Anyone who has ever breathed in the Eternal City, whether short stay or lifetime, knows that the true art in Rome is enjoying one’s surrounding– pranzo, pausa, aperitivo and any other activity of languid lounging, people watching and food. The beautiful juxtapostion of Roman chaos and relaxation inspires sonnets, novels and movies or just lot of cocktails. But sometimes a delicious Franciacorta while watching the sun hit St. Peter’s dome is not enough.
When in Rome, it is imperative to get out, hence, the daycation- a long day’s journey, whether conceptual or physical, out of the city. With only 16 miles from Rome to the Mediterranean sea, a day trip to the beach is the ideal getaway. Though Ostia may rank #1 for affordability and distance– only 20 minutes and 1 euro by local train- my favorite under-the-Roman-sun spot is Santa Marinella, a small beach town about 45 -55 minutes from Rome.
What to do: Santa Marinella is an age-old secret, ancient Phoenician settlers, medieval rival families, Renaissance popes, fin de siècle literati and Dolce Vita celebrities (like Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini) have been enjoying a simple afternoon in the sun here for milennia. And what to do here is no longer a secret: walk to the beach and pick your spot. (If in “season”, you may have to purchase an ombrellone or lettino for your afternoon’s real estate.) That’s about it.
Excercise? Santa Marinella has its own Sunset Strip, a small road with shops (great beach wear) and leading to quiet piazzas and few restaurants. A plate of spaghetti and vongole (clams) always satisfy. My spot? La Piazzetta, Piazza Trieste 13A, (+39) 392 8915356, call for reservations. For the culture curious, Santa Marinella has two medieval (11th century) castles, Roman bridges and archeological sites.
How to Daycate: Getting to Santa Marinella is easy- local trains leave from Termini, Trastevere and Ostiense stations every half hour and cost approximately 4.10 euro- less than 10 euro round trip. Make sure to purchase roundtrip tickets, as smaller stations like Santa Marinella do not tend to have reliable ticket machines.