Outside of Rome there are seven towns or communes called the Castelli Romani that surround two lakes. Each town is memorable in their own way. Last week, when my sister was in town, we visited two of the towns with C’s parents.
The first stop we made was to Castel Gandolfo where the Pope’s summer residence is, hence what this village is most noted for. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you want to look at it) the Pope was not at the residence leaving the streets quiet and peaceful to wander. Prior to the current Pope, the Pope’s residence was kept private from the public; however, Pope Francis has opened its doors to visitors. We chose to not visit go inside but I heard the gardens are beautiful so maybe I’ll come back up with C another time to explore some more.
The town overlooks Lake Albano which is a volcanic crater! According to several sources that I’ve read, while researching the town, Castel Gandolfo is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and it is only 45 minutes outside of Rome! We did not sample of the local cuisine because we were not hungry yet. The restaurants all along the center looked inviting and the aromas were delicious!
Our second and last stop was to the village of Nemi, which, if you haven’t guessed from the pictures, is known for it’s strawberries. These strawberries are not your average sized strawberries; they are teeny, tiny strawberries! Everywhere there are shops selling strawberries, homemade jams and marmalades, and different strawberry knick knacks. The town itself was charming and is situated on a different lake, Lake Nemi, which is also a volcanic crater.
Nemi has held significant importance dating far back in history. It had a temple dedicated to Diana of Nemorensis making the area sacred to many. During ancient Roman times, prominent Romans came here as well as the emperor Caligula. Caligula kept large ships on the lake that were used as banquet halls and are on display in the museum. We had plans to visit the museum but there was an unfortunate turn of events and we needed to head back to Rome.
I’m looking forward to exploring more of these towns in the future with C. Apparently one of the towns has beautiful Christmas displays!
Do you guys have any plans for the weekend? C and I are heading to Sperlonga to see his family that is in town. I’m looking forward to some much needed beach time. I plan on plopping by chair in the sand near the water with my book in my hand. : )
Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!