15 Quirky and Unusual Day Trips from Rome

Looking for unusual day trips from Rome? Here’s a list of wonderful places to visit that few know of near the Eternal City!

All roads lead to Rome, but did you know some of them also lead to some super cool places few people know of?

unusual day trips from rome
The Gardens of Ninfa are one of the coolest and most unusual day trips from Rome!

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler looking to add an unconventional twist to your Italian escapade or a curious wanderer with a thirst for the extraordinary, this guide to the most unusual day trips from Rome is a must on your travel plans.

From fairytale gardens to parks that are home to gigantic monsters and some of the prettiest castles in Italy, here are the most unusual day trips from Rome you need to consider on your itinerary.

Our Top 3 Picks: Unusual Day Trips from Rome (Tours)


Rome to Frascati Gourmet Trip
✔️ Feast on traditional specialties with tastings
✔️ Sip Frascati wines directly at the source


Surroundings of Rome on Vespa
✔️ Zip around the city and surrounds with lots of photo ops
✔️ Enjoy a delicious Italian lunch


Rome tour to Bomarzo Caprarola & Calcata
✔️ Visit Calcata and one of the coolest parks filled with monsters!

What are the most unusual day trips from Rome?

Some of the most unusual day trips from Rome range from fairytale-like castles such as Odelscalchi Castle, dreamy gardens like the Gardens of Ninfa that will make you feel like you were transported into a fairytale, and more!

Read one to find out what some of the most unusual day trips from Rome are!

Unusual Day Trips from Rome

1. Bracciano and Odescalchi Castle

Bracciano is a charming, small medieval town just a short distance from the center, making it one of the most perfect unusual day trips from Rome for those looking for a picturesque escape.

unusual day trips from rome

The star attraction of this town is the Odescalchi Castle, a stunning 15th-century fortress boasting an impressive history and Instagram-worthy views.

The castle has been a backdrop to countless film sets and even hosts celebrity weddings.

After visiting the castle, enjoy a stroll around Bracciano’s cobblestone streets, and don’t forget to savor some delicious Italian cuisine at one of the town’s many quaint restaurants.

How to get there from Rome

Getting to Bracciano from Rome is quite straightforward. You have a couple of options:

  1. By train: Catch a regional train from Roma Ostiense or Roma Trastevere stations. The journey takes approximately one hour, and tickets cost around €8 for a round-trip. Trains run roughly every hour.
  2. By car: Driving to Bracciano is a scenic experience, taking you through the beautiful Italian countryside. The trip is approximately 40 km and speeds past in just under an hour. Here’s a brief outline of the route:
    • Head north on the A91 highway toward Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
    • Take exit 6 toward SS2bis/Aurelia/Bracciano/Cerveteri and merge onto Via Aurelia Nord
    • Turn right after about 600 meters onto SS2bis, then take exit toward Bracciano
    • Navigate a series of roundabouts, and you’ll find yourself in Bracciano

Odescalchi Castle is hard to miss once you’re in the town – just follow the signs.

2. Sperlonga

Sperlonga is a hidden gem along the coast of Italy.

unusual day trips from rome

This picturesque seaside town is perfect for if you’re looking for peaceful and unusual day trips from Rome.

Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by white sandy beaches, crystal-clear water, and captivating cliffside views.

The village itself is a maze of charming narrow streets and whitewashed buildings worth exploring.

During your visit, take your time strolling around Sperlonga’s misty alleys, bask in the sun along its pristine shoreline, or visit the fascinating Villa of Tiberius and its museum.

How to get there from Rome

There are a few ways to reach Sperlonga from Rome, making it a convenient day trip destination.

  • By Train and Bus: Board a train at Rome Termini towards Fondi-Sperlonga Station. The trip lasts roughly an hour and a half. Upon arrival, take the Piazzoli bus which will bring you to the village of Sperlonga in around 15 minutes. Make sure to check the schedules beforehand!
  • By car: Renting a car is a flexible option to explore the area at your own pace. The drive is about 130 kilometers and may take around 2 hours, depending on traffic. To reach Sperlonga, take the A1 autostrada and then exit at Frosinone. Follow the signs to Terracina, then continue along the coast to Sperlonga.

3. Ponza

A gem in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Ponza is the perfect island getaway to consider for an unusual day trip from Rome.

unusual day trips from rome

With its crystalline waters, stunning cliffs, and colorful houses, it offers a quaint charm that’s hard to forget.

Upon arriving in Ponza, you’ll have the day to explore the island’s picturesque landscapes, historic sites, and indulge in some authentic Italian cuisine.

Wander through the narrow streets of the main harbor, visit the Grotte di Pilato caves, or indulge in a refreshing swim in the turquoise waters of Chiaia di Luna.

How to get there from Rome

To reach Ponza, you will need to take a combination of public transportation, but don’t worry, it’s worth it.

Here’s the simple itinerary to follow:

  1. Train: Depart from Roma Termini train station and head to Anzio or Formia-Gaeta. Travel time varies between 1 to 1.5 hours depending on the type of train you take. Choose from either Trenitalia or Italo services.
  1. Ferry/Speedboat: Once you arrive at either Anzio or Formia-Gaeta, you will board a ferry or speedboat to reach Ponza. It takes around 1.5 hours by ferry and 1 hour by speedboat. Prices range between €15 to €25 for a one-way ticket.

4. Santa Marinella

Escape the bustling city of Rome and take a day trip to Santa Marinella, a charming seaside town that feels like a well-kept secret, just waiting to be discovered.

unusual day trips from rome

Santa Marinella’s picturesque beach, clear waters, and quaint old town make it the perfect destination for a break from the city life.

While lounging on the sandy beach, you’ll notice that Santa Marinella offers a more laid-back and local vibe compared to the often-crowded beaches closer to Rome.

When you need a break from the beach, take a stroll through Santa Marinella’s old town. It’s a perfect opportunity to explore the narrow streets, admire the historic architecture, and indulge in some delicious Italian gelato.

How to get there from Rome

Getting to Santa Marinella from Rome couldn’t be easier. Hop on a regional train from Roma Termini or Roma San Pietro stations, and in just under an hour, you’ll find yourself basking in the sun on Santa Marinella’s beautiful shores.

As evening approaches, treat yourself to a dinner at one of the family-run osterias or pizzerias in the old town.

Here’s a quick summary of your travel options:

  • Train: Head to Roma Termini and take the train to Santa Marinella. From there, it’s a short walk to the beach.

5. Calcata

Calcata is a fascinating destination for those looking for unusual day trips from Rome.

unusual day trips from rome

This medieval village perches on a cliff and is known for its unique artistic community and its well-preserved beauty. Let’s explore what makes Calcata worth visiting.

Calcata is teeming with art galleries, workshops, and studios. As you stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll notice the works of resident artists intricately crafted and displayed.

The village boasts a bohemian vibe, which is evident in everything from the funky cafes to the quirky shops selling handmade trinkets.

Another fascinating aspect of Calcata is its rich history. The village dates back to the 9th century and was once a powerful fortress.

Today, it retains much of its medieval charm, with many of its original stone buildings still standing.

How to get there from Rome

Getting to Calcata from Rome is quite simple. Here’s a brief overview of your options:

  • By car: The most straightforward way to reach Calcata is by car. It’s about a 50 km (31 miles) drive that will take you around 1 hour. Just follow the Via Flaminia northbound and then take the exit to Calcata. Note: There’s a car park at the base of the village; from there, you’ll have to walk uphill for about 10 minutes to reach the village center.
  • By public transportation: Alternatively, you could opt for public transportation, combining train and bus.
    1. Train to Campagnano di Roma: Take the Roma-Viterbo train from Rome’s Flaminio station to Campagnano di Roma, which takes about 1 hour. Trains run roughly every hour. Tickets cost around €3.
    2. Bus to Calcata: From the Campagnano di Roma train station, take the local COTRAL bus towards Calcata. It’s around a 30-minute ride. Buses run less frequently, so make sure to check the timetable in advance.

Tip: Take this day trip tour to Calcata for a hassle-free experience! As a bonus, it also includes a stop at a super quirky and weird park that you’ll love! BOOK HERE.

6. Castel Gandolfo

Castel Gandolfo is a charming town perfect for unusual day trips from Rome for those looking to get away from the bustle of the city.

unusual day trips from rome

situated on the stunning Albano Lake, this place is best known for being the Pope’s summer residence.

But there’s a lot more to explore in Castel Gandolfo, including its gorgeous historical center, scenic views, and local cuisine.

As you stroll along the narrow streets, you’ll come across beautiful buildings with impressive architecture, such as the Church of San Tommaso da Villanova, which was designed by the famous architect, Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Moreover, don’t forget to indulge in some vino and delicious Italian food in one of the local restaurants.

How to get there from Rome

Getting to Castel Gandolfo from Rome is quite simple. You have the following options:

  • By Train: Trains depart from Roma Termini Station and the journey takes approximately 40-50 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the station or online through the Trenitalia website.
  • By Car: If you prefer to drive, the journey is about 24 km and takes roughly 40 minutes. Simply follow the Via Appia Nuova (SS7) from Rome and exit at Castel Gandolfo. Keep in mind that parking spaces in the town can fill up quickly, especially during peak season.

7. The Gardens of Ninfa

The Gardens of Ninfa are one of the dreamiest and most unusual day trips from Rome you can take.

These stunning gardens, nestled among the ruins of the medieval town of Ninfa, will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale.

Exquisite flowers, lush greenery, and the sound of babbling streams await as you wander the meandering paths.

Dotted throughout the gardens, you’ll find various charming structures such as the medieval tower, the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Caetani castle.

As you explore, be sure to keep an eye out for the local wildlife, including the many birds that call Ninfa home.

How to get there from Rome

Getting to The Gardens of Ninfa from Rome is a breeze. You have a few options to choose from:

  1. By car: Rent a car and enjoy a scenic drive of about 1 hour and 15 minutes, taking the A1 and Strada Ordinaria dei Monti Lepini.
  2. By train and taxi: Take a regional train from Roma Termini station to Latina Scalo, which takes around an hour. From the station, book a taxi for the remaining 20-minute drive to the gardens.
  3. Organized tour: If you prefer a hassle-free experience, choose an organized tour that includes transportation, entrance fees, and a guided visit to the gardens.

Note: The Gardens of Ninfa are open to the public on specific dates and times. It’s essential to plan your visit accordingly and book your entrance tickets in advance on the official website.

8. Ariccia

Ariccia is a charming town located in the Castelli Romani area, south of Rome.

unusual day trips from rome

This picturesque destination offers delicious local cuisine, impressive Baroque architecture, and stunning natural surroundings.

It’s definitely one of the coolest and most unusual day trips from Rome both history buffs and nature lovers!

Once you arrive, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your visit:

  1. Palazzo Chigi: Marvel at this 17th-century Baroque palace, which now houses a museum and art gallery, showcasing works from the Chigi family’s private collection.
  2. Ponte di Ariccia: Stroll across this eye-catching bridge, offering panoramic views of the lush valley below.
  3. Parco Regionale dei Castelli Romani: Take advantage of the surrounding regional park by enjoying a scenic walk or rent a bike to explore the area.
  4. Sample local cuisine: Don’t miss the chance to feast on traditional porchetta or fraschette, homemade-style trattorias, offering local food and wine.

How to get there from Rome

Getting to Ariccia from Rome is a breeze. Choose your preferred mode of transportation from the options below:

  • By train: Catch a regional train from Roma Termini to Albano Laziale (approximately 45 minutes). From Albano Laziale, it’s a short bus ride (10-15 minutes) into Ariccia town center. Trains run frequently, making it an easy and affordable option.
  • By car: Ariccia is about 20 miles (32 km) from Rome, a 50-minute drive. Take the Via Appia Nuova (SS7) towards Castelli Romani, then follow signs for Ariccia.

9. Lake Martignano

Lake Martignano is hidden away from the tourist hustle, making it one of the most enchanting and unusual day trips from Rome.

unusual day trips from rome

It provides a serene oasis offers an enchanting day trip that’ll leave you refreshed and reinvigorated!

How to get there from Rome

To start your journey, you’ll need to travel by train and bus. Here’s a brief overview of the route:

  1. Train: Catch the train from Roma Ostiense station to Bracciano.
  2. Bus: From Bracciano, hop on the local COTRAL bus that takes you to Anguillara Sabazia.
  3. Walk: Once at Anguillara Sabazia, take a scenic 3-kilometer walk to the shores of Lake Martignano.

As an alternative, you can also rent a car or take a taxi from Bracciano.

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10. Tivoli’s Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa

Tivoli, a small town located about 30 kilometers east of Rome, is home to two astonishing UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa.

unusual day trips from rome

These two historic sites offer a great escape from the bustling city of Rome for a day filled with serenity, history, and beautiful landscapes.

Villa d’Este is a perfect example of Renaissance architecture and landscape design.

Built in the 16th century, it’s famous for its incredible fountains, frescoes, and lush gardens.

Strolling through the villa and its grounds, you’ll be amazed by the grandeur of it all, as the water features and designs create an enchanting experience.

Hadrian’s Villa, on the other hand, is an ancient Roman site that once served as a retreat for the emperor Hadrian.

Spanning over 120 hectares, it comprises a fascinating mix of palaces, temples, bathhouses, and gardens.

You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time as you explore these magnificent ruins.

How to get there from Rome

The easiest way to reach Tivoli and these mesmerizing sites is by train, car, or guided tour. Here’s a quick comparison of these options:

  • Train: If you choose to travel by train, you can catch it from Rome Tiburtina station, with trains running frequently throughout the day. Once you reach Tivoli, Villa d’Este is about a 15-minute walk from the station. To reach Hadrian’s Villa, you’ll need to take a local bus (CAT line n. 4) from the Tivoli station.
  • Car: Driving gives you the freedom to explore the sites at your own pace. If you’re comfortable with driving, opt for this option to make the most of your day trip. Note that you’ll need to pay for parking at both locations.
  • Lastly, if you prefer a hassle-free experience, you can book a guided tour that includes both Villas, transportation, and often even lunch. This option allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the day without worrying about transportation, navigation, or learning about the history by yourself.

11. Frascati

Located just 20 kilometers southeast of Rome, Frascati is a delightful destination for food enthusiasts looking for a unique gastronomic experience without venturing too far from the Eternal City.

This historic town, nestled in the heart of the Castelli Romani region, offers a decadent mix of traditional Italian cuisine, stunning panoramic views, and beautiful Renaissance architecture. It’s also one of the best destinations in Italy for foodies.

Local delicacies to try in Frascati include:

  • Porchetta (roasted pork)
  • Frascati wine (famous white wine)
  • Pupazze frascatane (sugar-coated almond cookies)
  • Stracciatella (a mix of gelato and chocolate shavings)

Don’t forget to visit the local wine cellars where you can have wine tasting sessions and purchase some of their finest bottles.

How to get there from Rome

Reaching Frascati from Rome is easy, with several options to suit your preferences.

  1. By train: The most convenient option is taking the train from Roma Termini, which departs every hour. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes, and prices range from €2 to €4.
  2. By bus: Cotral buses provide a cost-effective alternative, though it takes longer (approximately 50 minutes). You can catch the Cotral buses at Anagnina metro station.
  3. By car: If you prefer driving, car rentals are available throughout Rome. The journey to Frascati takes about 40 minutes via the A90/E80 highway.

Tip: This wine-tasting tour takes care of all the logistics and includes a visit to a vineyard to taste wines, olive oil and delicious food. BOOK HERE.

12. Sabina

Nestled in the picturesque hills of Lazio, just north of Rome, lies the beautiful region of Sabina.

Famed for its ancient olive groves and high-quality olive oil production, Sabina is one of the most unusual day trips from Rome for food enthusiasts searching for an authentic Italian culinary experience away from the bustling city streets.

Once you’ve arrived in Sabina, make your way to one of the region’s many olive mills for a behind-the-scenes tour of the traditional oil-making process.

Local experts will guide you through the intricacies of olive cultivation, harvesting, and pressing, all while sharing their passion for high-quality Sabina extra virgin olive oil.

During your tour, you’ll learn about the various types of olives grown in the region, each boasting its distinct flavor profile. You’ll also have the opportunity to taste these unique oils, expertly paired with freshly baked bread or delectable local cheeses.

How to get there from Rome

Getting to Sabina from Rome is a breeze!

  • Train: Take a reguional train at Rome Tiburtina train station towards Rieti. Disembark at the quaint town of Poggio Mirteto, just an hour away. From there, you can either rent a car or catch a bus to explore the surrounding olive groves at your leisure.

13. Bomarzo’s Monster Park

If you’re looking for really unusual day trips from Rome, Bomarzo’s Monster Park (Parco dei Mostri) is a must!

This 16th-century garden is filled with bizarre and fascinating sculptures. You’ll be walking among giant faces, monstrous creatures, and peculiar fountains.

It’s a perfect break from the classical architecture of Rome!

Tip: This tour is a great way to visit the park + make a longer stop at Calcati, which is another of the most unusual day trips from Rome. It’s a wonderful way to combine two destinations in one day without worrying about logistics. BOOK TOUR HERE.

14. Banditaccia Necropolis in Cerveteri

The Banditaccia Necropolis in Cerveteri is a captivating UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers a profound glimpse into the ancient Etruscan civilization.

unusual day trips from rome

Situated just an hour away from Rome, this extensive archaeological site is one of the most unusual day trips from Rome.

It spans over 400 hectares and is structured like a city of the dead, mirroring the urban layout of an Etruscan habitation with its streets, squares, and tombs.

The necropolis, with origins dating back to the 9th century BCE, showcases the Etruscans’ complex funerary customs and their belief in the afterlife.

While here, you can explore a myriad of tombs carved directly into the rock, many designed to resemble homes with detailed stone carvings, symbolizing a comfortable transition to the world beyond.

15. Palestrina

Palestrina, a historic town located approximately 35 kilometers east of Rome, is perched on the slopes of the Prenestine Hills and offers a fascinating journey through history, culture, and breathtaking landscapes.

The town is one if the most unusual day trips from Rome as it is renowned for its ancient past, most notably as the site of the ancient Roman temple complex of Fortuna Primigenia, which was one of the most important religious sites in ancient Italy.

Today, you can explore the remnants of this grand sanctuary, which have been ingeniously integrated into the structure of the modern-day National Archaeological Museum of Palestrina.

The museum, housed in the Renaissance palace of Barberini, displays an array of artifacts and the famous Nile Mosaic, which depicts scenes from the life along the Nile River and is a testament to the artistry and cosmopolitan nature of the ancient world.

FAQs About the Most Unusual Day Trips from Rome

What are some off-the-beaten-path destinations to visit for a day near Rome?

Sometimes, you might want to explore less-crowded and undiscovered places. Near Rome, you can consider visiting Calcata, an artists’ village perched atop a hill. Alternatively, explore the ancient ruins of Ostia Antica or venture to the Park of the Monsters (Parco dei Mostri) in Bomarzo.

How about exploring unique towns easily accessible from Rome by car for a day trip?

If you have access to a car, take a drive to the enchanting town of Civita di Bagnoregio, which is located on top of a crumbling hill. You can also pay a visit to the captivating hilltop village of Orvieto, known for its stunning cathedral and underground tunnels.

Could you suggest any quirky train journeys from Rome for a day out?

For an unusual and relaxing train journey, you can hop on a train to the small town of Palestrina, set along the slopes of Mount Ginestro. Enjoy the historic sites, the beautiful panorama, and the surrounding greenery – perfect for a day of leisure!

Are there hidden gem locations within a short train ride from Rome for a unique day experience?

Nemi is one of those hidden gems waiting to be explored. Just a short train ride away from Rome, this small town boasts lake views, delicious strawberries, and a beautiful forest called the “Sacred Grove.”

Where can I find lesser-known beaches within a day’s reach of Rome?

Escape the city crowd and head to the serene beaches of Sabaudia or Sperlonga, both reachable by car or bus. These spots offer clean sand, crystal-clear waters, and fewer tourists than the more popular beaches.

What are some unconventional historical sites near Rome for an interesting day trip?

Skip the mainstream historical sites, and consider a visit to the Banditaccia Etruscan Necropolis in Cerveteri, an ancient burial site with impressive tombs. Another option is the Via Appia Antica, a well-preserved ancient Roman road with catacombs and aqueducts along the way.

unusual day trips from rome

Unusual Day Trips from Rome: Conclusion

I hope this list of unusual day trips from Rome helped you plan some cool getaways from the Eternal City!

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful beach, a quirky activity, or simply somewhere that you won’t find on regular itineraries, this list of unusual day trips from Rome is a great place to start!