Road Trips With Avis: Rome
Around Rome - La Dolce Vita
Driving through the historic hills encircling Rome, the good life is everywhere
Not all roads lead to Rome. In fact the roads leading away from the city unfold an ancient and fascinating world of volcanoes and vineyards, fine wines, frescoes and fabulous views – all just a short drive from the city.
Test drive this two-day road trip for the best of Lazio
Collect your hire car from our Avis Ciampino Airport branch and drive for just 10 minutes to the Castel Gandolfo, the glorious summer retreat of the popes. From here, wind your way through ancient roads to the hilltop village of Grottaferrata.
Head north-east to see the 100 fountains of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, up through the clouds to the fortress at Calcata, and then enjoy the meal of a lifetime in historic Viterbo. It's just over an hour's drive south back to Rome and you can drop off your hire car at Avis Viterbo. However if you are planning to travel back home from different location, check our car hire in Italy page to find more rental destinations.
High points en route
Castel Gandolfo – Historic hideaway
Put your foot down and hit the SP217 road to Castel Gandolfo – the sleepy village where Rome's Popes have spent their summers for the last 350 years. Enjoy local delicacies like roast suckling pig in the cafés overlooking Lake Albano, buy milk from the Pope's own herd of cows and stargaze at the Papal Observatory.
Villa Grazioli – Fine Wines and Frescoes
The imposing 16th-century Villa Grazioli has been painstakingly restored to its former glory, with 500 year-old frescoes that look like they could have been painted yesterday, vast formal gardens and a superb restaurant overlooking the lights of Rome and the sea.
Villa d'Este – Water symphony
Villa d'Este offers high romance in the Roman hills. Lose yourself on miles of shady paths, among 100 scattered fountains and scenery that inspired composer Franz Liszt and writer Henry James. Take a long, lazy afternoon here and it'll be hard to believe that it's still the 21st century outside the gates.
Calcata – City in the clouds
The first glimpses of Calcata as you motor through the greenery of the Valle de Treja are breathtaking – an untouched medieval village, perched on volcanic cliffs. A ghost town for years, the village has suddenly become cool again. The tiny stone houses are now filled with artists, their galleries and delicious local restaurants.
Enoteca la Torre, Viterbo - The Grape escape
Why do so many Romans drive the 100 mile round-trip to the Enoteca la Torre in Viterbo? Well, the setting is fabulous – the Etruscan town a muddle of winding streets and crumbling palazzo - the menu is full of local delicacies like rabbit stew and artichokes fettuccine, but the real draw is the monumental wine list. The cellar is regularly rated as one of the best in Italy (open Thu-Sun & Wed for dinner only).
Free time on your hands? Take your pick from the following gems
1. Trevignano – Surfing the volcano
Time to get wet. There’s great windsurfing, boating and swimming at this little village on the shores of Lake Bracciano. Thrill-seekers can ride the wind in the sheltered volcanic crater and then chill out exploring the medieval quarter or the ruins of the Orsini fortress.
2. Bagni di Tivoli – Glorious mud
This is a real indulgence – kick back round the sulphur pools of the Bagni di Tivoli with a poolside massage or one of their famous mud treatments. You'll be living like an Emperor – Nero himself had these waters transported all the way to Rome for his Imperial baths.
3. Sperlonga – Roman holiday
There are plenty of beaches just west of Rome, but it's worth taking the coast road to the spot where savvy Romans go if they have the time. Sperlonga is pure dolce vita – hidden sandy coves, chic boutiques and great seafood straight from the Med.
4. Bomarzo – Surreal estate
Orcs rub shoulders with dragons and nymphs in the Parco dei Mostri – Monster Park. A favourite of Dali and Cocteau, the rambling park is home to a series of bizarre statues. Wander through the menagerie and finish up with a picnic in the mouth of the giant's head.
5. Ponza – Fashion Island
This is a trip back in time. Follow the winding coast road to Anzio, then take the ferry to Ponza, a picturesque fishing island that's a favourite of designers like Valentino and Fendi. Rustic and unspoilt, it gives you a glimpse of what Capri was like before the tourists arrived ...