Guidonia Montecelio (often referred to simply as Guidonia) is a commune within the greater metropolitan region of Rome in the province of Lazio. Formed by the two towns of Guidonia and Montecelio, the commune lies to the east of Rome and has its own airport. Although the commune has a population of over 88,000, many of its inhabitants commute daily to Rome. In terms of economy, Guidonia is a large exporter of Travertine Limestone and Cement and also has a prominent service sector. The commune was first mentioned as early as 998 as a small fortification, but Guidonia was not majorly developed until the early 1900’s when it became a military base.
In terms of tourism, Guidonia is certainly off the beaten track and not a place many people would consider visiting. Although the commune has few sites within the centre itself, it has a great location outside of Rome and is surrounded by a plethora of beautiful natural parks. Guidonia is within easy access of parks such as the Riserva natural Monte Catillo, the Park Riserva Naturale di Nomentum and the Veio Regional Park for those who love the outdoors.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Guidonia Montecelio:
1. Hadrian’s Villa
This immense complex was constructed for Emperor Hadrian during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD and remains in fantastic condition due to its extreme old age.
The complex contains a huge amount of structures including temples, theatres and houses.
Some of the buildings are mere ruins, whilst others are virtually complete with walls and doorways.
One of the most beautiful parts of the complex is the pool of Canopus – this long rectangular pool is surrounded by a series of trees and several walkways.
Aside from the structures, there is also a myriad of beautiful statues, artwork and relics that have been retrieved from the site on display.
This really is an insightful and interesting place to visit and one of the most important archaeological sites in Lazio.
2. Riserva Naturale Monte Catillo
To the east of Guidonia you can find the immense Monte Catillo natural reserve.
This protected area was established in 1997 and covers an area of over 1300 hectares.
Mount Catillo is the main feature of this park and on top of this hill you can see a large steel crucifix.
The landscape is covered with lush vegetation and a plethora of trees and greenery – flora found in the park includes Maple, Chestnut, Tremulous and Cerro trees.
For those who love nature and exploring the outdoors, this region is a true playground.
There is an abundance of hiking opportunities although some of region has no footpaths or trails.
3. Regional Natural Park Archaeological dell’Inviolata
Guidonia has a myriad of surrounding parkland and the Park of Inviolata is another fine protected natural area.
You can find this sublime park to the south west of the city next to the smaller commune of Laghetto.
The landscape has a beautiful mixture of woodland and open meadows but also contains a multitude of archaeaological ruins and remains as early as the Roman era; you can see villas, streets, mausoleums and tombs.
In terms of wildlife you can see Herons, Kestrel, Lizards, Frogs and even scorpions, plus a range of birds and reptiles.
This is another great place to explore for outdoor thrill seekers and there is a well-developed network of footpaths.
4. Park Riserva Naturale di Nomentum
If you travel to the west of Guidonia you can find the wonderful Nomentum Nature Reserve.
This protected natural area can be reached in less than 20 minutes and offers a variety of hiking and cycling opportunities.
You can find the main entrance to the park on Via Nomentana at the intersection crossing the SP21B road.
A large portion of the park is covered in woodland and many trails snake through the trees.
Furthermore, there is a central section of open plain either side of the trees with more trails.
Wildlife that can be found within this park includes Hedgehogs, Weasels, Foxes plus a selection of small birds and birds of prey.
Consider visiting this park and exploring yet another beautiful region of Lazio.
5. Museo Civico “Rodolfo Lanciani”
Located in the northern part of Guidonia Montecelio, this museum is housed within an old church high on top Monte Celio and offers fantatic views of the surrounding countryside.
The museum contains a myriad of historical artefacts and relics from various time periods.
Examples of displays include Roman and Greek marble statues, pottery, ceramics, mosaics, coins and other items gathered from the surrounding countryside.
Consider visiting this interesting museum for both the views, and the plethora of interesting historical displays.
6. Cascata di Tivoli
In the northern part of the town of Tivoli there is a stunning manmade waterfall that cascades down the side of the cliffs through a series of caves and tunnels.
This waterfall was originally part of a Roman villa complex created during the 3rd century BC and was added to over the years.
In the 19th century it was used as a hydroelectric power plant and the falls were direct through a series of tunnels.
Today it is possible to admire the falls from the bridge on the Via Quintilio Varo, but there is also access down to the top of the falls through a small park.
Here you can see the falls in all their magnificence together with the remains of the Roman villa.
7. Pozzo del Merro
You will rarely see a natural phenomenon such as this so when visiting Guidonia, it is a worthwhile venture to visit the bizarre Pozzo del Merro.
This natural wonder is a flooded sinkhole that is located approximately 20 minutes to the north west of Guidonia in the Lazio countryside.
At 80m deep, the natural sinkhole has a water cave at the bottom that has a staggering depth of 392m which is actually the second deepest in the world.
The hole is lined with trees and the water has a fine layer of greenery – it really is a wondrous sight to behold and is definitely worth a visit.
8. Enjoy some delicious Pizza at the Pizzico restaurant
Located in the southern part of Guidonia, Pizzico is a fantastic pizzeria that is part of a sports and leisure complex.
The pizza served here is renowned throughout the region and there is a large range of different styles and toppings to be had – there are options for both meat lovers and vegetarians and the pizzas are all freshly prepared using locally sourced ingredients where possible.
Furthermore there is also a range of kebabs and meat starters that are bursting with flavour.
If you want to try some authentic Italian pizza, look no further than the Pizzico restaurant!
9. Enjoy a rooftop meal at the Sibilla restaurant
As mentioned above, Tivoli is a fantastic town located in close proximity to Guidonia and the Sibilla restaurant is a fine establishment that has a great reputation throughout the region.
Located on a high plateau, the views from the outdoor terrace are fantastic and you can see across to the beautiful countryside and mountains.
Furthermore next to the seating area is a large ornate ancient column that is lit up at night.
The selection of food is fantastic and all homemade – choose from a selection of items from the grill, sublime Italian pasta dishes, or even a range of seafood.
Expect fantastic service, a superb atmosphere, and a dining experience that you won’t forget!
10. Enjoy a drink at the Old Ireland Bar
Guidonia has a range of bars and clubs but for a lively atmosphere, cheap drink and hearty meal the Old Ireland Bar is fine choice.
Located on a retail outlet, this bar is slightly out of the way, but the travel time is definitely worth it! The bar has been decorated in an authentic Irish theme and it feels as if you are sitting in an old traditional tavern.
You can choose from a wide selection of beers, lagers, ales, spirits and wines all at reasonable rates.
Furthermore the bar offers a range of light meals such as delicious burgers with onion rings and fries.
For a night out in Guidonia, the Old Ireland Bar is one of the prime locations in the city!
11. Visit the town of Tivoli
Tivoli is a small town located to the immediate south east of Guidonia.
This charming town has a decorated history and actually contains a myriad of historical sites and attractions.
Splitting the town is the River Aniene – in the centre of this stretch of river there is a beautiful suspension footbridge that offers superb photographic opportunities of the surrounding landscape.
Within the town itself you can find a range of sites including the Villa Este gardens, the Casa Gotica, the historic town hall and the temple of Sibilla.
Additionally there is a myriad of high quality restaurants and cafes and the narrow historic streets are a pleasure to walk through.
12. Take a day trip to Rome
Guidonia is part of the greater metropolitan area of Rome therefore it stands to reason that you should devote at least one day to visit this magnificent city.
It can take between 40 minutes to an hour to travel into central Rome from Guidonia depending on the traffic and a regular bus and train service runs between the two cities.
Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and it is easy to see why.
This city contains such historic structures as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, St.
Peter’s Square, The Cistine Chapel and the Roman Forum – literally every corner you explore has some fantastic site, quality restaurant or beautiful piazza.
13. Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo
The Church of the Arc-angel Michael is a beautiful structure located in the northern part of Guidonia next to the civic museum.
This church features a gorgeous white-washed front façade that is simple but striking.
Whilst the exterior is simple, the interior is richly decorated and contains a huge amount of beautiful artwork and frescos.
The ceilings in particular feature some jaw-dropping paintings and the patterned marble walls add extra depth and clarity.
Consider visiting both the Civic Museum and the Church together whilst in this part of Guidonia.
14. Veio Regional Park
Veio Regional Park is the last park entry on our top 15 and is another fantastic natural area waiting to be explored for those bold enough.
Located approximately 50 minutes to the west of Guidonia this park is an area of unspoilt beauty and contains a range of woodlands, caverns, caves, valleys and meadows.
Throughout this region you can enjoy a range of pursuits including horseback riding, cycling and hiking.
15. Take a walk around the town centre
Guidonia has an extremely pleasant town centre with friendly locals and a plethora of cafes and restaurants.
The Pineta di Guidonia is a beautiful park in the northern edge of the city full of gorgeous trees and greenery, and surrounding this area there is a plethora of amenities.
Furthermore, heading to the western part of the city centre there is a nice children’s playground, the town hall and a sports field where events are regularly held.
Consider walking around the centre and taking in the sites and local life from a different perspective.