Ancient villages, noble villas, medieval castles and archaeological remains animate the Castelli Romani (Roman Castles) Regional Park, just few minutes outside Rome, in the South East.
Lying on the Albani Hills, the area was formerly the favorite holiday resort for the Roman noble families and the Popes.
The Castelli Romani Park area includes 17 Municipalities.
Yet, in order to get a complete overview of the area, a tour touching at least six is enough.
Lanuvio is a medieval village with a historic center enclosed by a wall in pepper stone.
Genzano di Roma is a peculiar town on an external slope of the Lake Nemi crater, along the Appian Way.
Ariccia is an artistic coffer, with great baroque buildings and an excellent gastronomic tradition.
Albano Laziale, is a cute town on the Albani Hills, on the slopes of the Lake Albano.
Castel Gandolfo overlooks Lake Albano: its panorama is fantastic.
Passing through the “Wine Town”, Marino, the last place of this itinerary is Frascati.
The papal nobility built here many extraordinary villas since the XVI Century, for social activities and summer stay.
In Lanuvio, thanks to its perfect state of the buildings palaces and churches conservation, an ancient atmosphere will surely involve you.
Genzano’s historical center is rich in artistic testimonies. During the Corpus Domini festivity, a floral carpet of about 2000 sq. mt., artistically composed, completely covers it. It’s the main attraction, the ancient and well-known “Infiorata”.
In Ariccia, you can visit the most valuable baroque buildings by both Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Carlo Fontana: the monumental complex of Piazza di Corte.
Gastronomy lovers will enjoy its famous “fraschette”, déli shops where you can taste (among other local specialties) the delicious Ariccia “porchetta” (roasted pork).
In Albano Laziale, don’t miss the majestic Cathedral of St. Pancras, in Baroque style, as well as the countless Roman finds.
Castel Gandolfo is the preferred holidays destination for Popes, cardinals and prelates of the Roman Catholic Church: our guide can also bring you to visit the ancient Pontificial palace and its garden.
Frascati is the main city in the Castelli Romani area.
Frascati is famous for its notable villas, built from the 16th century onwards by Popes, cardinals and Roman nobles as “status symbols” of Roman aristocracy. These country houses were designed for social activities rather than farming.
The villas are substantially well preserved, or have been carefully and authentically restored following damage during World War II.
Closely associated with science, being the location of several international scientific laboratories, Frascati produces the white wine with the same name. It is also a historical and artistic centre.
As for the gastronomy, the Castelli Romani cuisine is rich in well-known dishes that are usually attributed to Rome.
Nevertheless, these dishes take on new flavors and aromas here, and can be tasted in taverns and restaurants overlooking magnificent landscapes.
Typical of the strictly Roman cuisine, the recipes can be enjoyed almost everywhere in the Castelli Romani territory with excellent first courses: pasta “alla gricia”, spaghetti “cacio e pepe” (with Pecorino Romano D.O.P. cheese and pepper), bucatini “amatriciana” style, fettuccine “alla papalina” (i.e. papal style), fettuccine with chicken giblets (i.e. entrails), broccoli soup with “arzilla” (a kind of fish), spaghetti carbonara, pasta with cabbage, rigatoni with “pajata”.
Dishes based on local products such as mushrooms, chestnuts, broccoli, queen beans, artichokes, broad beans, asparagus, ramoracce, chicory, cabbage, and lake fish, are the most typical Castelli Romani recipes.
Moving from the first to the second courses, never forget the “Porchetta of Ariccia”.
Dating back even to the pre-Roman era, pagan priests had the task of preparing the pork to offer in sacrifice to the Roman god Jupiter.
Even today, the preparation of this specialty based on pork follows a real ritual: only whole female specimens are used (hence the name “porchetta”, or female pork) whose meat is leaner and more flavorful.
After being boned from the inside, these food crafters proceed with the spicing of the meat, the ligation of the animal, and finally the cooking.
This is the step that gives the right crunch to the crust, in contrast with soft and juicy meat.
The “scottone” is the specialty of Rocca Priora.
A semi-liquid cheese similar to ricotta, it is made to be consumed very hot.
Sheep’s milk is boiled twice. When it becomes a ricotta cheese, it is offered boiling in earthenware bowls.
As for the desserts, one of the symbols of Frascati is the Pupazza Frascatana. It is a short pastry product, shaped like a girl with generous shapes.
Originally created to celebrate Christmas, the Pupazza seduces with the sweetness of honey.
The “Ciambelle degli Sposi” (the bride and groom donuts), round, fragrant, golden, are a specialty of Rocca di Papa.
Born about two centuries ago and it is said that their marriage depended on their taste.
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