Lazio

Rome has its own webpage; see the Rome page for more information about the Eternal City. Ostia Antica information is there, with eating info on the restaurant page (it's technically outside Rome but very accessible on the Metro). Many of these places make great day trips from Rome or Naples.

Castelli Romani/Colli Albani

The "Roman Castles" or Alban Hills are southeast of Rome, and their volcanic hills and lakes have traditionally been a vacation/getaway spot for Romans, including the Pope (his summer villa is at Castel Gandolfo).

  • Frascati - known for wine (mostly white wine); houses Villa Aldobrandini; one of the larger towns with a lot of casual restaurants; outside town are the ruins of ancient Tusculum

    • Il Belvedere dal 1933, in Frascati, rec'd on The Rome Digest

    • # Gelateria "Avidi" Greed - Dissapore named one of the top 100 gelaterie in Italy in 2017, Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020 "3 coni"

    • Cacciani - rec'd Michelin

    • Cantina Martini - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Cantina da Santino - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Osteria dell'Olmo - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Cantina Grappolo d'Oro - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Cantina Bucciarelli - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Cantina del Principe - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Vinoteca Trinca - rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Osteria Del Fico Vecchio - rec'd Fodors

    • Cantina Ceccarelli - a bit outside town, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Casal del Marchese - winery that supposedly has a nice tour & food/wine pairing

    • Zarazà - was rec'd Michelin but not anymore in 2020, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Da una Cantina - was rec'd Michelin but not anymore in 2020

  • Grottaferrata - just S of Frascati, has Abbazia Greca di San Nilo

  • Monte Porzio Catone - NE of Frascati

    • Il Monticello - rec'd Michelin, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

    • Barrique by Oliver Glowig - expensive, rec'd Michelin

  • Castel Gandolfo (Castelgandolfo) - contains the Pope's traditional summer residence (thanks to Pope Francis, you can tour the residence and gardens—Walks Inside Rome and An American in Rome explain more); overlooks Lago Albano; named one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. Friday is market day.

  • Rocca di Papa - town above Lago Albano, with views of Lago di Nemi

  • Ariccia - known for its porchetta, often served by an informal eating establishment called a fraschetta (everyone seems to have a favorite one); also home to Palazzo Chigi; this blog gives a nice introduction

      • ***Osteria Numero 1 (aka Hosteria N° 1) - this fraschetta had good reviews online from various places, and we had some *amazing* porchetta here. The other dishes were good but nothing to write home about, and the service was a bit slow (they forgot about us for ~30 minutes) but it's worth it for the porchetta!

      • Cioli - rec'd by Scatti di Gusto and many others for excellent porchetta; not a fraschetta but more of a butcher shop

      • La Selvotta - rec'd by many websites, particularly for its garden atmosphere

      • L'Aricciarola - rec'd Fodors

      • (Elizabeth Minchilli also recommends the porchetta at Bernabei in Marino, north of Castel Gandolfo, also rec'd by Scatti di Gusto)

  • Nemi - has the haunting Lago di Nemi (Lake Nemi) and the ruins of an old temple to Diana; known for wild strawberries

    • the Temple of Diana is now on ~private land, but if you ask nicely they might let you go see it

    • La Fiocina - restaurant rec'd Fodors

    • Locanda Specchio di Diana - wine bar/cafe/restaurant/hotel rec'd Fodors

  • Genzano di Roma - SW of Lago di Nemi, beautiful view of the lake

  • Tigellino - rec'd on The Rome Digest

  • Caparola - home to Palazzo Farnese

    • Antica Trattoria del Borgo - rec'd Fodors

  • Palestrina - hill town east of Rome, famous for Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, the Archeological Museum in Barberini Palace has stuff from before the Romans, more at this blog and American in Rome

Tivoli

Famous for the Villa d'Este, a huge garden with lots of fountains built in the 16th century by a meglomaniac Cardinal, and Hadrian’s Villa, a well-preserved Roman ruin. Also has Villa Gregoriana, a park with gorges, waterfalls, and caves.

Gaeta/Southern Coast

Gaeta hosts a small U.S. Navy base and the Sixth Fleet Flagship, USS Mount Whitney; see base information for basic contact information and hours. For a great overview of stuff to see and places to go/eat near Gaeta, see this great Gaeta Google Map.

Beaches

    • Serapo - nice beach just north of Gaeta, sandy, includes private lidos and public beaches

    • 300 Gradini - north of Serapo, has a younger crowd and to the south has a nude beach, €2 entry fee plus extra if you want a beach chair, etc.

Sights/Activities

    • Old Gaeta - the old medieval town is a sight itself, with its twisty lanes perched on a hill (Monte Orlando). Some sights nearby include the following:

      • Castello Angionio-Aragonese (Angevine-Aragonese Castle) - this medieval castle was built in two levels, one Angevin French and one Aragon Spanish. It's under reconstruction and closed to the public, but it is cool to look at from the outside.

      • Mausoleum of Lucius Munatius Plancus - at the top of Monte Orlando, this is the best-preserved Roman mausoleum in the world, although the interior is mostly bare. Nice view from the top, and the climb brings one past the Montagna Spaccata, a "split mountain" created (according to local legend) when Jesus died (and thus also the site of the church of the Montagna Spaccata or SS. Trinità)

      • Various Churches - several churches of note pepper the old town, such as the Cathedral of St. Erasmus (with a famous 13th century carved easter candle holder), Church of the Annuziata (in whose Golden Grotto Piux IX thought up papal infallability), and the churches of San Francesco and San Giovanni a Mare.

      • Il Molo Gelateria - Piazza del Pesce 1, 077-146-4721, this gelateria near the old port won "best gelateria in Italy" a few years back

    • Terracina - nice seaside town north of Gaeta

    • Sperlonga - medieval town north of Gaeta, one of the nicer beaches accessible from Rome; was also the home of Emperor Tiberius (you can visit the grotto where his villa once stood, and see the museum with old Roman statues found there)

    • San Felice Circeo - just up the coast from Terracina

    • Sicily-Rome American Cemetary and Memorial - farther north in Nettuno, near Anzio, 41°27.918'N 12°39.503'E

      • Nettuno itself has some nice beaches and an old medieval quarter that includes the Forte Sangallo castle

      • Agriturismo Nuova Fattoria - rustic farmhouse, pretty good Google reviews

      • Gelateria Colalucci - in Nettuno, rec'd Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020

      • Gelaterie del Vicolo - in Anzio, rec'd Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020

      • Romolo al Porto - in Anzio, rec'd Michelin for fresh, local fish

      • Aprilia - town between Anzio and Rome/Castelli Romani

    • See the Gaeta Google Map for more

Restaurants

    • Da Veneziano - via Abate Tosti 120, Formia, 077-177-1818, closed Mon, 18th century palace overlooking the water, good seafood, ~€35-40, €25 fixed-price menu, rec'd by Veronelli and Michelin.

    • Il Gatto e la Volpe - via Abate Tosti 83 (near the port), Formia, 077-121-354, closed Wed, brothers Giancarlo and Antonio Simeone serve up traditional seafood such as tiny fried octopus (capetroccole), grilled calamari, etc. ~€30, with fixed price menus between €28-38. Extensive wine list with reasonable prices. Rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia and TCI. (Delicious!)

    • Il Mutano - via Castello 43, in Maranola (medieval town ~6 km NE of Formia), 077-173-4260, only open on weekend or by reservation, specializes in Sardenian food such as Sardenian salamis and cheeses; spaghetti with dried tomatoes, ricotta, and nuts; baked lamb; and grilled goat meat. ~€30

    • Sirio - viale Unità d'Italia 128 (west of the port near the water), Formia, 077-179-0047, 077-177-2705, closed Dec, Jan, Tues, and Mon dinner (9/16-7/14) or Wed lunch (7/15-9/15), good sea & land food, everything (including pasta) made fresh by the restaurant, ~€34-40, recommended by Panorama, Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, and TCI!!

    • Vindicio Beach - via Vindicio 9 (on the water near the intersection with via Pietro Nenni), 077-177-2745, closed Nov-Apr, right on the beach with panoramic terrace, typical local food, ~€15-30, rec'd by Gambero Rosso and Espresso

    • La Cantinella Gaetana - via Duomo 13, Gaeta, 077-145-0005, closed Tues, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia rec's this nice place near the old port for, among other things, its mixed fried seafood, ~€30-35.

    • L'Enoteca di Luigi Raschi - vico Primo Indipendenza 15 (just W of modern port), Gaeta, 077-146-5639, closed Tues, dinner only, ~€35-40, rec'd by Alice.

    • Taverna Lupo di Mare - via Bausan 6, Gaeta, 077-146-5559, closed Wed, in the historic district on the water near the old port, excellent seafood and homemade pastas & desserts, ~€35, rec'd by Alice.

    • Trattoria la Cianciola - vico II Buonomo 16 (W of modern port), Gaeta, 077-146-6190, closed Mon, good seafood rec'd by Michelin, ~€20-35.

    • Il Nostromo - Lungomare Giovanni Caboto 154, Gaeta (W of modern port), 077-147-0107, rec'd by Americans for good seafood.

    • Sii Pur Brigante - via Ripa 5, Itri (10 km NW of Formia), 077-172-1594, closed Wed, dinner only, near medieval Castle, enoteca that has good wine plus excellent food, rec'd by Panorama, not too expensive ~€15-25.

Transportation

    • Driving - you can either take A1 north to the Capua exit, or in most cases it's quicker to take the Domitiana (SS7quater) all the way north

    • Train - the Formia train station has frequent trains to/from Rome as well as Naples/Pozzuoli

Montecassino

Originally founded by St. Benedict in the 6th century, the Abbey of Montecassino has been re-built four times, most recently in 1945 following a devastating World War II battle. Perched on a hill near the town of Cassino, the abbey offers a gorgeous view, a beautiful church and cloister, and a lot of history.

Visiting Tips

    • Driving: Take the Cassino exit and follow the yellow signs for "Abbazia di Montecassino"; it's about 1-1.5 hours from Naples. Parking is €2.

    • Opening Hours: M-Sat 8:30-12:30 and 3:30-5:30 (6:30 in the summer). Yes, the abbey is closed for 3 hours in the afternoon, so plan accordingly. There are conflicting stories about their hours for Sundays, but church services are at 9:00, 10:30, and noon, with the 2nd service in Gregorian Chant. The Museum (which has some cool tapestries, illuminated manuscripts, sculptures, etc.) is open only on Sundays during the winter.

    • Dress: Like the Vatican, both women and men need to have covered shoulders and kneecaps.

    • Bathrooms: The only public restroom is in the parking lot, so take care of your business on the way in!

    • Tours: The abbey offers some tours of the grounds, but Aldo's ITT tour is highly recommended.

    • Websites:

Where to Eat

    • Varlese - right off the A1 Cassino exit, across from the Etra Hotel (via Ausonia 21, 077-630-0083), a bar/restaurant with a big parking lot; nice buffet, good stop for a quick but not too expensive meal, rec'd by Alice.

    • Hotel Alba/Da Mario - via di Biasio 53, 077-622-558, closed Tues, seasonal specials in a nice hotel restaurant with a beautiful terrace, ~€30, rec'd by Michelin.

    • La Colombaia - via Sant'Angelo 43, 077-630-0892, closed Sun eve, Mon, daily changing fish specialties in a charming outdoor setting, menus from €18 to €28, rec'd by Michelin.

    • Evan's - in Cassino, restaurant rec'd Michelin, run by Evangelista family, seafood specialists, looks nice

    • Outside of Cassino

      • In Casalvieri (~30 min north): Osteria del Tempo Perso, piazza San Rocco 13, 077-663-8039, closed Mon, open only for dinner (except Sun), rustic, simple, fresh dishes, ~€20-25, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia and Gambero Rosso.

      • In Acquafondata (~30 min southwest): Vittoria, piazza dei Caduti 6, 077-658-4419, closed Wed, mountain cuisine such as wild boar and lamb, ~€15-25, rec'd by Alice.

      • In Castrocielo (~30 min west): Villa Euchelia, via Giovenale, 077-679-9829, closed Wed lunch, Tues, 1700's villa, lots of guidebooks recommend this great spot (also has rooms available), traditional dishes, ~€30-40, rec'd by Panorama, Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin, and TCI.

      • In Amaseno (~1 hour west): Al Solito Posto, via Auricola 8, 077-565-428, closed Mon, rustic restaurant specializing in stuff made from Buffalo (meat, cheese, etc.) but also with good fish dishes, reservations are a must for this popular spot, ~€25, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia.

      • In Ceprano (~1 hour west): Enoteca Federici, piazza Maritir di Via Fani 8, 077-591-4048, closed Tues, local cuisine, good wines, great pastries, grilled meats, ~€25-30, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia.

Pontine Islands

These islands can be reached via ferry from Naples (see Ferry page). You can also get here via ferries from Anzio (on Vetor), Terracina (via NLG [Ponza only] and SNAP), Formia (via SNAP and Laziomar, which occasionally also serves Terracina and Anzio), and San Felice Circeo (Gentur/Circeoponza, Ponza only).

Ponza

Tuscia

This refer to the northern part of Lazio, which borders Tuscany and Umbria, also known as "Etruria". 2012 Guardian article with lots of ideas for this region, as does Rick Zullo

Agro Pontino (Pontine Marshes)

The Pontine Marshes are a formerly malaria-ridden swamp that Mussolini drained in the 1930s, roughly corresponding to Latina province, extending as far south as Terracina (so not including Sperlonga/Gageta/Formia)

  • Giardino di Ninfa - in Cisterna di Latina a bit north of Latina (and Southeast of the Castelli Romani), many people consider this to be the most romantic garden in the world...places to eat nearby in Cisterna di Latina:

    • ? Il Piccolo Ducato - in Cisterna di Latina, great Google/TA reviews, rec'd Michelin, Gambero Rosso, straightforward but fresh, good seafood, outdoor dining under umbrellas available

    • Enoteca Del Bricco - old school steakhouse/wine bar with outstanding Google/TA reviews

    • more eating options nearby are in the nearby hill town of Norma (~12 min drive) and Sermoneta (~10 min, see below)

  • Norma - small hill town near Ninfa, features a small Chocolate Museum, and Roman ruins of Antica Norba

    • Dal Sindacotto? Locanda da Valentino (good TA/Google reviews)? Osteria delle Mura? Trattoria Antichi Sapori?

    • (Pane & Cioccolata - pastry shop with great Google reviews but mediocre TA reviews)

    • Da Valerio amore per la pizza - inexpensive, looks like OK Naples-style pizza, great Google reviews

    • Enoteca 23quattro - small plates, great Google reviews

    • M'affaccio Di Gusto - sandwich/take-away shop with great Google/TA reviews

  • ...this area is around the Lepini Mountains

    • Cori - small town in NW of the mountains, not far from Norma, that has Roman temples

  • Sermoneta - great medieval town near Latina; the castle (Caetani) is one of a kind and is available for tours; also nearby is the Abbazia di Valvisciolo

    • I dolci di nonna Maria - people seem to really like this bakery for its cookies, pies/tarts (especially with sour cherries), they won a "best cookies in Lazio" competition in 2019, glowing Google/TA reviews

    • Ristorante Simposio al Corso? (good tripadvisor reviews)

    • Ristorante il Pomarancio? (good tripadvisor reviews, a bit haute cuisine, into truffles, looks very high-quality)

    • Il Giardino del Simposio? (good Google/TA reviews, a bit more upscale than the others?)

    • Antico Emporio? (good tripadvisor reviews)

    • Ristorante Al Castello? (good tripadvisor reviews)

    • Ristorante Chichibio? (TripAdvisor a bit lukewarm...)

    • Trattoria Ghost? (TripAdvisor a bit lukewarm...)

    • Ristorante Locanda Bonifacio VIII?

    • La Sorgente? (just down the hill)

    • Il Casale di Nonna Lina - down the hill/SW of town, looks like nice homestyle cooking, likes adding arugula to dishes

    • nearby Monticchio also has dining options like Ristorante La Taparita?

    • ~15-17 min away in Bassiano:

      • ? Ristorante Gelateria Belvedere - looks like one of the nicest restaurants nearby (~15-17 min drive away in Bassiano), good Google/TA reviews, fresh pasta/ingredients (tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms looks particularly good), nice views

      • Osteria delle Mura - great Google reviews, looks nice

      • Panificio La Mola di Iannarelli Silvio - great Google reviews

      • Ristorante Il Castagno - good Google/TA reviews

      • SempreVida - more "innovative" restaurant, good Google/TA reviews

      • L'Oliveto - a ways outside town, very good Google reviews, looks good; very fresh-looking Greek/Italian hybrid with lots of color?

    • ### ~14 min south, close to SS7: Da Clara Osteria Tipica - really good Google/TA reviews, pet-friendly, has gluten-free options, opened April 2019 by female chef, Pontine traditional dishes with local ingredients & homemade pasta

    • ~19 min south, on SS7 in Borgo Faiti: Ristorante Cucinarium - at the Foro Appio Hotel, rec'd Michelin for super-fresh food including ingredients from their garden

      • ? same hotel also has Fraschetta d'Orazio, a more informal eatery with an inexpensive fixed-price menu

      • La Locanda del Bere - also in Borgo Faiti, good Google/TA reviews

    • ~33 min SW, up the road from Latina in Le Ferriere - Straticvm (Satricvm Food & Wine or Satricvm Circolo), a haute cuisine tasting menu place run by a Max Cotilli and his wife, great Google/TA reviews, rec'd Identita Golose, Michelin

    • in Pontinia is Materiaprima (Mater1apr1ma) - restaurant that cares a lot about its ingredients (as the name implies), haute cuisine style, rec'd Michelin, great Google/TA reviews

  • Latina - regional capital, on the coast

    • Il Fungehetto - seafood restaurant rec'd Michelin

  • Caseificio Montecirceo - good cheese manufacturer in Borgo Montenero

  • Hosteria del Gobbo - in Sezze, a ways south of Sermoneta, pretty good Google reviews

  • [In Sezze: Arduni Dolci - pastry shop with great Google reviews]

Elsewhere in Lazio

    • Piana delle Orme - wonderful war and industrial museum. Originally a private collection, the museum houses working industrial and military equipment in a series of small buildings: "Dedicated to the twentieth century, the Museum is a journey through 50 years of Italian history. "Agrituristico restaurant on-site featuring a smattering of the local cuisine.

    • Subiaco - town east of Rome, home to monasteries/abbys where St. Benedict and St. Scholastica started their orders

      • ?Belvedere Ristorante B&B has good Google reviews

    • Lago di Bracciano

      • Trevignano Romano - lakeside town

        • Acquarella restaurant rec'd Michelin

        • Acquaranda is an agriturismo that gets pretty good Google reviews

      • ?? Osteria del Borgo - in Cesano, SE of the lake, great Google reviews, looks nice, "km0"

      • ? Osteria del Borgo - in Bracciano, also good Google reviews

  • Sabina (Rieti area)

      • Cittaducale = town on via Salaria

      • Fara in Sabina, has Abbey of Farfa

      • Castel di Tora = beautiful hill town overlooking a Lago Turano (other towns like Colle di Tora)

      • Magliano Sabina

      • Poggio Mirteto

      • Leonessa: Leon d'Oro - rustic restaurant rec'd Michelin

      • Rivodutri: Ristorante La Trota - 2 Michelin stars, haute cuisine/art food

  • Ciociaria (Frosinone area)

    • The Italian name of the Sofia Loren movie "Two Women" is "La Ciociara", roughly "the woman from Ciociara"

    • Anagni, a cute hill town near A1, between Frascati & Frosinone

    • Piglio makes the most renowned Cesanese (indeed, it is the only red wine DOCG in Lazio)

      • ?Osteria Vicolo Fatato Di Pompeo has good Google reviews