Castelli Romani : Michelin's recommendations
The region, located in the Alban hills to the southeast of Rome is a favourite destination of Romans and offers a wealth of interesting sites: Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of the Pope; Albano Laziale, which stands on the grounds of the former Domitian Villa. Its church, Santa Maria della Rotonda, is a converted nymphaneum of the villa and still retains an impressive Roman campanile. You can also see what is believed to be the Tomb of the Horatii and the Curiatii. In Ariccia you can admire the square designed by Bernini and the palace of the Chigi family. Velletri, the region's largest town, is built on the southern slopes of the Alban Hills in the heart of vineyards. The lovely road that is Via dei Laghi winds its way through woods of chestnut and oak trees, to Lake Nemi and the delightful village of the same name. It then climbs up towards Monte Cavo (949m), formerly the site of the Temple of Jupiter but later transformed into a convent and now a hotel; the view from its esplanade over the Castelli region stretches as far as Rome. Other sites of interest include Rocca di Papa facing the lakes; Grottaferrata, home to an abbey founded in the 11C by Greek monks; and Frascati built on a hillside facing Rome. Famous for its wines, the town is home to a number of fine 16C and 17C villas, such as the Villa Aldobrandini, the park of which is laid out in terraces with manicured avenues.