In Lazio, you'll be spoilt for choice if you fancy a day out that's a bit different. Let your imagination take flight in the Sacro Bosco di Bomarzo (Sacred Grove of Bomarzo) or take a warm dip under the starry sky in Viterbo's Piscine Carletti (Carletti Pools). Go hiking or try your hand at rafting through raging rivers.

    If you'd prefer to relax, this region offers perfect spots for unwinding, from food and wine tours to adventures among wild and untouched nature. It's time to hit the road. Here are the 12 must-try activities in Lazio we've chosen for you.

    1

    Ostia Antica archaeological site

    Discover traces of an ancient Roman port

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    Ostia Antica archaeological site, a prominent commercial centre and port for the Romans, is worth a visit and is located halfway between Rome and Fiumicino. Walking among the ruins, you'll feel as though you’ve gone back to a time when the port was still active.

    As well as the village, the river docks and the Ville Costiere (Coastal Villas) of Procoio, there are also 2 fascinating necropoli in the area. The site is very large, so we recommend setting aside a whole day to explore it. Put on some comfortable shoes and be enthralled by the beauty of Rome in imperial times.

    Location: Viale dei Romagnoli, 717, 00110 Ostia Antica, Italy

    Open: hours vary by season

    Phone: +39 06 5635 8099

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    2

    The wonders of the Historic Villas of Tivoli

    Appreciate ancient gardens and fountains

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    Discover the wonders of the Historic Villas of Tivoli while you're in Lazio. With Villa D'Este (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Villa Gregoriana (Gregorian Villa, a FAI property) and Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa), Tivoli is a unique gem on the outskirts of the capital.

    Villa d'Este will amaze you with its gushing fountains and wonderful water effects. In the villa of emperor Hadrian, you'll admire impressive statues, majestic ruins and shady olive groves. Villa Gregoriana, on the other hand, boasts luscious natural features and narrow paths by the waterfall. You can also enjoy stunning views of the Città Eterna (Eternal City) from the town. If you have some time left, it's worth visiting the pretty old town.

    Location: 00019 Tivoli, Italy

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    3

    The monsters of the Sacred Grove of Bomarzo

    Get face to face with fantasy

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    With the monsters of the Sacro Bosco (Sacred Grove) of Bomarzo, fantasy becomes reality for those who've dreamed of meeting fantastical and mythological creatures. This place in the heart of Tuscia has no parallel in the world. Anything's possible here. As well as paths and rare plants, you'll encounter monsters, gods and mythical beasts.

    Upon entering, you'll be given a map directing you to the main attractions, from the statue of Nettuno (Neptune) to the turtle sculpture ensemble. The sculptures were designed to amaze, so there's a guaranteed wow-factor. Don't leave before taking some photos in front of the huge Orco (Ogre) face, the park's icon, and the Casa Pendente (Leaning House) – unlike the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it was built that way on purpose.

    Location: 01020 Bomarzo, Italy

    Open: April–August: daily from 8.30 am to 7 pm. September–March: from 8.30 am until sunset

    Phone: +39 07 6192 4029

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    4

    Follow the Wine, Oil and Flavours Route

    Where travel and taste merge

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    Follow the Strada del Vino, dell'Olio e dei Sapori (Wine, Oil and Flavours Route) in the Province of Latina ff you fancy some high-quality culinary delights. The itinerary was created to familiarise tourists with the wonderful land that's just an hour's drive from Rome.

    Explore the 8 wine cellars included in the project, like Casale del Giglio and Valle dell’Usignolo (Nightingale Valley), and taste prized wines in a sensory experience like no other. By following the suggested routes, you'll discover how local products are made and visit ancient villages off the beaten track. These include must-see treasures like Cori, Ninfa and Sermoneta.

    Location: 04100 Latina, Italy

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    5

    Dive into the thermal waters of Carletti Pools

    A free, open-air spa

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    Dive into the thermal waters of Carletti Pools if you fancy a dip in winter or under the stars in the hot waters of a thermal spring.? Found in the heart of Tuscia, these pools are a magical place that will do just the trick.

    The water in the pools flows consistently at 58°C. No ticket is needed to enjoy this natural paradise. The hot springs are free and you can access them all year round, with no timetable restrictions. Sounds dreamy, right? If you want to spend a whole day there, keep in mind that there aren't many amenities in the area, so prepare beforehand.

    Location: 01100 Viterbo, Italy

    Open: daily at any time

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    photo by Angelmanxego (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Cinecittà World amusement park

    Experience the movies that made history

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    Cinecittà World amusement park is dedicated to all things TV and cinema. With over 30 attractions, 7 themed areas, 4 large theatres and 6 shows a day, it never fails to wow visitors. As well as the rollercoasters, there are unique experiences like Volarium, the flying cinema suspended 10 metres above ground.

    Explore the sets that provided the backdrop for great films, retrace the epic feats of the Far West and spend a day as an ancient Roman. The cafes and restaurants also feature different settings, from Jurassic Bar to Ristorante Charleston.

    Location: Via di Castel Romano, 200, 00128 Rome, Italy

    Open: refer to the official website

    Phone: +39 06 4041 1541

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    photo by Daniele0601 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    Hiking the Circe Peak or the Treja Valley

    A journey through nature and breathtaking views

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    Hiking the Circe Peak or the Treja Valley are great excursions for those looking for adventure. The first follows the path towards Picco del Monte Circeo (Peak of Mount Circeo). It's a difficult walk, but at the top you'll be rewarded with a priceless view of the Isole Pontine (Pontine Islands) and Spiaggia di Sabaudia (Sabaudia Beach), which will take your breath away (if you have any left!).

    The second descends into the valley carved by the Fiume Treja (River Treja), in Alto Lazio (Upper Lazio). In this protected area, known for its one-of-a-kind microcosm of plants and animals, the tributary of the Tevere (Tiber) has formed a gap between the volcanic rocks, creating gorges, untouched canyons and beautiful waterfalls, like that of Monte Gelato.

    Location: Lazio, Italy

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    8

    Canoeing on Lake Bolsena and Lake Bracciano

    Rest on calm waters

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    Go canoeing on Lake Bolsena and Lake Bracciano if you love sport and want to spend a day far from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Nothing could be better than hiring a canoe and gliding through the magnificent waters of Lago di Bolsena (Lake Bolsena), in the Province of Viterbo, or Lago di Bracciano (Lake Bracciano), north of Rome.

    Feast your eyes from afar on the lush vegetation and surrounding villages. The waters are always calm, so no need to worry if you're a beginner. Look for the rental shops scattered along the shore. Many of them also offer courses and group trips.

    Location: Lazio, Italy

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    9

    Birdwatching and bathing in Ventotene and Santo Stefano

    Between sea and sky

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    Birdwatching and bathing in Ventotene and Santo Stefano are great ways to recharge your batteries and tune in with nature. Head to the splendid Riserva Naturale Statale Isole di Ventotene e Santo Stefano (Ventotene and Santo Stefano Islands State Nature Reserve). It's a utopia for birdwatchers, snorkellers and scuba divers.

    Grab your flippers and mask, dive into the blue sea and splash around with the sea turtles and colourful fish. Or, arm yourself with some binoculars and a camera and search the different areas of the park for rare birds. Whatever you decide to do, one thing's for sure: you'll leave with unforgettable memories and photos of this land.

    Location: 04031 Ventotene, Italy

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    10

    Horse riding along the Great Ring of the Parks of Lazio

    Gain a new perspective

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    Horse riding along the Great Ring of the Parks of Lazio is a refreshing way of rediscovering the slowness of travel, the ancient rhythms of tradition and a timeless land. Along the bridleway here, you can familiarise yourself with Lazio from a unique perspective.

    The route is 700 km long and passes through hamlets, villages and countryside. There are 4 routes: from Centeno to Rome, Vico Matrino to Vivaro Romano, Vivaro Romano to Piano di Montelanico (Montelanico Plain), and Circeo toward Rome again. The journey has been designed for horse riding, but it's also great for walking or cycling.

    Location: Lazio, Italy

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    11

    Canyoning, river walking and rafting

    Experience a thrill

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    Canyoning, river walking and rafting are exciting for those who love extreme sports, and Lazio has some great places for these activities. One place you can try some of these adrenaline-filled activities is Fiume Aniene (River Aniene). Descend the river in a rubber dinghy, wade through the water and resist the rushing current, or climb down the slippery rock walls of gorges on ropes.

    There are countless centres specialising in these types of activities and offering guided and group excursions, equipment and information for a safe but thrilling experience.

    Location: Lazio, Italy

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    12

    Cruises on the Ulysses Riviera and to Gaeta

    Follow in the footsteps of Homer's hero

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    Embark on a mini cruise on the Ulysses Riviera and to Gaeta and sail the very waters crossed by the hero of the Odyssey. Myth and legend rub shoulders on the Ulysses Riviera, a roughly 100-km-long stretch of coast in the Province of Latina.

    Offshore, you can admire San Felice Circeo, Sperlonga, Gaeta and the Grotte della Maga Circe (Caves of Circe the Sorceress). Take in nature's beauty, from beaches of softer-than-soft sand to rocky headlands. The cruise takes a day, but it's so enchanting you'll want to stay on the boat forever.

    Location: 04100 Latina, Italy

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