After visiting Rome you will be eager to see more of the country and see if you can fall in love with other cities as you have done with Rome. Rome's surroundings are full of wonders that you can discover on day trips.
1. Excursions to Pompeii
Italy is the European country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites and on this tour you will visit one of them: the ruins of the city of Pompeii located near Mount Vesuvius, which you will be able to climb during this tour. The excursion to Pompeii and Vesuvius includes air-conditioned transport, lunch, guided tour and skip-the-line entrance to the ruins and Mount Vesuvius. This tour from Rome is ideal for archaeology and ancient history enthusiasts.
Interesting details of this excursion
- Pompeii is about a three hour drive from Rome.
- On the visit to the ruins of Pompeii you will learn about the history of this city and how many of its inhabitants perished in the eruption of Italy's most active volcano.
- You will walk along the ridge of the volcano and tour the ruins and fossils of the city from the excavations themselves.
- If you take this tour between 20 November and 31 March, Mount Vesuvius will be closed, so this stop will be replaced by a visit to the city of Naples.
- Departure time from Rome will be early in the morning and the tour will last a full day.
- If you decide to do this tour on your own, you can take the opportunity to see Naples, but in that case it is best to spend the night there to keep track of your time.
See my personal guide to Pompeii
If you want to know more about the excursion to Pompeii from Rome, you can check this other article about the best excursions to Pompeii from Rome, where I tell you in detail how to organise the visit and my travel recommendations.
2. Rome Catacombs Excursions
Before we start exploring the places near Rome, I will tell you that in the city itself there are different excursions available, far from the usual tourist circuit. This is the case of the excursion to the Catacombs; an excursion that goes through the underground Rome connecting different points of interest.
Interesting details of this excursion
The best way to visit the Catacombs of Rome is with an organised tour. Here's what you should know if you are interested in booking one:
- The duration of the tour is approximately three and a half hours.
- These are small group tours (approximately 20 people).
- The visit includes the entrance fees to: Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, Basilica of San Clemente, catacomb of Santa Domitilla and museum and crypt of Capuchins.
- Excursions usually depart from a central point in Rome.
- All excursions include a specialised guide.
3. Excursions to Florence
I cannot be very objective about this tour because Florence is, after Rome, my favourite city in Italy. In contrast to the chaos (in a good way) that reigns in the Eternal City, Florence is all about beauty and perfection. The capital of Tuscany is a must-see and this tour is the perfect way to get a first taste of the city that (be prepared for it) will make you want to come back again and again.
This is in my opinion not only one of the best excursions you can do from Rome, but also one of the most complete and comfortable. On this tour to Florence you are picked up from your hotel in Rome and taken to Termini Station, from where the high-speed train to Florence leaves for the hour and a half journey.
Once there, a specialised guide will show you the main sights of the city including a guided tour of the Uffizi Gallery and free time at the end of the day to enjoy the city at your leisure. The price of this day trip includes lunch, transfers, entrance to the gallery and train tickets. A real luxury so that all you have to worry about is visiting such emblematic places as:
What you will visit on this tour
- The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza del Duomo
- The Ponte Vecchio
- The Accademia Gallery and Michelangelo's David
- The Uffizi Gallery
- The Boboli Gardens
- Brunelleschi's dome
4. Excursions to Pisa
If you are planning to visit Florence, there is an option of a trip to Florence including a visit to Pisa to see its famous leaning tower. If you are interested in seeing this area, I recommend that you do so as part of your visit to Florence, as the city of Pisa itself is small and does not require a separate trip.
If you choose this option, you should know that you will arrive in Florence at lunchtime and that one of its main advantages is that the groups are small (maximum 12 people), so the whole guided tour of these two Renaissance cities is even more enjoyable and profitable.
5. Visit the ruins of Ostia
Ostia is an area of well-preserved ancient ruins located near the sea at a distance of about 40 minutes from the centre of Rome. If you enjoyed the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, this excursion to Ostia is definitely your best choice.
In these ruins you will find the Baths of Neptune, the Amphitheatre, the Piazzale delle Corporazioni, the Thermopilium, temples dedicated to the Persian god Mithras, a Jewish synagogue and a Christian basilica as main points of interest.
Although you can visit the ruins on your own, if you want to save time, excursions from Rome are the best option: they include entrance fees, transport to Ostia from Rome, hotel pick-up and a local guide who accompanies you during the visit.
Interesting details of this visit to Ostia
- The tour will be a half-day excursion and the visit to the ruins will take about four hours.
- Most tours do not include lunch, so you will need to bring your own.
- There is shade at the ruins and there are usually no crowds of tourists, so it will be a very comfortable visit, away from the chaos of the capital.
- The main thing you will learn on this tour is what daily life was like for those who lived in ancient Rome.
- The ruins open at 8:30 in the morning and visiting hours end at 16:00 in winter and at approximately 18:00 in summer.
6. Excursions to Assisi and Orvieto
As much as the city of Rome fascinates you, sometimes you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle and breathe some fresh air in the countryside. To do so is to experience another part of Italy's richness, and the capital's location allows it. On this tour to Assisi and Orvieto you will visit the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi (a two and a half hour drive from Rome) and the impressive cathedral of Orvieto (an hour and a half from Rome).
What this tour includes
In addition to the transfer and a lunch you will enjoy on the shores of Lake Trasimeno, the tour also includes pick-up from hotels in the centre of Rome. You will first stop in Orvieto to visit its gothic cathedral, famous for its stained glass windows and mosaics.
Then you will spend the afternoon in Assisi, a quiet town of cobbled streets presided over by its 9th century basilica that tells the story of Italy's patron saint and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An ideal option for those who want to spend a quiet and relaxing day without giving up visiting historical monuments and learning a little more about the history of Italy.
7. Excursions to Capri
Seeing the island of Capri during your visit to Rome was something that, until a few years ago, was an odyssey. In addition to the logistics of getting to Naples, there were the logistics of getting to the island by boat and the logistics of transport within the island. Doing all that in one day was expensive and unmanageable, which is why I was so surprised to come across an organised excursion to Capri a couple of years ago.
What will you see in Capri?
A small sample of the extraordinary beauty of the Italian islands. The landscapes of Capri are unique and the climate of the city allows you to enjoy a wonderful day at the beach. With this tour you will have the opportunity to visit the Blue Grotto (the entrance fee is the only thing not included in the price of the tour), to have a guide show you the best places of the island and to explore the city at your own pace.
8. Multi-day tours in Italy
Once you've done one or more of these excursions, you'll no doubt come back from your trip eager to get to know Italy in more depth.
You will probably come back more than once, but you will certainly want to extend your trip. Before that happens, if you have the chance to do so, I recommend that you complement your visit to Rome with a five-day tour of Italy. You won't want to come back, but in one trip you will have discovered a good part of this wonderful country and you will have made the most of your experience.
The birthplace of St Francis of Assisi is one of the main pilgrimage sites in Europe, but if the city receives hundreds of visitors every day it is also for the beauty of its basilica and the authenticity and life that its cobbled streets exude.
The historic centre of Siena is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an aerial view of this small town is enough to see why. All the charm of Tuscany in one of the most magical cities in the area.
The capital of Tuscany exudes beauty in every corner. Spending two nights there you can visit its famous Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo cathedral, enter the Uffizi Gallery, see Michelangelo's David and enjoy its charm and gastronomy.
This small university town is full of passages that make it an accessible labyrinth for visitors.
Located in the Veneto region, this city is one of the great surprises of the visit because of how much its streets and palaces have to offer travellers. You and your camera will be surprised that there is no more talk about this exciting corner of the city.
The last stop of the tour includes two nights in one of Italy's most iconic cities. St. Mark's Square, the Rialto Bridge and the canals are what this city is best known for, but Venice has a charm that cannot be discovered without walking and getting lost in its streets. The perfect end to this tour of southern Italy.
Highlights of this tour
This is probably the best way to visit Italy without having to worry about timetables, transport, finding hotels, etc. Here are the highlights of this package:
- This is an all-inclusive tour: transport between the cities, four nights' hotel accommodation, professional guide in all cities, lunches, dinners and breakfasts.
- The tour lasts five days and the departure and return point is Rome.
- The tour includes a professional guide who will help you discover the cities you visit avoiding queues and crowds.
- Despite being an organised tour, you will have time to explore the cities at your own pace without having to miss the guided tours.
9. Excursions to Tivoli to see its villas
Tivoli is a town located about an hour's train ride from Rome and, due to its cooler climate, served as a "summer residence" for the Romans. Today, important ruins have been left there and are open to the public such as: Villa Adriana, Villa d'Este, Villa Gregoriana, the Castle of Rocca Pia or the amphitheatre of Bleso.
The best thing about this excursion to Tivoli is how easy it is to get there, as you can take a direct train from Termini station, and the location of the ruins: in large gardens full of nature giving rise to splendid landscapes.
10. Other interesting activities in Rome
If you have not yet decided on a destination or you are more of a person who prefers to walk around every corner of the city before venturing out on an excursion, I recommend that you consult my other guides to Rome that you can use to help you organise your trip.
These two articles on Best Rome Tours, Rome Colosseum Tickets: how to buy, prices and schedules and Vatican Museum Tickets: how to buy, prices and discounts are a good place to start so you don't miss the essentials - I hope you find them useful!
Ana's Traveller Tip
If you're planning to do any excursions on your own, check the official train and bus websites, but be aware that public transport in Italy is often delayed.