Thursday, January 25, 2007

December 2006 - Frascati & the Castelli Romani, Italy

We spent our last weekend in Rome touring Frascati and the Castelli Romani. This is a region of the state of Lazio that is about 1 hour outside the city of Rome.

This region is made up of a series of hill towns known for wine-making, primarily Frascati wine, and delicious and rustic cuisine.

We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Flora, which has an ideal location right in the center of town.

Here is Kenny in front of the Smart Car we rented, at our very swank Hotel Flora.

We took a walk through the picturesque Frascati, passing by San Pietro (Frascati's duomo) located in the town's central square.

And by the Villa Aldobrandini, which belongs to one of Rome's most prominent families.

Frascati also has a park and a central circle, adjacent to Villa Aldobrandini, which is perfect for evening strolls and views of the many hills surrounding Rome.

Here is a shot of the famouse Theater of the Fountains located in Frascati's primary park.

We stopped to have a late lunch at a quaint local restaurant, Cacciani with amazing food, wine and atmosphere.

We particularly loved the sun lit terrace with beautiful views of the hill towns.

Though we were full from dinner, we weren't (and seem to never be) too full to stop for gelato at this great gelateria, which looked like a South Beach restaurant.

From Frascati we drove to several other hill towns including Albano, famous for Castelgandolfo - the Pope's summer estate overlooking Lake Albano.

In Albano, we strolled through the town's lovely park and took some great sepia pictures,

we discovered a beautiful medieval church,

and we had a wonderful lunch at Osteria L'Antico Forno. We particularly loved the filet mignon with a black truffle spread smeared all over it. We also loved our waiter and the chef who engaged us in conversation and helped us practice our italian for over an hour.

We also stopped in the very quaint Grottaferatta and took some pictures of this hill top town as we drove by.

We stopped to enjoy the fall foliage still present in December thanks to global warming.

Finally, we returned to Frascati and had lunch at Zaraza - a family run, no-menu restaurant with excellent food.

And back to Rome we went.

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