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Castelli Romani food & wine Tour
Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat
Pick-up at your hotel, more details at booking
Your driver will pick you up from your hotel in the morning and drive you toward the Castelli Romani for your full day tour. This excursion will take you through the lovely countryside surrounding Rome and to the fantastic residences of ages past.
The Castelli Romani (“Roman Castles”) is a group of communes in the province of Rome which include Frascati, Marino, Albano and Castel Gandolfo. These ancient hill towns of classical and medieval origin are celebrated for their lush green scenery, volcanic lakes, authentic cuisine, and local white wines. The area was initially frequented by wealthy Roman families who built magnificent palaces to enjoy the fresher climate during the summer. During the medieval period, powerful noble families took over the towns and began constructing more beautiful residences. Then, during the 16th and 17th centuries, aristocratic Romans renovated the palaces or built their own luxurious ones. At that time, popes were also erecting their own villas; in fact, Castel Gandolfo became the property of the Holy See and became a summer residence for the various popes.
Your full day tour will include independent visits of Frascati, a culturally and gastronomically rich city; the Abbey of San Nilo, built in the 9th century in Grottaferrata; the San Barnaba Church, built in the 17th century; and the famous wine fountain in Marino. You will also visit the Church of San Tommaso, on Caelian Hill, and Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence still used today. You will have some free time to stop for lunch and a wine tasting in Castel Gandolfo. You will be returned to your hotel in Rome at the end of the tour.
– Round trip transportation with private car
– Expert English speaking driver coordinator
– Visit of Grottaferrata
– Visit of Castel Gandolfo
– Wine tasting and Lunch in Castel Gandolfo
– Abbey of San Nilo
– Castel Gandolfo
– Confirmation will be received at time of booking
– Voucher and detailed operator information, including local emergency numbers will be received three weeks before the date of your tour.
– Adult pricing applies to all travelers.
– The dress code for men and women is strictly enforced in Churches. No bare shoulders, miniskirts or shorts.
Pick-up at your accommodations
Drop-off at your accommodation
Castel Gandolfo is situated on the edge of the lake Albano which itself is located inside a crater of an ancient volcano. Castel Gandolfo is one of the smallest cities in the Castelli Romani region, only boasting approximately 8840 inhabitants. On the other hand, it is one of most scenic and beautiful places in Italy. From its position on top of a hill, it offers a wonderful view on Lake Albano.
Castel Gandolfo is best known for the summer residence that Pope Urban VIII had constructed in 1628. Plans for the palace were designed by the architect Carlo Moderno. As time passed, Castel Gandolfo became the official summer residence for the different popes.
Things to see
Castel Gandolfo became one of the ancient Romans’ favorite summer destinations. Many aristocratic families built their own houses and palaces, such as the Villa Domitian. Domitian was the last emperor of the Flavian Dynasty. Villa Domitian had been built on the western part of the hill overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Emperors Hadrian, Septimus and Constantine all enjoyed the villa as well. In 1221, the villa was the Savelli family’s property but because of the numerous debts they had, Pope Clement VIII added the villa to the Holy See’s property. In 1929, via the Lateran Treaty, Benito Mussolini offered the villa back to the Vatican City and was listed among the buildings with extra territorial privilege.
In spring 2014, Pope Francis opened the gardens of the pope’s residence to the public so now, it is possible to admire the Barberini Gardens and enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Albano. There is even a small guided group visit which lasts approximately one hour. In August, some Papal audiences were given in Castel Gandolfo.
Marino & Albano
Marino is a small city located in the Lazio region. More specifically, it is located in the Colli Albani territory near Lake Albano. Marino belongs to the Castelli Romani and produces a famous white wine named after the city.
Each year Marino organizes the Sagra dell’Uva, an Italian wine festival, during the first Sunday of October. Wine pours out from the Fontana dei Quattro Mori (“Fountain of the Four Moors”) located in the center of the city. This festival began in 1925 after an idea the poet Leone Ciprelli had; the city has organized this wine festival every year since. Around the same time, the city celebrates the day of Our Lady of the Rosary (Madonna del Rosario) to commemorate the victory of Santa Alleanza during the battle of Lepanto against the Ottoman emperor on October 7th 1571.
Things to see
A funny anecdote is tied to this city and its wine festival: a few years ago, a plumbing mistake occurred to the water connections and inhabitants suddenly saw wine coming out of their taps. Some people were just filling up their bathtub when they noticed the water turn into wine. A few locals said it was a miracle but it was in fact an error made by the technicians who confused the connections for the wine fountain and the city waterways. The error was quickly fixed but a few wine lovers were able to take advantage of it.
The Marino white wine is one of the most famous wines from the Castelli Romani area and thanks to the special climate in Marino, it differs a little bit from the other wines of the region. This white wine can be best appreciated with meat, cheese and cold cuts.
Many Romans come to this small city during the weekends, especially during the summer, to enjoy some fresh air and green space. Thanks to its location atop of a hill, Marino offers its visitors a lovely place to stay during the summer. Moreover, many nice restaurants are located in the city.
Albano, or Albano Laziale as it is often called, is one of the most important municipalities in the Castelli Romani region. Albano Laziale is located 25 kilometers from Rome and is near two lakes: Lake Albano and Lake Nemi. Several Romans ruins can be seen in Albano Laziale such as the arena and the thermal baths of Caracalla.
According to the legend of the city’s founding, Aeneas’ son Ascanius was visited by a white boar in his dreams which told him where the Latin people should build their capital city. The legend goes on to say that Ascanius approached the location indicated by his dreams and founded Alba Longa. His descendants eventually gave birth to the princess Rhea Silvia who became the mother of the famed Romulus and Remus. Nowadays, the original city has been lost but the white boar and the inscription “Mater Urbis” are on the coat of arms of Albano to remind all of its origin as the “birthplace of Rome”.