What do all of these things have in common? They take place in the Castelli Romani. These are hillside towns to the southeast of Rome. It is a place where many Romans go (ummmm…including the Pope) to escape the suffocating heat in the summer and where we go sometimes just to get an ice-cream.
There are many towns that make up this area, but today I am going to talk about: Ariccia, Marino, and Castel Gandolfo.
I actually started this post only to show a few interesting videos (one of my own and a better one I found on youtube), but then I thought I would include a little bit of info about the area. I think if you are visiting Rome and have a bit of time and want to get off the beaten path, going to these towns is a very nice side trip. As mentioned above, during the summer you find some relief from the heat, but also it means you get to “Do as the Romans Do!”
Now, what are these funny videos? Actually these videos just show an interesting and “mysterious” road near the town of Ariccia. As it turns out, it is not as mysterious as I thought and I will explain why in a bit. But first, look at this video I made. It is very short. The second video I found is much more clear on what is happening on the street, and also the Italian audio provides some extra entertainment.
As it turns out, there is nothing mystical about this street, and in fact, it is just an optical illusion. By measuring the altitudes at various parts of the street, it has been established that this street is actually a decline not an incline although it appears as an incline. Ummmm….ok? I guess we have to take the word of the experts, because it looks like an incline to me. But I have seen enough episodes of ‘Brain Games’ to know that such optical illusions exist. Still, illusion or mystery, this street is always a fun place to bring unsuspecting visitors!
Now – imagine visiting that mystical hill after a day of drinking free wine from a neighboring town’s fountains! You can do this if you happen to be in Marino during the first weekend of October. The town of Marino is only 6 miles from Ariccia and can reached in 30 minutes by train from Rome’s Termini station. The Sagra dell’Uva has wine that flows out of the fountain in the central square as you can see in the photo. It is a crazy time place to be. Tons of people, lots of confusion, but hey – – free wine flowing from a fountain? Who would not want to take part in that?
Another nice town in the Castelli Romani is Castel Gandolfo. The traditional summer residence of the pope, this hilltop village offers views of the blue-green, volcanic Lake Albano below. This cobblestoned town has many outdoor cafes, ice-cream shops and views to die for. Here is hubby walking up the street heading towards the Piazza Liberta’. Nice place to be on a summer’s day! Castel Gandolfo can also be reached by train from Termini. Take the Albano Laziale line and get off at the Castel Gandolfo stop.
Sagra Marino: Alessio Damato