If you’re looking for gastronomic bliss outside of the Eternal City, the abundance of places within reach is sure to satisfy that wish. Lazio, the region of which Rome is the capital, and neighbouring regions like Umbria, Abruzzo and Campania, offer locations rich in beauty, history and toothsome specialties, that can be reached in under 2 hours. Peruse our list of 8 best foodie day trips from Rome, and get ready to go.
A charming cluster of vine-covered hills and volcanic lakes on Rome’s south-eastern doorstep makes for a fabulous foodie destination one hour from the city center. In Ariccia, you can feast on porchetta (whole deboned spit-roasted pork). In Frascati you can visit the beautiful Aldobrandini castle, in Genzano you can find the area’s best sourdough bread. In Nemi, you’ll taste the sweetest wild strawberries you’ve ever had. And then there’s the wine… The Castelli Romani is the region’s wine country.
We believe the best way to taste and understand wine is from the source. A vineyard excursion allows you to learn about Italian wine whilst meeting the winemakers at the estate, walking through the vineyards, seeing the grapes up close, and tasting the wine in the very cellar it was made and aged.
After the tasting you should stop for lunch at a nearby village and taste local dishes paired with the wines. We organize vineyard visits that culminate with lunch and wine pairing led by a certified sommelier. The tasting menu includes creative and traditional local dishes that complement each wine. Seasonal appetizers, pasta, entrees, vegetables, dessert, coffee and amaro or grappa round off the meal.
Lake Bracciano and Lake Martignano
Like all the lakes in the region of which Rome is the capital, both Bracciano and Martignano – located thirty minutes northwest of Rome – are craters of extinct volcanoes. Anguillara Sabazia and Bracciano offer diverse attractions, including a monumental castle built by the Orsini family in 1470 around a medieval fortification, besieged by the Borgias and allied with the Medici, later renovated by the Odescalchi dynasty. The lake provides excellent fresh water fish and the area’s cuisine is not one to underestimate.
If you’re planning on staying for more than a day we share useful tips for a weekend escape to Lago di Martignano. Otherwise contact us for more info on custom food itineraries, limo service, cycling or horseback riding excursions, fully catered day trips and other bespoke activities in and around lake Bracciano and Martignano.
Bordering Tuscany, Lazio and Le Marche, Umbria is known as Italy’s green heart and is loved for its medieval hill towns, dense forests and local cuisine, particularly wild truffles and superb wines. Orvieto is a beautiful medieval town located in south-western Umbria, perched on the flat summit of a large volcanic butte. Orvieto’s awe-inspiring Duomo is one of Italy’s great Gothic cathedrals, featuring a gorgeous striped facade and astonishing fresco cycles by Luca Signorelli.
If you’d like to tackle the tasty side of Orvieto, our full day trip to Umbria includes a guided visit to two vineyards and a curated lunch in the lush countryside. The tasting menu includes creative and traditional Umbrian dishes that complement each wine.
Bomarzo Monster Park
A day trip to the Parco dei Mostri in Bomarzo is a great idea! The Mannerist monumental complex located in Bomarzo, in the Viterbo province of northern Lazio is a garden created during the 16th century populated by larger-than-life sculptures, some carved in the bedrock, small buildings, terraces and scattered statues. Pier Francesco Orsini, a patron of the arts, was greatly devoted to his wife Giulia Farnese. When she died, he created the gardens as a tribute to her with landscape design by Pirro Ligorio and sculptures by Simone Moschino.
Deep into the 20th century, the garden became overgrown and neglected, but after Salvador Dalí made a short movie about the park, and completed a painting actually based on the park in the Fifties, the Bettini family implemented a restoration program which lasted throughout the Seventies.
The Etruscan civilization occupied much of central Italy between 900 BC and 90 BC, including the whole region of Tuscany, a great part of Umbria and the northern parts of Lazio, the region of which Rome is the capital. This area that was once known as Etruria later was renamed Tuscia by the Roman conquerors that took it over. Towns like Viterbo, Civita di Bagnoregio and Caprarola are gems of medieval architecture. Splendid volcanic lakes and other attractions include the Francigena pilgrim route, and the many organic agriturismo farms that welcome visitors, opening doors to their pens and kitchens. We organize a particularly interesting day trip to Tuscia, visiting a farm nestled on a hill surrounded by lush countryside and pastures. The owners tend to 1500 sheep, a small herd of goats, plus cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits and bees.
The farm produces organic cheese, milk, lamb meat, cured pork meats, honey, jams, seasonal fruit and vegetables and grains. After visiting the farm, you can have the rare opportunity of seeing a live cheese making demonstration from freshly extracted milk to the finished product, culminating in a delicious just-made cheese tasting, seated in the family’s restaurant, where the cheese maker’s mother cooks a buffet-style lunch served with wine.
Whether to escape to a remote hilltop village for a full digital detox, to pick saffron with a local cooperative of proud farmers, or to taste delectable cheese and charcuterie, Abruzzo is an easy 2-hour drive or bus ride from Rome. It’s worth traveling here for a day trip to Sulmona, hit the ski slopes in Campo Imperatore, or just to gnaw on arrosticini in the shadow of Gran Sasso.
Another reason for coming here for the day is to help the local community. Recently battered by earthquakes and avalanches, the Abruzzesi don’t let go and stubbornly keep going, but as consumers we can help the area’s economy by purchasing local products, paying admission tickets to museums and other cultural venues, and eat at typical, family-run restaurants.
Ostia Antica and Tivoli are classic guidebook suggestions for day trips from Rome. Why not travel to a less obvious, more food-friendly part of the region instead? Off-the-beaten-path Sabina is characterised by medieval villages, fine olive oil and gorgeous undulant countryside. The Sabine Hills are a range of mountains stretching from the eastern town of Rieti to the river Tiber to the west.
The local extra virgin olive oil Sabina, besides being the first DOP Protected Designation of Origin oil to gain certification from the European Community, is among the most praised in Italy, boasting a production that goes back thousands of years. There’s always a food festival happening in Sabina at one point or another of the year, check out this article that lists just a few of the sagras in Sabina.
Frequent fast trains serve Napoli Centrale from Rome’s Stazione Termini getting you there in 1 hour 15 minutes. Whether you’re up bright and early to visit Pompeii, or to marvel at stunning classical art at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale and the baroque Cappella Sansevero to gaze at Giuseppe Sanmartino’s incredible cristo velato (veiled Christ) sculpture, food should be your main focus in la bella Napoli. Discover and taste typical specialties like sfogliatelle, taralli, world-class espresso – and much more – at small, family-run shops in some of Naples’ most authentic food areas. We organize walking adventures with a local food specialist who shares insider knowledge about regional delicacies, local customs, gastronomic culture plus art, history and off-the-map secrets, while chatting with the locals and tasting some samples along the way.
After the stroll, you can either grab a pizza a portafoglio in the bustling market district, or visit a private home in the heart of Naples for a Neapolitan home-cooked lunch. Feast on home-style bread, fresh mozzarella, olives, local produce, bruschetta and freselle with fresh tomatoes and basil (when in the season) as well as other regional delights enjoyed on the terrace if weather permits, sipping regional wine.
For further information regarding our foodie day trips from Rome, send us an email!
Eleonora Baldwin is a TV host, journalist, and culinary connoisseur based in Rome, Italy. Her writing appears in several food and travel publications. Her show “ABCheese” is broadcast on Italian food network Gambero Rosso. She loves guiding culturally curious, food-passionate travellers seeking experiences in Italy beyond the guidebook.