Day Trips from Rome: Bracciano

In keeping with the Rome-free Sundays, this week we hopped on the train to Bracciano.

Bracciano is a small hilltop town in Lazio that overlooks (you guessed it) Lake Bracciano.

We got off the train and I proudly announced: “Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got married here at that castle.  There. That’s the extent of my knowledge about Bracciano. What should we do now?”

Uhhh.. walk towards the castle?

I still think it’s pretty crazy that there are just castles sitting around in Italy.  We don’t exactly have those back home.  The picture above was the view from our table at lunch.

I hope I never lose the surreal sense I get when sitting down next to a castle to have taglioni con cacio e cozze.

(And yes, that last part was for Paula who observed in my Ostia Antica Day Trip post that all I left out was what I had for lunch).

After delicious food, we wandered through some of the smaller alleyways and peeked over the cliff to get a better view of the lake.

The water was too much to resist so we decided to make the trek down the hill:

To get to the lake pathway, follow the main street downhill (there are signs pointing cars towards the ‘lago’).  Past the park, you’ll see a church on your left and steep stairs to the right.  Just walk down the stairs and continue down the path.  All in all, it’s about a 15-20 walk from the middle of town.

Rock skipping, swan feeding, beach glass hunting and general outdoor enjoying ensued.

We grabbed a drink at the bar on the water to fortify ourselves for the walk back up the hill to the train station.

How to get there:

Take the “Viterbo” line to Bracciano.  Tickets are 2.70 Euro each way and the trains leave from Ostiense and Trastevere.  You can take the Metro B line to Piramide and then switch to the train there. (The train station attached to Piramide is Ostiense). Trains leave every 30 minutes, except on Sundays and holidays when they are less frequent.

The train ride takes just under an hour.  Always remember to validate your ticket before boarding in one of the yellow machines or you could end up with a 50 Euro fine from the Rome metro police like me. Yay!

14 thoughts on “Day Trips from Rome: Bracciano

  1. Paula Feldman says:

    Cannot thank you enough for the food photo. Having lived in Italy for 36 years(heavens!) I am quite proud to announce that not only is the food wonderful but the emotional encounter with it remains the same year after year, when it doesn’t get better. Therefore I beg everyone to fotograph their favorite plates whether it be pasta pizza or other because part of Italy is the scenography in EVERYTHING! We have a vegetable garden(orto) in which we grow all of our veggie necessities and I can guarantee you that after you’ve had homegrown Italian(or homegrown anywhere actually) you can never go back. It’s one of the fabulous drugs of living under the Italian sun.

    So glad you enjoyed Lago Bracciano and its delights. Slowly but surely you’re getting the gist of why so many American expats choose il Belpaese!

  2. LindyLouMac in Italy says:

    All the towns around the lago are attractive in different ways and although I like Bracciano, I think our favourite town on Lago di Bracciano is Anguillara. A destination for another weekend maybe. Thanks for an enjoyable virtual tour.

  3. rebecca says:

    i just found your blog and am SOOO excited to read about all of your experiences! my husband and i are vacationing there for a few days next month and i’m pretty sure im going to read the whole bloggy, start to finish. thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Italian Postcards says:

    It’s the same with the castles up here (in Torino) too. Every time we drive somewhere, I am amazed at just how many castles we pass. Some are still in use. Some are falling down. They are all beautiful!

    • Royce says:

      That makes me want to buy a worn-down castle… you know how France has (or at least had) a program where people could buy run-down chateaux if they promised to keep them maintained, for historical reasons? Dunno if the program gave people a tax break, or just made it possible for foreigners to buy property, but that’s what I want Italy to let me do with a castle. Buy one and make it a nice little B&B.

  5. Royce says:

    Can someone explain the ‘ticket validation’ thing to me? Why do they need to be validated? What’s wrong with just printing the time of the purchase on the ticket and having it apply to that particular train ride? Too easy?

  6. Paula Feldman says:

    The only trains in Italy which do not need to be convalidated are the intercity and other trains on which you have a seat reservation. But just to be sure you should convalidate even them.

    The wonderful thing about living in Italy is that you don’t ask questions like ‘isn’t it just simpler to?’. In Italy, what is simple is always made complicated. It’s genetic. Go with the flow and don’t worry. Take the Carribean attitude of NO PROBLEM. Cus if you try to reason with your American mentality you’ll go nuts. Italy is a complicated country…but it is the most wonderful expat haven around. I know I’ve been here for 35 years!

    • L'americana says:

      It’s on the way to the castle. The castle has a little museum-like area, but as far as I know, no food. Better to eat at the bottom of the hill 🙂

  7. mark says:

    For as many years I lived in Rome never made it to lago bracciano
    viterbo yes,civita vecchia and even Terracina all Lazio is BEAUTY.

  8. Joe Hall says:

    Thanks for your insights we spent a wonderful day in
    Bracciano. Only problem at the Villa Argula station the ticket machine did not work for us a German nor French couple. By luck we asked the tabacco shop at the metro station and he sold us the tickets.

    Fine weather and memorable day.

    • Natalie says:

      Oh good! So glad you went and were able to get tickets! You can also find tickets at most newspaper stands.

      A good tip to keep in mind in cases like that, if nothing is open and there are no machines: when you get on the train, walk to the first car and look for the ticket inspector. You can buy a ticket from him, but only if you go find him and explain the situation. If he finds you, and it seems like you were trying to get a free fare, there will be a fine!

  9. leslie poleri says:

    Hi there,
    I’m so glad you appreciate and promote Bracciano!
    We have and an amazing Bed and breakfast very near to Bracciano called
    Suncave Gardens ( )
    Its smack in the middle between the Lake Bracciano and the Tirrenian sea, also near many smaller , charming towns around the lake and along the sea . come for a visit and we’ll feed you from out organic gardens, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

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