Deep in the Medieval backlands of Lazio

Castelli Romani's Medieval Villages Half-Day Trip from Rome

Day Trips & Excursions

Tour the medieval villages outside Rome on an afternoon excursion to the Castelli Romani region. You'll take a relaxing drive through the beautiful countryside surrounding the busy capital, see views of the Pope's summer residence of Castelgandolfo and enjoy a wine tasting at famous Frascati.

On your afternoon jaunt from Rome, you'll travel past the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla before taking the ancient Appian Way past the Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis. Along the way you'll pass the famous Castelli Romani village of Castelgandolfo, the Pope's summer residence.

Other villages you'll pass en route include Rocca di Papa and Grottaferrata, noted for their culture and gastronomic delicacies. The last stop on your afternoon excursion from Rome is a wine tasting at beautiful Frascati.

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  • Dining with a spectacular view of Rome!!

    Cruise on the Tiber River with Dinner

    Romantic Dinner in Rome

    Experience Rome with a magical evening in an exclusive environment - see the eternal city from the water while enjoying outstanding Italian cuisine!

    Boarding Point: Sant'Angelo Pier (opposite Sant’Angelo Castle, on the left bank)
    Cruise Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes approximately
    Departure Time: 9:00pm (customers are required to arrive 15 minutes before the departure)
    Reservation: Booking required
    Available Dates & Times: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from April 1 to October 31

    The Tiber Cruise Service includes:

    • Appetizer
    • First course
    • Main course with vegetable side dish
    • Dessert
    • Mineral water (0.5 liter)
    • Coffee
    • Background music

    Please Note:

    • Wine and soft drinks are not included in the basic price.
    • The menu is fixed, and changes every two weeks. According to catering availability and subject to confirmation at the moment of the reservation, changes can be made for justified reasons, such as allergies.

    Cancellation Policy:
    Individuals: Full refund for cancellations requested until two (2) days before the cruise

    Groups of over 15 people:

    • Full refund for cancellations or changes until 20 days before the cruise
    • 25% of the fee will be charged for cancellations or changes requested from 20 to 5 days before the cruise
    • No refund for cancellations or changes requested less than 5 days advance of the cruise date

    PLEASE NOTE: Immediately after submitting an order, you will receive an email with your order summary plus a second email confirming your successful payment. A confirmation email with links to the vouchers will be sent one business day after you place your order (Monday afternoon for orders submitted on Friday and during the weekend).

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  • The Wonderful thermal baths of Caracalla…


    Wonderful Terms of Caracalla

  • Gnammi Gnammi...Ice Cream!!!

    God's Own Ice Cream

    A gelato crawl to some of the best ice cream parlors in Rome, Italy

    When is really hot, eat always a good Ice - Cream !!

    Although not quite the ice cream mecca Florence is, Rome's gelato is still heavenly.

    Any gelateria (ice cream parlor) that advertises produzione propria (homemade) will have a high-quality, tasty stock, but who has the best gelato in town?

    Well, that's a question fiercely debated by any and all ice cream lovers.

    First, a few ground rules:

    • Don't call it ice cream. First thing to know, to call gelato "ice cream" is insulting to gelato and unfair to ice cream. Gelato is much richer, smoother, and more flavorful than ice cream.

      It is churned, not whipped (as is most traditional American ice cream), so it is far denser, giving it a richer mouth feel. Gelato also is not as laden with sugar and cream, so the subtle tastes of its flavoring comes through much better than in ice cream.
    • Get it at a gelateria: Second thing to know, gelato is something you go out for at a special parlor called a gelateria, and most of it is consumed during the early evening passeggiata stroll—not that gelaterie aren't equally busy during the heat of midday, or late at night...

      I mention this because, unlike in America, gelato is not typically eaten after a meal—or at least you typically don't order it at the restaurant.

      Restaurants often do offer "gelato" on their dessert menus, but this is almost always of the pre-packaged variety. This is fine (I'm partial to a tartufo, a Gobstopper-like sphere of vanilla, chocolate, and fudge dusted with cocoa) but it's not real gelato.

  • Cram in as many flavors as you can think of: Third thing to know, you pay by the size of the coppa (cup) or cono (cone), not by the scoop. That means you can (and are encouraged to) squeeze two or even three flavors into even the smallest cup.

    Italians taught me that even unusual pairs go great together; a personal favorite: cioccolato e limone (chocolate gelato and lemon sorbetto). No, really; try it.

    (Also most Italians order by the cup; the cone is a fun—if messy—American addition to the options, but not too popular).
  • The best gelaterie in Rome

    ★★★ San Crispino - Everyone's favorite "secret gelateria," which is code for "not (yet) crammed with tourists". In point of fact, it's a pretty poorly kept secret, for which we should all be thankful... Full story

    ★★ Caffè Giolitti - Perhaps the most famous gelateria in Rome, going strong since 1900 and still serving the best classic Roman ice cream... Full story

    Tre Scalini - Classy cafe on Piazza Navona serving the classic homemade tartufo, a gelato gobstopper with a cherry in the center... Full story

    The granita cart - On warm, Roman summer nights, the last remaining traditional shave-ice stand in Rome parks on the banks of the Tiber River in Trastevere.... Full story

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  • The World of Caravaggio

    Rome Art Walking Tour: See Caravaggio’s finest works for free

    There is something about Caravaggio that fascinates people. Even those who would normally prefer to cross a street of hot coals than spend time looking at paintings seem happy to make an exception for this rebel of Counter-Renaissance Art.

    To celebrate Rome’s Caravaggio exhibition that has just opened at the Villa Borghese (and runs through January 24, 2010), it seemed timely to look at this bad boy of the paintbrush and take a tour around Rome to see some of his masterpieces for free!

    So just who was Caravaggio?

    Whilst most artists of the Middle Ages were more soft ruffles than tough scuffles, Caravaggio was not afraid of a fight, a drink, and the odd murder to boot. Commission happy, the taste of luxury did not bring out his lighter side. As well as pushing the Catholic church to the edge with his dark religious paintings, he eventually lost his temper once too often. After killing a young man who beat him in a tennis match in the Campo Dei Fiori, he fled Rome with a price on his head. He finally died in exile, never learning that he had been given a Papal Pardon.

    Where can I see Caravaggio for free?

    Sant’ Agostino Church
    Via Sant’ Agostino

    The Madonna di Loreto (painted in 1605, pictured above) is hung in the first chapel on the left. The church is close to Piazza Navona, and also includes a Raphael fresco. The church is currently under restoration, but don’t be fooled. Under the scaffolding, it is still open so you can see the paintings. For those who are pregnant (or wish to be), touch the statue of the “Madonna del Parto” near the door as you leave for luck.

    San Luigi dei Francesi
    Via Giustiniani

    In the church of San Luigi dei Francesi you get three Caravaggio paintings for free with the Matthew trilogy, including  “The Calling of Saint Matthew”, “St. Matthew and the Angels”, and “The Matrydom of Saint Matthew”. This church is close to the centre, a short walk from the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, and next to the French institute with its wonderful bookshop.

    Santa Maria Del Popolo
    Piazza Del Popolo

    This church is about a 20-minute walk from the historic centre, or you can take the Metro Linea A to Flaminio. Here you can find two paintings, the “Conversion of St. Paul” and “The Crucifixion of St. Peter”, so well worth the journey.

    Please note that many churches are closed between 1 PM – 4 PM, but usually stay open in the evening until around 7 PM.

    And if I want to pay?

    Well if you are at the Santa Maria del Popolo, it is just a short walk up the hill to the Galleria Borghese, and its wonderful park. Here you can see three Caravaggio works, “Sick Bacchus”, “Boy with Bag of Fruit” and “Madonna dei Palafrenieri”. Entrance will cost you €8.50 but you also get to see the amazing Bernini sculpture of “Daphne and Apollo” amongst many other treasures.

    At the moment, you can also access the Caravaggio and Bacon exhibition, on through January 24. Note that for the Galleria Borghese, you need to book in advance as only a limited number are allowed in at any one time (more details here).

    Lastly, you can see the “Gypsy Fortune Teller” at the Capitoline Museums, entrance fee €6.50. Don’t forget that both of these museums are included in the Roma Pass, which is a 3-day pass that gives you free access to two museums, free travel on Rome’s public transport, and discounts to other museums and attractions. The pass costs €23. (read more about the Roma Pass).

    About the author: Samantha Collins is a freelance travel writer and editor, who has lived in Rome for the past two years.  She is originally from Manchester in the UK.  Read all about her adventures by visiting her blog,

  • You need Internet and a Caffè??


    Online at the Launderette: Il Massello
    Why waste time while you’re waiting for the dryer? Computer screens line the entrance to this laundromat. Put a few coins in the slot and you can create and print documents as well as surf the net. There are also phone booths providing low rates for international calls.
    Via San Francesco a Ripa, 62 (Trastevere)
    Open daily from 7 am - 10:30 pm

    Online at the Wine Bar: Good
    One of the most pleasant places to get online, if you have your own laptop, this café and wine bar is equipped with WiFi so you can get online at an outside table, as well as inside the bar itself. Wireless acess from 7 am to 6:30 pm. Coffees, a limited food menu, wines, appertivi. DJ set from 7:30 pm. It's just a few steps from John Cabot University, which makes it a hub for students.
    Via di Santa Dorotea 89 (Trastevere) tel 06 97277979

    Online at the Museum: Museo del Corso
    The Museo del Corso in the heart of Rome's most active shopping street, offers a sleek internet cafe in the lobby. You can see the exhibition and then write home about it without leaving the premises.
    Via del Corso, 320 (near Piazza Venezia) tel 06 678 6209

    Online at the Pub: Abbey Theater
    A real Irish pub where you can order a brew while surfing the net. Offering Guiness and typical Irish dishes. Open noon- 2 am
    Via del Governo Vecchio, 51 (Piazza Navona) tel 06 686 1341

    Online at La Casa del Caffé Tazza D’Oro
    Rome's famous coffee house now has an adjacent Internet café. You can sit at individual workspaces and get online while ordering a great cappuccino.
    Via dei Pastini, 2 tel O6 678 9792 (Pantheon)

    Online at the Internet Café: Fico
    This tiny café near the Piazza Navona offers scanning, printing and software training as well as Internet access —and coffee.
    Vicolo del Fico, 17 (Navona)

    Online at the computer repair shop: Rendweb
    In the heart of the ghetto, Rendweb sells software in English and rents and repairs computers. You can surf the net here or take a course to update your software skills.
    Via Portico D’Ottavia 2 (Ghetto)

    Online at Mailboxes, Etc.
    The familiar American chain is now open in Rome, providing packing and shipping services, as well as Internet access.
    Via del Gesù, 91 (Pantheon)

    You can now get online with your laptop in the park, café or historic site of your choice. Here's a list of hotspots within the city of Rome.

    Circo Massimo/Piazza della Bocca della Verità
    Campidoglio (Protomoteca e Palazzo Senatorio)
    Mercati Traianei/Via Quattro Novembre
    Villa Borghese-Casa del Cinema
    Villa-Borghese-Torre dell'Acquamarcia
    Villa Borghese-La Meridiana
    Villa Borghese-Casina del Graziano
    Villa Borghese-Museo Canonica
    Villa Borghese-Via dell'Aranciera
    Villa Borghese-Casina Valadier
    Piazza di Pietra
    Piazza di Sant'Ignazio
    Piazza Pasquino
    Piazza Navona
    Via Dei Coronari/Piazza San Salvatore in Lauro - in manutenzione
    Villa Torlonia-Casina delle Civette
    Villa Paganini-Edificio Servizio Giardini
    Villa Ada - Cascianese Country Club
    Villa Ada - Zona Laghetto
    Villa Ada - Ingresso Via Salaria - Edificio Servizi Giardini
    Villa Doria Pamphili - Ingresso Via Aurelia Antica 183
    Piazza Campo de' Fiori
    Largo di Torre Argentina/Largo Arenula
    Piazza Di Spagna - Keats and Shelley House
    Fontana di Trevi
    Piazza della Rotonda/Pantheon - Coming Soon
    Castel Sant'Angelo - in manutenzione
    Teatro Marcello
    Auditorium Parco della Musica - aree esterne
    Eur-Piazzale Konrad Adenauer (Bar Palombini)
    Eur-Piazzale Metro Palasport (Help Point Palasport)
    Eur-Passeggiata del Giappone (Help Point Piscina delle Rose)
    Eur-Piazzale Stazione Metro Fermi (Help Point Fermi)
    Eur-Safe Zone Palazzo ENI (Adiacente Viale Africa)
    Eur-Viale Cristoforo Colombo
    Eur-Largo Ataturk (Help Point Bar Giolitti)
    Eur-Viale Oceania (Help Point Cefalonia)

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