The area in the hills behind Rome produces world-famous wine and is ideal for an escape to the Italian countryside if you don’t have time to visit Tuscany or Umbria.
Thirteen villages make up Castelli Romani, including Nemi, which produces strawberries; the Pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo on Lake Albano; and the quaint town of Frascati with its renowned white wine and pretty winding streets. In this countryside featuring two volcanic lakes, adventure enthusiasts will find golf, horseriding, water sports and trekking within easy reach.
Eat and drink
The area is known for porchetta – succulent slow-roasted, marinated pork – often served in a panino. Trucks on the side of the road sell these delicious pork rolls and the quality is outrageously good, even from the more rustic vendors. The village of Genzano di Roma is known for baking bread so deliciously salty and flavoured with local olive oil that you can eat it without anything else. Head to the bakery Forno a Legna Da Sergio (Via Italo Belardi 13) for a taste or to pick up ingredients for a picnic at Lake Nemi.
Park Hotel Villa Grazioli is a grand yet intimate 16th-century villa built by a cardinal and filled with historical artworks and frescoed ceilings. The tranquillity of looking out over Rome in the distance, swimming in the pool within the rambling garden, or dining by candlelight in the opulent restaurant makes this the ultimate romantic getaway when Rome’s crowds get a little too much.
The area has so many charming villages that it’s best explored by car. Driving from Rome takes about an hour depending on traffic. Alternatively, catch a train from Rome’s main station, Roma Termini, to Frascati, which takes about half an hour.