Visiting Rome in the summer can be challenging due to the hot weather but If you are planning a long vacation these 3 cultural day trips may be just what you are looking for.
Rome is an amazing city and you will need more than a lifetime to know it all but if you need to take a break from the heat and the crowd I suggest you visit the surrounding area within the Lazio region.
The grotto of Tiberius, Santa Severa Castle and Albano lake are my recommended picks for a mix of culture, leisure, food and swimming opportunities.
Would you prefer to swim near an emperor’s villa, near a castle, or in a volcanic lake? Below you will find all the information you need to help you choose the best experience for you.
These destinations near Rome are perfect if you are traveling with friends and family. Just make your choice, grab your swimming costume and dive into history and leisure.
1 – The grotto of the Roman emperor Tiberius
The extraordinary villa by the sea of the Roman emperor Tiberius was discovered in 1957 together with some very interesting statues. These turned out to be the work of famous Greek artists from Rhodes who had also created the Laocoon, now at the Vatican Museums. The statues were all displayed in the enormous grotto that used to be the emperor’s dining room and represented dramatic scenes from the Odyssey, like the blinding of Polyphemus and Odysseus’ ship attacked by the monster Scylla.
While visiting this place you also get to see the precious statue remains pieced together (in what is supposed to be their original arrangement) inside the museum, walk through the ruins of the villa and then, from the grotto, admire the stunning scenery over the sea with the city of Sperlonga in the background.
Swimming next to such an important archeological site is certainly an unforgettable experience.
2 – Santa Severa and its castle by the sea
If you want to visit a place within an hour’s distance from Rome, Santa Severa is a great choice.
This small seaside resort located north of the capital, along the via Aurelia, has a very rich historical background that dates back to the bronze age. During the Etruscans period it became Pyrgi, the port of the city of Caere, then a Roman colony and, during the Middle Ages, the castle we see today was built.
Once you are there take a tour of the castle to discover its history and the amazing view from the top of its tower. If you want to know more about this place you can also visit the “museum of sea and ancient navigation”.
During the summer the castle of Santa Severa hosts a summer festival with live concerts, excursions and free activities for children. You could even book a room in their hostel and sleep in the castle lulled by the sound of the sea.
3 – The volcanic lake of Albano at Castelgandolfo
Just outside Rome there is a very pretty area called Castelli Romani with lush green hills, volcanic lakes, archeological remains, amazing villas and breathtaking views. A popular summer location since Roman times.
Temperatures are cooler than in Rome and you can get to swim in the clear water of the Albano lake. Perfect also if you are a sport lover as you can rent a sailboat or a kayak. On the shore there are also the remains of a Roman port.
After spending the morning at the lake, consider visiting the papal palace in Castelgandolfo with its beautiful gardens, tasting the “porchetta” di Ariccia (roasted pork stuffed with herbs), the wild strawberries of Nemi and the white wine of Frascati.
Did the places listed in this post spark your interest? If yes, share it with your friends or let me know in the comments which one was your favourite.
Enjoy your holiday!