Rome is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, receiving between seven and ten million tourists a year! It’s easy to see why: you’ve got an irresistible combination of great weather, fantastic food, ancient history, rustic charm and spectacular sights. However, sharing the city with so many locals and tourists can feel overwhelming at times, especially if you are from a smaller town or city.
Welcome to the first post in a series of suggested day trips from Rome. Many of these places can be reached via public transport, as well as by car. Visiting these quieter cities, towns and villages can revitalize you and provide fascinating insight into the locals’ way of life. With your renewed energy, you’ll soon be ready to return to the hustle and bustle of Italy’s capital city.
This beautiful lake is situated next to the charming town of Bracciano, 30 km north of Rome. You can travel there directly from two of Rome’s overground train stations; Roma Ostiense and Roma Tiburtina. Trains leave every 30 minutes from either station, a one-way adult ticket costs €3.60 and the journey time varies between 1hr 10 and 1hr 20. Make sure you validate your ticket before getting on the train.
Once you arrive at Bracciano station, it is a pleasant 30-minute stroll towards the lake, passing beautiful piazzas and inviting restaurants, boutique stores and gelaterias. There is a large, well-preserved castle – Castello Odescalchi – which was built in the 15th century by the Orsini family. Entrance costs €8.50 for adults and gives you access to the museum, artwork and impressive views from the top of the castle. It’s also a popular wedding destination; Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got married there in 2006. Other tourist attractions include a church called the Duomo di Santo Stefano and the museum Museo Civico di Bracciano.
If you want to have lunch in the town centre, I really recommend Ristorantino del Castello. Combining stylish decor, a menu bursting with fresh seafood and friendly staff who speak both English and Italian, my boyfriend and I really enjoyed our meal there.
When you’re ready to go for a swim, look for Via del Lago; a steep, downwards road that will take you directly to the lake. Long ago, the lake was a volcanic crater. Nowadays its water is passed along the ancient Roman aqueducts to provide water for Rome and dozens of other cities in the Lazio region. Don’t be put off by the grey, pebbled beach – the water is clean, clear and refreshing, especially on a hot summer’s day. You can swim and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the waterfront to keep you hydrated and well-fed! In the summer, there’s a scheduled ferry that travels across the lake, along with paddle boards, windsurfing boards, kayaks, sun loungers and beach umbrellas for rent.
If you have enough time, why not visit the other two towns on the lake? You can reach Anguillara Sabazia by car/taxi in less than 20 minutes from Bracciano’s town centre. When we were there, the town was hosting an arts and crafts market with people selling local produce, accessories, artwork and pottery. The other town is Trevignano Romano – apparently the sunsets are absolutely gorgeous from here! You may also want to visit the natural reserve Parco Naturale Regionale di Bracciano Martignano.
Have you been to Lake Bracciano and any of the towns that surround it?
Ciao for now