Rome’s Ancient Castle Towns
Just south of Rome lie the beautiful Castelli Romani, a series of hill towns that surround two incredible volcanic crater lakes, Lago di Nemi and Lago di Albano. Romans have been escaping to the charming towns for millennia for some respite from the heat by the two lakes and to enjoy the gastronomic treasures of the area. Populated by the Latins and then the Romans, this area has always held an important place in the hearts and minds of the Roman people. A number of emperors hail from the ancient town of Lanuvio and the pope keeps his summer residence in the town of Castel Gandolfo which overlooks the Lago Albano. Throughout its history, noble families have had villas in the area and a few, such as Principe Pallavicini, still dedicate themselves to the production of wine and maintain their historical cellars.
On weekends, Romans flock to the towns for clean air, delicious homemade food and cheap wine. The area is famous for authentic osterie where patrons can enjoy local pecorino romano and a number of other typically rich Lazio dishes. Many of the towns have their own particular local specialties: Frascati and Marino for wine, Nemi for its strawberries and Genzano di Roma for its bread. The Castelli Romani towns are a perfect getaway from Rome – nothing is more relaxing than visiting bucolic hilltop towns surrounded by acres and acres of vineyards, olive groves and sheep while sipping on the local Frascati DOCG wine and enjoying an ubiquitous part of Roman culture: lazy warm days with friends in the country.
Try local Genzano favorite “Tigellino”
Address: Via Berlinguer 9 (Genzano di Roma)
The Castelli Romani is best explored by car as many of the towns do not have train service. Otherwise there are a number of regional buses going to the towns from the metro stop Anagnina.