ROME DAY TRIPPING

TRIPS OUT OF TOWN

If you’ve already had enough of churches and Vespas and just want to get away from it all, consider these suggestions:

POMPEII

This is a seriously long day trip, but if you aren’t planning to stay in Naples, Sorrento, or the Amalfi coast, you can do it from Rome. The ancient town of Pompeii was buried during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. The volcanic debris suffocated all life, but did very little damage to the buildings, actually preserving many of them under a layer of ash and pumice. Today you can walk around and get a real feel for daily life in Roman times, as the site is complete with baths, theatres, villas with wonderful frescoes and mosaics, temples, markets, and the ever-popular Lupanare, or brothel. Via dei Villa dei Misteri (081 5365154) Open Mon-Sun 9am-7pm in summer, until 3pm in winter. €11. Take a train from Termini station to Napoli Centrale (about 2 hours, see prices on p. 8), then catch a Sorrento-bound Circumvesuviana (local) train to Pompei Scavi-Villa dei Misteri (about 30 minutes, €2.30). (Ercolano–ancient Herculaneum–is also on this train line.) Factoring in connections and mild disorientation in the chaos of the Naples station, the trip from Rome to the site takes about 3 1⁄2 hours one way, so get an early start. Enjoy Rome also offers an occasional shuttle coach service to the site, which leaves you three hours at the site before bringing you back to Rome (more information from the Enjoy Rome office at Via Marghera 8 A).

 

TIVOLI

This hill town offers the beautiful Villa d’Este (tel. 0774 335850) open Tue-Sun 8,30am-6,15pm Euro 9 with its sloping gardens of 2,000 fountains. (In 2003 the musical fountains of the Organ and the Owl were restored, and a dramatic new cafe added.) Just down the hill from Tivoli is Hadrian’s Villa ( 0774 382733),Euro 6,50 open 8,30am-5,30pm  where the great architect-emperor recreated the sights of his travels throughout the Empire. Metro B: Ponte Mammolo, then blue COTRAL bus to Tivoli (_3.10 roundtrip). If you would like to see both villas in one day, we recommend visiting the Villa d’Este first, then catching the local orange bus from out in front of the Villa d’Este down the hill to Villa Adriana. This bus will leave you in front of a bar, then it’s a five-minute walk to the entrance of Hadrian’s Villa. At the end of the day you can either take an orange bus back to Rome (Ponte Mammolo metro station) from the bar, or walk a little bit farther to the main road (Via Tiburtina) where the blue COTRAL bus back to Ponte Mammolo runs more frequently. Hadrian’s Villa is open daily from 9am until one hour before sunset; the Villa d’Este has the same opening hours but is closed on Mondays.

 

OSTIA ANTICA

If you don’t make it to Pompeii, at least make it here, to the ruins of ancient Rome’s port city. The peace and tranquility of this tree-filled area (pictured) is interrupted only occasionally by jets on final approach to Fiumicino airport nearby. Highly recommended. (06 56352830) _6,50 Metro B: Piramide or Magliana, then take the Ostia Lido local train (same ticket as for the metro) to Ostia Antica. Open Tues-Sun 8,30am – 6pm..

 

PALESTRINA

The highlight of this little town southeast of Rome is the ancient Roman sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia, a 2nd-century BC temple complex built into the hillside. A museum has been added at the top of the sanctuary and houses a huge mosaic depicting scenes of life on the Nile. On clear and cloudy days alike the views across the hills to Rome are awe-inspiring. Museum and archaeological site _3 (06 9538100) Open 9am-7pm. Metro B: Ponte Mammolo, then blue COTRAL bus to Palestrina (about a 45-minute bus ride).

 

CERVETERI

If you have seen the Etruscan treasures at the Villa Giulia or Vatican museums in Rome, you may be interested in visiting the actual tombs where the artwork was found. The archaeological site of Cerveteri is a 7th to 5th century BC necropolis, consisting of dozens of tumulus tombs (earthen mounds with carved interior chambers). As few tourists make it out here, you’ll enjoy a lot of peace and quiet as you wander around, and exploring the dark caverns of these tombs will make you feel a little like Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies. Bring a flashlight. Via della Necropoli (06 9940001) € 6. Open daily 8,30am-6,30pm (3,30pm in winter). Train to Ladispoli ( direction Civitavecchia) from Termini , then  bus to Cerveteri .

TIP

Avoid making any of these trips on Saturdays and Sundays during the summertime. You’ll spend much more time in traffic than at the actual sites.

 

BEACHES

If you have had enough of monuments and churches and just want to go sit and get some sun, there are some beaches easily accessible from central Rome. Be aware, however, that any pictures you may have seen of the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean have not been taken anywhere near Rome! But if you are still determined to get to the Italian seacoast, the beach at Lido di Ostia is the closest and easiest to reach (Metro B: Piramide or Magliana, then local train to Lido di Ostia-use the Ostia Centro, Stella Polare, or Cristoforo Colombo stops.) When you get off the train, you will see many different beach clubs. Expect to pay an entrance fee of up to ¤10, which includes a lounge chair, showers and changing rooms. Use of an umbrella costs extra.

Between the entrances to the different beach clubs you will find free-accesss passageways to the beach. Alternatively, you can head to the protected dunes of the Spiaggia Libera di Castelporziano. From the C.Colombo train station, it’s a five-minute bus ride south to one of the numerous free-access gates. Here you will find a more traditional, mellower beach setting.

Again, it’s best to avoid these spots on Saturdays and Sundays in the summertime. Other suggestions for a day at the beach:

Fregene

This is where most Romans go to bronze themselves during the day and disco away the night. The Villaggio dei Pescatori is an oasis from the smell of coconut oil that permeates the rest of Fregene. The small houses facing the sea here will give you an idea of the Roman coast in the 1950s. To reach Fregene, take Metro A to Lepanto, then a blue COTRAL bus to Fregene.

Sabaudia

This pretty seaside town was developed in the 1930s, one kilometre from sandy beaches and clean Mediterranean water. The town also faces a lake with watersports facilities. The entire area around Sabaudia is part of the Parco Nazionale del Circeo, a wildlife preserve. To reach Sabaudia take Metro B to EUR-Fermi, then a blue COTRAL bus to Sabaudia.

 

REGIONAL BUSES

The regional COTRAL buses leave from different terminals around the city, usually outside metro stations, according to the destination. (info www.cotralspa.it). The following is a list of those most useful for tourists.

• Cornelia (Metro A): Buses for Bracciano, Cerveteri, Fregene, Santa Severa, and Tarquinia.

• Anagnina (Metro A): Buses for Castel Gandolfo, Ciampino, Frascati, Nemi, and Velletri

• EUR Fermi (Metro B): Buses for Anzio, Latina, Sabaudia, and San Felice Circeo

• Ponte Mammolo (Metro B): Buses for Subiaco, Tivoli, and Palestrina.

• Saxa Rubra: First take Metro A to Flaminio, then a Ferrovia Roma Nord train to Saxa Rubra; from there COTRAL buses depart for Bolsena, Calcata, Sacrofano, Sutri, and Viterbo.

• Tiburtina (Metro B): Buses for Castelnuovo di Farfa, Nerola, Rieti, Amatrice, and Terminillo

 

If you want to catch a bus to other destinations outside Lazio, beyond the COTRAL network, go to Stazione Tiburtina. Most of the bus lines have an office in the main square, from which all the buses depart. However, don’t expect to save money by taking the bus instead of the train. Tickets for the bus are only slightly cheaper, and the train is almost always faster.