TraveLazio: From islands to walled villages, introducing new blog about day trips from Rome
Ready for a day trip?
And lots of them? How about a trip to an Italian beach, where you have your own lounge chair and umbrella on golden sand? Or maybe a tour of vineyards and sip half a dozen different wines in a 300-year-old tasting room? May I suggest a short hop to the pope’s summer retreat and dine above one of the prettiest lakes in Europe?
You can do all this from Rome. In eight days I’ll have lived here nine years, 10 ½ if you count my first stint from 2001-03. I’ve learned a few things in that time and an important one is there is more to Rome than … well, Rome.
Its region of Lazio is packed with interesting, hidden gems. From funky beach towns to walled villages to gastro paradises, Lazio offers some of the best day trips in Italy. Starting this month, I will bring the best ones to you with my new blog venture.
Every two weeks, on Friday, I will focus on one spot in Lazio, easily accessible from Rome. The blogs will be short, not the tomes and long listicles I write in Dog-Eared Passport. I will include all the essentials in list form: Five things to do. How to get there. Where to Eat. Historical notes. Etc. The highlights will be Marina Pascucci’s always terrific pictures.
Over the years I’ve been to 24 places in Lazio. From the island of Ponza to the tiny rock of Civita di Bagnoregio (pop. 7-100, depending on season), I’ve beaten many unbeaten paths and written about most of them. However, this project gives me an excuse to revisit and update these places. I can once again eat porchetta in Ariccia and tour Nero’s beachside villa in Anzio and soak in the thermal baths in Viterbo.
TraveLazio is for all those Italophiles who keep returning to Rome but want something different; it’s for all those first-time visitors who will come to Rome but want off the beaten path. So few tourists I meet ever tell me about day trips. They’re always off to the Amalfi Coast or Florence or Fiumicino Airport. They never stop, exhale and take a look beyond Rome’s Centro Storico.
Lazio has always had so much to offer. It’s about the size of New Jersey and is home to 5.7 million people. When Caesar Augustus transformed Rome from a republic to an empire, he made Lazio and neighboring Campagna Region 1.
Ever since, it has been the retreat of Roman emperors, popes and savvy travelers. Think about it. Look at the map. It offers 190 miles (315 kilometers) of sandy beaches along the Tyrrhenian Sea with the Pontine Islands just a 90-minute ferry ride away. It has volcanic lakes and the Apennine mountains and the Alban Hills dotted with a string of cute, little villages that form Castelli Romani. Some of Italy’s wines growing fastest in popularity are around Frascati just south of Rome.
Nothing is more than a couple hours from the Eternal City, nearly all reachable by public transportation. I do recommend a car to some places. Sometimes in Lazio, you just want to stop on the side of the road and stare down at valleys, up at mountains or over at the sea.
I will continue my weekly Dog-Eared Passport, blogging about my retired life in Rome and adventures around the world. But stick around for Friday. You may get some ideas for your next trip – or merely have another reason to dream.
A presto …