Along with its millennia of history and art, one of the best things about Rome is its close proximity to the beach. Just 16 miles to the seaside, the Roman coastline is sprinkled north and south with bright colored umbrellas, beach clubs and restaurants. So, when the Roman summer gets too hot to handle, head west for one of these five sandy daycations:
Ostia Lido is the easiest beach to reach when you need to run away from the Roman heat. Only 35 minutes by local train, the busy neighborhood is a blast from the past with its Art Deco building façades at the entrances to public beach clubs and restaurants. If you want to add a little culture to your beach break, take a walk around the Ancient Roman port city of Ostia Antica (just 10 minutes from Ostia Lido). Daytime or nighttime, there is always something to do, somewhere to go, and a big bowl of spaghetti with clams to enjoy — especially at La Playa Beach club. This indoor/outdoor restaurant sits on its own private beach, and if the spaghetti with clams is your choice, be sure to order a complementary glass of cold Vermentino wine.
How to get there: Take the Roma-Lido railway from Piramide station. To reach some of the beach entrances, opt for local bus 07, which runs the circuit up and down the waterfront.
Travel time from Rome: 30 minutes.
Fregene and Maccarese
Fregene and Maccarese are two beaches traditionally favored by Romans for summer homes and weekday getaways. The seaside community is rustic with quaint town centers. Some of Rome’s best seafood can be found in Maccarese and Fregene restaurants such as the rustic La Scialuppa. From politicians to footballers, this restaurant serves them all and with the gorgeous beachside dining and dishes such as insalata di polpo (octopus salad), ravioli with chickpeas and swordfish, and fresh fish including sea bass cooked on the grill, it’s no wonder.
How to get there: Take the regional train from Termini, Trastevere, St. Peter’s and Ostiense stations. From the station, you will need to take a local bus to town centers and beaches.
Travel time: 15-30 minutes, plus bus travel time.
North of Fregene and Maccarese is this small town best known for its clear water, soft sand and delicious seafood. Though bubbling with life in the summer months, Santa Marinella effortlessly maintains a relaxed vibe even on the hottest of days. When in need of an afternoon seafood fest, be sure to check out l’AcquaMarina, which sports a great view of the water on its open-air piazza and dishes such as bruschetta topped with stewed octopus, grilled crustaceans and more.
How to get there: Take the regional Veloce train from Termini, Trastevere, St. Peter’s and Ostiense stations before embarking on a five-minute walk from station to beach.
Travel time: 50 to 65 minutes.
Halfway between Rome and Naples is Terracina, an ancient hill town and modern beach community. These dueling personalities give way to Terracina’s charm. On the hills above the seaside are Republican-era temples and arches, the 3rd-century B.C. Via Appia Antica (an ancient Roman road) and a mind-blowing mix of ancient, medieval, papal and fascist era architecture. The beach town below contradicts history with its rectilinear organization and more than 30 beach club venues. During the day, everyone is on the sand, and at night, everyone is exploring the city’s historic sites.
How to get there: Take the regional train from Termini station.
Travel time: 80 minutes.
Just south of Terracina is Sperlonga, antiquity’s famous resort where Emperor Tiberius hosted lavish parties in a seaside villa. Today, Sperlonga is a charming town of whitewashed buildings, Middle Ages architecture, seaside cliffs and smooth sand. The beach is blue-flagged for its excellent water quality, environmental cleanliness and safety. For a dip into history, the beachfront Archaeological Museum shows off ancient sculptures and other traces of Tiberius and colleagues. You can actually walk through the excavated villa and into the Emperor’s grottos.
How to get there: Take the regional train to Fondi-Sperlonga station, and then take a taxi or bus to the beach. The buses only run hourly so it’s best to cab it to the beach.
Travel time: 70 minutes, plus bus or taxi travel time.
Photos Courtesy of Arlene Gibbs