Fiumicino is of course known mostly for being the location of Rome’s international airport Leonardo Da Vinci (FCO), but it is also the name of the third biggest city in the province of Rome. The city is located at the end of the Via Portuense, at the delta of the river Tiber. There are several archaelogical excavations on its territory, including those of the Port of Trajan. The locality Fregene is a favorite beach destination for Romans.
All about Fiumicino
Town hall: Via Portuense, 2498 – Fiumicino (tel. +39 06 65210245). Postal code: 00054. Number of inhabitants: Approximately 80,000.
By car/public transport
By car: From Rome follow the A91 to the coast.
Public transport: The Terravision buses that provide a connection from the central station Termini to the airport then drive on to the city of Fiumicino itself.
The Sant’Ippolito Church was built in the 13th century on an earlier early Christian construction.
The Torre Boaccina as well as the Torre Nicolina were originally watchtowers along the coast. Since the 15th century, however, the coastline has moved considerably and now they are further inland.
A third watchtower is located in the district of Palidoro.
Outside the built-up area of the city there is a well-preserved necropolis. It was built between the 2nd and 4th centuries.
Fiumicino was built on the spot where in the 1st century the Roman settlement Portus Romae was located. It was commissioned by Emperor Claudius to replace the older port of Ostia, after it had become increasingly silted up.
After the invasions of the Barbarians and the Turks between the 5th and the 9th century, the city became more and more abandoned.
In the 10th century, the city was mentioned in a ecclesiastical script under the name of Flumen Micinum.
After the population had increased again thanks to the many hut-dwelling fishermen, Valadier was commissioned to create a new centre. The first foundations of the modern city were laid in the beginning of the 19th century. Work on this city was completed in 1840.
At that time the village consisted of no more than a church, a customs office, a post office, one hotel, a number of osterie and some ordinary buildings, a complex that can still be seen in its original state.
In 1880, thanks to the construction of a railway, a period of economic prosperity began.
During the Second World War Fiumicino was severely damaged.
Until 1992 the city was part of Rome, but from that year on it is a municipality of its own.
Fregene is the most famous part of Fiumicino and a very popular beach spot with the Romans. It was originally an Etruscan settlement, but later became a Roman colony. In the course of the centuries the settlement fell into disrepair, which was caused by the many malaria epidemics. Nowadays it is a popular holiday spot.
On 7 September 2019, the first saxophone museum in Italy was opened in the municipality of Maccarese. In the Museo del Sassofono about 600 saxophones can be seen. The smallest soprano saxophone measures 32 cm, the largest double bass saxophone about 2 metres.
Anzio is especially famous as a landing place for British soldiers in the Second World War and a number of attractions refer to this era. In Roman times, however, the city was also very important and from this older history some monuments can still be seen.
Top 10 Tourist Attractions Anzio
01. Villa of Nero
The Villa of Nero is the main attraction of the Archaeological Park of Anzio, which stretches along almost the entire Via Fanciulla d’Anzio. The park also includes the Caves of Nero.
02. Archaeological Museum
Anzio‘s Archaeological Museum is located on the ground floor of Villa Adele, a 17th century building built for the Pamphilj, which later changed hands several times.
03. British Cemetery
There are two cemeteries where the British soldiers who died during the Allied landing are buried. The largest of the two is located outside the centre of the city, near the district of Falasche.
04. Ruins of the Old Harbour
If you walk all the way to the end of the commercially exploited beach, you will arrive at the few remaining ruins of the ancient port of Anzio.
05. Villa Adele and Museo dello Sbarco di Anzio
The Villa Adele is a 17th century palace in Anzio and is the seat of both the already mentioned Archaeological Museum and the Museo dello Sbarco of the city. Over the centuries it has belonged to large numbers of historically important Italian families.
06. Tor Caldara
The Tor Caldara WWF-maintained natural park is located within the city limits of Anzio.
07. Villa Spigarelli
The modern Villa Spigarelli is built on the ruins of an old Roman villa discovered in the early 20th century. During construction of the modern complex the exact floor plan of the antique villa was followed, incorporating mosaics, sculptures and marble decorations from the old structure.
08. Roman Amphitheatre
The Anfiteatro Romano is located in Piazzale del Teatro Romano.
Angelita is the name Allied soldiers gave to a crying little girl they found on the beach of Anzio. Nobody knew who she was or where she came from, so the soldiers adopted her. Only a few days later she was killed in bombardments. Along the coast there is a statue of the girl.
10. Villa Borghese
The Villa Borghese is located between the towns of Anzio and Nettuno. It is nicknamed Villa Bell’Aspetto because of its location: From the hill on which it is built you have a magnificent view over the sea. Corridors under the building served as American headquarters during the war.
More Sights Anzio
The bronze monument in honour of Nero, the Emperor who was born in Anzio in the year 37 AD.
Although Anzio was already a famous seaside resort in Roman times, outside of Italy the city is mostly famous because the Allies landed here during World War II.
According to legend, Anzio was founded by the son of Enea, Ascanio. Later the city was conquered by a tribe called the Volsci. After this, there was a continuous war with the Romans. In 338 the fleet of Anzio was defeated in a famous naval battle. The naval rams of the defeated ships were proudly taken to the Roman Forum by the Roman victors. Here they were used to decorate the Rostra.
After Anzio was finally subdued by Rome, it became a popular holiday resort for wealthy Roman citizens. Nero had a large harbour built there. Some remains of both this harbour and the ancient Roman theatre can still be seen.
During the Middle Ages, Anzio fell into disrepair. One major cause was the replacement of Rome by Byzantium as the capital of the Empire. The destruction and looting by the Goths and Saracens also played a major role in the decline of the city.
In the 17th century, the city regained some prestige and prosperity. Pope Innocent XII had a new port built.
However, it was not until the 19th century that the population began to grow significantly again. At that time, the town also regained its old reputation as a holiday resort.
At the beginning of the 20th century, ruins of a 3rd century Roman villa were used as a foundation for the Villa Spigarelli. Some of the original mosaics are still visible.
Especially in the United States, England and Commonwealth nations Anzio is famous because the allies came ashore here on January 22, 1944. In the course of the following days, the city was almost completely destroyed. The war cemetery is still visited by the children and grandchildren of soldiers who died in those days.
Anzio is a small fishing village south of Rome and also the port where ferries and hydrofoils to the island of Ponza have their home base. Anzio used to be a rather important port in the times of the ancient Romans, but especially Americans will know it as the place where the Allied Forces landed in World War II, in order to liberate Rome from the occupation by the German troops. It is also the birthplace of Emperor Nero.
All about Anzio
Originally a settlement of the Volsci tribe, Anzio (or Antium) became one of the favorite spots for rich Romans. The Emperor Nero, who was actually born in Anzio, built a villa in the town, ruins of which can still be seen.
Anzio tourist attractions
Although not amongst the prettiest beaches in the area around Rome, Anzio does have a beach and it is located close to the railway station. A visit to the city’s tourist attractions can therefore easily be combined with a couple of hours of swimming and/or reclining in the lounge chairs of one the city’s many beach concessions.
The Imperial Villa of Nero is the most famous monument in Anzio. In all probability, the villa was much larger than the ruins that can be still be seen nowadays.
There are some ruins of the old port left, at the end of the stretch of commercial beaches.
The archeological park at the top of the cliff.
Piazza Pia: Anzio‘s main square.
Museo dello Sbarco di Anzio: Like the Archeological Museum this Museum of the Landing in Anzio is housed in the Villa Adele.
Roman Amphitheatre: On Piazzale del Teatro Romano.
Tor Caldara: A WWF-run nature reserve with sulphur springs.
British Cemetery: The Cimitero Inglese lies outside town.
Anzio Tourist Information Office
The tourist information office (Ufficio Turistico) is located in the Piazza Pia, 2 (tel. +39 069848135).
By car/public transport
By car from Rome: Follow the SS148 and from Aprilia the SR207. Alternatively you can take the SS7 and at Castelgandolfo take the exit onto the SR207. People who prefer to travel along the coast can follow the SP601 from Lido di Ostia.
Public transport from Rome: The easiest way is to take the train from Roma Termini. A ticket costs 3,60 Euro and the journey takes just over an hour. The FR8 train between Rome and Nettuno also stops in the city, but is not very practical for most tourists, as in Rome it only stops at the not very centrally located Torricola station. From the Laurentina metro station (line B) there is a very regular Cotral bus service.
Albano Laziale, or simply Albano, is one of the most important municipalities in the area known as the Castelli Romani in the Alban Hills (Colli Albani) near Rome. Part of its territory is included in the Parco Regionale dei Colli Albani.
Its highest hill, the Colle dei Capuccini, is located more than 600m above sea level, and offers apart from a wonderful view over Lake Albano, a pine forest and a capuchin monastery.
Between 1699 and 1798 Albano was property of the Holy See.
Albano used to be heavily fortified, but little is left of this, since the old walls towards the end of the 18th century had to make way for the enlargement of the Via Appia Antica.
Fractions of Albano are Castel Savelli, Pavona and Cecchina, where the railway station is located.
Albano Laziale can be reached by bus from the metro stop Anagnina. There are also trains from Roma Termini.
Albano was more or less built at the spot where Ascanio, son of the Trojan hero Enea, founded Albalonga. According to legend, after dreaming of a white sow, Ascanio called his town Alba (“white” in Latin) and Longa given the length of the strip of land. The white sow still is the symbol of the town.
When consul Appio constructed the Via Appia, Albalonga found himself right next to it.
The emperor Domitian later had a large villa built, around which the town developed. For a while it was thought that this villa had belonged to Pompey, which is why a tower near the entrance to the present city is called Torre di Pompeo.
In the 3rd century Septimius Severus built a military camp called Castra Albana near the ancient Alba Longa. The main streets of the present historical centre still partly follow the rigid scheme with its rectangular streets of the Roman “castra”. The external walls of the ancient campare also still visible.
The emperor Caracalla had spas built to appease the soldiers of Castra Albana, who were rebellious after he had killed his brother Geta. The walls of these ancient baths are partly visible in the lower part of the town, where they are sometimes incorporated in today’s buildings. The cistern supplying the baths can still be visited.
Middle Ages till Now
During the Middle Ages Albano experienced a period of decline. The city was virtually abandoned till, thanks to its strategic position on the Via Appia, it became populated again.
Later Albano became property of the Savelli family until 1697 when the Pope acquired it. The papal residence in the city still belongs to the Holy See. During this period many Roman-style churches were built, such as the Santa Maria della Rotonda Church, which was built on the ruins of the ancient Villa of Domitian).
In 1944 Albano was subject to aerial bombardment, which led to the destruction of several buildings and the opening of the so-called Porta Praetoria.
Outside the town there are the remains of special tombs in the shape of conical towers with a square base that are called the Curiazi, recalling the legend of the clash between 3 young Romans of the family of Orazi and 3 brothers of Alba Longa of the family of Curiazi to establish the city that was to rule over the other.
In the 18th century Albano became the summer residence for many important Roman families. The construction of the great Cathedral designed by Francesco Buratti dates back to 1721 and a few years later the new facade of the San Paolo Church on the top of the hill was constructed.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Pancras, built in 1721.
Church of St. Peter the Apostle.
The Church of St. Paul was built in 1282, and contains relics in the form of the bones of Saint Gaspar del Bufalo.
Church and Convent of St. Mary of the Star. Underneath this church, which also contains the tomb of Maria Theresa of Austria, the Catacombs of Saint Senatore can be found. These catacombs contain frescoes that were painted between the 5th and 9th centuries.
Church and convent of St. Bonaventure.
The Santuario di Santa Maria della Rotonda was built over the ruins of Domitian’s Villa. Its design was based on that of the Pantheon and its belltowers are similar to those of medieval churches in Rome itself.
Church of Saint Philip Neri.
The Porta Praetoria or Pretorian Gate.
The Palazzo Savelli was built in the 13th century by the family of the same name. Its square towers point to its original function as a fortress. When Albano was bought by the Apostolic Chamber it became the home of the papal government. Nowadays the Palazzo Savelli is the Albano‘s town hall.
Lercaro’s Palace, aka the Bishop’s Palace, was built in 1727. Cardinal Nicolò Maria Lercaro had it constructed in order to accommodate Pope Benedict XIII.
Palazzo Campano was constructed in 1465 by Giannantonio Campano, who was a scholar and also a bishop.
Palazzo Rospigliosi was likewise built by the family that gave it its name. it was constructed in 1667 and nowadays houses the Congregation of Saint Joseph’s Institute Leonardo Murialdo.
The Palazzo Pamhilj is also known as the Palazzo del Collegio Nazareno. It was not named after its builder Cardinal Vincenzo Maculan, but rather after the person who bought it off him, Camillo Francesco Maria Pamphili. It now belongs to the Nazarene College of Rome.
The 17th century Palazzo Paolucci was constructed by Cardinal Fabrizio Paolucci.
The Palazzo Poniatowskj was constructed by Prince Amedeo Poniatowskj.
The Villa Doria Pamphilj is found along the Appian Way and was built by Cardinal Fabrizio Paolucci, but the name comes from the Doria family who later purchased it. There used to be a building on the site, but during World War II this was damaged to such an extent that it was subsequently completely destroyed, to be replaced by what now is the Piazza Mazzini. The Villa itself is now a public park.
The ruins of the Roman villa in the middle of this public park are attributed to Pompey.
Another Villa along the Appian Way is the 18th century Villa Corsini, built by the Corsini family in the 18th century.
The Villa Altieri was built on the site of an old farmhouse.. It dates from the 18th century and is located at the beginning of Albano for people entering the city from Rome. It was commissioned by Cardinal Lorenzo Altieri.
The family Ferrajoli built the Villa Ferrajoli in 1845, over an existing casino. The Villa consists of three buildings. One of the three buildings on the grounds of the Villa Ferrajoli now functions as the Museo Civico di Albano.
The Villa Boncompagni (1857) was constructed by the Boncompagni family. It is located along the Appian Way, boasts a monumental park and often hosted Margherita of Savoy when the latter found herself in Albano.
Tivoli is the 5th biggest town in the province of Rome. It is located along the eastern border of the capital itself and has more than fifty thousand inhabitants. It has a beautiful historical center, but is mostly famous for the Villa Gregoriana, Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa) and especially the magnificent Villa d’Este.
Tourist Information Tivoli
There is a tourist information office (Punto Informativo Turistico) right in the center of town. It can be found in the Piazzale Nazione Unite (almost in front of the bus stop, for visitors arriving from Rome). It is open from 10 AM till 1 PM and from 4 PM till 6 PM (closed on Mondays). Free maps, including an itinerary along the most interesting tourist sites, are available here. (Tel. +39 0774313536)
The most famous tourist attraction is the Villa d’Este. This sumptious villa is decorated with over five hundred fountains. The Villa Adriana was the residence of the Roman emperor Hadrian, while the Villa Gregoriana is also located in the centre. There are several Roman temples and near the medieval castle Rocca Pia one can see the ruins of an amphitheater. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore was built in the 5th century.
A Very Short History
What used to be called Tibur was one of the main components of the Latin League. This consisted of a number of Latin cities that had formed an alliance against enemies like the Etruscans. After the city had been conquered by the Romans it became a sort of holiday spot for the wealthy. In the early middle ages it was the seat of the Byzantine duchy and later the main papal possession in the area. Frederik I Barbarossa conquered Tivoli in 1155. It became part of the city of Rome in 1259. During the Renaissance cardinals and other rich people started building prestigious palaces again. In 1527 the city was plundered by the Landsknechts (German mercenary soldiers).
There are trains from Rome to Tivoli. These do not leave from the main railway station Termini, however, but from Tiburtina (metro line B) and the railway station in Tivoli itself is also not located in the center of the city. It is therefore recommended to take metro line B to the Ponte Mammolo stop and then a bus (Cotral). The 2,20 Euro ticket can be bought from the Cotral ticket office or from the bar/tobacco shop in Ponte Mammolo station. The ride takes approximately 30 minutes. On the way you will pass some of the quarries where the marble of many of Rome‘s monuments was won.
From the Grande Raccordo Anulare (the ringroad around Rome) you follow the E80. This is a tollroad. The Via Tiburtina (SR5) starts near Termini and is slower, but free.
Frascati is a hill-town located in the province of Roma and can easily be reached from Rome. The city is one of the towns that are collectively known as the Castelli Romani. It is famous for its white wines, for its porchetta, and for the beautiful view over Rome.
Already in the days of the ancient Romans, people came to Frascati in order to escape Rome’s hot summer days. Wealthy people used to construct villas in Frascati.
Tourist attractions in Frascati
Villa Aldrobandini: Designed by Giacomo della Porta. Its main feature is a huge water fountain, which is no longer in use though. Permission to visit its gardens can be obtained from the tourist office on Piazza Marconi.
Villa Torlonia: Public park, with the Teatro delle Acque fountain. Designed by Carlo Maderno.
Several restaurants have terraces outside, which allow for a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside and over Rome itself.
Frascati special events
In February there are parades in honor of Carnevale.
The town’s patron saints are called Filippo and Giacomo. In May there are festivities in their honor.
Sagra della Lumaca: The yearly snail-eating festival takes place on June 23rd.
Sagra del Vino: The wine festival takes place in October.
There are several beaches near Rome, but the quality varies a lot and they are not always very easy to reach. Another problem is formed by the so-called stabilimenti that take up almost the entire coast line. These “beach concessions” ensure that you can only access the best parts of most beaches if you rent overpriced beach chairs. Ostia Lido is the nearest one, but is incredibly crowded during the summer months. Sperlonga is very beautiful. The beaches at Anzio and Santa Marinella are close to the railway stations of those cities and therefore easier to reach.
Best Beaches near Rome
The beach closest to Rome is the one at Ostia Lido. Unfortunately during the summer months, unless you are willing to travel a bit further down the coast, you will have to pay quite a bit in order to enjoy the beaches here since they are completely taken up by the stabilimenti. The stabilimenti charge you for the use of beach chairs and beach umbrellas. Especially in August (after the 15th) the Romans flock en masse to Ostia. A trip here can be combined with a visit to the ruins of the ancient Roman harbor of Ostia Antica.
Directions: Metro line B to Piramide and then the train to Ostia Lido. For the free beaches you have to take another bus.
Santa Marinella is a small town 60km north of Rome. The beaches here tend to be far less crowded than the ones at Ostia. Santa Marinella can be reached by train as well as by bus from Rome. The beach is only a short walk from the railway station. Apart from two ridiculously small spaces on each side, almost the entire beach is taken up by stabilimenti. Though Santa Marinella often gets good reviews, the money-grabbing vibe (50 cents for a glass of tap water) can put you off.
Public transport: Train from Termini.
Our favorite beaches are to be found at the city of Sperlonga, around 110km south of Rome. Not only are the beaches themselves cleaner and whiter than any other in the region of Lazio, the city of Sperlonga itself is also well worth a visit. Its town center is on a cliff overlooking the sea; all its buildings are white and the stairs going off in all directions make you feel as if you’ve landed in the middle of an Escher painting.
Directions: Sperlonga can be reached by taking a train to Fondi-Sperlonga and then a bus. Note that this bus is not very frequent on sundays.
The city of Anzio is mostly famous because it is here that the allies landed during World War II. The beach is definitely not amongst the most beautiful ones, but it is located near the city’s central station. The travel time is about one hour.
Directions: Train from Roma Termini, followed by a short walk.
More beaches Rome
Other relatively well-known beaches near Rome are the ones of Terracina and Fregene.
Hadrian’s Villa is the most famous one of all the villas that surround Rome. It is located about 6 kilometers (4 miles) outside the historical center of Tivoli and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Emperor Hadrian built his villa in order to replicate the many beautiful buildings he had seen during his travels.
Address, Opening Hours and Admission
The address of Hadrian’s Villa is Largo Marguerite Yourcenar, 1- 00019 Tivoli. Tel. +39 0774 530203 or 0774 382733 (ticket office). From the center of Rome you take a Cotral bus from the Ponte Mammolo stop on line B. You ask the driver where to get off (Hadrian’s Villa is Villa Adriana in Italian) and then take another bus or walk for one kilometer. Opening hours: Every day (including monday) from 9 AM until 30 minutes before sunset. Closed: January 1, May 1, December 25. Admission: 8 Euros; EU citizens ages 18-25: 4 Euros; ages 0-17: free. There is a surcharge of 3 Euros in case of special events.
The Villa Adriana has two museums, one inside and one outside its grounds, near the parking lot. The second one contains a visitors’ center.
Hadrian’s Villa Tivoli
The villa was created by the Roman Emperor Hadrian and is virtually a city in itself. The complex contains temples, baths, lakes and fountains as well as an impressive labyrinth of underground passages. The Emperor himself supervised construction, which lasted from 118 until 138 AD. It is one of the best-preserved examples of ancient roman architecture.
Hadrian was a well-traveled man and he used the villa to recreate the architectural marvels he had seen during his trips to the eastern provinces. He even made a copy of hell, though it is not clear where he got the inspiration for this feat.
The gardens are embellished with statues that placed amongst between the various canals, fountains, baths and theaters. Many of these are now on display in different museums in Rome. Others were stolen, as was anything else made of marble.
After the emperor’s death, the villa became property of his successors, who restored and embellished it even further.
The first one to steal works of art from the villa was the Emperor Constantine, who in the early 4th century AD brought many objects to Constantinople. Barbarians later partly demolished the complex and during the middle ages the inhabitants of Tivoli themselves plundered the villa in order to reuse the materials for their own constructions.
Many Renaissance artists visited the villa in order to get inspiration and often left their signatures on the villa’s walls.
Organized excavations did not start until the 19th century.
Highlights Villa Adriana Tivoli
Around the Pecile
The scale model near the entrance shows Hadrian’s Villa the way it is supposed to have been in the 2nd century.
The Pecile starts at the entrance and is a reproduction of the Athens Poikile, which was admired by the emperor. This enormous portico has a central garden with a tub and was used for long walks inside the villa. Only its north wall is still standing.
The north eastern corner of the Pecile lead to the Hall of the Philosophers (Sala dei Filosofi), which was probably used as a library.
The Villa dell’Isola (or Teatro Marittimo) is a round building with a portico with columns around it. The Villa stands on a small island, surrounded by a canal. It is thought to have been the spot where the emperor dedicated himself in private to his hobbies (painting, poetry and music).
The building to the south of the Teatro Marittimo is called the Eliocamino. It consists of a number of rooms with tubs of cold and lukewarm water and one big round room with a hot water tub. This last room has a heating system underneath the floor and five enormous windows to let the sun in. The tub was probably meant for steam- or mudbaths.
The courtyard to the east of the Pecile was a nymphaeum. Beyond the buildings framing this courtyard are two thermal complexes called the Piccole Terme and the Grandi Terme. These well-preserved buildings contain a gym, a number of locker rooms and hot and cold water tubs.
The Canopo is built in a long and narrow artificial valley and is a reconstruction of the Egyptian town of that name. There is a tub surrounded by columns in the middle of the valley. The semi-circular building at the end is the famous Temple of Serapis, which is decorated with Egyptian sculptures. There are also some statues representing Antinoo, the emperor’s favorite boy, who died under mysterious circumstances in Egypt.
Imperial Palace and beyond
From the Canopo one passes the Pretorio and the Caserma dei Vigili on the way to the Imperial Palace. The most important constructions forming this palace are the Piazza d’Oro, the Atrio Dorico, il Peristilio di Palazzo and the Cortile delle Biblioteche.
The Piazza d’Oro (“Golden Square”) consists of a huge courtyard, which is framed by a portico with columns and a number of rooms around a big octagonal hall. During the summer months this hall was probably used as a banquet hall.
The “Doric Atrium” is another big room, probably framed by a two floor portico. This hall gets its name from the Doric columns and capitals supporting architrave.
The Peristyle leads to the Courtyard of the Libraries, whis is framed by a portico with Corinthian columns. On one side of this courtyard is the Hospitalia, a number of guest rooms. The back is taken up by two rooms thought to be libraries, one Latin and one Greek.
From the libraries the Pavilion (Padiglione) and the Terrazza di Tempe can be reached. This imitation of the Valle di Tempe in Thessaly is a panoramic terrace looking out over the valley beneath.
Apath through a small wood leads to the Casino Fede, which in the 18th century was constructed on top of a nymphaeum. At the end is a small theatre with room for no more than 500 people, meant for the emperor’s private use.