Villa dei Quintili

Top choice in Southern Rome

Towering over green fields, this 2nd-century villa is one of Rome's unsung splendours. It was the luxurious abode of two consuls, the Quintili brothers, but its splendour was in fact their downfall. The emperor Commodus had them both killed, taking over the villa for himself. The emperor added to the complex and the ruins are fabulously impressive. The highlight is the well-preserved baths complex with a pool, caldarium (hot bath) and frigidarium (cold bath). There's also a small museum with good exhibits.

Archaeological work is ongoing and you'll encounter crews on many days as you wander the vast grounds. You'll also find the medieval Santa Maria Nova farmhouse. Bring a picnic and use the elevated viewing sites for photos and grand views of Rome in the distance.

Access to the entire Villa dei Quintili site is possible from the Via Appia Antica and all the way east along the Via Appia Nuova, which has decent bus service.