Best 2 night side trips from Rome?
December 14, 2018 9:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm taking my mom, who is Italian-Canadian and in her sixties, to Italy for 9 days as a birthday present. She has never been to Italy (or Europe for that matter). I've travelled around Europe a fair bit, but have somehow missed Italy, despite the heritage connection. We're flying in and out of Rome and, while we know we could spend 9 days there and never run out of things to see, we would still like to take a side trip and see a bit more of the country. But where to?

My mom's grandfather was from Napoli, and we are definitely planning to go spend a day and maybe a night there, as it is seems super accessible by train from Rome. If we were going to venture out of Rome only one more time for one or two overnights, where is the best destination?

My mom's self-professed favourite things to see when travelling are oceans, architecture, and mountains/cliffs, in roughly that order. She's not all that much into history on its own, but she is really into historical architecture.


I've been thinking Venice, Amalfi Coast, or San Marino. For various reasons, we would much prefer to take a train rather than a domestic flight.
posted by 256 to Travel & Transportation around Rome, Italy (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry, correction, my mom's grandfather was born in Sicily, but the family was originally from Napoli. I don't think visiting Sicily in this timeframe is viable though, right?
posted by 256 at 9:35 PM on December 14, 2018

I don't think visiting Sicily in this timeframe is viable though, right?

I asked this question a while ago. I imagine the answer is still no.
posted by purpleclover at 9:57 PM on December 14, 2018

If you're going to Naples, it makes sense to maximise your time in and around Campania, so you should probably go with Amalfi-Sorrento-Salerno. You won't get the high-falutin' neoclassicism of the Veneto, but you'll be able to immerse yourself in the messy melting pot of the south and you'll probably take more away from it.
posted by holgate at 10:05 PM on December 14, 2018

(Though Ostia Antica is a very easy coastal day trip from Rome if you're inclined.)
posted by holgate at 10:11 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Train to Orvieto? A day tripper.
posted by artdrectr at 11:35 PM on December 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Took a day trip from Rome to Naples on the train and it was super cool and very easy. Definitely recommend.
posted by forkisbetter at 12:01 AM on December 15, 2018

You can do a day trip by train to Pompeii and/or Herculaneum pretty easily from Naples, though the train itself is a bit shitty.
posted by Segundus at 3:19 AM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

Oceans and mountains/cliffs? Take this woman to Capri! It's especially lovely if you can stay overnight on the island after the day trippers leave.

Also, if you are going in the warm months, be aware that Pompeii and Herculaneum are searingly hot and bright during the day. Even as a young fit person I found them grueling at noon. If you choose to visit, prep with water, hats or parasols, and dark sunglasses.
posted by apparently at 5:37 AM on December 15, 2018

Did a 12 hour trip to Naples a year ago from Rome. Train was 50 euro round trip~2 hours each way. Took the commuter train out to Pompeii after spending 2 hours walking around the alleys of Naples and eating pizza. Great trip.
posted by sandmanwv at 8:37 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

great day trips from Rome include Hadrian's Villa (combines nicely with Villa d'Este) and Orvieto.

For an overnight with historical architecture highlights, you can't top Florence.

If you're going to Naples anyway then it's a no-brainer to include a trip to one of the Amalfi towns on the circumvesuviana train for her ocean fix; and you could climb Vesuvius itself. Then you're on the very famous mountain enjoying one of the world's great ocean views.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:47 PM on December 15, 2018

Assisi is not too far and is mountainous. It’s very pretty but you could see it in a day. You could couple it with Perugia and make it a two day trip. This would be a couple hours train ride from Rome.

Siena and Firenze could also be an interesting architecture focused two day trip. Firenze is an hour and a half from Rome by train.

But if you really want neat architecture, ocean views and mountain views, I recommend Genova. The city is like a really cool mish mash of architectural styles from varying centuries, it’s right by the water, and it’s fairly hilly. It’s also a really interesting city with plenty to do. The train between Rome and Genova is a little over 4 hours.
posted by donut_princess at 7:55 PM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you stay 4 nights somewhere on the Amalfi coast, you can spend one day in Naples, one out on Capri and one in another city like Sorrento or Positano.
posted by soelo at 8:17 PM on December 15, 2018

All good suggestions--since you are going to Napoli, be sure to have a pizza while there (it is supposed to be the birthplace of pizza), be very careful crossing the street (regardless of whether you have right of way--you'll see what I mean when you get there, the drivers are truly insane), see if you can catch a show at the Teatro San Carlo (amazing). I would definitely go to Pompeii. It is incredible. Another nearby trip is Caserta--the royal palace there is the definition of awesome. And,of course, as others have mentioned, Amalfi and Salerno are also nearby options.

For the separate overnight options--Florence is near (take a high speed train) and is supposed to be beautiful. I am actually going for the first time this winter and am very excited.

But Genova is also a solid choice with all the features your mom likes. It is my home city, and so I think it is the most beautiful place in Italy, with verdant hills rolling into the sea. If you do go to Genova, which is an ancient seaport, do spend some time by the water and take a nearby daytrip to the Cinque Terre. My understanding is that there are many tourists now, which is really too bad, but it is beautiful. You can see the characteristic colorful homes on cliffs overlooking the sea. Portofino is also located in Ligury. Although many of us are not proud of him, Genova is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. You can see the ancient city walls (dating back to the Crusades--Genova was one of the four superpowers/leading cities--again, not proud, but definitely historic) in the downtown area as well as Columbus's childhood home. Not sure if you can tour the latter. By the port, you can take a ferry out to the historic Lanterna--the oldest still-functioning lighthouse in the world (built in 12th century as well).

Finally, do not pay more than a euro for an espresso or 2.50 euro for gelato, have some fresh mozzarella, and have lots of fun!
posted by dubhemerak3000 at 12:20 PM on December 19, 2018

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