The area geographically indicated as Colli Albani, is located to the southeast of Rome and is characterised by numerous villages called Castelli Romani for having undergone a period of subjection to the lord of the territory. Highly sought after area, in antiquity and during the Renaissance, for its healthy and windy climate. Emperors, popes and ecclesiastical dignitaries built, among the lakes and the ancient volcanic craters, luxurious residences which are still partly preserved.
The magnificent natural environment that marks out the area is today the Regional Park of the Castelli Romani and offers numerous itineraries, on foot or by bicycle, not only for historical-artistic discoveries, but also for excursions and landscapes. The area includes 17 municipalities of eno-gastronomic excellences. Below are some of the most interesting villages.
Located between Albano and Genzano, Ariccia is located on a rocky outcrop overlooking Vallericcia, an ancient dried-up lake basin where the remains of ancient Ariccia and the Appian Way can be found. Its monumental bridge is considered one of the most important engineering works of the nineteenth century. The beautiful Piazza di Corte was designed by Bernini and houses the Church of Assunta and Palazzo Chigi. This building and its vast park are open to the public. Not to be missed the Villino Volterra and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Galloro. Ariccia is also famous all over the world for its PGI porchetta to which a festival in September is dedicated.
It's one of the most beautiful villages in Italy overlooking Lake Albano from the edge of the volcanic cone. Its historical and artistic heritage includes the Church of San Tommaso da Villanova designed by Bernini, the Palazzo Papale built by Maderno with the collaboration of Berninin on the ancient feudal castle, and the Pontifical Villas Cybo and Barberini with the Pontifical Gardens by Pope Urban VIII. The city also preserves interesting archaeological sites: the Roman Villa of Publius Clodius Pulchrus and Emperor Domitian's Villa Albana, that can be visited inside Villa Barberini, as well as two nymphaeums on the shores of the lake that is also suitable for bathing, and has a beautiful walking and bicycle trails encircling it.
Frascati, on the slopes of Mount Tuscolo, is known as the City of Wine and is rich in important artistic and architectural works, such as the Palazzo Vescovile and the imposing Church of San Pietro, the city’s cathedral by Mascherino. The central Piazza Marconi offers visitors a wide panorama of Rome and parking facilities. On the back of it, the 16th century Villa Aldobrandini, flanked by the Scuderie (today an archaeological museum and a meeting place), is one of the most fascinating places in the area, full of terraced gardens. It can be visited by asking to the Tourist Information and Welcome Office - Frascati Point, in Piazza Marconi 1.
The village of Nemi overlooks Nemi lake and is famous for its strawberry production, celebrated by a traditional festival every year in June. The heart of the town develops around the Palazzo Ruspoli, from which it is possible to reach the 16th century Church of Santa Maria del Pozzo. Not to be missed a visit to the Museo delle Navi Romane (Museum of Roman Ships) that houses the remains of two large ships, real floating villas, found in the 1930s in the waters of the lake together with a lot of material of exceptional historical and archeological interest.
Rocca di Papa
Almost 700 metres above sea level, Rocca di Papa offers one of the most beautiful landscapes of the area that is particularly appealing from the Viewpoint of the Fortezza Papale (Pontifical Fortress), the defensive structure erected in the12th century and in use for about 4 centuries.Going down the streets of the village, beautiful murals can be discovered. From Rocca di Papa it is possible to go up to the village called Campi d’Annibale, an ancient crater 800 metres high. From here it is possible to walk along the ancient Via Sacra which, during the Roman age, led to the Temple of Jupiter, on the top of Monte Albano, today Monte Cavo. Here is the Occhialone, a panoramic view point from which the two volcanic lakes and the sea in the background can be seen. Not far away, the Pratoni del Vivaro, a place for trips, outings and horseback riding, are reachable by car from Via dei Laghi..
Easy to reach from Frascati, the ruins of the ancient Tusculum certainly are woth a visit.The site is home to the remains from the Roman and Medieval periods, such as the Forum with the Roman Theatre, part of the the city walls and an amphitheatre and part of the ancient basolato along Via dei Sepolcri.