Travel to Italy and Have Fun in Rome

Family Vacation Ideas for Italy

Travel to Italy and Discover
Unique Sites of Rome & Fabulous Day Trips

When you travel to Italy, the best place to start your Rome travel is to get familiar with the squares (the “piazzas”).

For many, the piazza is a wonderful venue for markets, shops, restaurants and patios, relaxation, art exhibits, spectacular fountains, and vanity, a great place for people-watching and to be seen at one’s best.

In Italy, the piazza is the heart of the neighbourhood and a great place to hang out. And as each community has its own personality, so does its piazza have a unique character.

That is why you will want to discover the many different neighbourhoods and squares (piazzas).

Travel to Italy and See Piazza Navona
See the Grand Fountains at Piazza Navona on your Rome Italy Travel

Famous Squares – Piazzas for Your Rome Vacations

    • Campo de’ Fiori
    • Piazza Barberini – Fontana del Tritone
    • Piazza del Campidoglio
    • Piazza dei Caprettari
    • Piazza Colonna

Travel to Italy to Piazza Colonna Rome
The Column of Marcus Aurelius in Piazza Colonna in Rome

  • Piazza dell’Esquilino
  • Piazza dell Minerva
  • Piazza Mincio
  • Piazza del Popolo


Travel to Italy to Pincio Terrace
The Pincio Terrace overlooking Piazza del Popolo

  • Piazza della Repubblica – Fontana delle Naiadi
  • Piazza Navona
  • Piazza della Rotonda


Travel to Italy to Piazza della Rotonda
Dramatic Fountain in Front of the Pantheon in the Piazza della Rotonda

  • Piazza di Spagna
  • Piazza Vittorio Emanuele
  • Piazza Venezia


Now that you have discovered the piazzas and the ancient ruins, make sure to explore the unique parts of Rome which are outside of the Historical Center, on your travel to Italy.

Explore the followng captivating ideas on your Rome Italy travel:

Roma Termini and the Nomentano District

On your travel to Italy, if you arrive by train to Roma Termini (or Stazione Termini), take a walk around to appreciate one of Europe’s most beautiful train stations. Light floods into the giant structure through a grand facade of glass and marble.

A few blocks away behind the train station, beginning at Porta Pia, Via Nomentana is lined with villas, embassies and parks.

Travel to Italy to Piazza della Republic Roma Termini
Piazza della Repubblica Fontana delle Naiadi next to Roma Termini Station

Along the Via Nomentana are the beautiful gardens and museums of Villa Torlonia and the catacombs at Chiesa Sant’ Agnese fuori le Mura, and although they are not located in the Historical Center, do include them in your Rome vacations.

The Gardens and Museums of Villa Torlonia

The noble Roman Villa Torlonia with its landscaped grounds is home to a number of fabulous museums, buildings and gardens representing exotic parts of the world, which are well worth visiting on your travel to Italy.

Travel to Italy Roman Villa Torlonia
Visit Villa Torlonia and its Beautiful Gardens on your Rome Travel

Competing with other ancient sites in Rome and being located away from the Historical Center – Centro Storico, the Villa Torlonia, its vast gardens and ancient museums are sadly overlooked.

For a change in scenery, head over to Via Nomentana, 70 in Rome when you travel to Italy and enjoy this beautiful park and its villas.

Casina della Civette Museum – the House of Owls

This is an unusual, whimsical building and a museum which features stunning stained glass windows.

Travel to Italy the House of Owls in Rome
Explore the House of Owls at Villa Torlonia on your Travel in Italy

Although the structure incorporates many decorative elements, windows, loggias, porticos and turrets, it is commonly known as the House of Owls because the motif of the owl is used extensively in the decorations and furnishings of the house.

Casino dei Principi

Formerly a small rustic cottage on the beautiful grounds of Villa Torlonia, the villa features some of the most outstanding pieces of the Torlonia collection, including statues, art, and antique furniture, well worth a visit on your travel to Italy.

Travel to Italy Casino Torlonia
The Lovely Gardens and Pool in Back of Villa Torlonia in Rome Italy

The facade includes a large terrace which overlook the windows, the portals are surrounded with marble inlays with the center displaying the Torlonia family crest and two sphinx guard the entrance of the villa.

Catacombs at Chiesa Sant’ Agnese fuori le Mura

Down the road from Villa Torlonia, at Via Nomentana, 70, is a lovely church dedicated to the martyr St Agnes, Chiesa Sant’ Agnese fuori le Mura, with catacombs open to the public.

The apse of the 4th century church displays extraordinary Byzantine style mosaic of St. Agnes standing over a fire with a pair of popes.

Travel to Italy Sant Agnese Fuorli le Mura
The Church of Sant’ Agnese fuori le Mura and its Catacombs in Rome Italy

The catacombs here contain some of the best preserved skeletons in Rome. The entrance to the Catacombe di Sant’Agnese is in the church.

Explore the Appia Antica Catacombs on Your Travel to Italy

During ancient times, cemeteries were forbidden inside the city walls and the Via Appia Antica, (The Appian Way) built in 312 BC, is where the fashionable Romans made their final resting place while the early Christians secretly dug maze like catacombs under the ashes of their persecutors.

Travel to Italy Catacombs on Via Appia
Discover Appia Antica Catacombs in Rome on Your Travel to Italy

At one time, the Via Appia Antica was the most famous of all roads leading to Rome travel with all traffic throughout the Roman Empire, including emperors, traders, officials and military commanders using this road.

This ancient and historical road in the south end of Rome has no sidewalks in the first portion and on your travel to Italy, it would be advisable to avoid the first section of Via Appia Antica by taking bus 218 at San Giovanni in Laterno to the catacombs of San Calixtus or San Sebastiano.

Travel to Italy Via Appia in the Morning
Take a Romantic Stroll along the Appian Way on Your Rome Travel

Beyond the circular tomb of Cecilia Metella, the Via Appia becomes a more romantic place to walk.

Here you will find the ancient tombs of rich Romans and the present day luxury villas.

Travel to Italy the Romantic Via Appia Rome
Guided Tours of Via Appia Antica are Offered by Parco Regionale Dell’Appia Antica

Here is a list of sites to visit at the Catacombs in Rome for your travel to Italy, in the order as they appear along the Via Appia Antica:

Make sure to bring a map of Rome which includes the catacombs at the south end of the city, as some of the sites take you off the main road Via Appia Antica.

You can also take a guided tour offered by the regional park of the Appian Way which is offered by Parco Regionale Dell’Appia Antica.

  • Porta San Sebastiano and Museo delle Mura – the Museum of the Walls (on Via di Porta San Sebastiano, 18)
  • Cartiera Latina – The Regional Park Authority of Appia Antica
  • Sepolcro di Geta
  • Sepolcro di Priscilla
  • Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis – Church of “Domine Quo Vadis
  • Edicola del Cardinal Reginald Pole (junction of Via della Caffarella)
  • Tempio del Dio Redicolo (on Via della Caffarella)
  • Colombario dei Liberti di Augusto
  • Hypogeum of Vibia – Villa dei Casali
  • Catacombe di San Callisto – San Callixtus Catacombs
  • Jewish Catacombs of Vigna Randanini (on Via Appia Pignatelli)
  • Catacombe di Pretestato – Pretestato Catacombs (on Via Appia Pignatelli)
  • Chiesa di Sant’Urbano – Church of Sant Urbano (take Via Appia Pignatelli to Vicolo Sant’Urbano)
  • Ninfeo di Egeria (take Via Appia Pignatelli and then access from Vicolo Sant’Urbano)
  • Catacombe Ebraiche di Vigna Rondanini
  • Chiesa di San Sebastiano and Catacombe – Basilica of St. Sebastian and Catacombs
  • Circo and Villa di Massenzio, Mauseleo di Romolo – Circus and Villa of Maxentius, Mausoleum of Romulus
  • Sepolcro di Cecilia Metell and Castello dei Caetani – Sepulcher of Cecilia Metella and Caetani Castle
  • Chiesa di San Nicola
  • Villa dei Quintili and Acquedotto – Villa Quintili and Aqueduct (on Via Appia Nuova)
  • Tumulo dei Curiazi
  • Tumulo degli Orazi

Travel to Italy Ancient Ruins and Catacombs Rome
Circus and Villa of Maxentius, Mausoleum of Romulus on Via Appia Antica in Rome

Finding the Famous Seven Hills of Rome on Your Travel to Italy

The Aventine Hill – Aventino

The easiest way to find the Aventine Hill is from the western end of the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo).

Climb Via di Valle Murcia to the spacious gardens and courtyards of the Aventine Hill. When you reach the summit, head through the iron gate to a park with orange trees and a fabulous view of the Tiber and southern Rome.

The Caelian Hill – Celio

A spectacular church on the Caelian Hill is the site of the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Rome).

Travel to Italy Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Rome
Santi Giovanni e Paolo – an Ancient Basilica in Rome Italy

East of Aventino – Testaccio and south of Circo Massimo, the Baths of Caracalla are located on the Caelian Hill.

They are the largest and best preserved baths in the city with beautiful mosaic floors, a must see on your travel to Italy.

If you walk from the north-western corner of the Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterno and up Via di San Stefano Rotondo, past the San Giovanni Hospital, you fill find the ancient basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo, which is also on the Caelian Hill.

The Capitoline Hill – Campadoglio

Alongside the Roman Forum and in the streets behind the Piazza Venezia, the Capitoline Hill is set on a magnificent piazza with its distinctive star pattern designed by Michelangelo and still serves as the civic government for the city of Rome.

Travel to Italy to Capitoline Hill in Rome
The Capitoline Hill is One of the Famous Seven Hills of Rome Italy

The Esquiline Hill – Esquilino

Located four blocks down from Via Cavour and Roma Termini (Rome’s central train station) Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore was built on the summit of the Esquiline Hill.

The Palatine Hill – Palatino

The Palatine Hill is south-east of the Capitoline Hill and from here you can see the Roman Forum beneath it to the north and the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) to the south.

When you travel to Italy, visit this part of Rome for a memorable experience. The entrance to the Forum and Palatine Hill is on Via dei Fori Imperiali across from the end of Via Cavour.

The Quirinal Hill – Quirinale

The Piazza del Quirinale is located at the southeast end of Via del Quirinal and occupies the highest summit of Rome’s seven hills.

Originally the summer home for Pope Gregory XIII (1572 – 1585), the imposing Baroque Palazzo del Quirinale, now the official residence of the President of the Republic, is located on the Quirinal Hill.

The Viminal Hill – Viminale

The former Baths of Diocletian (Terme di Diocleziano), now part of the National Museum of Rome, are located on the north east part of the Viminal Hill.

The Teatro dell’Opera and the Roma Termini railway station are also on the Viminal Hill, and when you travel to Italy, make sure to walk around the magnificent Roma Termini and appreciate this beautiful and huge train station of Rome.

At the top of the hill is the historical Palazzo Viminale, headquarters of the Ministry of Interior of the Italian Republic.

Day Trips from Rome on Your Travel to Italy

What is absolutely amazing is that you can do daytrips to many exotic locations in Italy by planning ahead with the Trentilalia high speed train.

Travel to Italy with Trenitalia
Take the Trenitalia Fast Train for your Daytrips on Your Travel in Italy

For example, Venice is about 3 hours and Florence is around 1 1/2 hours by high speed train.

For shorter day trips, I have focussed on three beautiful locations just outside of Rome.

Tivoli and Villa D’Este

Villa D’Este in Tivoli, a castle and garden property, is a designated UNESCO world heritage site and a great example of Renaissance architecture and gardens.

The villa and courtyard are located on a former Benedictine cloister. The entrance to the property greets you with spectacular terraces, gardens, and fountains.

Travel to Italy Tivoli Fountain
Visit the Renaissance Villa d’Este at Tivoli on Your Travel to Italy

To the right of the fountain is a papyrus museum with old book relics, and the nearby Fontana della Natura features a statue of Diana of Ephesus.

If you go across town, there are two Roman temples, Tempio di Vesta and the Tempio della Sibilla each overlooking the waterfalls.

Travel to Italy Villa d Este Waterfalls in Tivoli
Enjoy the Beautiful Cascades and Waterfalls in the Tivoli Gardens

Down Via di Sibilla is the Villa Gregoriana, a park with paths that take you through ancient ruins to a series of lookouts over the cascades and from the Gregory XVI’s tunnel, the river plunges down into the stunning Great Cascade.

Travel to Italy Romantic Fountains in Tivoli near Rome
Admire the Lush Vegetation and Grand Fountains at Tivoli on Your Travel to Italy

From the Great Cascade, head over to the remaining ruins of the Villa Adriana, the largest and most expensive villa built in the Roman Empire.

Explore the Villa Lante on Your Travel to Italy

Villa Lante is located in Bagnaia, a small and charming historical town in Northern Lazio.

In the gardens of Villa Lante there are spectacular fountains and grottoes featuring mechanical perfection of water flow which ensure that water lives and flows through the gardens even today.

The views are spectacular and you will want to spend some time here when you travel in Italy.

The gardens feature the Quadrato, a perfectly square ornamental flower garden, beds and paths which have been arranged to form a pattern The twin houses stand on one side, on the remaining three sides the garden is enclosed by high box hedges.

Travel to Italy Villa Lante
Explore the Ornamental Flower Gardens and Paths at Villa Lante

The main feature of this ornamental flower garden is the fountain at its centre, formed of four basins, separated by low walls decorated with stone pineapples and urns that intersect the water.

At the heart is the centre basin which contains the “Fontana dei Mori” by Giambologna.

Visit the Beach at Ostia Antica – The Roman Riviera

Not far from Rome’s major airport of Fiumicino is the settlement at Ostia, the first Roman colony and port and naval base during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.

Now Ostia is a residential area, the capital’s beach, and a well-known Tourist Port.

Enjoy the best of both ancient and modern Rome here at the beach town where the conservative dress restrictions do not apply and where modern shops co-exist with antiquities.

Here you can explore archaeological sites and enjoy the sunny coast. Bring your swimsuit, towel, sunblock and good walking shoes or sandals.

Travel to Italy Roman Aquaduct
Discover Stunning Antiquity and Architecture on Your Travel to Italy

When you travel to Italy and want to get to Ostia Antica from Rome, take the Metro Linea B to Piramide / Porta San Paolo and change to the Lido train, the surface underground.

The Lido train departs about every half-hour, and the trip takes only 20 minutes.

Disembark at Ostia Antica and cross the overpass, take a left when the road ends and follow the signs to the Ostia Antica excavations.

Later, board the Metro again to visit Lido di Ostia and the beach.

Return to Rome Part 1: Rome Vacations in the Historical Centre

Rome Vacations in the Historical Center
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