Day Trips from Rome for Wine Lovers: Frascati, Orvieto, Abruzzo and Tuscany

Looking to escape from Rome to the picturesque Italian countryside for a wine tasting? 

Depending on how much of time you have and the type of wine you like, you can chose one of these wine regions for your day tour from Rome: Frascati in Castelli Romani, Abruzzo, Orvieto in Umbria, or Tuscany.

Tuscany may be home to the most praised Italian wines, but other wine regions  have their advantages if you don’t want to drive too far, you love white wines, or you want to explore lesser-known authentic Italian regions.

Frascati, Lazio

A visit to Frascati would be the easiest wine tasting trip from Rome.  Frascati DOC is in the Lazio region, less than an hour away from Rome.  

You can reach the wineries of the Castelli Romani by train, bus or by car.  More details on how to get to Frascati from Rome can be found in my Frascati guide.

Castelli Romani, literally translated as Roman Castles, is an area to the southeast of Rome, just a little further away than the Ciampino airport.  

Famous for the Roman monuments, historic palaces dating back to the 17th century, and churches, Catelli Romani also refers to a collection of small wine-producing towns scattered over the Alban Hills.

If you are staying in Rome and only have half-a-day for your wine tasting tour, this may be an excellent option.  However, be aware that this region is primarily producing white wines from indigenous grapes Malvasia and Trebbiano. 

The wines are made in a fresh unoaked style.  They are medium in body with medium to high acidity and flavors of citrus and orange blossom.  

Frascati DOC is the most famous appellation of the region.  Relatively low in alcohol they are excellent for a hot summer afternoon.  A true Roman wine.

Frascati Superiore DOCG is a high-quality white wine and Cannellino di Frascati DOCG is a sweet dessert wine.  

You can also find red wines and sparkling wines in the area, however, they are not as high-profile.  

Dry white wines of Frascati will pair well with typical Roman dishes such as Saltimbocca (sliced veal rolled with prosciutto and sage and fried) and Bucatini all’amatriciana, as well as other pasta dishes spaghetti all carbonara and Caccio e Pepe, soups and vegetable dishes.

To explore the area, take a quick ride by bus or train, drive, or take a wine tour that will pick you up from Rome or from the Frascati train station. 

Most of the organized tours will take you to one or two of the villages and then to a wine tasting. Some include lunch or snacks and an olive oil tasting. The typical duration of a wine tour from Rome is between 3 and 7 hours. 

Private drivers usually pick you up from your accommodation in Rome.  I think this is an excellent option for a short and safe trip. 

When in Rome, drink what Romans drink – chilled Frascati wine.

Abruzzo

Abruzzo is a well-hidden and lesser-known area of Italy located east of Rome across the Apennine range

The region’s capital is L’Aquila and its largest city is Pescara.  

It would take about 2 to 2.5 hours to drive from Rome, but you will be rewarded with views of mountains, castles, beautiful lakes, and long sandy Adriatic beaches. 

Abruzzo offers a variety of wine styles: reds, whites, rose, and sparkling wines. The region’s main wine-growing areas are around the province of Chieti.  See a map of Abruzzo wine regions here. 

Abruzzo is mainly known for its black Montepulciano grape, which gives name to the main wine appellation Montepuliciano d’Abruzzo DOC and Colline Teramane Montepulciano D’Abruzzo DOCG.  There is no relation to the town of Montepulciano in Tuscany. 

Wines made of Montepulciano are high in tannins and color.  They have medium acidity and flavors of cherry, plum, and herbs.  The best examples are aged in oak for a short period of time. 

Montepulciano is considered by some a rustic wine.  Montepulciano pairs extremely well heavier dishes such as meaty pizza, beef brisket, and pork roast. 

There is significant white wine production here as well.  White wines of Abruzzo are made primarily of Trebbiano, Passerino, Pecorino, and Chardonnay.

Terre Tollesi / Tullum DOCG which produces both white and red wines has been promoted to the DOCG status in 2019.  It is known for its white wines, Montepulciano reds (rosso and riserva) and wonderful Chardonnay-dominated sparkling wines (spumante).

To taste these wines and Abruzzo local specialties, you can make appointments at wineries in advance of your trip, or jump on an organized wine tour.

Orvieto, Umbria

A trip to Orvieto and the nearby wineries is a perfect day trip from Rome for those who love white wines. 

Orvieto is located in the province of Terni, in the southwest area of Umbria, at an altitude of 325 meters above sea level.  Orvieto is on the way between Florence and Rome. 

Umbria’s climate is similar to Tuscany’s.  However, there is not influence from the Mediterranean Sea.  

If you like white wines, you will enjoy Orvieto DOC, Umbria most famous white, a blend of mainly Grechetto, Trebbiano, and other local varieties.  The wines are light in body, they have flavours of peaches and grapefruit and medium to high acidity. 

If you prefer red wines, Umbria’s most prestigious red wine is Sagrantino di Monefalco DOCG made from the Sagrantino grapes. 

Rosso Orvietano DOC (red from Orvieto) is made from Aleatico and a variety of other Italian and French black grapes. See map of Umbria wine regions here.

A drive from Rome will take approximately 1.5 hours. Driving is a great option if you’re hoping to see some sights and villages along the way. 

You will need to find a parking spot before ascending into Orvieto’s old town. As in many Italian towns, you cannot drive through the town centre.

Another option is coming to Orvieto without car, by bus or by train.  

Wonder the streets of Orvieto and visit the Duomo, the impressive monuments, churches and piazzas, and continue onto wine and food tastings on the hills around Orvieto.

As always, I recommend making appointments at wineries ahead of your visit.  You may also find an interesting day wine tour from Rome to Orvieto

Ideas of wineries to visit near Orvieto:

Tuscany

Tuscany is the most popular destination for wine lovers, especially for those who prefer reds.  

Brunello di Montalcino, Bolgheri and Chianti Classico rank high in the list of the best wines of the world. Some of the top names in the wine world are here including Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Marchesi Antinori.

The most prestigious wine areas are around the towns of Montalcino in Southern Tuscany, towns in Chianti between Florence and Siena, and on the Mediterranean coast.

To get from Rome to Tuscany, rent a car, or take a train or a bus.  Read more on how to get there and wineries to visit in Tuscany in my Tuscany guide.

Since a drive from Rome takes over 3 hours, you may want to stay a night in Tuscany at one of the local hotels or farm houses (agriturismo).

If you prefer to go to Tuscany with a driver, there are day tours from Rome to Tuscany that last about 12 hours.

Map of Central and Southern Tuscany (Chianti, Montalcino).

Map of Coastal Tuscany (Bogheri, Maremma Toscana).

Enjoy your wine tastings in Italy!  

If you want to join the wine tasting experience in Rome with other travelers or your private guide, consider the Italian Food and Wine Pairing Class and in Rome.

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