Rome is a city renowned for its endless layers of history, from ancient monuments and medieval churches right up to the architecture of the present day. You can easily spend weeks exploring its museums and galleries, but if you feel like escaping the city for a short road trip, the surrounding countryside offers similarly rich pickings for history buffs.
From Renaissance palaces and evocative ruins to exhibits of 20th-century technological progress, there are countless historic attractions located just two hours or less from the capital – making it easy to visit several in a day, even at a leisurely pace. Simply rent a car in Rome with Europcar and get ready for an exciting journey into Italy’s past…
Explore historic Italy on a day trip from Rome
For a glimpse of life in ancient Roman times, head west to the atmospheric ruins of Ostia Antica, once the chief seaport for the city of Rome. It’s easy to imagine the hustle and bustle of a busy trading centre at this well-preserved archaeological site. Or leap forward to the late Middle Ages with a visit to the mighty Castello Orsini-Odescalchi. Once home to the notorious Orsini and Borgia papal families, this feudal fortress is an excellent example of early Renaissance splendour.
Alternately, head east to Tivoli to relax in the stunning gardens at Villa d’Este. These elegant formal gardens are viewed as the epitome of Renaissance refinement and played an influential in the development of European landscaping. Or learn about Italy’s development throughout the 20th century at the Museo Piana Delle Orme, which features extensive collections of artefacts pertaining to agriculture, transport, toys and the Second World War, amongst other topics.
Check out our visual guide below for even more fascinating historic sites to explore, all just a short drive outside of Rome:
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