We are Elisa & Simone, travel bloggers since 2018. Our mission is to discover lesser-known places in Italy like Lazio. We are from Civitavecchia – a small city located pretty close to Rome – known for its port where millions of tourists come from all over the world every year to access the Italian capital.
Lazio is a region we started exploring due to its many wonderful places that people don’t know about. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective), Lazio welcomes lots of tourists but almost all of them only visit Rome and they miss out on the other beautiful areas around it. So, we are here to help you get to know this underrated region in more detail.
Why Lazio is a Special Part of Italy
Lazio is the type of destination you would like if you enjoy exploration. You can find all sorts of different places, people and cultures – despite it being relatively small. Everything you need for the perfect vacation exists here: gorgeous sea (especially in the south), mountains, nature and spa resorts. In our opinion, after you visit Rome, you can spend at least 10 days in Lazio.
10 Best Places to Visit in Lazio
The spot we love the most in Lazio is Calcata. It’s close to Rome, just 50 kilometers away, and it’s full of charm and mystery. Calcata was abandoned for many years but in the 60s hippies from Europe chose to adopt it as their new home. Today, in every corner of the tiny commune, you can discover tiny artist workshops and you can immerse yourself in a real sense of freedom. It’s also known as the “village of witches” due to the wind that blows through the streets at night – making a sound similar to a witch.
2. Gardens of Bomarzo
The Gardens of Bomarzo, also commonly known as the Sacro Bosco, is a captivating haven reminiscent of a fairytale book – transporting visitors to a whimsical realm frozen in the 16th-century. This enchanting garden is a surreal masterpiece adorned with intricate sculptures that breathe life into mythical creatures and colossal animals, all meticulously carved from rock.
Each step through the garden unfolds a new chapter in the narrative of wonder. A visit to this ethereal sanctuary offers families the opportunity to immerse themselves in a bygone era, where imagination takes center stage. The incredible details and creative artistry of the stone creatures engage the senses, creating an unforgettable experience on your Lazio trip.
3. Civita di Bagnoregio
Perched on a large boulder, Civita di Bagnoregio is an iconic village accessible only through a lengthy steel bridge. Revered for its beauty, this Lazio locale is often dubbed “The Dying City” as the relentless erosion of time gradually erases its existence. The village’s vulnerability to natural forces enhances its mystique, attracting visitors who marvel at its charm.
4. Palazzo Farnese, Caprarola
The Palazzo Farnese, nestled in the enchanting town of Caprarola and not to be confused with the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, stands as a testament to the grandeur of Renaissance architecture. Commissioned by the influential Farnese family during the 16th-century, this colossal pentagonal mansion offers a remarkable blend of artistic opulence and historical significance.
Stepping through its majestic doors, visitors are transported into a realm of splendor where intricate paintings and architectural marvels adorn the interiors. The Palazzo Farnese serves not only as a physical manifestation of the Farnese family’s power and wealth, but also as a cultural treasure trove.
5. Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia
The Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, stand as witnesses to the rich tapestry of Etruscan civilization. These ancient burial grounds encapsulate the cultural and historical significance of Italy’s past – offering a glimpse into the artistic, religious and societal dimensions of this enigmatic civilization.
6. Sperlonga and Gaeta
Sperlonga and Gaeta stand as picturesque towns/cities in the southern part of Lazio. These destinations boast a harmonious blend of gorgeous landscapes, rich history and delicious seafood – creating an irresistible set of attractions for visitors. Sperlonga, with its winding cobblestone streets and ancient Roman sea grotto, offers a journey through time.
Meanwhile, Gaeta’s coastal charm captivates with its Monte Orlando Park and culinary delights – featuring some of the freshest seafood delights in all of Italy. Together these two gems showcase the quintessence of Lazio, where every corner exudes a sense of timeless beauty, making them not just destinations but immersive experiences that linger in the heart.
Nemi, a hidden gem in the “Roman Castles” area of the Metropolitan City of Rome, is home to the pristine Nemi Lake. This idyllic town is also famous for its original strawberry cake – a treat that can be ordered at any bar, cafe or restaurant and which perfectly compliments the town’s cozy atmosphere.
8. Civitavecchia di Arpino
Civitavecchia di Arpino, an ancient town predating Roman dominance, boasts unique features such as Cyclopean walls. In close proximity lies the natural oasis of Posta Fibreno. This idyllic retreat offers a juxtaposition to the town’s antiquity, providing visitors with a refreshing escape into nature.
9. Isola del Liri
Isola del Liri is a town that will leave you breathless with its waterfalls, stemming from a river, cascading in the heart of the town center. The mix of urban life and the natural beauty of flowing water is a sight to behold, offering travelers a unique experience in the Lazio region of Italy.
10. Cervara di Roma
Cervara di Roma is an enchanting artist village, where creativity thrives amidst rocky structures and vibrant artworks. Each cobblestone corner tells a tale of artistic expression, transforming the hamlet into a living canvas where the essence of culture and imagination intertwines seamlessly.
Tips for Visiting the Lazio Region
One thing to know about Lazio is there are many different cultures and influences scattered around. Of course, Rome is similar to many other European capitals with people living there from all over the world. If you visit the northern part of Lazio you will discover influences from Tuscany and Umbria, and will notice how welcoming the people are and how they preserve their traditions. In the southern part, there are influences from Naples. The people are also nice and heartfelt, and the food is superb.
Like all regions of Italy, food plays an important role in Lazio. If you are visiting for the first time, you should try all the traditional Roman dishes: carbonara, cacio e pepe and amatriciana. Pizza is also great but in Lazio a different kind is made called pinsa. In the coastal areas, seafood is good.
If you plan on just visiting Rome, you can easily move around with public transport. There are many train and bus services from the airport or port. However, for those looking to explore the Lazio region in greater detail, we recommend hiring a car as public transport only covers the biggest cities.
Lazio is perfect to visit every month of the year. In summer, you can enjoy its beautiful sea and in winter you can immerse in village life. Finally, don’t forget to leave space in your bag because you will be purchasing some local delicacies to bring back home with you. Thanks for reading and we hope to see you on our social media or blog: italyyoudontexpect.com.