The Romans have always identified the area of the Castelli Romani as the destination for their “out-of-town trip“, the perfect location for a Sunday trip. Jump into your car and, in a few kilometres, you completely change the landscape and the atmosphere.
Ready to leave to discover the Castelli area? Bring a sweater, because in these parts the temperature also drops significantly compared to the city. This is why the Romans have always sought refuge from the urban summer heat: at Castelli, even in August, you may need a light sweater or sweatshirt!
Discovering the Castelli Romani
Close to Ciampino airport, you can take the via dei Laghi. Yes, “dei laghi” (the lakes way), because the Castelli Romani rise on a volcanic area in which two craters have become two lakes: the lake Albano (also known as the lake Castel Gandolfo) and the lake Nemi.
Travelling along the Via dei Laghi, if you are lucky enough to travel on a sunny day, the scenery which will open on your right is breathtaking: calm waters and an intense colour will accompany you with wonderful views along a road that climbs uphill. We are indeed in the hills and we can quickly rise up to 700 metres.
Going up, you immediately notice the “pleasure-loving” character of the area.
Kiosks along the streets, restaurants and taverns as far as the eye can see. In the Roman imagination this is the main vocation of the Castelli Romani: destination of a trip aimed at enjoying the typical home cooking in a restaurant or in a “fraschetta” in the Castelli.
Castelli Romani among History and Art
The Castelli Romani are not just food, it would be a shame to limit the visit to a pure gastronomic experience.
In fact, the road that winds through the Castelli is the fascinating Via Appia: a route made of history and a thousand surprises, including:
- Albano Laziale, with its imperial suburban villas (Villa di Pompeo above all), its Roman amphitheatre (3rd century AD), the Cisternoni in its basement and the imposing Baths of Cellomaio (built by Emperor Caracalla).
Genzano: here you can admire the remains of the Temple of Diana the Huntress and the Sforza Cesarini palace. In June, the “Infiorata” (a flower festival), a historical event on the occasion of which a floral carpet is set up along the religious procession route, should not be missed.
- Nemi: On the shores of the lake of the same name, we suggest a visit to the Museum of Roman Ships, which houses the remains of the boats that Emperor Caligula kept moored on the lake and used as luxurious floating reception halls.
Lanuvio: is the ancient “Civita Lavinia“, which boasts more ancient origins than Rome and which preserves the remains of the Roman basolato road, bordered by the imposing walls in opus quadratum and the ancient Sanctuary of Giunone Sospita, which rises on the city acropolis.
- Ariccia, with its monumental 19thcentury bridge and the imposing Palazzo Chigi, a work by Bernini, built at the behest of Pope Alexander VII. Do not miss the visit to the Palace and its 28 hectares full of vegetation and archaeological finds.
- Castel Gandolfo, overlooking Lake Albano and home of the Pontifical Villas, to which we will dedicate a separate article.
In short, the Castelli Romani could be the focus of a day or a week trip, including culture, nature, food and great quality wine.
Our Casale di Tormaggiore is a short distance from the Castelli and can be the perfect base for your out-of-town trip near Rome 😉
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