Located in the middle of Italy, along the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Lazio region is the kneecap to the boot-shape outline if the country. The region being at the centre of Italy’s art, cultural and political life, it will no doubt meet the expectations of the most discerning traveller. But the region is not all art and culture ! All year long, the natural beauty of the landscape, the appealing coastline, the charming villages and the delicate gastronomy, are few of the other reasons why the region is a worthy of a visit.
Rome, both Italy’s and Lazio’s capital, with its extraordinary artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage, stands as the biggest draw of region. According to a very famous proverb, all roads lead to Rome. Today Rome and the Lazio region are certainly easily accessible by train and widely served by high-speed lines. From Rome, the regional trains provides access to many places of great interest, for the most part within 70 km from the capital.
Your discovery of the Lazio region starts in Rome, a city with an imperial appeal. Travellers usually get off at the Roma Termini Station or the Tiburtina Station, which are both located near the city centre and served by the metro system. Take the metro to reach the Ottaviano San Pietro - Musei Vaticani metro station which is about 800 metres away from the Piazza San Pietro, in the Vatican city. Did you know that the Vatican, the smallest city-state in the world, is entirely within the borders of Rome ? From there you will see the famous Basilica of Saint Peter (Basilica di San Pietro), the symbol of Christianity. Continue towards Piazza Navona, considered as the most elegant of the Roman squares. Built on the ruins of the Stadium of Domitian, the square is still a meeting place for locals and tourists who linger in the many outdoor cafes that surround it. At the centre of Piazza Navona, you’ll find the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi), a masterpiece of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
From Piazza Navona, with a short walk you can reach Piazza della Rotonda, to see the magnificent Pantheon which was built between 118 and 125 AD on the ruins of an earlier temple of 27 BC. From Piazza della Rotonda head to Piazza di Pietra, to see the Temple of Hadrian, and then continue to Piazza di Trevi to admire the beautiful Trevi Fountain, a triumph of the baroque style. Today this newly restored gem is a must on everybody’s itinerary ! Supplied by water from the Acqua Vergine aqueduct, it was based on the design of Nicolo Salvi and was completed in 1762.
As the day is ending, you can take the Via del Tritone and reach the Spanish Steps, which is known to be the widest staircase in Europe. Climb up to reach the Trinità dei Monti for a commanding view below and to admire the sunset.
Our tip : Don’t miss the Crypta, a museum in the historical centre of Rome, which stands on remains of the Theater of Balbus (13 BC). You can still go down and see the ruins !
In the first half of your second day, visit the Colosseum, a monument and chef-d’oeuvre which represents 2000 years of history and now a symbol of Rome. Near the Colosseum lies the Arch of Constantine, the most famous Roman triumphal arch and a little further is the Palatine. It is one of the most charming places of the city, home to the houses of the ruling class of ancient Rome and then the gardens of the Farnese family. Today, the Palatine is a real open-air museum.
From the Colosseum carry on through Via dei Fori Imperiali to enter the Roman Forum, and learn about the Roman civilization. Later, head to Piazza Venezia which is overshadowed by the impressive Altare della Patria. The monument, completed in 1925, offers a breath-taking vista of Rome from its Terrace of Quadrighe. Afterwards, go the nearby Campidoglio for a stunning view over the Forum.
In the afternoon, cross the Tiber River to reach Isola Tiberina. Lose yourself in what is the most popular and typical Trastevere neighbourhood, plunged in a charming atmosphere. Have a glass of wine to savour the day-to-day routine of the locals.
Rome > Ostia Antica
From the city centre of Rome take the underground line B to EUR Magliana, where a train departs every 15 minutes to reach Ostia Antica. The visit to the ruins of Ostia Antica is a unique opportunity to complete the image of ancient Rome and discover aspects of daily life back then. According to tradition, Ostia was founded around 620 BC. Its river port and the particular location near the sea, determined its importance over the centuries as a strategic-military and economical town. The oldest remains are represented by a fortress built by the Romans in the second half of the 4th century BC to control the mouth of the Tiber river and the coast of Lazio. Visit the castle and the old town founded in 830 by the Gregorio IV. At the end of the day return to Rome.
Rome > Tivoli
Take the train from Rome to Tivoli (0h55 trip), an ancient city of the Latins, conquered by the Romans, who built numerous sumptuous villas and impressive public buildings. The villas of Tivoli are among the ten most visited monuments of Italy and they are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the old town centre, where you can admire the churches of the 12th century, squares and alleys with medieval houses and the Roman amphitheatre. At the edge of the historic centre lies the beautiful Villa d’Este and its bewildering fountains.
Our tip : Spend one more day in Tivoli to enjoy a treat in one of its famous spas.