The Town of Nemi

Home of the fragoline di bosco and the santuary of goddess Diana Nemorense, Nemi is one of the most beautiful towns in the Castelli Romani.  Perched on the top of a volcanic crater, it has spectacular views of the lake with every turn, small village charm and a preserved medieval center.

Although it is one of the smallest comune of the Castelli, the town is filled with artistic, gastronomic  and natural wonders.

Coming into town, you are welcomed by the bronze statue of Diana the huntresses: Her eyes fixed towards the lake, bow and arrow in hand, running in pursuit. An empowering work of art by local sculptor Luciano Mastrolorenzi,  author of 4 other pieces on display in town.  Installed between 2001 and 2012, they are all recent additions , yet already  ingrained within the town.  Most impressive is the Fontana della Gorgone  or the Fountain of Medusa and its particular inscription in futhark. His other works include the pagan deity Grande Madre (Great Mother),the two lion heads  on the fountain and the bust of Caligula.


Nature Views

The village hangs on the edge of the crater therefore views of the Specchio di  Diana (Diana’s mirror) are everywhere, but be sure to stop at these lookouts;

P.zza del Crocifisso  Adjacent to the church of the Santuario del Crocifisso, there you’ll find a stunning view overlooking the small manicured rose garden. Piazza degli Innamorati (Lovers Plaza) where it is  impossible not to fall in love with the view.   From here you can walk down to Bar Belvedere, which is open in summertime.  Even if you are not stopping at the bar, the path has excellent views and a brief trail which passes the bar and  loops you back to town.  


What to eat and drink

The town is famous for its fragoline di bosco, (small, exceptionally sweet strawberries). You can  buy them by themselves, have them with ice-cream,  or within specialty products such as strawberry liquors, beers and jams – the list goes on. The best way to sample them is the crostatine crema e fragoline,  or  cream tartlets topped with small strawberries.  My kids and I often buy a couple from different places for indulgent taste testing; comparing the cream, the crust and the overall balance of sweetness.  We often return to Forno f.lli Cavaterra & Margani and Da Spartaco al Grottino, located doors away from each other in Piazza Umberto I for our favorite fragoline cream tartlets.

There are a few bars overlooking the lake to stop for an aperitivo, coffee and food, but I prefer to stop at Stuzzico & Vinello Bistrot, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 21, 392 639 2197 for their excellent choices of wine by the glass and quality cheese and salami boards.  I am sorry to report Ristorante Lo Speccio di Diana has  closed, which was once an institution in town.  La Fiocina, Via delle Navi di Tiberio, 9, tel 06 939 1120, is a authentic restaurant, but you will need to drive or walk down to the lake from the town.


Other things to do in Nemi

If you are interested in archeology or history, consider visiting the Museo delle Navi Romane (Museum of Roman Ships) and the Sanctuary of Diana, both found at lake level. The Sanctuary is not generally not open to the public, you need a certified guide/scheduled guide to enter.  Of course strolling around the lake or taking a quick dip is also a treat.  Every year in June (apart from 2020 -Covid -19), the town holds its famous Festa delle Fragole

Getting here

Nemi is 30 km (19 miles) from the center of Rome

On public transport: from Roma Anagnina  take the Cotral buses for Genzano di Roma . Once in Genzano di Roma, change buses to Nemi. Buses to Nemi are not frequent; you could consider taking a taxi from Genzano if the wait is too long.  Taxis are found right off of Piazza IV Novembre on via Giuseppe Garibaldi.

By car from Rome.  Start off on via Appia Nuova. You can either take Via del Laghi at Ciampino or pass though Genzano di Roma until you reach Piazza Cina, then take via Nemorense up into town.   Parking can be a bit tricky on weekends, but we always found a spot on via Nemorense or via Riccardo de Sanctis.


Due to its altitude and position, Nemi has a cooler climate than Rome and even that of other Castelli towns, it’s not uncommon to see people with jackets even in the summertime.

First Published: July 2020
Last Updated: October 27, 2020

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