Castelli Romani is an area rich in natural and scenic beauties, wines and food specialities and cultural-artistic artworks. Castelli Romani area has been a place of rest and regeneration for ancient Rome's nobles, who loved to spend their rest moments; for Popes, who settled in Castel Gandolfo their summer home, and for Grand Tour travellers, who chose Castelli Romani as prestigious place for their journeys. In the nearby of Villa Grazioli it is possible to go wine tasting in the Frascati area wineries, enjoy guided tours of Rome, Tivoli, Ostia Antica and the Castelli Romani area.
17 are the towns that constitute the Castelli Romani district. The area is not only rich in natural beauties – such as the two volcanic lakes of Albano and Nemi and the Castelli Regional Park, but it is also rich in history and culture. Indeed, it maintains the ruins of old Roman and Renaissance villas and villages. The area is also renowned for its food and local traditions. Many high-quality wines are produced here and perfectly combine with the local specialties: pajata, rigatoni with cheese and pepper, pasta with beans, roasted lamb, grilled chicken and stewed bullock’s tail with pork’s cheek.
CASTEL GANDOLFO – Situated on the west side of the Albano lake, Castel Gandolfo arose on the ruins of the old city of Alba Longa that, according to the legend, was founded by Aeneas’ son. It is perhaps nowadays more popular for being the summer residence of the Pope (from 1597). Castel Gandolfo is an oasis rich in historical traditions. In addition to famous Pontifical Palace, the small town hosts works of great honour as the Church of St. Thomas from Villanova, Freedom Square and wonderful Bernini Fountain. In the summer, tourists can practice water sports and pleasant walks.
NEMI and its lake Nemi stands on “Diana's mirror”, homonym lake which reflects the stunning landscape. This little gem in the heart of volcanic crater is even more precious by its imposing Ruspoli Palace, by hanging garden and by colourful landscape all around. Two thousand years ago this lake became a setting of spectacular celebrations in Caligula honour, organised on two huge ships that you can admire today in a small reproductions (after originals destruction during Second World War) in the Ships Museum located on the lake shores. The Emissario's tunnel also deserves to be visited.
The eternal city stretches up to Villa Grazioli’s feet showing itself in all its beauty. During the day, it is possible to distinguish some of the domes of the city, including the imposing shape of St. Peter dome; in the night, when the sun sets just in front of the Villa, the city turns on proving the other face of its immense charm. Villa Grazioli offers a free shuttle to and from the Frascati railway station that is connected to Rome Termini station by 25’ train.
Ancient city with Latin name Tibur, called by Virgil as Tibur Superbum (Aeneid, Lib. VII) still present in the village emblem, is said to be more ancient than Rome (1265 a.C.). In first century a.C., Tivoli became the place where many wealthy Romans built their villas, as evidenced by the numerous ruins. Those still known and identified are attributed to Orazio, to Cassio, to Quintilio Varo, to Manlio Vopisco (whose ruins are incorporated in Villa Gregoriana). The most famous of these settlements is the Adriano's Villa built in the II century a.C. The huge area now includes about thirty buildings.
The most famous and evocative are Teatro Marittimo, Pecile, and Canopo. Another major place of the town is certainly Villa d’Este, wanted by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este. The innovative system used to run all the spectacular fountains of the Villa consisted of a pipes network passing under the ground and carrying water directly from the Aniene river. All fountains were activated without use of any mechanical device, but only by exploiting natural pressure. Villa D'Este and Villa Adriana are today part of the UNESCO's heritage.