Castelli Romani – Lakes, papal residences and porchetta


Near Rome, more precisely on the Alban Hills, there are 17 municipalities today gathered under the name of “Castelli Romani”.

As the historian Giuseppe Tomassetti reconstructed, the denomination “Roman castles” dates back to the XIV century, when many inhabitants of Rome, to escape economic and political difficulties deriving from the captivity of Avignon, they took refuge in the castles of the Roman feudal families of the

Savelli (Albano and Catel Savello, Ariccia, Castel Gandolfo, Rocca Priora), of the Annibaldi (Molara,Monte Compatri, Rocca di Papa), the Orsini (Marino) and the Colonna (Monte Porzio Catone,Nemi, Genzano and Civita Lavinia).

What surely characterizes the area is that atmosphere of absolute tranquility and serenity that is impossible not to breathe once you have arrived in these areas, especially if you have left it behind chaotic capital. This atmosphere is due to the wealth of breathtaking landscapes that seem to be children of another age: two lakes of volcanic origin – Lake Albano and Lake Nemi -, villas

sixteenth century, Italian gardens, Greek-medieval abbeys, papal residences, ancient ruins and excellent climate, especially during the summer. But if this is the frame, the real work of art is represented by the conviviality of the inhabitants and the delicacies that only here you can try: it iscertainly in the fraschette, ancient taverns, that you will find excellent homemade wine, olives, cheeses and other particular local flavors. But the main dish of this region is definitely the porchetta,now become a symbol, not only of the Castelli Romani, but of the whole of Lazio, and not only Regional Natural Park since 1984, the Castelli Romani are intent on protecting and enhancing the natural and cultural characteristics of this territory. In this area of ​​about 15,000 hectares, the territories of 15 of the 17 municipalities of the Roman castles (they remain excluded, for reasons geographical areas, only Ciampino and Colonna). The institution “Parco dei Castelli Romani” has its headquarters in Rocca di Papa inside Villa Barattolo, an elegant liberty style villa surrounded by a park of

7,500 square meters with an old chapel inside which the building is being built

visitor center of the park: absolutely to visit.

The first evidence of human presence in the territory of the Alban hills dates back to the Paleolithic lower (300,000 – 200,000 years ago) and consist of roughly cobblestone tools chipped but also “amigdale” worked on both sides to obtain a primitive blade found in the area and attributable to the Neanderthals. But the first populations that they colonized the area of ​​the Alban  Hills stably and were those of the Latins, a group of peoples of Indo-European origin that settled in ancient Lazio (the latium vetus of Pliny the Elder, that isextended to the south of the Tiber river to the Circeo promontory) from 2000 BC

Since then history has left incredible monuments that even today are the destination of a certain type of interested tourism:  Pontifical Palace (also called the Apostolic Palace) of Castel Gandolfo, built on project by Carlo Maderno starting from 1628 where the ancient Castrum once stood

Ganduplhorum, an old baronial castle. Thanks to the Lateran Pacts of 1929, the palace enjoys the right to extraterritoriality and, since the time of Pope Urban VIII, is a holiday resort papal. Inside you can also visit the Villa di Domiziano, a huge residential complex wanted precisely by the emperor, with a circus, theater, sanctuary, nymphaeums;

– Palazzo Colonna, currently the seat of the municipality of Marino, was built between the five hundred and early years of the following century, by architect Antonio da Sangallo the Young man and Girolamo Rinaldi. As the name implies, the building was owned by the family of the Colonna family until 1916, when the same family gave it in perpetual emphasis to themunicipality of Marino;

– The twelve Tuscolan Villas in Frascati were instead built by the papal nobility

around the 16th century From initial “country houses” surrounded by cultivated lands and woods, they became real palaces, castles, the result of the commitment of the most talented architects and artists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They are linked to the setting of the Roman villa of the eraimperial as a meeting place and meditation, with the use of the “nymphaeum” as an apparatusdecorative trim of the castle garden.

These are not others that very few examples of historical buildings visible and visited in the area of the Castelli Romani. If we wanted to move temporally but not spatially, we would have to also available other buildings: the territory of the Castelli Romani is one of the richest areas of archaeological finds in the province of Rome. Tusculum, Castra Albana, Mithreus of Marino are alone

some of the most famous sites.The Castelli Romani are rich in events, especially in the summer months and during the Ottobrata

Romana. Among the most important festivals, the oldest Infiorata in the world should be mentioned a Genzano di Roma, celebrated since 1778; and one of the oldest secular festivals in Italy, the Sagra of the grapes of Marino, celebrated since almost a century.




Ariccia- Castel Gandolfo – Ciampino – Column – Frascati – Genzano di Roma -Grottaferrata – Lanuvio – Lariano – Marino – Monte Ponzio Catone – Monte Compatri – Nemi – Rocca di Papa – Rocca Priora – Velletri



by car A1 – Monte exit Porzio Catone, San car 44Km 42 ‘ Cesareo, Valmontone 42 ‘

Via Appia SS7 – various outputs 25km 50 ‘

MetroA Anagnina.Cotral: various depending on metro / bus of the municipality. 35Km 50 ‘

by train Rome Termini -Ciampino, Frascati,Albano Laziale 40Km 45 ‘

Author: Redazione

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