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Lake to Lake Hike Close to Rome

October 30, 2016

 

 LAKE TO LAKE hike: 

Nemi to Castel Gandolfo

 PARCO DEI CASTELLI ROMANI, ITALY 

 

 

There are many places where I find myself in rapture and forests and mountains
are no-brainers.  They always have an effect on me the way candy stores have

that effect on children.  The vibrant colors, the smells, the sounds of birds and

small animals rustling about - it truly is special for me.  Only about 20 miles

south of Rome, most people don't realize that one can escape its madness

and be immersed in nature.

 

On a chilly September morning, I got on the Parco dei Castello Romani trail of

the Via Francigena in Nemi.  The destination was north to Castel Gandolfo,

a town made popular by the Papal summer residence, which, as of the date

of this blog post, has since been relinquished by the Vatican and will now be
converted to a museum and opened to the public after centuries of exclusivity.

 

  The trail would start with still water views of Lake Nemi with a charming hilltop

village mirroring itself on the blue waters of Lake Albano.  There was a brief

walk in the charming and colorful cobbled Nemi then it would snake through

Monte Gentile in Parco dei Castelli Romani and around Lake Albano.  The

trail would drop right in Castel Gandolfo, but not before stopping
at an ancient ruins of a small amphitheater. 

 

 

 

This is an easy hike with minimal elevation gain and only close to 6 mile
in distance.  There are several trails to choose from though, and for trip

planning, I would suggest the regional park website here with maps

here.  Parts of the trail visibly overlap with some ancient roads.

The trail is multi-use and is open for both hiking and mountain bikes.

 

 

 

ROMAN AMPhITHEATER RUINS IN ALBANO

 

Anfiteatro Severiano dates back to the 3rd century and has a capacity

of 10,000 spectators.   And this is perhaps one of the truly remarkable

aspects about the Italian Wonder Ways paths - there are many places

rife with opportunities to learn about history.

 

 

 
CASTEL GANDOLFO

 

 

Castel Gandolfo has probably made its name as the Papal summer

retreat.  However, as the date of this writing, I had read that the Vatican

has relinquished the palatial property and will now be opened to the public

as a museum.  We were given a private tour of the massive and beautifully
maintained grounds, and if I were to be brutally honest, it was a bit extravagant.

 

 

The town of Castel Gandolfo itself is a town worthy of a visit, especially

if you are already in Rome.  There is a charming and quiet town square

with small cafes and restaurants, some of which face the blue waters of

Lake Albano.  We were hosted for lunch at Antica Bottega Arte e Vino,

an intimate restaurant decorated with antique and artistic flair serving

fantastic regional food and wine.

 

 

IF YOU GO

 

STAY

 

I'm a huge fan of staying in Italian farmhouses in the countryside (called "agriturismo"

in Italy).  Not only do you get the serene landscape of Italy, but most often than not,

these places offer farm-to-table dining in the authentic Italian way.

 

I Casali del Pino is a special place with beautiful grounds and organic food served

on the property.  When I checked, room rates for November average around $88,

which is less expensive than most mediocre hotels in America.  The food here is

outstanding and organic, so if anything, make a meal at this place part of your plan.

I Casali del Pino is located about 30 minutes north of central Rome.  The address is 

Via Giacomo Andreassi, 30, Rome, Italy.  Official website here.

 

Alternatively, there is Hotel Villa Maria.  It's clean and modern with some

boutique hotel touches.  It is located at Via della Camilluccia 687, Rome, Italy.

Official website here.  

 

EAT

 

I'm a fan of Antica Bottega Arte e Vino in Castel Gandolfo located 

 at Corso Republica, 60, Castel Gandolfo.  The food and wine  is great and the ambience

has so much character its antique decor.

 

HIKE

 

For more information about the hikes in the area, check out Life Go Park here

Here's a Strava profile of this hike, but know that again, I did not start tracking until after

the 1st or 2nd mile.

 

 

Disclosure:  I was a guest of Italian Wonder Ways and Visit Lazio during this trip, but all opinions

in this and in related posts are my own.

 

What is Italian Wonder Ways anyway?  Funny you should ask.  Check out the prelude here.

 

 

 

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