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Things to do in Lazio

Itineraries for Your Trip to Lazio

Lazio locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Lazio for First Timers

Curated by Rebecca Winkean Italophile and travel enthusiast who’s lived in and written about Italy for more than two decades.

The region of Lazio is often overshadowed by the star power of its most famous city, Rome. Travelers spend a few days in the Eternal City, then head to their next destination—usually Tuscany to the north or Campania to the south. The outlying hills of Lazio hold charms, from ancient ruins and rolling wine country to pristine volcanic lakes and seaside resort towns.

After many trips to Italy and after moving here, I ventured to explore the Castelli Romani, the villas of Tivoli, and the ruins of Ostia Antica. Lazio is a favorite central Italy region for a getaway because of its combination of culture, cuisine, and beach time. Here’s how to spend three days in the region.

Lazio stretches from balmy beaches to cool mountaintops, so check the forecast for the specific area you’ll visit and pack accordingly.

If you only have time for one thing, make it Villa d’Este with its sumptuous villa and garden.

Day 1

Start south of Rome to explore the Castelli Romani, an area of lush hills and volcanic lakes dotted with pretty historic towns. Begin in Castel Gandolfo to visit the Pope’s residence and take a kayaking excursion through the waters of Lake Albano before stopping in Ariccia for a lunch of porchetta, the area’s spit-roasted pig.

Next, make your way to Frascati wine country via car. These rolling vineyards have provided Rome with white and red wines since ancient times. Its boutique wineries are ideal for a cellar tour and tasting. Many of the Castelli Romani towns are accessible by train.

Day 2

An hour outside of Rome by car or train, Tivoli is home to two UNESCO-listed historic villas. Set off to spend the day exploring the lavish interiors and Renaissance garden at Villa d’Este, plus the sprawling ancient ruins of Hadrian’s Villa and Parco Villa Gregoriana woodlands.

Alternatively, spend the day outside at Lake Bracciano, about an hour north of Rome, by car or train. A number of postcard-perfect historic villages with promenades for scenic walks or bike rides rings this volcanic lake. Swim or sail on the lake, and visit the 15th-century Odescalchi Castle, one of the area’s top sights.

Day 3

Rome is famous for ancient ruins, and the surrounding Lazio region is rich in archaeological treasures dating to Roman and Etruscan civilizations. Head north into Tuscia to explore Etruscan tombs and necropolises at Cerveteri and Tarquinia. Or, stroll through the historic towns of Viterbo and Tuscania, the prettiest in Tuscia.

Alternatively, tour the ancient ruins of Ostia Antica, once a thriving Roman port city and a top archaeological site. Visit with a guide to learn more about the necropolis, Baths of Neptune, amphitheater, Forum, Collegiate Temple, and Via Casa di Diana. Afterward, relax at nearby Ostia beach for sunbathing and swimming.

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