Exploring the town of Genzano di Roma

Genzano di Roma is best known for its stunning infiorata, a festival  held  in June which sees the streets turn into works of art with flower petals , and its famous IGP pane Casreccio; both of which need to be experienced.  


To me, Genzano is my home I have become quite fond of; a bustling town yet with quiet, picturesque pockets, gastronomic specialties, festive sagre and yes, its own castello.


If you come on a weekend, start with a visit to this castello, Palazzo Sforza-Cesarini and its adjacent Parco.  The noble Cesarini family went through great architectural lengths to increase the building’s size and importance, and played a fundamental role in defining the urban design of the town. Inside admire frescos and exhibits and as well as an impressive view of the town and lake from the rooftop.  


Next head to the Parco Sforza Cesarini.

Duke Lorenzo Sforza Cesarini built an English garden for his English wife Carolina Shirley to feel more at home in 1830. Quite the romantic gesture! At the time of writing only the top 1/3 of the park was open to visitors ; wild boars devastated the other 2/3rds. Still worth a stop by to stroll in the only English garden in the area. Both the palazzo and park are open only on the weekends, and tours run every hour in Italian language.


Once finished, follow the road between the park and palazzo and wander through the Genzano vecchio, a preserved medieval part of town, and take in magnificent views of Lake Nemi and its green banks.


Come out of Genzano vecchio by the church Santa Maria della Cima. Standing at the highest point in town, it overlooks the main square. 


Walk down Via Belardi to first admire the two twin Clementine fountains and then the La Fontana di San Sebastiano found  in the main piazza.  This fountain alludes to certain aspects of the town’s history: The column to the Cesarini or Colonna coast of arms, the vine leaves and grapes to the area’s main products, and the moons to the goddess Diana, whose temple is located nearby. The popular main street has an array of shops, just note many are closed on Sundays and Thursday afternoons.


Stop by Il Granfornaio, formerly called Sergio's,  Via Italo Belardi, 13,  to pick up a filone (long loaf) the best IGP pane casereccio Genzano. Bread is taken so seriously in this town, it has its own consorzio (governing body) to ensure bread makers are complying with the IGP characteristics,  a bollino identificativo ( identification badge) and a bread festival in September. Baked in a wood fired oven, the use of optimal flour and natural yeast, sprinkled wheat bran on top are just a few of the requirements. 


Continuing the bread tour, stop also at Forno Moretto,  for their pizza bianca. If there is a line, wait in it, you may even catch the pizza coming right out of the forno a legna (wood fired oven). I once took a friend here, who later wrote them a thank you note from Hong Kong expressing how much she couldn’t stop thinking about their goodness. 

If you want to walk off lunch, or have children that need a place to run around, head to the Olmata, a peaceful tree lined pedestrian street with a playground and lawn at one end.  


Where to eat: 

Genzano is full of fantastic places,  I’ll list a few here:

A Casa di Nino,  Via Ercole Imbastari, 21, a stylish osteria with excellent homemade pastas and grilled meats. tel. +39 06 936 3425

Ristorante Capodiferro, Via Fratelli Cervi, 1, an upscale fish restaurant with lovely views of Lake Nemi. tel  +39 06 9337 6332

I Castelli - Enoteca Ristorante Wine Bar,  Via Italo Belardi, 31, a wonderful wine list and a creative chef make a winning pair for an aperitivo, lunch or dinner.  tel. +39 06 6937 6773

Casina delle Rose,  Viale Piave, 2 , genuine Italian cuisine with friendly staff, serving fish, meat traditional pastas and pizza. +39  06 933 0115

Pasticceria Cimoroni , Via Italo Belardi, 35,  excellent pastries, especially the chocolate eclairs!  

Getting here:
By Car from Rome: G.R.A., exit 23; via Appia, direction Ciampino-Albano Laziale. Then continue along the Via Appia for about 17 km to Genzano di Roma.

By Bus
From Rome, take the underground line A to Anagnina station, then continue with the Cotral bus service towards Genzano di Roma or Velletri

First Published: July 15, 2020
Last updated:  June 16, 2022