14 Best Places to Visit in Lazio, Italy (with Map)

While most people don’t make it past Rome and all its iconic, age-old landmarks, the rest of Lazio has just as much to see and do. Situated in the center of Italy, the region has an enticing array of towns, landscapes and archaeological sites to discover.

Tucked away between the Apennines and the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is mainly flat with sandy beaches and a scattering of islands lining its coast. Dotted amidst its fertile fields and vineyards however are several volcanic lakes and medieval hilltop towns. As both the Etruscans and Ancient Romans once inhabited the area, remarkably old historic sites and ruins lie here too.

Many of its most impressive attractions are of course located in Rome, its capital and largest city. Dwarfing the rest of the region in importance and its interest to tourists, it is certainly one of the world’s greatest cities. Its main sights such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, and the Vatican really need no introduction, such is their renown.

Venture a bit beyond the ‘Eternal City’ though and you’ll come across lovely gardens, villas and monasteries. With bucolic countryside scenes and national parks to enjoy too, Lazio, Italy is a very rewarding region to travel around.

Map of Places to Visit in Lazio, Italy

14. Viterbo

One of the best preserved medieval towns in Lazio, Viterbo lies right in the northwest of the region. Besides boasting loads of arresting architecture and interesting historic sights, it is known for its thermal springs that have been used since Roman times.

Established by the Etruscans, Viterbo became one of Europe’s most important cities in the 1100s. After being forced from Rome, five popes were crowned and ruled here with many sights relating to the papacy.

Other than exploring the Palazzo dei Papi’s ornate arcades and enormous audience hall, you can admire all the refined civic buildings around Piazza del Plebiscito. In the San Pellegrino quarter, you’ll also see lots of ‘profferli’. Viterbo has a particularly large number of these unique-looking staircases that hug the side of its old stone houses.

After visiting its centuries-old cathedral, you can always bathe in the steaming Baths of Viterbo in the valley next door. The town is also located just a twenty-minute drive from the Parco dei Mostri. Another of the region’s top attractions, it is full of grotesque rock carvings and surreal stone statues.

13. Tarquinia


Not all that far away is the tiny town of Tarquinia which is most famous for its ancient Etruscan tombs. While its medieval towers immediately attract the eye, the hundreds of richly painted graves in its necropoleis are the main reason people visit.

Lying just inland from Lazio’s Tyrrhenian Sea coast, it was once one of the Etruscans’ most important cities. Now reduced to rubble and ruins, the ancient city’s cemetery is the primary point of interest for visitors. Spread across a hill southeast of town, it has some 6,000 or so tombs for you to wander around.

The earliest date to the seventh century BC while a couple of hundred are decorated with fabulous frescoes. These depict daily life, lavish banquets, mythical scenes and even sporting events among other subjects. Its most striking finds include the Tomb of the Bulls and the Tomb of the Leopards.

Once you’ve ambled around its sprawling site, you can learn more about the ancient Etruscans at the Tarquinia National Museum. There is also the 1121 Church of Santa Maria di Castello, its rose window and bell tower to see before heading off.

12. Sermoneta


Yet another wonderful place to stop by is the walled hill town of Sermoneta, some 85 kilometers southeast of Rome. Due to its strategic setting, its massive fortress served as a bastion between the capital and Naples for countless decades.

Looking out imperiously over its surroundings, the colossal castle was constructed by the Caetani family back in the thirteenth century. Actually embedded in the solid rock, its sturdy walls and ramparts offer up some spellbinding views over the countryside.

Asides from exploring the old rooms of its towers, the town’s Romanesque Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is well worth checking out. You can also drive to Valvisciolo Abbey in under ten minutes. One of the finest examples of Romanesque-Cistercian architecture, the monastery was founded in the eighth century by Greek Basilian monks.

11. Parco dei Mostri

Parco dei Mostri

Not to be missed is the amazing Parco dei Mostri and all its strange, larger-than-life sculptures. Located just outside Bomarzo in the very north of the region, the verdant gardens and monstrous stone statues are fascinating to stroll around.

Created in the 1500s by renowned Renaissance sculptor Simone Moschino, it is full of fantastical figures and allegorical animals. Sometimes called the ‘Monsters’ Grove’, the complex was commissioned by Duke Vicino Orsini, a keen patron of the arts.

Dotted about the shady forest are a giant, nymph and Aphrodite as well as Hannibal’s elephant and a dragon attacked by lions. Most famous though is its gaping ‘Mouth of Hell’ which symbolises the entrance to the underworld. One of our favourite stops in Lazio, its unusual creatures and creations all make for some fabulous photos.

10. Castelli Romani

Castelli Romani

Just southeast of Rome is a very picturesque part of the region to head to known as Castelli Romani. Here you’ll find a scattering of small towns to stop off at, all home to attractive old villas and fine Italian wines.

As it is volcanic in nature, the landscape is very hilly with the reflective Albano and Nemi lakes now occupying its former crater. Its cooler climate saw wealthy Romans holiday here with the Pope’s summer residence still remaining at Castel Gandolfo.

From the capital, you can easily take trains here to enjoy their scenic settings, pretty historic centers and sparkling wines. In total, there are about a dozen towns to amble around. While some like Ariccia and Marino are known for their fresh produce, others boast impressive churches and commanding viewpoints.

Wherever you go, you really can’t go wrong as they each have their own unique look, feel and identity. We particularly enjoyed Castel Gandolfo for its charming centre and phenomenal panoramas over Lake Albano.

9. Sanctuary of the Sacro Speco

Sanctuary of the Sacro Speco

Built into the side of a cliff face, the Sanctuary of the Sacro Speco (San Benedetto Monastery) is one of the area’s most important cultural and religious sites. Adorned with fantastic frescoes, its church and chapel really make for a stunning sight. Sweeping views over the valley can also be had from its courtyard outside.

In the early sixth century, Benedict retired to a grotto near Subiaco where he provided spiritual guidance to his followers. Over the years, a monastic community developed with the abbey’s oldest cloisters dating to the twelfth century. Colourful frescoes from various periods now coat the hermitage’s cells and chapels.

In addition to enjoying its peaceful atmosphere and priceless artistic treasures, you can actually venture into the cave the hallowed saint once lived in. Easily reached within an hour’s drive from Rome, the spiritual complex is where the Benedictine Order first originated.

8. Bracciano Lake

Bracciano Lake

If you’re looking to relax, enjoy some watersports or get out of Rome for a few days, then Bracciano Lake is a lovely spot to head. Although its shores get quite crowded in summer, its splendid scenery and serene nature mean it’s popular for a reason.

The second largest lake in Lazio after Bolsena, it was formed thousands of years ago thanks to intense volcanic activity. Nestled along its long shoreline amidst its hills are countless hotels and a handful of tranquil little towns. The two largest are Anguillara Sabazia and Bracciano, both of which occupy idyllic spots along by the lake.

While most people come to swim, sail and scuba dive in its pristine waters, there are also some cool sights to see too. The main attraction is the fifteenth-century Castello Orsini-Odescalchi which is one of the best-maintained medieval castles in the nation.

7. Civitella d’Agliano

Civitella d'Agliano

Perched atop a hill in the very north of the region is the incredibly old and attractive Civitella d’Agliano. Having never heard of it before our trip, we were delighted to find a beautiful historic centre and spectacular viewpoints.

Thought to have been founded in the eleventh century by the Counts of Bagnoregio, it is set in a dramatic spot overlooking the Tiber Valley. Exploring its mess of medieval streets is lots of fun as imposing ramparts enclose its old churches and townhouses. From atop its towering Torre dei Monaldeschi, you can bask in epic panoramas over the surrounding hills, forests and gullies.

We also really enjoyed our stop at the gorgeous La Separa garden nearby. Created by Swiss sculptor Paul Wiedmer, its lush confines contain around thirty sculptures by artists from all around the world. As we had just been to the Parco dei Mostri, its cool contemporary installations made for quite the contrast.

6. Circeo National Park

Circeo National Park

For those looking to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy some outdoor activities, Circeo National Park is the perfect place to go. Occupying a narrow strip of coastline in-between Anzio and Terracina, it offers some superb hiking and biking. Sunbathing, swimming and kayaking are also popular pastimes here.

Established in 1934 to protect the last remaining Pontine Marshes, it encompasses a diverse range of different ecosystems. These include not just sea dunes, salt lakes and swamps but limestone cliffs and the largest plain forest in Italy. There is even the unspoiled island of Zannone for visitors to take trips offshore.

Named after the Mount Circeo promontory, the park has roughly twenty kilometers of sparkling coastline for nature lovers to enjoy. Aside from lounging on its beaches and swimming in the sea, you can stay longer at relaxing little villages like Sperlonga and San Felice Circeo.

5. Cerveteri


Just like with Tarquinia, Cerveteri’s standout site is its enormous Etruscan necropolis. Lying just inland from the sea, around forty-five minutes’ drive northwest of Rome, its well-preserved tombs, engravings and archaeological findings are a treat to explore.

Once a wealthy trading town, the ancient city is reckoned to have at one point been the Etruscan’s largest settlement. While it eventually dwindled and died, the artifacts and excavations that have been unearthed are extraordinary.

In total, some thousand or so tombs have been discovered, the oldest of which date to the ninth century BC. Remarkably enough, many depict the former houses of the dead with corridors, central halls and several rooms all being carved out of the living rock. Frescoes and carvings also decorate some while the sculptures and sarcophagi uncovered here now occupy several museums across the country.

After seeing the Tomb of the Reliefs and Tomb of the Painted Lions, guests can also enter its museum to learn more about their burial practices. Apart from the cemetery, Cerveteri has a couple of pretty churches, palazzi and a small castle to check out.

4. Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica

Another very impressive and extensive set of ruins to explore is those of Ostia Antica, just outside of Rome. Unlike in the center of the city, its sprawling site sees drastically fewer visitors than the Forum, Pantheon and Colosseum. For us, this made seeing its magnificent mosaics, frescoes and ancient buildings even more memorable.

Once the capital’s main port city, its importance slowly faded as the Tiber River silted up. Established in the seventh century BC, the town’s population steadily decreased until it was eventually abandoned following the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD.

Rising sand and mud from the river thankfully preserved the ruins until excavations took place in the nineteenth century. Only rivaled by those of Ancient Rome and Pompeii, its streets, temples, spas and squares stretch endlessly into the distance.

Seeing its ancient forum, baths and theater in the flesh really was an awe-inspiring experience. We also took a terrific tour with a local archaeologist who provided excellent oversight of the once-thriving seaport.

3. Tivoli


Some thirty kilometers northeast of the capital is another great day trip destination. At Tivoli, you’ll find the must-see sites of Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana. Both boast some absolutely exquisite architecture and immaculately maintained gardens.

Located on the little town’s outskirts, the latter was the imperial residence of Emperor Hadrian. Built around 120 AD, the extensive estate featured plenty of fountains, pools and baths, perfect for relaxing and unwinding. Although it is now in ruins, its classical Greek and Roman architecture still makes for an arresting sight. Around 500 striking statues, frescoes and fragments of mosaics are dotted around its gorgeous grounds.

Just as appealing and interesting is the sixteenth-century Villa d’Este and its romantic Renaissance-style gardens. Famed for its terraced hillside and twinkling fountains, it was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este in 1549.

While the elaborate designs of its innumerable fountains make for some fabulous pictures, the interior of the vast villa is just as incredible. Richly decorated, each hall and apartment is clad in refined frescoes and artworks depicting various mythological scenes and landscapes.

We loved our trip to Tivoli and really couldn’t recommend it enough. The combination of history, nature, art and viewpoints ticked all our boxes. If that wasn’t enough, Villa Gregoriana has a wonderful waterfall, woods and a series of gorges for you to wander around.

2. Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio

Famously known as the ‘dying city’, Civita di Bagnoregio is set in an improbable spot atop an eroding volcanic outcrop. Only accessible via a narrow, steep footbridge, the tiny hilltop village is certainly one of the most enchanting places to visit in Lazio.

Surrounded by dramatic drops and rugged ravines, it was founded by the Etruscans over 2,500 years ago. Now only home to a dozen inhabitants, its charming medieval centre is stuck in time, untouched even by the Renaissance.

After snapping some photos of the town from the bridge leading up to it, stroll around its old streets. As well as its central piazza and church, there is the Porta Santa Maria cut by the Etruscans to admire. Other than taking in its unique atmosphere, you can shop at cute crafts shops and stop for a coffee or a meal at its handful of small cafes.

1. Rome


One of the world’s greatest cities, Rome is full of fascinating historic sites and ancient wonders. Fittingly called the ‘Eternal City’, Italy’s capital has an endless list of artistic treasures, tempting shopping arcades and top-class restaurants for visitors to try and get through.

Once the center of an immense empire, the city was established in the eighth century BC by the Romans along the banks of the Tiber River. Considered the birthplace of Western Civilisation, they built massive monuments like the Colosseum, Pantheon and Forum across its seven hills. Almost every corner you walk around, you’ll come across yet another building or archaeological site dating back millennia.

Later generations only added to its beauty with the ornate Trevi Fountain and Castel Sant’Angelo counting among its other main tourist attractions. Rome also encircles the Vatican; the world’s smallest state which is the seat of the Papacy. Here you’ll find not just St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel but all the Vatican Museums’ astonishing art collections too.

Aside from its unrivaled history and heritage, you can experience its rich gastronomy and nightlife in the trendy Trastevere neighborhood. Its picturesque old piazze and cobblestone streets are lined by countless trattorie serving delicious pizza, pasta and fine wines.

With world-class shopping and excellent museums also available, it is no wonder it is such a top destination. One of our favorite cities, Rome is a place you can return to time and time again and always find something new – or old! – to discover.

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