Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Can we easily combine a visit to Rome with a few days on the beach?
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Wednesday 24 July 2013
Q We are hoping to go Rome in September for a long weekend. How easy would it be to extend the stay with a few days by the beach or in the countryside afterwards, to combine some culture with recharging the batteries?
A The Italian capital offers an excellent combination of civic intensity combined with seaside or countryside relaxation. Furthermore September is the ideal month (along with May) to mix metropolitan life with some escapism: the crowds are not too overwhelming at the Colosseum, Forum and Vatican, while the weather is still reliably warm.
For simplicity, choose the beach option - and make the coast your base for the entire stay. Lido di Ostia is Rome's own seaside resort, just 23 miles south-west of the city centre. Frequent (if old and rattly) electric trains shuttle back and forth between the capital's Porta San Paolo station and the beach, giving quick (30 minutes) and cheap access between the Holy See and the Mediterranean Sea.
In mid-September, Expedia.co.uk is offering a pretty good five-night deal from Gatwick on easyJet, staying at the four-star Barcelo Aran Blu for £328 per person (excluding breakfast).
Lido di Ostia is also very convenient for the strangely under-visited archaeological site of Ostia Antica, the ancient seaport for Rome which is now landlocked; the site's own railway station is just four minutes from Lido di Ostia Centro.
For countryside, choose Lake Bracciano - a volcanic crater 30 miles north-west of the capital, accessible by train from Rome Ostiense. It is a perfect antidote to the high-energy city. The towns of Trevignano (with its own modest beach), Anguillara and Bracciano are evenly spaced aroud its circumference. For ease of access - and the widest choice of places to stay - opt for Bracciano, which also has the most significant tourist attraction in the shape of Orsini castle; the view from the ruined fortress across the lake is spectacular.
Whether you choose beach or lakeside, make sure you fly to and from the right Rome airport - Fiumicino (also known as Leonardo da Vinci) rather than Ciampino. Fiumicino has frequent buses to Lido di Ostia (taking just 15 minutes), and also some direct services to and from Bracciano - see bit.ly/RomeAirBus for details of both.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 2 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 4 Lauren Goodger sex tape: Reality star calls for tougher laws on revenge porn after intimate video leaks online
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...
Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...