Tour of the Roman Hills, Castelgandolfo, Nemi and Lake Albano
Lovely scenery, romantic lakes and good wines are the charms of the small towns and Lakes of the Colli Albani, generally known as the Castelli Romani.
The most famous is Castelgandolfo summer residence of the Pope, overlooking Lake Albano.
Nemi is a little village wrapped around its ancient castle, famous for its strawberries grown all-year round and perched on a hill dominating its tiny lake.
The largest village, Frascati, which is also the most visited, is well known for its lovely old center and some privately-owned villas dating back to the 16th/17th century.
The Castelli Romani due their name to the presence of at least a noble mansion in each of them and even if some of these mansions were destroyed during past historical events, their ruins are still witnessing the feudal origin of this zone.
Viticulture grew gradually in this area thanks to the periodical distribution of pieces of land among war veterans (starting from those who participated to the Lepanto’s battle and arriving to the ex-servicemen of the First World War), who utilised their modest estates to create a production for a private consume and a more intense one for the local market.
Even if belonging to an ancient tradition, the cultivation of vineyards in the Castelli Romani’s area, knew a great development with the building growth in Rome, as it determined a gradual destruction of the wine estates which once, during the pontifical period, were within the city itself; these were the so called ‘terreni casalini’; vineyards with plants growing on ancient house ruins, very famous for the quality of their production.
Castelli Romani’s agricultural production, that was already well-known for its vegetables and fruits (broccolis of Albano, peaches of Castel Gandolfo, cabbages and artichokes of Velletri) began to focalize on wine-making, planting at an early stage different types of vines with fruits both to produce wine and to eat.
Their importance has left a spur in the large pergola along the Via Appia Nuova, in the place still named Uva di Roma. Later on viticulture specialized basically in the production of grapes for wine in specific vineyards.
The vineyards situated on the slopes are surrounded by olive groves, which create a silvery frame to them.
On the highest part of the hills, quite on the summit, there are chestnut threes.
These trees were planted from Popes, so that people living here, which had not other type of vegetables, could eat their fruits. The chestnut trees for the production of fruits have been gradually substituted with chestnuts for the production of wood.,
The choice of white grapevines was made to produce harmonic, fresh and delicate wines such as the Malvasia with an aftertaste like almonds , the Trebbiano rich in aromas , the Bellone which produces a lot of must.
At present there are two tendencies: recovering the original varieties, or planting new varieties to improve the wine’s quality and to satisfy the market needs.
Among the red grapevines there are: the Cesanese comune, producing a loveable wine; the Merlot with its aroma and taste of fruits; the Nero Buono or Nero di Cori, a precious vine for the colour and the delicate taste it gives to wine; the Sangiovese a very prolific kind, producing a wine perfect to be aged and increasing the scented smell and taste of fruits to the wine. In addition to all these vineyards there is the Cerasuolo with its taste of cherry.
In addition to the DOC wines chosen according to the rules, each producer sells on the market wines with the generic denomination “DOC Castelli Romani”, that has been recently created, and I.G.T. (Typical Geographical Designation) wines for lunchtime, satisfying the different customers’ needs. These last type of wines reaches an high quality level.
You can taste some of these wines together with a lovely Roman-style lunch starting with "fettuccine ai funghi"! A scenic experience and a gastronomic one too!
Duration: 6 hours with wine tasting and finger food or Full Day with wine tasting and lunch
Transportation required: limo or minivan