Staying in Rome for the summer? If you want to beat the heat and learn a bit about Roman and Etruscan history at the same time, the nearby beaches of S. Marinella and S. Severa are good places to start. Both within an hour of Rome by train, these beaches offer an easy, hassle-free way to enjoy a day in the sun. At the same time, the towns boast a rich archaeological history and culture which attract tourists year after year.

S. Marinella, known as La perla del Tirreno, is located about 60 km north of Rome and 10 km south of Civitavecchia..It is just a five-minute walk from the train station to the beaches which are small and both sandy and rocky. Youll find plenty of stabilimenti with bars and umbrellas as well as windsurf and boat rentals. There is a 2 entrance fee to the beach. Some interesting sights not to miss include the Castello Odescalchi, the Museo Civico, the towns museum, and the liberty-style villas. For more info see www.santamarinella.com (site in Italian).

S. Severa, a few km south of S.Marinella is another good choice for a combination of sunbathing and history. One of the most distinguishing features of this town is its mediaeval castle, Castello di S.Severa. To get to the S.Severa beach from the train station you need to do a bit of walking, (about 15 minutes, crossing a small highway) but its worth the trek when you finally reach the splendid castle which faces the sea and lies on a long, sandy beach.

Both towns have stops on Romes FM5 railway line (Termini-Civitavecchia). Trains leave from Termini for S.Marinella every half-hour Mon-Sat and about every two hours on Sun. Trains for S. Severa leave from Termini every hour Mon-Sat and about every two hours on Sun. If you are planning to go for the day, the best ticket to purchase is the BIRG (biglietto integrati regionale giornaliero) which costs 5.40. This saves you about 1.20 on a regular FS train ticket. For more information see www.trenitalia.it or call ATAC on freephone at 800431784.