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The Castelli Romani

An autumn Sunday walk through the Castelli Romani, or the Roman Castles, is the perfect plan whether you’ve already been there, or whether you still haven’t visited. Every time I think of this area on the outskirts of Rome, with its unique charm, I immediately think back to the Sundays spent with my family: “Today we are going to the Castelli Romani”, and you just knew it was going to be a special day.

Fairy tale towns surrounded by nature and idyllic lakes. It was no coincidence popes had their summer residence in the Castelli Romani. And if the pope himself chose this area as the place to rest in, there must surely be something to it.

Today I want to share some curiosities, traditions, and wonders of this dream-like Italian backdrop. Let’s embark on this tour together!



Frascati is a town located south-east of Rome, and famous for its Tusculan villas belonging to the papal nobility, and built by 16th century aristocrats. At first, they were just homes surrounded by forests, but later on they became regal buildings: the Castles. They are prime examples of Roman villas of the Imperial age, where one would head to for meditation and contemplation. Nowadays, they are open to the public and one can spend the day in their gardens, or enjoy a delicious dinner in any of the restaurants built inside. This is the perfect destination for a unique and romantic dinner with your significant other, overviewing the lights of the eternal city.

In addition, most Tusculan villas harbor remarkable frescoes inside, adding to their artistic and cultural value.

My personal favorite is Villa Aldobrandini, for its old-world charm. It’s practically impossible to miss this huge building the moment one enters Frascati, right on the main square.

Castel Gandolfo


A Medieval town that calls for promenades and relaxation, and the place to taste some of the best dishes Roman cuisine has to offer. In fact, some of its enogastronomic routes are highly recommendable. Have you ever heard the word fraschetta? It refers to the traditional taverns of this area, which are of medieval origin. I suggest stopping at one of these taverns to revel in the flavors of Roman cuisine. You’ll be glad you did by the time you leave the table. Good food in the company of the joy of its locals, with the charm of the sound of the Roman dialect that imbues everything with a different flavor.

Afterwards, wander through the Palazzo Apostolico, a set of majestic buildings among which we find the papal residency, and finish it off with a panoramic view over the lake of Castel Gandolfo.

Lago Di Nemi

Lago Di Nemi

Next stop: Lago di Nemi. Very well, we have reached the end of our tour. Did you know this very spot was the place where ancient Romans met to relax and have a good time? Things have not changed much today, as it still preserves that same air of tranquility, and stunning scenery that can win any visitor over. The flora and fauna of the region are also amazing. One of the typical fruits found here is the woodland strawberry; so if you are walking around the lake, make sure to pick a few. One of the most bucolic activities we could think of, no doubt.

The Castelli Romani are within 30km of Rome, so if you are spending some days in an apartment in Rome, it’s well worth devoting a day to exploring this locus amoenus.