By ALEIX GWILLIAM
Rome provides a great starting point for various day trips that take you to places with a lot of history as well as offering a beautiful landscape. One drive is to follow the old Via Aurelia, the road from Rome to Pisa, built in the year 241 BC. The road goes along the Italian West Coast, a beautiful 200 mile trip, and today, the Italian motorway SS1 uses the same route. The Via Aurelia is an excellent choice for a day out during your stay in Rome apartments.
The road leaves from the Western part of the city, not far from The Vatican. After 18 miles you come across the town of Cerveteri, which was one of the most important Mediterranean commercial centres for over 200 years, from the 7th to the 5th centuries BC. Cerveteri was an Etruscan village, and although it’s not by the sea today, it used to be at the time. In Museo Nazionale di Cerveteri you can see all sorts of Etruscan remains and treasures that were taken from the Banditaccia Necropoli. The necropolis is laid out as a village with Etruscan huts and tombs.
Past the port of Civitavecchia, where you can get ferries to Spain, Sardinia, Corsica and France, you will find Tarquinia, another famous Etruscan centre, which holds one of the best archeological museums in Italy. The town is alleged to have been founded in the 12th century BC, and it also holds a necropolis. After Tarquinia, the road goes a bit inland and you can enjoy the change of scenery before it returns to the coast at the town of Orbetello.
The combination of Italian countryside and sea with villages on cliffs and tempting beaches makes the road a real joy to drive. If hunger kicks in, you can drive a few miles up the road to the town of Grosseto. Ideal for lunch to sample delicious Tuscan cuisine and try the typical schiaccia, an oven-baked bread with herbs. In Grosseto you can also visit its famous Medicean Walls, its 13th century cathedral or its many beautiful palaces.
After lunch, the beautiful drive up to Pisa goes past beaches such as Follonica and quiet towns like Castagneto Carducci, perfect for an afternoon’s coffee in the shadow of its cobbled piazzas. Less than an hour up the road you get to Pisa and its famous tower.
Consider renting apartments in Rome before your trip, then get behind the wheel and enjoy the western coast of Italy.
Aleix Gwilliam is a 24-year-old from Barcelona who looks English but thinks like a Catalan. He enjoys travelling, especially on old Czech trains, and trying to start conversations in Hungarian with people at Pecs station, even though his Hungarian is as good as his Bulgarian, in other words, not very good. He’s a trier.