Hello outdoor lovers!
Today we’ll look at a hike that is really close to Rome – just 30 minutes from Termini! Nevertheless, it’s a great hike leading up Monte Tuscolo, which will reward us with a stunning view and brings us close to some historically important places.
Frascati, renowned for its delectable cuisine, exquisite wines, and breathtaking vistas, also boasts an impressive collection of 7 out of the 12 villas that symbolize the opulence of the Roman aristocracy. As we ascend to the summit of Monte Tuscolo, we will be enthralled by the ancient remnants of Tusculum, a city that predates the Trojan War by 300 years.
En route, we will venture into the Regional Park of the "Castelli Romani," a sanctuary for protected species, including the wolf. This idyllic haven offers a splendid opportunity to recharge our spirits and connect with nature’s splendor.
What can you expect?
The entire journey is not too difficult. Getting to Frascati is pretty easy from Rome (pay attention to the notes in the section "How to get there"). The trail is all uphill, but it’s nothing crazy and should be no problem for everyone with regular fitness levels.
The trails are marked relatively well, although there are some crossings where you should have possess orienteering skills, as it’s possible to veer off the path. It’s a rather popular place, so you will most likely also encounter other hikers and cyclists at some point.
There are no bars along the way, although there is a little fountain with water at the end of the first segment (although it’s not clear if that water is drinkable). You will be rewarded with great views once you arrive at Monte Tuscolo.
It’s definitely a nice hike full of interesting naturalistic and historical relevance, and worth a visit.
- Great view from Monte Tuscolo
- Ruins and theatre of the ancient Tusculum
- Just 30 minutes from Rome
- Great selection of wine and food places upon your return in Frascati
- Official difficulty scale: E
- Best period to visit: Generally all year round
- My difficulty assessment: Moderate (not particularily difficult, but could be physically demanding for people who don’t hike or work out regularly)
- Elevation gain: 410m
- Elevation loss: 400m
- Type: Out-and-back or Loop/Lasso (little variations are possible)
- Length: 10.5km
- Time: Approximately 2 hours
- Trail Quality: The trail is generally easy to walk on, in the beginning you’ll have to make your way through Frascati, once you are in the Park, you will be walking on typical outdoor trail
Some things to be aware of
⚠️🚴♂️ Remember that you share this trail with cyclists. While most will be respectful, some might get carried away on their way downhill, so it’s best to keep an eye out for cyclists driving downhill.
How to get there
Getting to Frascati takes about the same time like taking the train (depending on where you depart). You will have to drive South-East, and at some point you’ll end up on Via Tuscolana (which is no coincidence, considering that we are driving in direction of the ancient city Tusculum). There is a paid parking area next to the train station.
By public transport
From Rome, simply hop on the train that leaves about every hour (about every two hours on holidays and Sundays), with a travel time of 30 minutes. Beware that the train to Frascati often leaves at the external track (20BIS), so add an extra 15 minutes to your travel plans to make sure you have the time to find the right track (20BIS is basically on track 20, but you need to keep walking all the way to the end, until you realize that there is a “hidden” parallel track). Make sure to check the departure times, track changes and connections on https://www.trenitalia.com.
Inside the train station, you’ll find a cozy coffee bar, although it’s important to note that there are no restroom facilities available. If you’re in need of a caffeine boost before embarking on the trail, this is your first opportunity. Alternatively, exit the station and ascend the staircase across the road, leading you to the vibrant center of Frascati, where you’ll find a variety of other options to satisfy your coffee cravings.
For those eager to begin the journey promptly, make your way towards Piazza San Pietro, and proceed along Corso Italia until you reach Via Catone, a busy thoroughfare that must be crossed safely. There is a pedestrian crossing nearby, albeit with a narrow walkway positioned next to the tall wall of Villa Lancellotti. As an alternative, continue walking on the left side, parallel to Via Catone, and consider crossing closer to the entrance of Villa Lancellotti, where the road curves, providing a better vantage point of both sides of the street. Once you have safely crossed to the other side, continue walking alongside Villa Lancellotti until you arrive at Via del Tuscolo.
Entering the Park
As we ascend, the road curves, and we remain on the left side, entering Viale Francesco Borromini. We continue along this path until we come across the "new" entrance of Villa Falconieri. Adjacent to the entrance, a trail awaits our exploration, leading us into the enchanting park (Parco Regionale dei Castelli Romani). Let us follow this trail until its culmination, where we’ll discover a serene rest area adorned with religious symbols and a charming water source.
After rejuvenating ourselves at this peaceful spot, we will then veer towards the right (heading south-east) onto Via Vicinale della Croce del Tuscolo.
Towards the Eremo di Camaldoli
As you follow the road ahead, you’ll notice the panoramic view unfolding on the left side, offering a pretty vista of a nearby town. Along the way, you’ll pass by a small community on your right. Exercise caution and remain attentive to oncoming cars as you approach the crossing of Via Tuscolo, a main street (usually not too busy though). Once you’ve safely crossed, it’s time to unwind and enjoy a moment of relaxation.
Just before entering the forest trail on the right side, take a moment to regroup and gather your thoughts. On the left, there’s a narrow road that leads up to the Sacro Eremo di Camaldoli, a serene hermitage. Please note that this humble chapel is not open to visitors, as it serves as a place of prayer exclusively.
Follow the forest trail as it winds its way towards the South-East, gradually ascending in elevation. As you continue, you will arrive at the remarkable archaeological site where the vibrant ancient city of Tusculum once flourished. Explore the remnants of this historical marvel, including the well-preserved Roman theater and charming churches. In the western section of the excavations, you’ll discover a delightful picnic area, perfect for a leisurely break amidst the captivating surroundings.
The vantage point from this spot is already awe-inspiring, but if you continue along the trail towards the east, you’ll reach the summit of Monte Tuscolo. There, you’ll be greeted by a towering cross that marks the pinnacle. Take a moment to enjoy the expansive panorama, revealing the remnants of a once-massive volcanic crater in its entirety. Once you’re back in town, don’t forget to stop for an aperitivo or lunch, before heading back to Rome.
Happy hiking! 👋
Did you know that this trail was popular with Irish travelers?
- Book a guided hike with a certified hiking guide, to enjoy this experience in safety and to learn more about the Irish heritage in this place, its flora, fauna, and to discover some hidden gems along the way! Reach out to learn about our private hike and group hike availabilities.
- Alternatively, purchase a self-guided hike for a highly detailed trail description, local tips, and everything you need to start exploring on your own safely and organized: Get in touch with us to learn more.