There are plenty of things to do in Rome, but with the freedom of a rental car, you can look further afield for culture. On the outskirts of Rome, you'll find two protected nature reserves: Riserva Naturale della Marcigliana, and Riserva Naturale di Decima Malafede. Both parks are less than an hour's drive from Rome, and offer visitors an escape from the bustle of the city, with rolling hills, luscious woodlands, and stunning views over Rome. Why not combine your city trip to Rome with a beach getaway? Santa Marinella is only 60km from Rome, with a beautiful sandy beach and crystal-blue water. Fill up on fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants on the seafront and then take a scenic drive back to Rome along the coast.
With so much history, there's are an infinite number of things to see and do during your city trip to Rome. Start by discovering the many ornate piazzas (squares) in the city centre. The Piazza Navona is built on the site of an ancient Roman stadium, and visitors can still see the outline of the stadium in the square's unique shape. A 2km walk from the Piazza Navona is the unmissable Vatican City. While travellers can visit Saint Peter's Square for free, it's worth buying a ticket for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, where visitors will recognise many famous Renaissance works of art, including Michaelangelo's 'The Creation of Adam'. If you're looking for a quieter afternoon, take a wander through the gardens of the Villa Borghese, the third-largest public park in Rome. Here, visitors will find beautiful landscaped gardens, a renowned gallery in the main villa, and several other buildings housing fine art.
Rome is part of the Lazio region of Italy, the second-most populous of Italy's 20 regions. By renting a car in Rome, holidaymakers can explore the Roman Campagna, the flat area around Rome bordered by the Tolfa Mountains to the north and the Alban Hills to the south. Lazio was the region at the heart of the ancient Roman Empire, and as such, there's plenty of history in the area for travellers to seek out. The small town of Cerveteri is just one of these major archaeological sites, which houses an Etruscan necropolis, a large cemetery. Cerveteri is less than an hour's drive from Rome's centre, and visitors can spend hours wandering the ancient site. Thanks to the varied landscape of the Lazio region, there are plenty of activities for travellers with a car. Lakes in the Regional Natural Park of Bracciano-Martignano attract sailors and canoeists, while those with a love of the sea can go scuba-diving in the Pontine Archipelago.
Once you've got your rental car, there are a few important things that all visitors should be aware of before setting off on your Italian adventure. Once you've stepped off your flights to Rome, visitors will see that, as in the rest of mainland Europe, cars drive on the right side of the road. If you're planning on driving in the centre of Rome, visitors should be aware that the city has laws requiring all drivers in the ZTL (zona a traffico limitato, or limited traffic zone) to have a resident's pass. If you're driving to your hotel in Rome, make sure you register your details (number plate of car and number of days of stay) with your hotel to avoid any fines. In addition, drivers in Italy must, by law, carry certain items in their vehicle while on the road. These include reflective jackets, a spare tyre, a warning triangle, and beam deflectors.