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Castelli Romani Tours



About 21km (13 miles) from Rome on Via Tuscolana and some 322m (1,056 ft.) above sea level, Frascati is one of themost beautiful hill towns. It's known for the wine to which it lends its name, as well as for its villas, which restored after the severe destruction caused by World War II bombers.

Although Frascati wine is exported and served in many of Rome's restaurants and trattorie, tradition holds that it's best near the vineyards from which it came. Romans drive up on Sunday just to drink it.
Stand in the heart of Frascati, at Piazza Marconi, to see the most important of the estates: Villa Aldobrandini, Via Massala. The finishing touches to this 16th-century villa were added by Maderno, who designed the facade of St. Peter's in Rome. You can visit only the gardens, not the interior, but still, with its grottoes, yew hedges, statuary, and splashing fountains, it's a nice outing. The gardens are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 1pm and 3 to 5pm (to 6pm in summer)

You also might want to visit the bombed-out Villa Torlonia, adjacent to Piazza Marconi. Its grounds have been converted into a public park whose chief treasure is the Theater of the Fountains


The famous abbey in Grottaferato, the Abbazia Di S. Nilo was founded in 1002 by St. Nilo and his followers. Throughthe years, the monks gained wealth and power and the architecture of the abbey soon came to look like a fortress. Today, you can see the moat, walls and other architectural changes that were made to protect this abbey. The abbey is one of Italy’s main centers of Byzantine culture. Make sure you see the mosaics (12th century) in the Basilica Di Santa Maria di Grottaferrata (near the abbey).

If you have a car, you can continue about 5km (3 miles) past the Villa Aldobrandini to Tuscolo, an ancient spot with the ruins of an amphitheater dating from about the1st century B.C. It offers what may be one of Italy's most panoramic views.


Castel Gandolfo is a small Italian town in Lazio that perched on the slopes of an extinct volcano whose craterwhich holds a superb lake overlooking Lake Albano about 30 km south-east of Rome, best known as the summer residence of the Pope.

The papal palace, a 17th-century edifice designed by Carlo Maderno, stands practically on the foundations of another equally regal summer residence, the villa of Emperor Domitian. Unfortunately, the palace, the gardens, and the adjoining Villa Barberini can't be visited.

Castel Gandolfo, one of the hill towns known as the Castelli Romani, probably occupies the site of ancient Alba Longa, capitalof the Sabine league. Its name is derived from a fortification of the ducal Gandolfi family in the 12th century, which passedto the Savelli family from whom the Apostolic Camera purchased it in 1596 for 150,000 scudi.

Pope Clement VIII was the first pope to come to Castel Gandolfo, but the rebuilding of the old castle was the project of Urban VIII who first came in 1626.

The site of the papal palace, rebuilt on the ruins of the former castle, partly occupies the foundations of a summer residence of the Emperor Domitian that occupied 14 km2 (5.4 square miles). In the palace's inner courtyard is a Roman bust depicting Polyphemus, the Cyclops from whose cave Ulysses escaped; it was found in the nymphaeum of the Imperial villa's gardens, an artificially constructed grotto of the crater lake's outlet.


The Romans flock to Nemi in droves, particularly from April to June, for the succulent strawberries grown here, acclaimed by some gourmets as Europe's finest. In May, there's a strawberry festival.

Nemi was also known to the ancients. A temple to the huntress Diana was erected on Lake Nemi, which was said to be her "looking glass."In A.D. 37, Caligula built luxurious barges to float on the lake. The boats, lavishly fitted with bronze and marble, were sunk during Claudius's reign (he succeeded the insane Caligula) and were entirely forgotten until Mussolini drained the lake in the 1930s. Then the barges were found and set up in a lakeside museum; they remained as a wonder of ancient Rome until the Nazis burned them during their retreat. two scale models of the ships at the Roman Ship Museum Nemi with its medieval castle overlooking a smaller enchanting lake where Emperors Caligula and Nero used to orchestrate refined sumptuous banquets and feasts on luxuriously rigged rafts to entertain and surprise visiting foreign dignitaries.This famed area is considered one of the most beautiful spots in Italy and is the bronze-age cradle of the Latin peoples and language who later were to found Rome on the banks of the Tiber river.En Route to Castel Gandolfo.

The road to Gandolfo leads through a few worth-a-visit towns on the way. Genzano, on the other side of Lake Nemi, has views of the countryside and a 17th-century palace that belonged to the Sforza-Cesarini.

Ariccia is an ancient town that sent representatives to meet with Tarquin the Proud on top of Monte Cavo 2,500 years ago. After many centuries of changing hands, especially between medieval and Renaissance families, it has taken on a suburban look. The palace in the middle of town is still private and belongs to the Chigi family.

Albano practically adjoins Castel Gandolfo. It has a long history; this is the reputed site of Alba Longa, the so-called mother city of Rome, but it's quite built up and modern today. Trains going to Albano leave from Stazione Termini in Rome.

Rocca di Papa

The most attractive of the hill towns lies only some 9.5km (6 miles) from Marino. It's a lovely spot, on the slopes of Monte Cavo facing the Alban lakes and its enveloping hills. By car, the best route is 217 to the junction with 218, where you make a left turn. Before the intersection, you'll be high on a ridge above Lake Albano, where the views of the lake, the far woods, and the papal palace of Castel Gandolfo on the opposite mountain are superb. Just before Rocca di Papa is the entrance to the toll road to Monte Cavo. A temple of Jove once stood on top of this mountain, and before that, the tribes of the area met with King Tarquin (the Proud) before Rome was a republic. At the top of the mountain is one of the most dramatic panoramic views in the hill towns, giving you a wide survey of the Alban Hills and the Castelli Romani. Down below, Rocca di Papa is a tangle of old streets and churches. A legend of dubious origin claims that Hannibal once camped just below the town in a wooded hollow.


Marino, the closest to Rome (only 24km/15 miles away), is about 7km (4 1/3 miles) off Via Appia Nuova, quite near Ciampino Airport. Much of Marino's original charm has fallen victim to modern builders, but the town is still the place to go each October during the grape harvest. Check with the Rome tourist office for the actual dates, which vary from year to year. At that time, the town's fountains are switched from water to wine, and everyone drinks for free.


Other Tours in the Area

Roman Hills Wine Tours

Wine Cantina
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Amble along 200 acres of vines surrounding 17th century architecture, treasures of one of Italy's oldest and most distinguished noble families, the Pallavicini. Feel the cool humidity of the 3rd century caverns lined with Acacia and French Oak barriques. Our expert guide will show you Roman history through the lens of a glass of vino. You will discover Imperial Rome as the cradle for wine culture

Castelli Romani

Colli Albani - Castelli Romani (Roman Castles)

The Roman Castles are located in the Colli Albani/Alban Hills just south of Roma. The area has been a refuge for wealthy Romans since the Middle Ages. Not much has changed, as today this is where wealthy Romans come to escape the city on weekends and holidays. The area is littered with castles, villas, palazzi and refreshing easy towns to tour. There are 13 towns in the Castelli Romani (Frascati, Grottaferrata, Castel Gandolfo, Marino, Rocca di Papa, Ariccia, Nemi, Monteporizio Catone, Colonna, Albano Laziale, Genzano, Montecompatri and Rocca Priora). This is a perfect area to have a good dinner or lunch, to start or end a trip (as they are relatively close to the Champino airport). For the Roman emperor and the wealthy cardinals in the heyday of the Renaissance, the Castelli Romani exerted a powerful lure, and they still do.

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Roman Countryside Tour

Escorted Group Tour

The Castelli aren't castles, but hill towns - many of them with an ancient history and several producing well-regarded wines.

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Castelli Romani

Duration: 3-4hrs

Cost: $57.00 pp

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Tour the medieval villages outside Rome on an afternoon excursion to the Castelli Romani region. You'll take a relaxing drive through the beautiful countryside surrounding the busy capital, see views of the Pope’s summer residence of Castelgandolfo and enjoy a wine tasting at famous Frascati.

On your afternoon jaunt from Rome, you'll travel past the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla before taking the ancient Appian Way past the Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis. Along the way you’ll pass the famous Castelli Romani village of Castelgandolfo, the Pope's summer residence.

Other villages you’ll pass en route include Rocca di Papa and Grottaferrata, noted for their culture and gastronomic delicacies. The last stop on your afternoon excursion from Rome is a wine tasting at beautiful Frascati.

Castelli Romani Wine Tour

Castelli Romani Tour

Private Car Tour

There is a reason the Pope has his summe residence in Castelgondolfo. After a day in the Castelli Romani you'll want to return for a weekend as there is so much to see.

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Private Tour

Duration 8hrs - One Sample itinerary

Pick up at the hotel

First stop at Grottaferato to visit its ancient abbey.

Then you will visit Castelgandolfo (the Pope’s summer residence): from the Belvedere you will admire Albano Lake and then you will walk outside the historical Papal Palace.

13.00: Lunch at one of Ariccia’s famous “fraschette” – “Dar Burino” - where you will enjoy a traditional Castelli Romani meal: hors d’oeuvre with porchetta(roasted pork), prosciutto, salami and olives; main course, a choise from Amatriciana pasta, Carbonara pasta or dumplings with tomato sauce; woodfire bread and local wine.


13.00: Lunch at one of Castelgandolfo’s famous “fraschette”, with a view on the lake, where you will enjoy a traditional Castelli Romani meal: Porchetta (rosated pork), prosciutto, salami, cheese, olives, bread and local wine.

Short trip around Lake Nemi , small and gorgeous volcanic lake with its beautiful omonimous little town (if it’s Spring, you will try the most wonderful wild strawberries with whipped cream ever!).

On our way to Frascati, we’ll cross Rocca di Papa, another charming medieval town plunged in the middle ofsweet green hills.

End at Frascati and visit the archaeological excavations of Tusculum, an ancient Roman town, and as a snack you will taste Marino’s famous “ciambelline al vino” with Passito wine, sitted in the beautiful picnic area inside Castelli Romani’s Regional Park.




Private Car Tour

Driving south of Rome, high up above the Eternal City, taking the opportunity to relax for a few hours away from the city traffic by the Lake Albano that is perched on the rim of a crater overlooking the third-century Roman amphitheatre and the Capuchin church.

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Castelgondolfo and the Appian Way

Duration 5 hours

Driving south of Rome, high up above the Eternal City, taking the opportunity to relax for a few hours away from the city traffic by the Lake Albano that is perched on the rim of a crater overlooking the third-century Roman amphitheatre and the Capuchin church. Albano, formerly called Albalonga, was where the founders of Romeoriginated.

We continue in an uphill direction to reach the peaceful town of Castelgandolfo that lies in a vast area literally covered by superb vineyards, forests, and large olive groves. This friendly mediaeval village is the summer residence of the Pope that overlooks this deep volcanic lake. The Papal Blessing take place in the square that faces the Papal palace of Castelgandolfo.

On the way back to Rome, along the ancient Via Appian, some remarkable sights will be passed: The tomb of Cecilia Metella which is a tall ruin which marks the starting point of the Sixth century excavations of Via Appia decorated by a frieze showing skulls of oxen, hence its medieval name of Capo di Bove (Oxen's head);

The Catacombs that are a series of underground galleries and tombs, holy sites where Christians buried their dead and came to pray and celebrate; the Piazza Venezia which is know for the Victor Emanuel Monument (Wedding Cake); the baths of the Emperor Caracalla that cover nearly a 28 acre site and contain more than 1,600 marble seats; and the famous Colossum being the most fascinating monument in Rome, where 50,000 spectators could witness cruel battles between gladiators and wild animals, in 80 A.D.

Entrance Tickets to the Catacomb cost Euro 5,00.

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