Meaning "Castles of Rome," Castelli Romani are 16 hill towns nestled in the Colli Albani (the Alban Hills) that boast epicurean delights, distinctive wines, and impressive villas with majestic gardens. Seasonal festivals abound in this region ranging from strawberry and grape festivals to garden festivals. Every October in Marino, there is a grape harvest festival: the water of the fountains in Marino are substituted with wine and everyone drinks for free! Castelli Romani boast highly regarded restaurants which are frequented on the weekends by Romans. These picturesque towns are nestled in hillsides with stunning views of Lake Albano and Lake Nemi and surrounded by winding roads.
The murmurs of the fountain, the calm, sylvan loveliness of the scenery, and the deep shade of the words, all serve to give that species of conviction, not to the mind, but to the imagination, which renders fictions such as these so interesting to the heart. From the rock on which the town [Nemi] is built, a view is commanded, rivaled by few in Italy. The lake, lying in its glassy smoothness below, gives an appearance of remarkable wildness to the dark, rocky bands which surround it." − The Tourist in Italy (1832) by Thomas Roscoe<
The Castelli Romani are Albano Laziale, Ariccia, Castel Gandolfo, Colonna, Frascati, Genzano di Roma, Grottaferrata, Lanuvio, Lariano, Marino, Monte Compatri, Monte Porzio Catone, Nemi, Rocca di Papa, Rocca Priora and Velletri. These towns lay in a dormant volcanic crater which historically has provided fertile land for the growth of grapes and the production of wine. Throughout the ages, wealthy Romans vacationed amongst the Castelli Romani during the summer months due to its more hospitable climate – fresher air and swimming holes. This part of the countryside is not easily navigated as a tourist as the towns are spread out along the Alban Hills. Our tour guide will escort you to the highlights of the Castelli Romani and bring the flavor of particular towns to your fingertips. We will visit exquisite gardens of luxurious villas and lavish in the atmosphere of the Roman countryside. Depending on the season, special events may top our list: celebrations of various local produce including wines such as Frascati, strawberries, peaches, meats, fish, flowers and gardens.