Lazio’s Hidden Gems, Part II

Caprarola and the striking Palazzo Farnese
Caprarola and the striking Palazzo Farnese

The region of Lazio has a lot to offer—one reason why we recently wrote this post on 7 of Lazio’s hidden gems, including ancient ruins, medieval towns, thermal baths, even the Pope’s summer hideaway! But Lazio boasts even more attractions than those. Looking for a unique day trip from Rome? Here are 7 more gems not to miss in the Lazio region!

Subiaco

Hidden gem of Subiaco in Lazio

Subiaco, a hidden gem of a town in Lazio

This is a small town with some big claims to fame: St. Benedict established his very first monastery here (in about 529), it’s the first city in Italy that printed books, and it was the birthplace of two historic beauties—Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI Borgia, and Italian bombshell Gina Lollobrigida! Today, the charming town is worth visiting for the stunning Benedictine monastery, castle, and quiet medieval character.

Park of the Monsters in Bomarzo

One interesting day trip from Rome

The park at Bomarzo, a very different day trip from Rome

The Bosco dei Mostri (or “Park of the Monsters”), located an hour’s drive from Rome, is guaranteed to astonish. Laid out in the 16th century’s Mannerist style, it features enormous sculptures of everything from one of Hannibal’s war elephants to a statue of Ceres. You’ll feel like you’ve entered a dreamworld!

Don’t miss our recent Walks Traveler video in the Park of the Monsters, with Walks co-founder Jason Spiehler, below!

Sperlonga and Tiberius’ Grotto

The beach and town of Sperlonga in Lazio

View from Sperlonga, a lovely beach town in Lazio

Whitewashed Sperlonga is one of the loveliest coastal towns in Lazio, and its beach is one of the only blue-flagged beaches in the region. (Here’s more on the best beaches near Rome, including Sperlonga). But it also happens to be home to the 1st-century villa of Emperor Tiberius. Still today, you can visit the evocative grotto and see the stunning sculptures that survived, which are likely by the same sculptors who created the Vatican’s famous Laocoön.

Caprarola and the Villa Farnese

Caprarola and the striking Palazzo Farnese

A little over an hour from Rome, Caprarola is best-known for its Villa Farnese. The massive, pentagon-shaped mansion—built for Pope Paul III Farnese when he was still a cardinal—has stunning interior frescoes, opulent rooms, and beautiful formal gardens. It’s considered one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Italy.

Grotta del Turco in Gaeta

Turk’s Grotto in Gaeta, Lazio

The seaside town of Gaeta includes a 6th-century castle, mausoleum from the 1st century B.C., and important medieval churches. But the Grotta del Turco, or “Turk’s Grotto,” is one of the town’s most stunning attractions. The natural grotto, which is illuminated with colorful light at different times of day, is accessible from the sanctuary of S.S. Trinita.

Villa d’Este at Tivoli

Gardens at Tivoli in Lazio

The Villa d’Este at Tivoli, outside of Rome

Commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, the grandson of Pope Alexander VI, in the 16th century, the Villa d’Este remains one of Italy’s most splendid villas. Wandering through its rooms, formal gardens, and gorgeous fountains is an easy way to spend an afternoon, or whole day!

Ostia Antica

Day trip from Rome to Ostia

Ostia Antica, Rome’s ancient port city

Particularly if you’re not going to make it to Pompeii, Ostia Antica—just a half hour outside Rome on the train—is an excellent alternative. Rome’s ancient port city, Ostia Antica remains an intact town even today, complete with forum, bars, restaurants, even brothel!

 

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