village escape.

Inside the larger metropolitan and close by space, you’ll discover loads of lovely spots to flee from the town’s busy points of interest, and dependable public transport connections guarantee a simple journey.

Elements of this land are known as Castelli Romani as a result of quite a few castles round, that means you may depend on these locations to go to close to Rome to be filled with historical past, photogenic panoramas, and loads of memorable moments with out venturing too far into the Lazio area.

Castel Gandolfo sitting high above the lake
Castel Gandolfo sitting excessive above the lake

Castel Gandolfo

Why go to? Spectacular lake views coupled with the unimaginable summer season residence of the Pope

Castel Gandolfo is usually thought to be one of the crucial lovely small cities close to Rome, one thing that even the Pope would attest to as it’s right here he has his summer season residence, the Papal Palace. 

That was till 2014 when Pope Francis opened the palace and gardens to the general public, and now they’re a well-liked vacationer attraction, typically mixed with a go to to the Vatican metropolis. Whereas I didn’t tour them this time (ebook tickets upfront), I discovered different methods to benefit from the borgo and spent just a few nights right here. This, I discovered, allowed me to benefit from the village in a slumber, as being one of the crucial well-liked locations close to Rome to go to by practice on a fast day journey, it will possibly really feel fairly crowded through the holidays or weekends.

Past the palaces and church buildings, I discovered sufficient to maintain me busy. From taking boat excursions and kayaking on Lake Albano, the cerulean-hued and turquoise-fringed volcanic crater lake beneath, to devouring the regional pasta specialities, akin to cellitti coasted in a porcini mushroom sauce. The native white wine, Colli Albani, additionally featured closely through the evenings spent on my condo’s balcony overlooking the lake.

For such a notable vacation spot, it’s comparatively small, however actually not with out its appeal. Whereas the imposing entrance gates, the 1624-built palace, and spectacular church buildings are all classical, you’ll discover a modern eating scene right here, with fashionable eating places, a lot of which appeared to have been designed with Instagram in thoughts. 

Certainly one of my favorite moments got here in La Musa Mosaici, the place I learnt to hammer stone items and craft a mosaic. Whereas my design actually wasn’t going to compete with the various Roman masterpieces present in Lazio, I got here away with a brand new appreciation for this difficult artwork kind.

Close by, you’ll discover a few of the different most pleasant villages close to Rome, akin to Ariccia, Lanuvio and Nemi, so Castel Gandolfo serves as an honest base for each hamlet hopping, but in addition exploring Rome in the event you don’t wish to keep within the capital correct.

Prime tip: Keep away from the weekends (and peak season) to skip the crowds, and in order for you one thing enjoyable to do, take a 90-minute mosaic class.

Easy methods to get there? By practice from Rome, the journey to Castel Gandolfo takes round 45-minutes, with a brief stroll uphill after. By automotive, if there is no such thing as a visitors, you’ll arrive in beneath 30-minutes.

The place to remain? Whereas Castel Gandolfo is an effective choice for a day journey close to Rome, staying an evening or two will help you admire the quieter aspect of the streets and offer you extra time to expertise the lake and palace. The suites and residences at Atlantis Inn, particularly these with lake views, are a delight. 

Colourful Nemi and it's arched supports, one of Italy's small villages
Vibrant Nemi and its arched helps, considered one of Italy’s small villages


Why go to? The Roman Ships Museums and the lovely small village by a lake environment

If you wish to mix just a few of the villages close to Rome collectively, then Castel Gandolfo, Ariccia, and Nemi are simply blended – particularly in the event you comply with the attractive strolling path between the 2 lakes.

Nemi’s setting is an absolute magnificence. Perched above the volcanic-crater lake of the identical title beneath, the pedestrianised compact borgo core is a mixture of vibrant facades, restaurant terraces – strive the native porchetta (pork) sandwich – and historic buildings. It’s additionally normally a lot much less visited than neighbouring Castel Gandolfo. 

Down by the lake, two of Nemi’s most well-known points of interest could be discovered. The Temple of Diana, a traditionally vital pilgrimage and worshipping website for the reason that sixth century BC, and the Roman Ship Museum of Nemi.

The Roman ships, as soon as anchored on the lake and utilized in spiritual celebrations for Diana, had been practically misplaced endlessly after sinking till they discovered a brand new residence within the Museum through the Nineteen Thirties. Sadly, a fireplace in 1944 torched each the Museum and the wood vessels, and so they had been lastly misplaced endlessly. Nevertheless, inside you’ll discover shows, recreations, and data on their storied previous. 

Prime tip: Don’t go to on a Monday, you’ll discover all of the museums closed.

Easy methods to get there? Surprisingly, given it’s so near Rome, it’s not so direct to get right here. You’ll must take two buses and permit at the very least 90-minutes or hike the path from Castel Gandolfo. By automotive, you may arrive in lower than 40 minutes. 

The place to remain? Nemi’s compact dimension means it may be a day journey from Rome or mixed with a go to to Castel Gandolfo. Nevertheless, as with all the attractive small cities close to Rome, slowing down is the secret, and in the event you want to spend some nights right here, the rooms at il Lago di Nemi (nearer to the lake than the village) promise a tranquil retreat.

Overlooking Castel San Pietro Romano, a day trip near Rome
Overlooking Castel San Pietro Romano, a day journey close to Rome

Castel San Pietro Romano 

Why go to? Sweeping views throughout the countryside and everlasting metropolis, and a aspect journey to the superb Nationwide Archaeological Museum of Palestrina

A literal film star, Castel San Pietro Romano’s cinematic mountaintop place (752 metres) has seen it featured in varied silver-screen movies and plaques throughout the borgo spotlight scenes and the settings.

Set atop Mount Ginestro, the panoramas throughout Rome and past – an everlasting view over an everlasting metropolis, if you’ll – are equally as movement image worthy. In fact, this place was picked for a defensive purpose moderately than to be digital camera worthy, however that has certain helped make this spot a well-liked day journey close to Rome.

The ‘Akropolis’ – because the outdated central core is understood – is protected by 2500-year-old polygonal partitions, though the a number of medieval towers that after stood listed below are lengthy gone. Fortunately, the partitions of the triangular-shaped storied fortress that dominates and defines the village are nonetheless primarily intact, and you may peek contained in the open-air slice of historical past. Named Rocca dei Colonna, it protected this village close to Rome in its influential family-run heyday, avoiding any unwelcome assaults from Rome and the Vatican.

The mosaics of Palestrina, a possible day trip near Rome
The mosaics of Palestrina in Castelli Romani, a attainable day journey close to Rome

Close by, the Cannuccete Valley offers some lovely strolling trails, however probably the most spectacular close-by attraction is the Archaeological Museum of Palestrina.

Reached by following the path down the hill, this enormous palace is a multi-layered and multi-floored museum filled with Roman artefacts and treasures. The mosaics steal the present, although, with the huge and detailed Nile Mosaic of Palestrina (a Hellenistic interval ground piece since restored and displayed on a wall) certain to depart you spellbound.

Prime tip: The €5 to enter Plestrina’s museum is value it alone for the Nile River Mosaic – you’ll want to go to the highest ground (it’s a complicated constructing) so that you don’t miss it.

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, one of the best guess is to take a bus to Palestrina and one other up the hill in the event you don’t wish to do the steep climb. By practice, you may go to Zagarolo station after which swap to a bus. Driving takes an hour, with the quickest public transport journeys a little bit longer.

The place to remain? This village close to Rome is fairly small, so could make for a day journey, though you’ll seemingly wish to additionally spend just a few hours at the very least visiting the museum of Palestrina, so think about staying at the very least one night time right here, maybe at B&B I 4 Sentieri which has magnificent views over the borgo.

Roman mosaics in Priverno, a town to visit near Rome
Roman mosaics in Priverno, a city to go to close to Rome

Heading south: Province of Latina – villages close to Rome

The Province of Latina stretches south and in direction of the coast, filled with a few of the greatest locations to go to close to Rome. Whereas the provincial capital, Latina, is way more fashionable than the medieval Italian villages shut by, there’s loads of good public transport to be discovered, and it gained’t take you lengthy to flee to coastal playgrounds and hilltop cities from the capital.

Definitely, these borghi might be day journeys from Rome, however they may all invite you to decelerate and keep some time, and with loads of museums, scrumptious regional produce, and Roman artefacts to find, you would possibly simply wish to heed their invitation.

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Medieval Sermoneta and the castle, a possible day trip from Rome
Medieval Sermoneta and the fortress, a attainable day journey from Rome


Why go to? Unimaginable medieval village on a hill filled with Caetani household historical past

Of all of the medieval hilltop villages close to Rome, Sermoneta has one thing particular. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and oozing historical past from its slim cobbled streets, the short journey time and connecting bus make this among the best day journeys from Rome. Nevertheless, personally, I feel it’s a magical place to spend an evening or two.

Nicely restored (and in components, reconstructed), Sermoneta’s historical past is intricately linked with the Caetani household, who constructed the magnificent grand palace alongside the defensive partitions.

Strolling round, you’ll really feel such as you’ve stepped into the Center Ages. From the wood beamed Loggia dei Mercanti, an outdated hub of economic exercise constructed in 1446, to the frescoed-heavy interiors of the Chiesa di San Giuseppe and Oratorio dei Battenti, each nook appears to have one other treasure to find.

The Museo C’period Una Volta, housing the countless miniature works of Daniela Caruso, was an astounding discover. With totally animated tiny fashions and scenes of native actions coming to life with the flip of a swap, it’s an absolute delight, as was Daniela, who invited me to affix her household for lunch.

In fact, the fortress is the star and dominates this village close to Rome. Constructed by the Caetani (or Gaetani) household, as was a lot of the village, it tells the story of this noble Italian household. Hailing from close by Gaeta, they had been vastly profitable in politics, most recognised with the election of Pope Boniface VIII in 1294.

Prime tip: Go to on the weekends to make sure entry contained in the fortress, and ebook your go to to The Backyard of Ninfa upfront. 

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, you may take a 30-minute practice to Latina station after which a bus (there could also be a wait, so plan with the schedules) as much as the village. To drive takes a little bit over an hour.

The place to remain? Sermoneta is actually one of the crucial lovely small cities in Italy I’ve visited, so I’d recommend soaking all of it in by staying a short while, maybe on the homely and historic B&B Le Principesse.

Fossanova's abbey at sunset, a tiny village near Rome
Fossanova’s abbey at sundown, a tiny village close to Rome

Fossanova (and Priverno)

Why go to? An historic abbey escape coupled with a lived-in medieval city twin

The Abbey of Fossanova is without doubt one of the smallest villages close to Rome, because the abbey and the borgo are one and the identical. Constructed in 1135 and consecrated in 1208, for a few years, the oldest Cistercian monastery in Italy stayed closed to the world, aside from a guesthouse reserved for pilgrims and people passing by.

Later the partitions fell (figuratively and actually), and now among the best examples of early Gothic structure within the nation is open to all guests, and maybe you’ll even encounter a cheery monk as you wander round.

The limestone complicated is grand but easy in its decor, with some distinctive little particulars, akin to a crown carved above the rounded window and a powerful mosaic close by the cloisters. 

It’s a tranquil place to remain and relaxation, with a few cafes that are busy by day, as this is without doubt one of the most historic locations close to Rome to go to by practice, the station a nice 25-minute stroll away.

Contained in the outdated guesthouse, archaeological discoveries from the traditional Roman metropolis of Privernum could be witnessed, with the gathering persevering with in Priveno’s metropolis museum, the outdated medieval city close by, which gained its title from the historic settlement.

Grand statues and sculptures, masterfully designed mosaics, and ornate wood ceilings adorned with work beautify Priverno’s museum, and out of doors, on Piazza Giovanni XXIII, there’s an architectural feast. Flanked by the imposing arched portico of the City Corridor, with its arched portico and a grand staircase resulting in the Cathedral, that is the beating coronary heart of the commune, the place folks flock to take pleasure in drinks and native flavours.

Priveno’s menu of treats is scrumptious, with a heavy concentrate on buffalo produce, akin to mozzarella and meats, multi-award-winning Orsini Olive Oil, and Chiacchietegli di Priverno (violet broccoli from Priverno). By night time, this lived-in small Italian city is way extra vigorous than Fossanova, with the slim cobbled streets glowing beneath orange-lamps and the sound of laughter and delight ringing by means of the air from eating places and bars.

Prime tip: Go to each the archaeological museums to be taught as a lot about Privernum as attainable, and attempt to prepare an advance go to to the archaeological website.

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, you may take a practice to Fossanova-Priverno station after which a fast Cotral (or commune) bus to the village or city. The journey is round 80-minutes by each automotive or public transport.

The place to remain? At first look, Fossanova’s small dimension makes it look like a spot for a fleeting go to, nevertheless, that is considered one of my favorite locations I stayed precisely for that purpose – it’s the right place to decelerate and a reasonably good base even if you’re utilizing public transport, because the native bus community connecting to the practice station is first rate. I liked our cute condo in Casette Rosse, with loads of house and a shaded balcony.

Over looking Gaeta and the sea, one of the most beautiful villages near Rome
Overlooking Gaeta and the ocean, one of the crucial lovely villages close to Rome


Why go to? A magical village by the ocean with seashores, nightlife and loads of structure to take pleasure in

Gaeta was the one borgo I visited in Lazio that sits on the glowing cyan waters of the Mediterranean. Whereas the outdated half is without doubt one of the most magical villages close to Rome to whereas away some days, the bigger and newer part varieties one of the crucial charming coastal small cities close to Rome.

Separated from the attractive bay of Serapo Seaside and the bustling thoroughfare of Through della Indipendenza by Monte Orlando park, the outdated harbour-side a part of Gaeta feels very tucked away.

Excessive above within the wooded land of the mount, unimaginable viewpoints of Gaeta’s fortress and borgo could be loved. There’s additionally a powerful sanctuary right here, generally known as the break up mountain, the place a slim staircase descends to a chapel earlier than climbing as much as a novel viewpoint set within the cliff’s crack.

Constructed within the eleventh century in honour of Saint Philip Neri, who lived right here, the Sanctuary of Montagna Spaccata is simply as a lot concerning the spectacular nature as prayer.

Contained in the borgo correct, there’s a fascinating mixture of viewpoints, houses above sheer-rock faces, vigorous and stylish bars with a youthful vibe, and lots of spectacular architectural finds.

On the Santuario Della Santissima Annunziata, don’t miss the jaw-dropping Cappella dell Immacolata Concezione behind. This Renaissance Sistine gilded chapel is coated in gold, with spectacular work by masters Scipione Pulzone and Giovanni Filippo Criscuolo. The Church of Saint Francis of Assisi’s tower, with its Islamic particulars, is equally as placing, whereas the Church of Saint Francis towers above, offering maybe the village’s greatest viewpoint.

Prime tip: Some museums and church buildings are solely open throughout sure hours and on sure days, so verify and plan forward. 

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, you may take a practice to Formia-Gaeta, after which a fast Cotral bus to the outdated centre. The journey time is round two hours by automotive and public transport.

The place to remain? Do your self a favour and spend just a few nights right here. It’s an ideal place to sit back on the seashore and go to historic sights, nevertheless it additionally has night power and stylish bars, particularly on the weekend. I made the error of simply staying one night time after which ended up coming again once more on the finish of the journey. For a beach-view keep, the straightforward rooms at Resort Serapo sufficed (the upgrades to sea views had been round €15 after we arrived as we had booked a standard room), or proper within the Outdated City, we bought a tremendous discount at B&B La Gaetana, which has a terrace overlooking the tower and sea, by calling on to the proprietor.

Overlooking the Camino Valley, one of the most naturally beautiful places to see near Rome
Overlooking the Camino Valley, one of the crucial naturally lovely locations to see close to Rome

Additional south: Province of Frosinone – locations close to Rome and Naples

Round midway between Rome and Naples, the Province of Frosinone is probably the most southern a part of Lazio, with the capital metropolis being Frosinone. Maybe probably the most well-known attraction right here is the Abbey of Montecassino, an enormous complicated atop the hill in Cassino, which, following its destruction in World Warfare Two, has subsequently been rebuilt.

I spent most of my time right here across the Valle di Comino, the place some enormous battles passed off, however now it’s a serene setting of olive groves, mountains, and exquisite small villages close to Rome.

This a part of Lazio felt probably the most laid-back and rural, particularly away from the bigger cities. From sipping on scrumptious award-winning Cabernet in small Italian cities to visiting the ‘metropolis of Cicero’ and devouring pasta in countryside agriturismos (rural farm lodging), all of your away-from-Rome dream Italian experiences are awaiting right here.

Arpino's sprawling town is one of the best places to see near Rome
Arpino’s sprawling city is without doubt one of the greatest locations to see close to Rome


Why go to? Historic ruins pre-dating the Romans, loads of tradition to find, and a vigorous centre

Arpino has a peculiar kind – however in a great way. I’d go so far as saying that the X-design of the settlement, which has been formed over the centuries, makes it one of the crucial lovely small cities in Italy, particularly when you begin diving into its historical past.

Extra in depth than a lot of the different villages close to Rome, because the historic borgo half is definitely the small, high-above L’Acropoli di Civitavecchia, there’s loads of life and exercise to be discovered within the streets.

From the medieval tower that crowns the Civitavecchia, you’ll get your bearings as Arpino rises up the mountains and spills out earlier than you. You’ll even be wanting down on the fortified polygonal partitions and historic cyclopean pointed arch, free from mortar and nonetheless standing after greater than 2500-years. This space had been inhabited for the reason that Volscian days (round 1000 BC), with the native puddingstone quarries a purpose many selected to construct and assemble right here.

Following the path to the decrease a part of Arpino, you’ll cross close to the mines earlier than arriving on the well-lived-in and vibrant streets beneath. Right here, partitions are stacked excessive with stonework from totally different durations – pre-Roman, Roman and mediaeval – generally topped with extra fashionable homes above.

These houses have been occupied by a lot of Arpino’s most influential residents, from the Roman scholar, thinker and statesman Cicero, to the Pantheon’s architect Marco Agrippa and the painter Giuseppe Cesari. 

Arpino is a cultured spot with a handful of museums and historic websites. In case you search a small city in Italy to remain some time and take in the nice life, you gained’t go fallacious right here. 

Prime tip: Head to the Civitavecchia’s tower earlier than 1 pm so you may climb it for one of the best views.

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, you may take a practice to Cassino, after which a Cotral bus, the entire journey time needs to be round three and a half hours. By automotive, it’s a little bit over an hour and a half, the identical distance as from Naples.

The place to remain? Arpino is a good place to base your self within the south, as there’s a lot occurring right here. Historic Il Cavalier D’Arpino (it was a wool manufacturing unit) offers a splendidly grand stick with a pool a brief stroll from the centre. If you wish to discover the valley by public transport, although, chances are you’ll discover Sora provides you higher connections.

Atina's main church, one of the cutest villages near Rome
Atina’s predominant church, one of many cutest villages close to Rome


Why go to? Scrumptious wines, lovely winery views, and a get-away-from-it-all really feel 

In case you are contemplating locations to go to close to Rome to remain some time and loosen up, little Atina will fortunately oblige. There isn’t an excessive amount of to do right here, however the central core of the medieval borgo has a handful of high-quality eating places and even just a few fashionable bars (wonderful Negronis) to take pleasure in, and you may even sleep in a palace.

Sure, Atina is a type of villages close to Rome you come to get away from all of it, and the chic views of the cloud-hugged valley at dawn, the place mist rises above award-winning vineyards, remind you each morning you’ve made a good selection.

That’s to not say there isn’t a vigorous neighborhood right here, although, and on Monday mornings, you’ll discover the streets overflowing with the market, which expands far past the principle sq., because it has been doing for the reason that Sixteenth century.

There’s additionally an archaeological museum, although a few of the most historic and necessary treasures discovered right here now stay in Rome’s museum. Many of those artefacts got here from Santo Stefano Hill, which rises subsequent to the village, and though you may see the megalithic partitions on a hike there, probably the most spectacular website is the valley from the Cappella della Madonnella hugging its aspect.

After you’ve had your fill of palaces (there are just a few right here, together with the 14th-century mosaic-displaying city hill), settle into one of many native vineyards to sip on wealthy ruby-red Cabernets. Having achieved DOP standing (Protected Designation of Origin), you may count on high quality wines from these aged vines, and the backdrop provides to the flavour.

Prime tip: Rise up early to hike Santo Stefano Hill at dawn; the low clouds and luxurious views from the chapel are value it. 

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, you may take a practice to Cassino, after which a Cotral bus, the entire journey time needs to be simply over three hours. By automotive, it’s a 100-minute drive, across the similar as from Naples.

The place to remain? Whereas Atina might be visited in half a day, otherwise you’ll want extra hours if accomplished as a day journey from Rome, the views of the valley are a serene place to relaxation, and the transformed palace of Palazzo del Senatore has superb views from the breakfast terrace, although I discovered the attic rooms a little bit cramped with the low ceilings and lack of regal options, so for the complete palatial expertise, go for the improve.

Colourful corners and flower pots on the streets of San Donato Val di Comino
Vibrant corners and flower pots on the streets of San Donato Val di Comino

San Donato Val di Comino

Why go to? To decelerate amongst the beautiful setting towards the mountains overlooking the Comino Valley

In case you’re in search of a dreamy picture of these lovely small villages in Italy which merely cry out to be loved, then San Donato Val di Comino is looking your title.

Of all of the villages close to Rome I explored, it was right here I used to be most capable of dive into Lazio’s fashionable regional historical past, the deepest, because of the incredible, fashionable, and well-curated museum which just lately opened right here.

The Museum of the Twentieth Century and the Shoah focuses on the battles which passed off within the forested mountains backing the villages, when 1000s of English troopers hid among the many undergrowth, battling with the approaching German troopers within the valley. Most shifting and hardest to digest are the tales of the Jewish neighborhood that arrived right here, many stripped of their paperwork and hidden in native homes.

As you stroll the tranquil streets and mountain trails these days, it’s onerous to think about such terror and distress on this calm village close to Rome, though monuments and war-location reminders are nonetheless seen.

As soon as a whole fortress village surrounded by double fortified partitions, from the best level, you may take pleasure in an impressive panorama throughout the olive oil groves and valley beneath. Whereas the tower is shorter than it as soon as was, the 14th-century church alongside it (a pleasant neighbour has the important thing) has grown, and the frescoes inside are spectacular.

My favorite factor about San Donato Val di Comino although, was spending time in its ‘front room’ – the principle village sq. the place locals, cats and travellers convene to share tales over espresso, beers and home made wine. That is the magic of these slower-paced journeys to small Italian cities, and I used to be wanting to soak in each second of it.

Prime tip: Don’t miss the Museum of the Twentieth Century; it’s a superb, fashionable, and thought-provoking expertise.

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, you may take a practice to Cassino, after which a Cotral bus, the entire journey time shall be between three and 4 hours. By automotive, it takes a little bit beneath two hours to drive, or from Naples, it’s 90-minutes.

The place to remain? San Donato Val di Comino deserves at the very least an in a single day keep and would make base for exploring the valley. Whereas I didn’t keep right here myself, I did have lunch within the serene setting of Agriturismo La Fattoria, which additionally provides rooms within the transformed farmhouse. 

Exploring Rieti Underground, an ancient town near Rome
Exploring Rieti Underground, an historic city close to Rome

Heading north: Province of Rieti – locations to go to close to Rome

The capital of Rieti Province additionally goes by the identical title, and the valley here’s a verdant retreat ripe with biking, horse using, and mountaineering adventures – plus some water sport choices akin to fowl watching by the lakes and rafting down the rivers. As soon as, the entire valley was submerged till the Romans learnt how you can drain the water, and so they left loads of legacies. Maybe probably the most fascinating for a customer is Rieti Underground, which you’ll be able to go to on a night tour, one of many locations to go to close to Rome that isn’t a borgo. 

In case you don’t have a automotive and wish to discover the province and small Italian cities round, then Rieit is an effective base. Alternatively, there are many strolling trails to get round, probably the most well-known being the Saint Francis Stroll, a part of the for much longer Through Francigena.

Greccio's main square, fountain and church near Rome
Greccio’s predominant sq., fountain and church close to Rome


Why go to? For the spiritual sanctuary and nativity scene connections with Saint Francis

Unsurprisingly, most of the villages close to Rome have spiritual connections, however Greccio maybe has the rationale to be proudest. It was right here, practically 800 years in the past, that the first-ever nativity scene was created, shaping Christmas as we all know it right this moment.

The ‘Sacred Valley of Rieti’ was a favorite place of San Francesco (Saint Francis of Assisi), who got here to this tranquil setting for meditation and prayer. Following in his footsteps these days are many pilgrims finishing the Saint Francis Stroll alongside those that merely hunt down the beautiful nature with out the spiritual connotations.

You’ll discover a cluster of spacious streets contained in the village, all topped with a grand church boasting magnificent panoramas. There’s additionally a strolling path, the Path of the Artists, by means of the hamlet, linking spiritual frescoes and work which adorn folks’s houses collectively. The historic reference to the start scene of Jesus can be celebrated, with the Worldwide Nativity Museum displaying hand-crafted scenes from all the world over, which, even in the event you’re not overly into spiritual artwork, could be appreciated for his or her detailed work.

On a hill reverse, casting its eye throughout the borgo, is the Santuario Francescano del Presepe di Greccio. It’s right here that Saint Francis got here to hope, though in his time, it was sleeping beneath rocky caverns and in search of silence, and the grand complicated got here a lot later. Contained in the small chapel, you may see the place he made the unique start scene, and a a lot bigger fashionable church offers the complicated its splendour from afar.

Prime tip: When strolling the streets of Greccio, try to spot (and peek inside) the workshops of the nativity scene makers

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, you may both take the Cotral bus to Rieti after which change to the Greccio bus, or a practice to Terni after which a second practice (however be aware the practice station isn’t so shut). The quickest journey by public transport is round two and a half hours. By automotive, Greccio is round two hours from Rome.

The place to remain? Greccio is fairly small as a village itself, with most of this village close to Rome’s points of interest being within the surrounding valley walks and the sanctuary. Clear and reasonably priced rooms – primarily geared toward walkers and pilgims – could be discovered at Oasi Gesù Bambino. As a extra upmarket different, the Abbey lodging recommended for Contigliano (beneath) can be near right here.

The borgo of Contigliano clings to the hill, creating a delightful village near Rome to visit
The borgo of Contigliano clings to the hill, creating a pleasant village close to Rome to go to


Why go to? Quaint, rounded village surrounded by attractive valley and river countryside 

Contigliano is one other of the villages close to Rome overlooking the Rieti Valley and is definitely mixed along with Greccio. The truth is, most of the pure points of interest and actions, akin to horse using, and birdwatching on the lakes, fall between the 2 borghi, that means they might be mixed into a protracted day journey close to Rome, although the attractive setting would possibly lure you into staying some nights.

Capping a low hill, Contigliano’s medieval streets provide incredible views over the Rieti Plains, the place cannellini beans are grown, and mountaineering and biking trails crisscross the plush farmlands. With historical past from the Bronze Age interval, and church buildings dotting the close by panorama from the Center Ages, small Contigliano doesn’t shrink back from sharing its personal slice of historical past.

Within the outdated village core, the streets are a delight to discover – though the compact dimension means it gained’t take lengthy. Maybe probably the most spectacular constructing, the Collegiata di san Michele Arcangelo, a baroque-style church with a grand facade, is a testomony to the neighborhood’s spirit, because it was constructed utilizing villagers’ funds moderately than cash from the church.

Down within the valley beneath, the lakes of Riserva dei Laghi Lungo e Ripasottile are a serene spot for a stroll and fowl watching, whereas alongside the crystal-clear waters of the Santa Susanna spring in Rivodutri you’ll discover a picnic cease haven.

Prime tip: Guide a packrafting journey with 42 Gradi Nord to expertise the river.

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, you may both take the Cotral bus to Rieti after which change to the Labro bus, or a practice to Terni after which a second practice, the quickest journey is round two and a half hours. By automotive, Contigliano is about two hours from Rome.

The place to remain? Contigliano and Greccio might be mixed right into a day journey from Rome, nevertheless, these small villages in Italy, particularly when coupled with the valley and Rieti itself, make for a calming longer journey. Abbazia di San Pastore offers lavish and historic rooms in an enormous heritage constructing a brief drive from the village.

Labro seen from afar, one of the most beautiful villages near Rome
Labro, as seen from afar, is without doubt one of the most lovely villages close to Rome


Why go to? Beautiful setting perched excessive above a lake with lovely stone streets

The story of Labro’s return to glory is an fascinating one. After World Warfare Two, this medieval hilltop borgo was falling into disrepair. The normal stone homes had been crumbling, residents had been departing for higher futures, and it appeared that Labro’s future was to be like most of the different ghost cities now discovered throughout Italy.

Fortunately, the destiny of this village close to Rome modified because of the proprietor of the borgo’s fortress and her architect husband, who set about restoring the entire hamlet to the unique design. With the return of some 400 residents, Labro got here again to life and now, coming into the historic core, you nearly wouldn’t know what might have practically been.

Sadly, the climate wasn’t on my aspect after I visited Labro, however that didn’t cease me from being enchanted by this small city in Italy. Umbrella in hand, I wandered the online of light-stone homes, church buildings, watchtowers and chapels, seeing how restoration had introduced new leases of life, akin to church buildings transformed into theatres. Crowning the village is the family-owned Castello Nobili Vitelleschi, which you’ll be able to enter and tour accompanied by the daughter of the present noble proprietor.

From the fortress’s turret, great vistas of the verdant-enveloped Lago di Piediluco span earlier than you whereas the historic archives maintain treasures of their very own. Paperwork from way back to 1191 and even signed by the pope kind a part of the household’s assortment, with a Seventeenth-century handwritten account of the borgo’s historical past notably fascinating.

Prime tip: Guide your go to to the Castello Nobili Vitelleschi and you’ll want to eat (or go to the delicatessen) of Radici Restaurant.

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, one of the best connection is to take a Cotral bus to Rieti after which change to the Labro bus; the quickest journey is round two and a half hours. By automotive, Labro is a two-hour drive from Rome.

The place to remain? Labro is without doubt one of the most serene locations to go to close to Rome (in the event you ask me), so it might even be a stunning place to remain some time and decelerate – which is useful, as most of the small lodging suppliers right here have minimal stays and renovated Casa Luce is one such place.

The old streets of Viterbo, a town near Rome
The outdated streets of Viterbo, a city close to Rome

Additional north: Province of Viterbo – locations close to Rome and Florence

Probably the most northern province in Lazio, Viterbo, is awash with cute villages that aren’t too removed from Rome, and most of the borghi right here have Erutscean roots. The Etruria folks, who predated the Romans, reached the height of their civilisation within the sixth century BC, however their story goes again centuries additional. After the Romans got here, this area was renamed Tuscia, and the countryside and rolling hills actually give the world a Tuscany-like really feel. 

First, you must discover the medieval core of the provincial capital Viterbo, among the best locations close to Rome to go to by practice, earlier than venturing to the attractive small cities of Italy within the surrounding space. Viterbo can be base in the event you don’t have a automotive, with loads of native bus connections. Additionally, think about heading to Civita di Bagnoregio, one other breathtaking borgo that, sadly, I didn’t have time to go to on this journey.

Incredible Vitorchiano rises from the rock, a spectacular place to visit near Rome
Unimaginable Vitorchiano rises from the rock, a spectacular place to go to close to Rome


Why go to? Unimaginable volcanic rock-topped villages dotted with historical past and statues

Probably the most lovely small cities in Italy (in line with me, at the very least), Vitorchiano is a panoramic place that merges with the volcanic rock beneath. Sheer buildings climb up the aspect adorned with hanging laundry, and the entire thing seems to be like a film set.

Set behind crenellated defensive partitions is the historic borgo a part of Vitorchiano, which has expanded to incorporate a ‘newer’ city. Inside, historic homes courting again to the medieval interval (and even earlier than) sit on slim alleyways that in some way at all times lead you again to the city’s sq. and outdated clock tower.

Outdoors the partitions, there are two locations you shouldn’t miss. First, the Valle delle Sculture, which sits beneath with aged-shaped stones, and second, the Rapa Nui-carved Moai statue, crafted from the native volcanic peperino rock by a household of Easter Islanders. From right here, you’ll additionally get an impressive view of the steep sides of the village.

In case you’re feeling hungry, you’ll want to order probably the most well-known native dish, Cavatelli Vitorchianesi, a thick spaghetti-like pasta resembling an earthworm and topped with a wealthy tomato sauce. So far as villages close to Rome go, this one is an actual winner!

Prime tip: In case you want to go to the City Corridor museum, come on the weekend.

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, take a practice to Orte or Viterbo after which a Cotral bus; the journey takes round two hours. By automotive, Vitorchiano is 90-minutes from Rome or two and a half hours from Florence. 

The place to remain? Most of the locations to remain in Vitorchiano are personal residence leases, that are helpful as right here would make base for just a few nights exploring the Province of Viterbo. Whereas it is a incredible day journey close to Rome, it’s a bit additional away, so that you would possibly wish to keep for just a few nights.

One of the many statues of the Sacro Bosco, a unique place to visit near Rome
One of many many statues of the Sacro Bosco, a novel place to go to close to Rome


Why go to? The close by Etruscan Pyramid and Sacro Bosco’s fascinating statues

The historic a part of Bomarzo is likely to be one of many smallest villages close to Rome, however in its environment, there are some moderately distinctive points of interest to find.

Right here, the Etruscans had a stronghold and, earlier than the Romans, formed the lands. Maybe probably the most obvious discovery regarding this era is the Etruscan Pyramid, which was solely found in 1991. Later, in 2008, Salvatore Fosci, a neighborhood of Bomarzo, set about to clear the weeds and vegetation that had stored this historic website closed off to guests and began main excursions right here. 

One other intriguing attraction, carved from the native peperino stone however constructed a lot later, is the Park of Monsters, generally known as the Sacro Bosco.

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This backyard complicated which was formed by the statues within the Sixteenth century shows the work of sculptor Simone Moschino. Round 40 figures, from the legendary to the obscene, are dotted across the strolling path, every seemingly extra imposing than the final. 

The compact medieval core of Bomarzo sits above the park, and whereas it gained’t take lengthy to discover the streets, a visit right here mixed with the close by points of interest reveals why small-town Italy shouldn’t be underestimated.  

Prime tip: Attempt to ask the City Corridor workers if they may present you a few of the grand rooms within the constructing, which is the Palazzo Orsini.

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, take a practice to Orte or Viterbo after which a Cotral bus; the journey can take as little as one hour. By automotive, Bomarzo is 90-minutes from Rome or simply over two hours from Florence. 

The place to remain? If you wish to keep in a brilliant peaceable and small city in Italy, then Bomarzo does the trick – though maybe basing your self in Viterbo will make getting round by public transport simpler.

Inside the 'forgotten' bell tower of a village near Rome
Contained in the ‘forgotten’ bell tower of a village close to Rome

Bassano in Teverina

Why go to? Medieval village vibes coupled with an impeccable hidden tower discovery

Even earlier than an interesting discovery was made, medieval Bassano in Teverina was already considered one of Italy’s most lovely small cities. The traditional streets, Roman-built laundry fountains, and Twelfth-century church are a delight, however there’s additionally a secret right here that was practically misplaced to time.

Contained in the Sixteenth-century tower, a easy construction that rises dramatically subsequent to the hamlet’s entrance lies a real hidden gem of Italy. The Torre dell’Orologio wasn’t found till 1974, when restore works passed off, however boy, it was one massive discovery.

Contained in the tower, a wonderfully preserved bell tower was discovered, which had been hidden in plain sight for hundreds of years, unbeknown to the villagers. This unimaginable and ornate Twelfth-century discover, which might have sat alongside the church, was excavated over the approaching years, and now, you may enter inside and climb to the highest for sweeping panoramas. Nevertheless, the true magic is the unique structure.

Whereas components of this village close to Rome had been destroyed after the battle when a passing practice filled with explosives detonated within the valley, a lot has been reconstructed, with extra work deliberate to make sure the borgo’s historical past is all introduced again to life. The brand new a part of the city can be lively, so you may benefit from the neighborhood right here with out feeling such as you’re in considered one of Italy’s ghost villages.

Prime tip: Guide your go to to the Torre dell’Orologio upfront with the city’s InfoPoint, as you’ll must enter with a information.

Easy methods to get there? By public transport from Rome, take a practice to Orte or Viterbo after which a Cotral bus; the journey can take as little as one hour. By automotive, Bassano in Teverina is 90-minutes from Rome or two and a half hours from Florence. 

The place to remain? In case you have a automotive and wish to tour a few of the greatest villages in Lazio, then the agricultural retreat of L’Olivo Nation Membership, peeping up on the village above from the plush gardens and pool, is a pleasant place to unwind for some time. I solely had lunch right here, however after having a snoop across the grounds, I wanted we had booked in for just a few nights.

Seeking to discover past the area of Lazio? Take into account heading additional north to devour the foodie paradise that’s Emilia Romagna, or diving into a few of Italy’s hidden gems across the nation.

This text was written in collaboration with iambassador for the ‘Viaggio Italiano’ Venture (Italian Nationwide Vacationer Board, Ministry of Tourism & Convention of Areas and Autonomous Provinces) following my very own tour of the area in Autumn 2022.

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