With autumn in full swing, we do our best to make the most of non-rainy days. As November 1st was a holiday here in Italy, we had a nice long weekend and instead of planning a trip away, we decided to stick to day trips from Rome. I finally got the chance to visit Ostia Antica and the following day, at the invitation of friends, we joined them on a hike in Monte Soratte, situated about 60km (37 miles) north of Rome.
As we knew it wouldn’t be anything like the 17-km hike we did last month, we were up for it. Our friends had informed us that it would take about an hour to an hour in a half, depending of the children, to get to the peak where we’d have a picnic lunch. To start the hike, we drove up to the hill-top town on Sant’Oreste where we parked. I will not go into details about the history of the mountain as my friend Lazio Explorer has already written an excellent post on this.
We started the walk on a graveled path which eventually gets you to the Hermitage of San Silvestro (Eremo di S. Silvestro) founded around 340 AD but we wanted to get on one of the 11 trails. You’d think that equipped with a map detailing the different trails in Monte Soratte, we’d know which to take but there were hardly any signs to give us a point of reference. Mind you, we were with friends who are experienced hikers but it wasn’t easy finding the trails.
One of us would check out what we thought was a trail only to come back with a no-go. At the end we decided to play it safe as our friends have young children. We chose to stay on the graveled road for about half of the way up before venturing onto a trail which looked relatively easy. It was suitable for the children but have I no idea which one it was as there were no signs and we just followed the red arrows painted on stones along the way. For your reference, here is a link to the 11 different trails with a description of each one (in Italian).
Eventually, we made it to the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie where nearby there were a few tables and benches for us to have lunch. And what a view we had!
The weather, unfortunately, was not cooperating and with the dark clouds looming overhead, I made a quick dash to the Hermitage of San Silvestro. It was only a few minutes away from where we had lunch and figured that coming up this far, I just had to have a glimpse of this hermitage which is supposedly built on top of a pagan temple to Apollo.
However, with the clouds continuing to look even more threatening, I didn’t have time to step inside. I had read that there were 14th-15th century frescoes but that would have to be for another day. Good call because as soon I got back to the group they were ready to head down and as it had started to rain, we took the graveled road back.
Abbazia di Sant’Andrea in Flumine (Abbey of St. Andrew in Flumine)
Since the rain shortened our plans, we decided to stop by the Abbazia di Sant’Andrea in Flumine in Soratte which was only a short drive away. This abbey houses a stunning Romanesque church with beautiful frescoes on the walls dating back to the 8th century, granite columns and remarkable cosmatesque mosaics on the floor. It comes as no surprise that this Abbey was built on top of Roman ruins which you can get the chance to see through another entrance.
The grounds here are beautiful and from their website, they also apparently host meetings and banquets. For more information, please visit their website (in English).
There are plenty of hidden gems in Lazio which are worth exploring and are an easy day trip from Rome. In an upcoming post, I will share more intriguing places off the beaten path in Lazio.
What is your favorite day trip from Rome that is off the beaten path?