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castelli romani

Strawberry Festival In Nemi

No fruit screams summer quite like the strawberry.  Nemi, a quaint town in the beautiful Castelli Romani region 30 kilometers south of Rome, holds an annual festival in honor of these juicy, refreshing heart-shaped berries.

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Every year since 1922, Nemi residents have dedicated the first Sunday of June to strawberry celebration.  Strawberry streamers float over pedestrians who roam the picturesque streets in search of anything and everything strawberry at the various shops and cafes offering more than 1000 preparations, from pizza to pastries to granita to consume on the spot. They stock up on jams, syrups, fragolino wine, crème di fragola liquors, teas and more.

Although the fruit is primarily harvested in May, the festival kicks off in June and the week-long program includes a mass and a blessing of the fruit. Le fragolare, female strawberry gatherers dressed in traditional garb–red skirt, black bodice, white top and a mandrucella atop their heads—distribute free strawberries to passers-by. The festivities include music, dancing and good times, and carry on until the end of the month.

STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL NEMI

This year’s festival—the 83rd edition—got underway on May 28th and goes until Sunday, June 5.  Can’t make it this year? Don’t worry, perhaps you can plan a trip to Rome next year around the strawberry festivities!!!!

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Frascati, wine lovers Paradise!

Sometimes, you’ve just got to get away from the hustle and bustle of Rome.  Though the city is absolutely beautiful, it can also be loud, crazy and chaotic. When enough is enough, and you’re looking for a refreshing retreat away from the Eternal City, Frascati is your place.

Just a half hour away from Rome, Frascati is a splendid little hillside town located in the Castelli Romani (Roman castles) area known for its beautiful villas. It’s not only popular among tourists; Romans themselves love coming here on the weekends for an afternoon or evening stroll. The town is easily reached by a local train from Rome’s Termini train station. What’s even more convenient is that the trains run to and from Frascati every hour and costs less than a few euros.

Frascati is perched atop a hill offering tourists and locals fresh air, good food and captivating views of surrounding towns and Rome from a distance. About 100,000 people live in this town, which is best known for its locally produced wine.

Once you reach the town by train, you’ll want to follow the crowds up to the center of the city (or the main ‘piazza’), which is where virtually everyone meets for coffee, a snack or an afternoon stroll. From the main piazza, off in the distance, you’ll notice the resplendent Villa Aldobrandini,  designed by Giacomo Della Porta for the nephew of a pope. Unfortunately, this particular villa is closed off to the public, however the lush gardens can be visited with a special permit. On the other side of the piazza, you’ll notice a balcony-like terrace with stunning views.

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Also worth checking out, is the nearby Villa Torlonia, which was once important until it was destroyed in the war. Today, it serves as a public park where one can admire the gardens and the beautiful fountain, the Teatro delle Acque (water theatre) designed by Carlo Maderno. After you’re done strolling and admiring, it’s time to head into town and to the centro of the city for lunch.

 

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