Top Things to Do in the Castelli Romani

For centuries Romans and visitors alike have been heading to the Castelli Romani for its green hills, good food and wine and relaxing atmosphere. Find out the top things to do while in the area.


Lake Nemi

Dive into the 2 Volcanic Lakes

The area hosts not only one, but two volcanic crater lakes, both with bright blue water immersed in greenery, complete with surrounding walking trails.  Lake Albano, the larger of the two, has sandy beaches, bathing establishments with  pedal boat and kayak rentals, and  picnic areas. The smaller Lake Nemi comes with its own mythological ( The Temple of Diana Nemorensis) and historic treasures (Museo delle Navi Romane), not to mention fantastic panoramas.  The clear water is perfect for a swim; bring your bathing suit and dive in.


Infiorata, Genzano di Roma

Festivals & Sagre

There is no better way to enjoy the traditions, folklore and typical food and wine of a place than a town festival, and the Castelli Romani are full of them year round. In 2022, we began to see the return of these beloved jubilees, which went on a hiatus during Covid, so be sure to celebrate their return. My favorites are the Sagra delle Castagne (Chestnut Festival) in Rocca di Papa in November, the Infiorata in Genzano in June and the Sagra della Porchetta in Ariccia in September.


Castel Gandolfo 

The Towns

Both locals and visitors stroll the streets of the quaint towns, taking in heir vast cultural, historical and gastronomical offerings. Each town in the Castelli Romani has something unique and beautiful to offer, and top destinations include Nemi, Genzano, Frascati, Castel Gandolfo and Ariccia. Find out why here


Wine Experience

Castelli Romani is considered Lazio’s wine country and local wine producers are taking full advantage of the area’s  volcanic soil and favorable climate  to produce top, distinctive wines. See firsthand this quality wine movement, talk to local producers, soak up  vineyard vibes and taste for yourself why Lazio is now on the international wine map.

 For an art & wine aperitivo experience, visit my husband and me in  Palazzo Jacobini.   For the traditional vineyard and wine tour, check out Cantina Imperatori.


Villa Aldobrandini

Ville Tuscolane

Twelve magnificent Renaissance villas, located within the 3 neighboring municipalities of Grottaferrata, Monte Porzio and Frascati, are a wonder of architecture, garden landscaping and art. Built in sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by papal nobility and once a status symbol of Roman aristocracy, these illustrious villas were symbols of prestige, and today they are exceedingly well preserved and some are open for visits.  My favorite? Villa Falconieri, but others are also open to the public, check them out here.


Papal Gardens

Pontifical Palace and the Papal Gardens

Since 2014, Pope Francis has opened the doors to the Pontifical Palace and the Papal Gardens in Castel Gandolfo, allowing visitors to enter both the summer residence of the pope and the beautiful botanical gardens. Highlights within the garden include the hedge mazes of Villa Barberini, sculptures of Neptune and views that extend to the Mediterranean sea. The Palace has an impressive collection of papal portraits, relics, liturgical clothing and uniforms ranging over five hundred years of history, not to mention the chance to visit the Pope’s private chambers. More info on the Papal Palace


Palazzo Chigi

Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia represents a unique example of a Baroque residence that has remained unchanged over the centuries. The Palazzo’s intact, preserved rooms, both in function and layout, coupled with the original frescoed walls, decorations and artwork are in essence a time capsule and provide a closer look into the lives of the illustrious Italian Chigi family and the splendor of 17 century European aristocracy. A museum of wonders, this could be my most favorite place in the Castelli, and entrance prices are ridiculously inexpensive. Learn more here. 

bosco di dianapng

Path 512

Take a Hike (or mountain bike ride)

The Parco Castelli Romani has a network of walking and hiking trails, taking you on various paths which include scenic overlooks, gorges, lakes and ancient Roman roads. Unplug, forest bathe and immerse yourself in the green lung south of Rome. There are trails for every level and the area is also considered a mountain bike mecca;  there are quite a few local bike rental shops if you don't have your own wheels.  My favorite trails include a walk to the Pentima overlook, Monte Cavo, around the lakes and Maschio d’Ariano & The Gorge.


Have you visited any of these places? Have you any to add to the list? Let me know and share!

Before you leave, check out my other top lists of places to eat, things to do with kids and more!