I love Rome, the capital of Italy so much. It might be my favorite city to visit. For my 4th visit, I allocated 11 days in Rome. But I decided to leave the city after 4 days and take a road trip in the regions of Lazio and Umbria. I visited numerous interesting places around Rome that most people visit on day trips from Rome. But I decided to string them all together and make one circular road trip from Rome. Here is my 7-days road trip itinerary for Lazio and Umbria.
In this Lazio and Umbria Road Trip Itinerary guide, I share my personal experiences and recommendations for a road trip from Rome. I was not paid or sponsored.
Besides useful tips and links, this post also contains affiliate links for other useful tips and referrals. I have gathered all the information and links for your convenience. I
f you decide to purchase something via one of my links, I will earn a small commission. This comes at no extra cost to you but helps me provide these free guides to you.
7-Day Lazio and Umbria Road Trip Itinerary from Rome
- Practical Tips for your Road Trip from Rome
- Renting a car in Rome
- Lazio and Umbria Road Trip from Rome
- 7-day Lazio and Umbria Itinerary
- Rome to Cerveteri
- Cerveteri to Viterbo
- Viterbo to Orvieto
- Orvieto to Perugia and Assisi
- Assisi to Tivoli
- Tivoli to Castelli Romani
- Costs for Lazio and Umbria Road Trip from Rome
- 7-Day Road Trip from Rome
Practical Tips for your Road Trip from Rome
This is a long post, full with practical tips, recommendations and insights to help you plan the same road trip itinerary or part of it. Feel free to save it to come back to it later or skip ahead to the section that interests you now. Click on one of the links below and you’ll jump straight ahead:
- Renting a car in Rome
- Driving in Rome
- Lazio Region in Italy
- Umbria Region in Italy
- 7-day Lazio and Umbria Road Trip Itinerary
- Rome to Cerveteri
- Cerveteri to Viterbo
- Viterbo to Orvieto
- Orvieto to Perugia and Assisi
- Assisi to Tivoli
- Tivoli to Castelli Romani
- Costs for Lazio and Umbria Road Trip from Rome
Renting a car in Rome
Driving in Rome must be one of the most horrible things to do. That, or finding a parking spot in Rome. And I’m not even talking about the different zones where you can or can’t go in your car in Rome. I contemplated going back to the airport to rent the car and never drive in Rome, but it was just not practical or affordable. So in this case, I decided to rent a car from the Termini train station in Rome for 7 days. I would return it at the airport for my return flight home.
The car rental desks at the Termini Station can be found all the way outside the station. They cannot be reached from within the station. If you face the Termini station from the front, go to the right and walk until you’ll nearly reach the food court. That’s where all the car rental desks are.
I used a car rental comparison website and after comparing my needs and options, I found a reasonably priced options from Rome Termini train station.
Driving in Rome
The car park for rental cars is a bit further along the street. So be prepared to haul your luggage around a bit. I was nervous about getting out of the parking garage as the street was one way and very busy. I decided to follow the flow of traffic and tried to follow my navigation system which actually went quite well. The advantage of slow traffic is that you have all the time in the world to look where you’re going and make adjustments if needed. It took me over an hour to leave Rome but that was due to traffic and not getting lost. I was soooo relieved when I found myself on the motorway outside of Rome! Because I did it! I drove in Rome and I survived.
Having said that, I really don’t recommend driving in Rome. Avoid it when possible. So don’t pick up the car and try to bring it back to your hotel to pick up luggage or family members. Get out of Rome as quickly as possible.
Lazio and Umbria Road Trip from Rome
For this road trip, my start and finish were Rome. When researching interesting places and a logic route, I found the most interesting things north of Rome. I decided to focus on this area. Most places I visited are in the Lazio area and a small part in Umbria.
Lazio is one of the 20 regions in Italy. Its capital is Rome which is also the capital of Italy. Lazio is the second most populated region of Italy. I think that is due to the huge amount of people living in the Rome area as the rest of the region I visited was quite empty.
Lazio has some nice sandy beaches and it is mainly flat. Places of interest are of course Rome and surrounding areas. Another interesting stop on this Lazio road trip is Viterbo. Lazio is also the name of the popular football (or soccer) club of Rome.
How to get to Lazio?
Airports: You can fly into one of Rome’s 2 airports, Leonardo Da Vinci (Fiumicino) International Airport (FCO) or Ciampino Airport (CIA), the little low-budget airport south of Rome.
Boats: Cruise Ships dock at Civitavecchia harbor from where you can arrange a shuttle to Rome.
Trains: Rome Termini Train Stations is one of the biggest train stations I have ever seen. Most high-speed trains from north to south Italy have a stop or change here. Smaller cities and towns in Lazio can also be reached by train.
Road: You can of course drive from elsewhere in Italy to Lazio. The roads are pretty decent but expect to pay toll on ring roads and major interstate roads. The E35 continues into the E45 from Florence to Rome. International buses service Rome frequently.
Foot: All roads lead to Rome right? It has been and I guess it always will be. On my epic bucket list is a spot reserved for a long-distance walking trip to Rome. The epic Camino Francigena from Canterbury to Rome goes through the region. On many occasions, you’ll see the pilgrim’s sign.
The region of Umbria is located in the heart of Italy. The region’s capital is Perugia which is one of the main places of interest. Other interesting stops are Orvieto, Assisi, and Terni. Umbria is dominated by rolling hills and historic little towns and villages. Bigger brother Tuscany with Florence and Siena is never too far away.
How to get to Umbria?
Airports: Umbria only has one airport, the Aeroporto Internazionale dell’Umbria or Perugia airport. Also called the San Francesco d’Assisi airport. The international airport code is PEG.
Trains: Perugia and Orvieto can be reached easily by train. Probably from Rome or Florence.
Road: Either by car or by bus, you’ll probably drive along the E35 from Florence to Rome or take smaller S-roads from Perugia to Rome.
7-day Lazio and Umbria Itinerary
Now, after that short introduction of Lazio and Umbria, let’s get to it. I planned my Rome road trip myself and in no way, it is complete or covers everything there is to see in Lazio and Umbria. But with only 7 days, you have to make some choices. I tried my best to string all the places of interest together. The goal was to make one circular route with no backtracking and a small amount of driving each day. The drive from Assisi to Trevi was a long drive but things like this are inevitable on a road trip.
In most places, I stayed one night. As I usually arrived in the afternoon, the things I did were spread out between late afternoon or early morning.
Rome to Cerveteri
I left Rome on a Monday morning as most museums and sights of interest are closed on Mondays. It is the perfect day for a drive. I picked up my rental car from Termini train station in the late afternoon. Mainly because, in the morning and afternoon, I took an amazing Via Appia Bike Tour. It took me roughly an hour to get out of Rome and then another hour to drive from Rome to Cerveteri.
This little town is known for its Etruscan history and I was eager to discover it. I booked a lovely rural bed and breakfast style accommodation just outside of Cerveteri. This was a great place to escape the hectic of Rome. Because I arrived rather late, there was only room for a short stroll around town and a delicious meal at the local Mexican place.
I stayed one night at Villa Kinai just outside Cerveteri. It has on-site parking, lovely big rooms, and an amazing patio where breakfast is served in the morning. Check for prices and availability here.
Things to do in Cerveteri
The next morning, after a more than luxurious breakfast, I set out to explore the Cerveteri Necropolis to visit the Etruscan tombs at Necropoli della Banditaccia. The ancient civilization of Etruscans outdated the Romans and many of Rome’s cultural practices and beliefs, come from the Etruscans.
At the Necropolis of Cerveteri, you can walk among the ancient burial hills and enter some grave chambers. It was a lovely spring morning and I enjoyed a lovely walk from a car park to the sight and roamed in between ancient burial mounds. There is a video at the visitor center showing the history and unearthing of the burial hills which was really interesting.
In the old town of Cerveteri you can also find the fortress which houses the Etruscan Museum of Cerveteri with numerous grave treasures and other finds. As I wanted to continue my road trip in Lazio, I decided to skip the old town of Cerveteri and I continued to Viterbo.
I think I’ve spent roughly 2 hours or maybe 2,5 hours exploring Cerveteri, but this was also due to my walk in the countryside as I parked my car too far from the entrance. There is a parking lot right at the entrance.
If you have more time or like a detour, you can also visit Tarquinia which has even more Etruscan burial mounds and history.
Cerveteri to Viterbo
After my visit to the Necropolis of Cerveteri, I continued to Viterbo. As I really wanted to visit the old hilltop town of Calcata Vecchia, I decided to skip Tarquinia and Tuscania and go to Lake Bracciano instead. From there, I took the country roads to Calcata Vecchia and via the SR2 I finished the day in Viterbo.
Lake Bracciano (Lago di Bracciano) is a volcanic lake not far from Rome. The water from the lake serves to provide Rome from drinking water. To protect the quality of the water in the lake, motorized boats are banned and the water quality is under strict control. This makes it one of the cleanest and quietest lakes to relax at. I figured it would make for a perfect lunch spot on my road trip from Cerveteri to Viterbo but just as I arrived at the lake, thunder clouds rolled in and I experienced a big downpour.
Allocate roughly 1 hour or half the day, depending on the weather and your need to take a dip in the lake.
Because of the weather, I continued to Calcata Vecchia. This old hilltop town is one of scenic Instagram fabulousness. I parked the car in “New” Calcata and walked back along the road to Old Calcata. Unfortunately, the sun played hide and seek behind thick thunderstorm clouds so I had to wait for my ultimate moment to snap a picture. In all honesty, I was a bit disappointed with the village. The whole village was abandoned and I didn’t find a nice lunch spot.
I stopped for maybe half an hour to visit Calcata and walked around town. As it lacked the vibe I was looking for, I continued. In summer it is busier and you might want to spend 1 to 2 hours there. The drive to Calcata and back to the main road was really bad, so take this into consideration when planning your route.
Calcata was quite a detour but in the end, it was a lovely drive through the countryside of Lazio. However, in the end, I was happy to arrive in Viterbo. I picked a hotel in the old town center with onsite car parking, but it was slightly problematic to arrive at the hotel. Viterbo is a typical old walled medieval town with narrow one-way streets, impossible turns, and millions of cobblestones. Luckily, the owner helped me park the car and I was pleasantly surprised by my lovely hotel room with a canopy bed and how silent the hotel was. Absolutely loved it.
Palazzo Riario is located in the old town of Viterbo. It offers on-site parking and has lovely breakfast options too. Check for prices and availability here.
Things to do in Viterbo
Once I had the car parked I didn’t even unpack my suitcase. I just couldn’t wait to explore Viterbo. I walked around town and found loads of interesting things to see. The whole city is surrounded by old walls and gates, like to the Roman gate or the gate of truth.
But the main thing to do in Viterbo is a visit to the Papal Palace of Viterbo. Did you know Viterbo once housed the longest conclave in papal history? The Papal Palace tells you all about it and shows you where the Cardinals would pitch their tent during the conclave as it wasn’t covered back in the day.
After my visit to the Duomo of Viterbo and the Papal Palace, I roamed around the streets of Viterbo. I found many references to the pilgrims’ route to Rome but also lovely little churches, houses, streets, and amazing views of the city. In the end, I ended up in the shopping street and indulged in an early dinner (as I still hadn’t had lunch yet) with amazing truffle pasta at Osteria del Vecchio Orologio.
I spent the afternoon and evening walking around Viterbo. For the Duomo and the Papal Palace take 1 to 1.5 hours depending on your interest in reading all the signs. For roaming around Viterbo, take as much time as you have.
Viterbo to Orvieto
In all fairness, I didn’t expect that much of Viterbo but I really liked it a lot! Too bad, I had to leave again the next morning. But I left early, as I wanted to stop at numerous places along the route, before arriving in Orvieto. From Viterbo, I followed to SR2 to Bolsena, and then I went inland to find the small town of Civita di Bagnoregio. From there, I meandered through the countryside via de SP6 and SP 12 to Orvieto.
I’m not even sure how I found this little town, but I’m sure glad I did. Montefiascone is a small hill town village that once houses the summer residence of the Popes. Now the Palace di Papi is situated all the way at the top of the hill, with striking views over Lake Bolsena. Sadly I couldn’t visit the interior of the old Pope’s Palace, but I had fun roaming around the little town, stopping at the churches and enjoyed the park that surrounds the Rocca dei Papi.
I think I spent about 1.5 hours in Montefiascone. Mainly because I took my time to enjoy the views and the serenity of the place. If you visit later during the day, it makes for an excellent lunch spot.
Bolsena Lake and Bolsena
As soon as I laid eyes on Lake Bolsena from Montefiascone, I wanted to see it up close. The crater lake sits just so lovely in the surrounding with cute little villages dotted around it. I drove along the lake on the SR2 towards Bolsena. I drove through the town and parked my car near Rocca Monaldeschi della Cervara, also called the castle of Bolsena.
Although I was not really impressed by the castle itself, the views from the ramparts and towers are strikingly impressive. But guess what? Some rain was rolling in again so after a short stroll around the medieval streets, lined by flower pots and flags, I returned to my car.
I spent about 1 to 1.5 hours in Bolsena but I can easily see how you can spent the whole afternoon in the little village or at the shore of Lake Bolsena.
Civita di Bagnoregio
I continued to Civita di Bagnoregio on the SP54. This postcard-perfect hilltop town is the poster child of hilltops towns. Not only does it sit on a hill surrounded by lush green vegetation, no no, but you can also only access it by a long footbridge, spanning the canyon. Under the right angle, it looks like the hilltop just sits in a crater of green with no way to access it.
I drove towards Civita di Bagnoregio and parked the car when I thought I was fairly close. I walked to the main entry point from where you have a stellar view of the town and surrounding. It really is dramatic and drop-dead gorgeous at the same time. If the weather is nicer, I strongly recommend to take a hike in the area but when I visited, rain and thunderstorm hailed down on the region. Nevertheless, I decided to take the footpath towards Civita di Bagnoregio.
And I was not alone! The little village is extremely popular with cruise groups and other day-trippers. I was amazed by how many people crawled the tiny hilltop. I walked around in the rain for a few streets, but it is really small so I decided to wait in line for a seat at a local restaurant for lunch. Packed to the brim with families and day-trippers, I was squeezed in at a table (the benefits of a solo traveler) and had an amazing lunch.
All in all, my trip to Civita di Bagnoregio took almost 2.5 hours. 2 hours consisted of having lunch, 2 times 15 minutes to walk back and forth over the footbridge and maybe an extra 5 minutes to walk around town. The best views of Civita di Bagnoregio are from the viewing point of the valley.
You need to pay €3,00 to walk across the bridge. You can see this as an entrance fee to visit the village.
I continued via the SP12 to Orvieto, my stop for the day. I was hoping that the weather would be better but sadly this wasn’t the case. To my disappointment, I also arrived too late to join any of the tours of the underground area of Orvieto so my experiences in Orvieto were a bit washed out. I think I have to go back later. I found the Duomo of Orvieto absolutely stunning and the whole town is lovely. But after walking back and forth a second time, there wasn’t much to do in the evening. I had a hard time finding a decent restaurant that wasn’t completely abandoned and finally settled for a pizza place that only had tourists in it. So far the local experience.
I did have a local experience as I stayed at a B&B on the edge of the old town. I could park on the owner’s parking spot and had a full apartment to myself. Check out B&B Santa Chiara in Orvieto here.
Things to do in Orvieto
One of the main features and not to miss sights in Orvieto is the Duomo of Orvieto. Her gold facade shines brightly against the pastel colored pink and green marble. The interior was familiar with the dark and lighter marble alternating in a stripy pattern, just like inside the Siena and Pisa Duomo.
Sadly, I was too late to join one of the underground tours of Orvieto. The city is famous for its underground maze-like structure and you can visit the tunnels with a tour from the local tourist office.
I did enjoy the views from the village edges and the lovely narrow streets of Orvieto. The town does have that old Italian charm but the rain clouded my judgment slightly.
I spent most of the late afternoon and evening strolling around Orvieto. The main focus is on the main square, but if you venture further away, you’ll be treated to sweeping views, narrow streets where time stood still and delightful Umbrian charm. I think half a day in Orvieto would be enough but you can stretch that enjoy it for a full day.
Orvieto to Perugia and Assisi
On the 4th day of my itinerary around Lazio and Umbria, it was time to visit Perugia and Assisi. I contemplated forever if I should stay in Perugia or Assisi and how to visit both. Luckily, I decided to head out early to Perugia and visit the city for the day, before continuing to Assisi where I would stay for the night. In the end, I was very happy with my decision.
I left Orvieto the morning of the famous car race, the Mille Miglia, that would cross Orvieto later that day. I took the SS317 towards Perugia and navigated to a car park that I found online. From there, it would only take a few escalators up to the old center of Perugia.
Things to do in Perugia
Perugia is the capital of the Umbria region and quite a bigger city. Also located on a hilltop, I parked the car at a parking garage and made my way up via one of the numerous escalators. At some of the last ones, you walk through ancient arched underground hallways, cut into the stone. It was nice and cool underground but as soon as I resurfaced in the center of Perugia, the warm sun welcomed me with bright shiny arms. I was not prepared for that!
I followed the main crowds and found myself in a broad shopping street with at the end of it the lovely Piazza IV November. The giant base of the fountain was a lovely sight, surrounded by the impressive San Lorenzo Cathedral and the majestic Hall of Notaries. Where at that moment, an EU-press conference took place with loads of cameras, which added to the charm of the building, to see it in full use.
Perugia is the perfect food stop
I visited the chocolate store, popped my head into the cathedral which was about the close and had a gelato while watching the people pass the central square. After that, I roamed around Perugia, passed the courthouse, meandered through the small streets, walked underneath medieval arches and enjoyed the view from one of the lovely gardens.
I also had a lovely lunch and did some souvenir shopping. The owner of the shop asked if I wanted to see the best view of Perugia and directed me upstairs. A tiny window opened up to the hills around Perugia and in the distance, I could see Assisi. I was so cute and lovely, I immediately paid for my souvenirs and I headed for the parking lot!
I think I spend 3 hours in Perugia, including lunch. It was a bit hot and I was quite tired. But with more energy, I can easily see how you can walk around Perugia all day, finding new treasures in the small streets and numerous photo shoots with the rolling hills in the distance.
Things to do in Assisi
It was an easy drive from Perugia to Assisi and within an hour, I stood at the base of the hill on which Assisi sits. It was lovely to see the famous Franciscan monastery sit at the edge of the hill. What a view! I couldn’t wait to see it up close.
Because I spent considerably less time in Perugia than I thought I would, therefore I arrived earlier in Assisi. I parked my car and I set out to explore Assisi. Because I arranged for the host of the hotel to meet me around 4 pm at the parking lot, I had roughly 2 hours to explore Assisi before that.
Walking through the cobbled stone streets, I experienced an electric buzz. The place was so alive with people. Mostly tourists but here and there a lonesome old woman would slowly move up the street and the place immediately got under my skin.
I was wowed as soon as I reached the main square, Piazza del Comune, and took in the ancient temple like columns of the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva and the Torre del Popolo next to it. To my delight, I found the Roman Forum and Archaeological Museum. I figured I’d explore them later because I wanted to head to the monastery.
The Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi
I walked down the streets of Assisi and slowly saw the shops change from touristic souvenirs to religious paraphernalia. The street inevitable lead to the raison d’etre of Assisi, the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. It was grand! I might have picked my jaw up from the ground.
The basilica might have not been the biggest or most luxurious, but the way the upper church sits on top of the lower church, with the perfectly manicured lawn in front of it and a million staircase on the side. I was in awe!
I first visited the upper church and it was packed with tour groups, day-trippers, and pilgrims! A million whispers make quite the noise and I felt absolutely overwhelmed.
Too bad you’re not allowed to take pictures inside the church but the ceiling is beautiful with bright blue colors and amazing depictions on all the walls of the church of the life of St. Francis.
There was an exhibition of the earthquake and the collapse of the room of the church which was interesting to see. It makes you realize how amazing it is that old buildings like these can still survive today and we can visit them all over the world.
I moved to the lower church and treasury before moving back up again and tried to take things in again. Time was not on my side, so I decided to head back and meet my host at the parking lot at the other side of town.
Book you Assisi Basilica of St. Francis video guide in advance here.
It took me 2 hours to explore the Church of Assisi and take in the sights of this small town.
Where to stay in Assisi?
If you’re staying in the cute Italian medieval tiny town, wouldn’t it be great to have your own apartment and feel like a local? Like you have a key to that hidden door at the main plaza where all the buzz is and you’re in the hearth of all the action? But without the noise, the excessive bill but with the comfort and a welcoming host to greet you?
I found all that in Assisi. I stayed one night at the Apartment Aurora Della Rosa in the heart of Assisi. My host waited for me at the parking lot and he drove me across town, via secret passageways to the front of the apartment. It was located right next to Torre del Popolo at the main square. A private apartment all for myself with all the comfort you want but for an affordable price. I was super excited. See if the apartment is free when you’re visiting Assisi here.
Sunset at Assisi
After check-in, I took some time to freshen up and intrigued by St. Francis, I decided to read up on his story. It was so interesting, I almost lost track of the time. Sunset would be at 8 pm and I wanted to be back at the Basilica to capture it as the sunset. I nearly ran through Assisi to make it there on time. I quickly snapped some pictures and settled in on the small wall looking for that one epic shot when the light would be best.
The place was now totally abandoned and from the corner of my eye, I saw 4 nuns approach the church. The nocked on the door but it was already closed. I couldn’t believe my luck. The sunset and the church made for a lovely picture, but being so deserted, it missed something interesting to catch the eye. What better subject could walk into my frame than a group of Franciscan nuns!
As the nuns passed me, I asked them if they approved that I took their picture. They were happy to see it and we started chatting. It turned out they were a bunch of American nuns, flown in all the way from the States to be in Assisi for a few weeks. They had just arrived and were just a few minutes too late to enter the church. We had quite a nice conversation and they added a lot of value to my trip and stay in Assisi. This encounter and lovely sunset can only happen if you stay overnight in Assisi and have all the time of the world.
After a splendid pizza dinner in Assisi, it was time to call it a night.
I loved roaming around Assisi for the evening, if you can, allocate a full day in Assisi or at least half a day to explore and take in the sites and the atmosphere of this lovely village.
Assisi to Tivoli
With pain in my heart, I packed my suitcase and left the apartment in Assisi. I can easily see myself living there for a couple of days or even weeks! Assisi is the cutest town ever and the region is very interesting. Sadly, it was time for me to move. I have a long drive ahead of me.
From Assisi, I took the SS75 to Spello. I slowly made my way south, stopping at Spoleto and Terni. My final stop for the day would be Tivoli.
Stops along the way in Umbria and Lazio
Spello is a cute small village, famous for the flower pots and flower decorations in the old town. As it was on the way, it was a no brainer to stop there. I could easily park outside the village walls and meander through the village.
Maybe I had seen enough small cute village, or it was too early in the morning but after an hour or so of walking around in Spello, I decided to move on.
The main reason to stop at Spoleto was to catch one of Arnaldo Pomodoro’s statues. The village looked really appealing but I was getting tired from driving and I wanted to reach Tivoli quickly. I didn’t stop in Spoleto but snap a quick picture of the statue and continued.
Same happened to me at Terni. This was a much bigger town and traffic was typical Italian style chaotic. It took a long time before I found the right route to the Arnaldo Pomodoro statue and then it took forever to get out of town. By now, I was very tired and made my way to Tivoli.
Things to do in Tivoli
Once I got to Tivoli, I parked my car at the main parking place in the center of the town. In the end, I had to pay 7€ for parking which wasn’t so bad considering it was overnight. From there, it was an easy stroll into the old town where I stayed in a charming B&B style accommodation in a converted old tower.
I checked into my hotel for the night and took a moment the refresh myself. I was so tired but decided to go to the Tivoli Gardens anyways. It was roughly 4 pm and I had some time to explore it.
Tivoli Gardens at Villa d’Este
Located at the other end of the old town, the Tivoli Gardens were not easy for me to find. Maybe I might have missed a small little sign from the street where I came from, so I had quite the stroll around town. I walked around the 15th-century fortress, the Rocca Pia, which looked really interesting.
In the end, I finally found Villa d’Este with the Tivoli Gardens and went in. Because it was raining, I walked around the house/museum first but I didn’t find it that interesting. Maybe it is but I felt a bit rushed and unsettled. As the rain stopped, I decided to go outside and explore Tivoli Gardens.
I can see why this is such a popular day trip from Rome. Escape the busy city and wander around in the lush green gardens with all those water fountains and sprouting ornaments. As more rain and thunderstorms rolled in, it was quite a spectacular view with the rainbows above the fountains and water everywhere.
I did find the Tivoli Gardens at Villa d’Este a bit overrated. For an entrance price of €13, I didn’t find the place so well maintained. Cigarette buds everywhere, broken tiles and balustrades and everywhere the epidemic growth of green moss (I know it is inherent to a place with so much water, but you’d think they maintain it a little bit better and not let it become so rundown.)
In the evening, I took another stroll around town, eating gelato, watching the local people interact and I enjoyed one of the small bars and had aperitivo. Although I didn’t like Villa d’Este that much, the town has a nice vibe to it when all the day trippers have gone back to Rome.
I stayed in an ancient village tower that was right in the center of the old town. From my room, I really felt part of the local’s life and I had a great breakfast from the lovely lady who runs the place. Check for prices and availability in Tivoli at the Antica Torre here.
I explored Villa d’Este for roughly 1.5 hours. Maybe if you have better weather and need more Instagram pictures, you can allocate more time. I’d say, an hour to see some of the old town would also be a good idea.
The next morning, I was debating about going to Villa Adriana in Tivoli. I was disappointed by Villa d’Este, would Emperor’s Hadrianus villa be any better? In the end, I decided to give it a try and I drove to Villa Adriana. That is one of the main advantages of a rental car and taking a road trip, you can just drive up to the parking lot and go in and don’t have to wait for the bus.
I was glad I went to Villa Hadrianus. Yes, I do love Roman Ruins and Roman history, but the Villa Hadrianus is a green lush retreat from urbanized Rome. I roamed for a couple of hours between the trees and the ruins. I enjoyed the great water pounds and shade of the tall cypress trees.
It was really nice to see the big maquette at the beginning of the park to get a better insight into the size and scale of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. I then continued to the amazing, and never seen before, Maritime Theatre which is a round theatre-shaped-like space, decorated with columns and turtles lazily floating around in it.
After a good 3 or maybe even 4 hours, I finally made my way to the exit to continue my Lazio road trip.
Tivoli to Castelli Romani
From Villa Adriana, it was only a short drive to the Castelli Romani area. Here, I would have my final stop of this Lazio and Umbria road trip and I decided to stay 2 nights in the area. I had an excellent lunch in Frascati and continued to the tiny village of Castel Gandolfo where I rented an (amazing!!) apartment for the two nights. I could park my car outside the old town in a free parking spot, from where I walked a short distance to the center of town.
The bed at the Atlantic Inn Castelgandolfo was so comfortable, it might have something to do with me staying in a lot and reading one book after another. Check for rates and availability in Castel Gandolfo here.
For the next 1,5 days, I figured I’d discover the area by car, driving from one village to another and take in the crater lakes view from the villages and maybe walk a bit by the different lakes in the area. Instead, I settled on the little terrace of the town’s square, had a coffee and panini, followed by an Aperol Spritz and just watched the local life unfold in front of me.
On this Sunday, I saw 2 weddings and a whole bunch of families dressed up for the communion of their children, grandchildren, and godchildren. It was Italian life at it’s finest.
I did do something when I was in Castel Gandolfo. Yes, I went to explore the summer palace of the pope, which is basically the main reason to go to the village of Castel Gandolfo.
I roamed the halls of the summer residence of the father of the Catholic Church and I listened for hours to the audio guide, introducing me all the popes of the past as I stood in front of their portraits.
A visit to the summer palace can take up one to two hours, depending on how much reading and listening you wish to do and if you include the gardens.
After 2 lazy days in Castel Gandolfo, it was time to check out of my apartment and take one final tour with my rental car. I drove to Ciampino Airport (the low-budget airport of Rome) to finish my road trip through Lazio and Umbria. As it was really close to Castel Gandolfo, it was quite convenient for my early flight home.
Costs for Lazio and Umbria Road Trip from Rome
I’m pretty sure that taking day trips from Rome to see the different cities and sights would have been cheaper than driving around, renting a car, paying toll and gas. But, this road trip around Rome gave me the ultimate freedom to explore where no bus ever goes and stay as long (or short, as I wanted to).
But what does it cost? Here is my budget breakdown for my Lazio and Umbria itinerary:
- Car rental for 7 days, smallest class: €139
- One-way fee (pick-up in Rome, drop off at the airport): €11
- Toll Roads in total: €9,30
- Parking fees: €15,30
- Total cost of gas: €65 (roughly 600 km/ 373 miles)
Total cost for this road trip: €239,60 ($269 or GBP 207) which comes down to €34 (or $38/ GBP 29) per day. As I traveled solo, this was per person, but the cost for 2 people or even 3 or 4 would be the same, although I recommend renting a bigger car if you travel with more than 2 persons.
7-Day Road Trip from Rome
In the end, I had an amazing road trip from Rome. I planned my itinerary around Lazio and Umbria to include some old ruins, cute little village and historical cities. During my trip, I saw amazing lakes, rolling hills and a lot of hilltop towns. I had amazing local food, explored numerous Unesco World Heritage Listings and saw a lot of the countryside outside of Rome. On top of that, I learned a lot about the historical Papal palaces and the areas of the Vatican, outside the Vatican.
If you have the time, this Lazio Road Trip from Rome offers some great stops on your route to Florence. Or stay in Lazio and explore nearby Umbria too.
Have you ever heard of Viterbo? Have you ever visited Lazio outside of Rome? What do you think of my road trip itinerary? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you.