Visiting Rome? Don't miss these off-the-beaten-path highlights
1 November 2023
Imagine you’re in Rome. What do you see?
Some travellers may visualise the soaring heights of the Colosseum, the splashing Trevi Fountain, and plate after plate of cacio e pepe and carbonara.
Yet the delights of the “Eternal City” extend far beyond its famous highlights.
One such delight is the bucolic Borghetto San Carlo agricultural estate, located just a short ride from Rome’s busy centre.
“[Visitors are often] surprised because they don't expect this place to be some sort of oasis,” said Alessia Mazzù, project manager of Cooperativa Coraggio, a group that develops and manages the thriving agricultural operations of the estate, transforming the land from a previous state of abandonment.
In addition to growing food and making the Borghetto San Carlo agricultural estate accessible for the public to enjoy, Cooperativa Coraggio has also created more than 40 work opportunities over the years.
“When you go there, you really have peace,” said Giustino Cacciotti, a senior product executive at Intrepid Travel, a travel company that partners with Cooperativa Coraggio.
We spoke with Mazzù and Cacciotti to learn more about Cooperativa Coraggio and other off-the-beaten-path gems just a short train ride from Rome. Use this itinerary on your next Interrail trip to experience the vast beauty of Italy.
To reach Cooperativa Coraggio’s agricultural complex, many travellers will begin in Rome. While exploring the city, don’t miss these highlights:
- Rome’s lively Trastevere neighbourhood is no secret to travellers – but plenty of hidden gems can be found on its side streets. Spend an hour or two popping into local businesses such as Tic, a colourful shop selling books, art prints, gadgets and beyond.
- A stroll along the tranquil lower banks of the Tiber River, which cuts through the vast metropolis, offers a moment of peace in the bustling city centre.
- The Appian Way, said to be Rome’s first “highway,” was created by statesman Appius Claudius Caecus starting in 312 BCE. Today, travellers can explore the ancient road by foot or bike, with rental shops nearby.
Borghetto San Carlo agricultural estate
Cooperativa Coraggio’s idyllic farm is located just an hour away from Rome’s Termini station. Simply take the train to La Giustiniana and take a short walk or catch a local bus to reach the farm.
Bring lunch or dinner along with you and dine al fresco in the Roman countryside using Cooperativa Coraggio’s picnic area, open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. every day except Monday. Cooperativa Coraggio also has a small shop where travellers can purchase high-quality organic products.
Mazzù especially recommends visiting in the late afternoon. “I feel a sense of peace, especially around the sunset hour,” she said.
Longing to dive deeper into life at the Borghetto San Carlo estate? Reach out directly to Cooperativa Coraggio to attend a cooking class or guided tour of the farm.
Bracciano, a picturesque town alongside a volcanic lake, is just a 30-minute direct train ride from Cooperativa Coraggio’s agricultural estate.
In addition to offering beaches, a stunning waterfront, and charming town streets, Bracciano is also home to the Orsini-Odescalchi Castle, an imposing fortress with sweeping views of the lake, constructed at the end of the 15th century.
Viterbo and Villa Lante
Viterbo, a beautiful city located just 45 minutes by direct train from Bracciano, is known as the “city of the Popes” due to its role as a papal seat during part of the 1200s.
Today, travellers can stroll Viterbo’s medieval centre, exploring the city’s castles, piazzas, and churches. Afterwards, take a short bus ride to Villa Lante, an architectural and natural treasure initially designed as a summer residence for the Bishops of Viterbo.
From Viterbo, take a regional train to La Storta-Formello station and a short bus ride to Isola Farnese, a charming village north of Rome.
While in Isola Farnese, take time to visit the Piazza della Colonnetta and the village’s castle, as well as the Veio archeological site, remnants of an ancient city founded around the ninth century BCE.
Explore Italy further – or venture beyond
After discovering Rome and its surrounding gems, travellers are well-positioned to continue exploring Italy and its surrounding countries.
Cooperativa Coraggio’s farm is situated on the Via Francigena, an age-old walking path from Canterbury in England to Rome and Santa Maria di Leuca in Italy. If you like, spend a few days exploring this ancient pilgrimage route before catching your next train.
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