Between the allure of fall foliage and the looming chance of another lockdown, there is no better time to take a giro around the Castelli Romani to witness fall’s splendid color changes.
Fall is a peaceful, relaxing time in the Castelli: The colors of red, orange, yellow on the trees and brown leaves on the ground make paths and avenues more romantic. Soft yellow light filters between the trees, playing with shadows as leaves gently waft down. Chestnuts with their scenic outer shells, acorns and fallen leaves decorate the ground.
Driving through the region is quite beautiful, but here are my 5 suggestions to fully immerse yourself in the autumn scenery.
Monte Cavo is worth a visit any time of the year, but even more so in autumn. Monte Cavo, the second highest peak of the Colli Albani (Alban hills), can be reached by walking or biking on an ancient Roman road, the Via Sacra. Along your way admire chestnut, beech, field maples, lime and hazelnut trees; their leaves now a symphony of red, orange and brown shades. Shuffle your feet through the leaves and take in breathtaking views of both Lake Albano and Lake Nemi once you reach the top.
Olmata - Genzano di Roma
If walking through woods sounds too rugged, take a stroll on Genzano’s famous pedestrian walkway, the Olmata. The Olmata consists of long tree-lined avenues that date back to the seventeenth century, as they connected the most important places in town. The original olmi (elm trees) have been replaced with tigli (lime trees; no relation to the fruit) which are now producing a beautiful yellow hue. Ideal for the elderly and strollers.
Frascati & Tuscolo
Wind your way past Villa Falconieri, the hermitage of San Romualdo and vineyards changing from green to gold as you walk up towards a gorgeous panorama, complete with distant fields of soft yellows. The enchanting walk from Frascati town up to Tuscolo is not too difficult, following sentiero 501, but uphill.
If you prefer to drive, the road up from Frascati is lined with trees with autumn colors, and once parked up top, the path to the ancient theatre is full of fall vibes.
The Woods of Diana – Le Piagge
Talk a walk through the woods of Diana, not only for its colorful autumn display, but for its mix of history, lake and town views. I suggest sentiero 512 “Le Piagge” , which starts in Genzano, to hear leaves crunch beneath your feet, to see Nemi town perched on the crater from afar and the lake below and to visit Fontan Tempesta, an ancient fountain, dating back to at least 1500. The first part of path 512 is not difficult, straightforward and takes 45 minutes to reach Fontana Tempesta. The easy-to-find path entrance (located at the very end of via delle Piagge, Genzano di Roma), also makes this walk a winner.
I Pratoni del Vivaro
Known as an area for horseback riding, I Pratoni del Vivaro is also a must for walking and bike riding. In autumn it’s a fascinating painting, even more suggestive at sunset, with the woods and hills providing an autumn backdrop to the green fields, horses and livestock.
The Castelli Romani, Rome’s “green lung”, is transforming into a rich autumn landscape. Come catch it before the last leaf falls.
First published: November 13, 2020
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