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16 alternative places to visit in Lazio other than Rome

Jessica Lionnel
Jessica Lionnel - [email protected]
16 alternative places to visit in Lazio other than Rome
A general view shows the Belvedere in the gardens of the Pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. Photo by VINCENZO PINTO / AFP.

Often overlooked in favour of Rome, Lazio is home to many wonders which should not be missed.

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Chances are, the first place you’d think of in Lazio is Rome. It’s hardly surprising: a surging number of tourists visited the region in 2023, according to Italian national statistics office Istat, with 35 million people staying overnight in the Eternal City last year.

As Rome - and the rest of Italy - gears up to receive even more tourists in 2025 for the Vatican's Jubilee Year, researchers last week recommended that hotspots “promote alternative destinations that are less well-known but equally rich in culture and beauty.”

READ ALSO: Italy set for summer tourism boom as bookings increase again

Luckily, there are plenty of options around Rome. The central region of Lazio has lakes, it has beaches, and it has other towns and cities worth visiting. Here's a look at just some of the places to explore:

Towns and cities

Civita di Bagnoregio

Known as the ‘dying city’, this picturesque town certainly doesn’t feel dead when you enter it, despite only having 11 residents.  Enter it on a sunny day and you’ll find the town’s small central piazza teeming with tourists eating gelato or sitting on the steps of San Donato church. 

Though the walk up to the town is a bit of a hike the views of the valley below (Valle dei Calanchi) are well worth it. The town itself is beautiful too. There are no cars, which makes the small alleyways and beige-bricked houses that much more quaint. 

Viterbo

Also known as the City of the Popes, this Northern Lazio city was the seat of the Popes in the 13th century. As with many places in Italy, the historical attractions here are plenty. The place is a perfect blend of Etruscan meets Mediaeval.  Key places to visit are Piazza del Plebiscito, Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo, and Viterbo Cathedral.

READ ALSO: 14 reasons why Lazio should be your next Italian holiday destination

Tivoli

This is one Laziale gem that should be sung about. Home to two UNESCO sites Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana, Tivoli is known for its grand architecture. Take Villa d’Este for instance which is full of fountains or Villa Gregoriana which boasts a waterfall. 

Other buildings to see include the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor, a remarkable Roman site. However, one of the best things to do is wander around the narrow streets in the historic centre. 

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Castelli Romani

Wine and roast pork lovers rejoice - Castelli Romani is the perfect place in Italy to get both. The area is home to the world-famous Frascati wine, which just so happens to be named after the zone’s capital.

Sitting beneath luxury Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati is a perfect blend of local experience combined with vibrance. People are always out and about and there are a myriad of wineries which produce the wine themselves. Frascati is also known for having good food, with two recommendations in the Michelin Guide despite its small size.  It’s one place Romans often venture out to for a meal.

A little past Frascati is Castel Gandolfo, often named as one of the prettiest villages in Italy. The village overlooks Lake Albano (more on that later) and used to be the Pope’s summer residence. Nowadays, the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo is a museum.

Just further south of this is Ariccia, a very small town famous for its roast pork (porchetta).

If it’s nature you’re more interested in, head to Parco Regionale Castelli Gandolfo and climb Monte Salomone.

A view of the Garden of Ninfa in Latina

A view of the Garden of Ninfa in Latina, central Italy. Photo by LAURENT KALFALA / AFP

Beaches

Santa Severa and Santa Marinella

Both these beaches are close enough to each other and have plenty of free public access. The water is clean and Santa Severa even has a castle on its shores.

Sperlonga

This blue flag beach used to be a holiday home for Emperor Tiberius which is a testament to how beautiful the area is. Aside from the clear water, there are also grottos to visit.

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Subaudia

This long stretch of beach is largely free to use. Whilst the waters can be pretty choppy,  that and the mountain in the background make for a pretty scenic picture. This beach is also dog-friendly.

Ponza

Though not on the mainland, Ponza is still part of Lazio. You’ll have to take a boat to reach here, but when you see the beaches such as Cala Fonte, and Chiaia di Luna the journey is well worth it. 

The Italian seaside town of Sperlonga. Photo by Christianna Martin on Unsplash

Lakes

Whilst the lakes in Lazio aren’t as popular as Lake Garda or Lake Como, they’re still nice to see. Lakes Bracciano, Bolsena and Albano are the three key lakes in the region. All three have charming towns and restaurants around them, as well as space for water activities such as kayaking or paddle boarding. 

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The green outdoors

Despite being sweltering in the summer months, Lazio is a green region and is full of parks to explore. Visit the botanical garden, Giardino di Ninfa to see wisteria cascading down old ruins or the Gardens of Bomarzo, a somewhat ugly yet fascinating park filled with monstrous-looking sculptures.

If you’re looking for something a bit wilder, visit Vulci, a once-Etrsucan city which is now a park and archeological site or the mountainous Parco Naturale dei Monti Aurunci just south of Frosinone.

Do you have another favourite place to visit in Lazio that isn't on the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Comments (2)

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dom 2024/06/08 12:01
Graziemente Jessie
Timothy M Teeter 2024/06/05 16:16
Nemi: both the lake, which has a museum dedicated to the ships of Caligula and Claudius, and the town, which has an annual strawberry festival, delicious strawberry pastries, and the coolest salsicceria (butcher shop) anywhere. Ariccia: the church of Santa Maria Assunta designed by Bernini and Palazzo Chigi, location for one of Italy's most famous movies (Il Leopardo) and a rare fresco by Bernini. Grottaferrata: home of a famous medieval monastery that still uses Greek liturgy

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