Bracciano is the main town on Lake Bracciano, a volcano lake north of Rome that’s Italy’s 8th largest lake. The medieval town, on a hill overlooking the lake, is dominated by Odescalchi Castle. Just a 1 hour train ride from Rome’s Trastevere station, a visit to Bracciano is a relaxing day trip that’s a good contrast to the city.
What to See and Do in Bracciano
- Odescalchi Castle is Bracciano’s top attraction and one of the best castles I’ve visited. Having been remodeled and renovated several times, displays in the castle represent 8 centuries of history. More than 20 rooms inside are decorated with amazing frescoes, paintings, and period furniture. Weapons are displayed in the armory rooms, the old kitchen can be seen, and there’s a huge courtyard. Climb to the top for beautiful views of the lake.
Enjoy a walk through the medieval center starting in Piazza IV Novembre, from where there are great views of the castle. Stop in for a coffee or drink at one of the bars on the square. Walk down Via Umberto I, lined with shops. Stop in at the little Church of Santa Maria Novella. Take some time to wander along the narrow streets of the town’s medieval center.
Visit the Collegiate Church of Santo Stefano, Bracciano’s cathedral, with medieval origins but expanded in the 17th century. Next to it is one of the old medieval towers. A short walk up the road from the cathedral is an overlook with nice views.
Exhibits in the Bracciano Civic Museum, via Umberto I, cover the town’s history from the Etruscan (pre-Roman) period through the 19th century.
There’s a steep path down to the lake. Lake Bracciano is popular for sailing and has good beaches for sun-bathing and swimming in summer.
3 kilometers outside town (on the road to Trevignano Romano), San Liberato is a Romanesque church dating from the 9th century. Tenuta di San Liberato, a large botanic park with an English garden, is near the church.
Plan Your Visit to Bracciano
Bracciano is in the Lazio region, the region that surrounds Rome. See Lazio map and guide for its location.
Where to Stay:
Albergo della Posta is a basic hotel with restaurant in the center of town, a short walk from the train station.
Albergo Villa Maria, a 2-star hotel between town and the lake, has a restaurant, seasonal swimming pool, garden, and views of the lake and town.
Where to Eat:
We had a great lunch at Osteria da Nerone, Via Dell’Arazzaria. They have a nice place to eat outdoors in good weather. If you want lunch with a castle view, try one of the places on Piazza Mazzini, just below the castle.
More Places to Go
In Vigne delle Valle, by the lake, visit the Italian Air Force Museum. Two other medieval towns around the lake are Anguillara Sabazia and Trevignano Romano.
If you have a car, be sure to visit the Etruscan site and medieval town at Cerveteri, about 20 minutes away.
From Rome’s Trastevere or Tiburtina train station, go in the opposite direction to Fara Sabina, less than an hour train ride, to visit small towns in the Sabine Hills, take a cooking class, or an olive oil or wine tour. See more Rome Day Trips by train
For those who prefer to stay in a small town, Rome can be visited as a day trip from Bracciano.
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