Good day trips outside of Rome?
May 18, 2017 8:38 AM   Subscribe

I have 4-5 days to explore outside Rome (Naples? Pompeii?) before a conference, where should I go?

I will be in Rome 4-5 days before a conference and I want to take side trips, then the conference, then I will explore Rome with a friend for a week.

In the meantime, where should I go? I've already been to Florence and am curious to travel south. I've been advised away from Naples honestly, but told I could take a ferry from there and explore the islands. I'd also like to see Pompeii. Anything especially quaint / weird / rural / off the beaten path that might be fun to see on a train trip? I like meeting people and prefer old & weird, to new and trendy. I'm American and will try to learn a little Italian to get by. Thanks for any tips!
posted by critzer to Travel & Transportation around Italy (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Rather than Pompeii, I'd suggest Ostia Antica - it has shade (sorely lacking at Pompeii, and is far less crowded. The museum there is fantastic as well. It's a cheap and fast Metro (line B) trip out there - do give yourself the day.
Also consider Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este - both are an excellent day trip, with many transit and tour options.
Lastly, the Appian Way is lovely, and one can rent bicycles there and cycle much of it. On Sundays it is closed to traffic.
posted by dbmcd at 8:58 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


I would try to see Venice before it sinks, even if it's out of the way...it is like walking around inside a Terry Gilliam film.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:30 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I adore Naples. If you are a young woman on your own you'll get a lot of catcalls/attention but I've never felt unsafe there.

Pompeii is very hot and unshaded, that's true, but worth seeing. It is easy to get an organized day trip from Rome (someone with a van picks you up at your hotel, takes you there for a reasonable amount of time, and back.) But if you do go to Naples you can just take the circumvesuviana. Vesuvius itself is easily hikable and worth seeing up close.

Agree Villa d'Este and Hadrian's villa both great day trips from Rome. Orvieto is cute (my girls called it Hogsmeade) and has interesting old/weird stuff to see if you take the underground tour.

By the way if you do go to Capri and you were planning on seeing Tiberius' villa be advised it is a long uphill hike from the ferry stop and they are pretty slapdash about closing up when they damn well feel like it at the end of the day. And don't bother going out on the bay on an overcast day. Everything is closed and the sea gets rough.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:32 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Assisi is good for a day trip.
posted by beisny at 10:06 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Orvieto! It's about an hour by train from Rome. Lovely place. A bit touristy but really beautiful and the duomo is magnificent. Quite charming and there is a wonderful gelateria near the duomo - to the far left as you are facing the church. Official tourism website
posted by pjsky at 10:13 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Siena! I forget how complex the train was (this was c. 20 years ago - Google tells me about 4 hours each way to Rome) but I spent a summer there working on an archaeological dig in the late 90s. It's still a very medieval city, in contrast to Florence, and the comparison is interesting. It's also very walkable (a lot of the city center is traffic free).

It's maybe most famous for the Palio, a twice yearly horse race. I was there for one of them (and it's a huge crowd, and complex navigationally, and there's sometimes street brawling and other things that you might want to avoid) but the horses are run by neighborhoods , called contradas. Over the summer, there's often mini parades, contrada festivities, etc. outside of the big races themselves, and there are tons of architectural details in each contrada that are fascinating to look at (each one has its own heraldic animal, which shows up everywhere.) Also some great architecture, art, and so on.
posted by modernhypatia at 10:21 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


The Tivoli Gardens - they have all these beautiful fountains and water displays, and you really get a sense of the surrounding Italian landscape as is often depicted in famous paintings.
posted by Crystal Fox at 12:11 PM on May 18 [1 favorite]


It's been a few decades since I was there but it is one of my favorite places in Italy.
Sorrento
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:29 PM on May 18


Four-five days is long enough to choose one major destination in another region of Italy (say Venice, or Siena and Pienza, or Naples, or even Palermo), but those are not day-trips.

There are numerous wondrous side-trips to be made from Rome without needing to leave Lazio: Orvieto, Ostia Antica, Tivoli, Nemi or Nepi or Vico + lake, Bracciano or Bolsena and their respective lakes, Viterbo, Bomarzo, a tour of the little towns of the Sabina, Spoleto, Caprarola, Civita di Bagnoreggio, Tolfa, Castelgandolfo and its lake, Manziana and its waterfalls, Sperlonga, Ponza (include a night) - there are just so many lovely places to explore from a Roman homebase...
posted by progosk at 6:16 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]


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