The New Year will bring some changes in the way we organise our tours – fewer group activities around the Eternal City and more cultural and culinary trips from Rome. Walks Inside Rome might be based in the historic centre of the Italian capital, but our specialism extends beyond the city of Rome itself. This blog post takes you through a range of new exciting experiences we’ll be offering in the New Year, both in the environs of Rome and further afield, taking you off the beaten path to discover an authentic side of Italy.
The Pope’s Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo
Home to the pope’s summer residence in the hills surrounding the shimmering waters of Lake Albano, Castel Gandolfo promises those who visit the perfect day trip from Rome. Its lush, landscaped gardens, richly furnished papal palace, and 25 hectares of farmland ripe with fresh produce provide all the divine inspiration imaginable away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. What’s more, since in March 2014, Pope Francis opened the Apostolic Palace to the public, all of it is waiting for you to come and explore.
Walks Inside Rome offer a unique experience, combining a tour of the papal palace and its gardens with a hands-on cooking class on the papal farm. Perfect the art of Italian cooking, drawing on recipes refined over generations and unique to the estate, with all the organic produce freshly sourced from the papal estate itself.
→ Check out our Day Trip to the Pope’s Summer Residence
Cappellacci del prete is one example of a dish you might prepare. Meaning ‘priest hats’ in Italian (you’ll see why from their shape!), this packed pasta consists of hand-rolled ravioli stuffed with several kinds of local meats and cooked in butter and freshly sourced sage.
Of course no Italian meal would be complete without indulgent dolci, so another classic cooked up here is cannoli. Similar to the Sicilian sweet treat of the same name, these heavenly rolls of joy ooze with ricotta taken straight from the farm.
The Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri
Not many people know about the history of the Etruscans, but this ancient civilization played a fundamental role in the genesis of Rome. Before the rise of Rome, the Etruscans were the true rulers of much of Italy. Ferocious warriors, but also lovers of art, they occupied vast swathes of territory and even furnished Rome with her first kings.Etruscan traces can be found all over Italy – even in the name of the central region of Tuscany. But few places house such a wealth of Etruscan treasures as Cerveteri, just outside Rome. Its vast necropolis is populated with tombs built to imitate the daily life of their dead, and thus give a very vivid impression of how these people lived more than 2,000 years ago.
The Etruscan necropolis at Cerveteri is truly one of the undiscovered gems of Rome’s surrounding countryside. This UNESCO world heritage site spans a staggering 400 hectares of tumulus-type tombs dating as far back as the 9th century BC. It’s a delight to explore on one of your trips from Rome, and you’re guaranteed to have it almost entirely to yourself. So next time you’re in Rome, unleash your inner Indiana Jones and come and explore Cerveteri!
→ Book your Day Trip to Cerveteri
Roam Hadrian’s Villa in the hillside town of Tivoli
The sprawling 300-acre ruins of Villa Adriana are lined with groves of olive trees and sprightly ponds. statue-lined fountains between the ruins. Architecture that has stood the test of time is brought to life with statues of Antonious, Hadrian’s deified lover who died tragically in the Nile, and posed crocodiles lining long pools surrounded by eroded columns. The natural-yet-vivacious quality of these ruins somewhat mirrors the quality of the villa during the 2nd century AD when it was sprawling with people: workers, shops, students, teachers–a small countryside city.
Villa Adriana becomes an interactive historical park with your informative guide leading you through each section of this impressively expansive estate: the foundation of the old hospital, the arches of Hadrian’s baths, the aforementioned ponds, and the overlooks into the valley below. Experience what life was like for emperor Hadrian, his lover Antonious, and the common folk who lived and worked here first-hand.
Lose yourself in wonder at Villa D’Este’s flowing fountains
From the outside Villa d’Este looks like any other small medieval castle, but this wouldn’t be the first time the phrase “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” comes to mind. Tucked around a corner in the center of Tivoli lies Villa d’Este. Once your guide leads you through the admittedly long entrance, a world of wonder and baffling beauty unfolds before your eyes. Tiers of lush foliage and tumbling waters fill the center of this town and villa with awe-inspiring beauty.
While the gardens of Villa d’Este are a beauty in and of themselves, the true wonder is the fountains. The blend of artistry and engineering that manifests itself in these 16th-century hydraulic fountains is truly a sight to behold. The villa even opens itself for evening viewers during the summer months, allowing spectators to view the spectacular gardens and fountains in the warmth of twilight or moonlight.
→ Book your Day Trip to Villa D’Este
Trips from Rome to other regions
Because Rome’s region of Lazio is centrally situated, visitors here are perfectly placed to visit other nearby provinces. Here’s a short list of our top recommended trips from Rome to some of the must-see highlights of the Bel Paese:
- Florence: We offer a wide range of day trips from Rome to Florence, immersing you in the immense cultural patrimony of the Cradle of the Renaissance. As well as tours of the Accademia and Uffizi Galleries (two of the world’s most impressive collections of Renaissance art), we will be bringing you tailored experiences giving you a more intimate insight into Florentine life. Food tours, artisan tours, and sensory experiences in a medieval perfumery are just some of the new tours to watch out for in 2021!
- Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast: Visiting Pompeii – a city frozen in time by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE – is a truly unforgettable experience. Easily reachable by car from the regional capital of Naples, Pompeii is an archaeological treasure trove of tangible ancient history, giving you the most intimate experience of how Roman life was 2,000 years ago.
- Venice: The City of Canals is a must-visit on any trip to Italy. Its distance from Rome means an overnight stay is advisable (don’t worry – we can organise your accommodation if you contact us), but a couple of days in Venice can be as nourishing for the mind as it is for the stomach! Orientation tours, boat trips to the islands of Murano and Burano, and down the Grand Canal are all worthwhile, but our offer for next year dives deeper into Venetian culture – offering mask-making and chocolate tasting workshops and kid-friendly courses where you learn to ride your own gondola!
Contact Us to book your day trips from Rome
All our private tours are fully customizable, meaning you can add and combine whatever you want to shape your experience. Contact us to start customizing a tour program for you and your family, both in Rome and in other wonderful destinations across Italy.
If you have any questions or need any more information about our services, fill out the form on our website, send us an email, call us or chat with us on WhatsApp.
We look forward to meeting you soon so we can start exploring Italy together!