If you want to spend a day in complete relaxation, after spending a few days in Rome, as usual you will find what is right for you in the Roman countryside. Today we will take you to Nemi, a small town in the Castelli Romani where you will find a beautiful, sunny and welcoming historical center with a view of the homoninmo lake and many strawberry-based delicacies.
Nemi is the country famous all over the world for its strawberries. The small strawberries that you can taste in Nemi are small and exquisite, especially during the days of the “festival” dedicated to them. But if you want, you can enjoy them all spring … just take a walk here, not so far from Rome.
Nemi is a small town with fewer than 2000 inhabitants and is located in the center of the Castelli Romani at an altitude of 521 meters from which overlooks the beautiful lake to which it gives its name.
And just in the lake were found two ancient Roman ships, from the era of Emperor Caligula, ships kept in the Museum of Roman Ships until 1944, when they were set on fire after being bombed.
Nemi is characterized by the cultivation of its typical strawberries, which are enhanced during the festival held every first weekend in June.
Our walk to Nemi
Before reviewing the things to see in Nemi, we want to tell you about our walk, on a warm and sunny April afternoon.
The first feature that struck us was the road that leads to Nemi. In fact, at the gates of the village there is a long tunnel that passes under a rise. The tunnel is totally circular, it seems to make a complete circle with the car before leaving. And when you go out, you find yourself in front of Nemi in all its splendor.
After parking the car we headed to the center. Immediately you notice the lake from the terrace from which you can look out at the beginning of the historic center. A breathtaking view.
The historic center is paved with pebbles of “sanpietrino”, the typical stone used since the Middle Ages to pave the streets. And the country still retains strong features of its history.
The main street is really nice, with its ice cream shops, sweets and typical products on its sides. The smells that come from it are all very inviting. Here you can choose to stop and eat a sandwich with the classic pork of the Castelli Romani or decide to enjoy a beautiful dessert made with strawberries.
There are all sorts of them: with cream, cream, chocolate, jam and so on.
If you want to bring home some strawberries from Nemi, just stop in one of the many shops that show them on their desks.
We have chosen to taste some sweets based on strawberries, in one of the many rooms that offered the possibility to sit at outdoor tables. It will have been the atmosphere, the sun or the strawberries, the fact is that we managed to spend a really relaxing day. And at the end, a walk to the lake could not be missed, which you get from a small road at the opposite end of the side of access to the village. To tell the truth, we recommend this walk only if you are good “walkers”, otherwise take the car and head towards the lake of Castel Gandolfo, which lends itself to long walks on its shores comfortable for bathing.
What to see in Nemi
Depending on your interests, Nemi can show you some really interesting things. We were very impressed by the ruins of the church of San Nicola on the east bank of the lake, near the Acquedotto delle Mole. Next you can see the remains of a building complex with apses, tunnels and walls, which was probably a thermal plant: in fact above it there is the legendary source of the nymph Egeria, the legendary advisor of Numa Pompilio, who after crying a lot for the king’s death, she was turned into a spring by the goddess Diana. This structure is datable between the I century a.C. and the fourth century, that is, in the period of maximum splendor of the temple of Diana. The curious thing is that this church was one of the first to be built after the edict of Constantine that gave people freedom of worship.
Other interesting remains to be seen are those of the Temple of Diana Aricinia, which at the time was large and sumptuous, but of which only a few columns and walls remain. In reality the temple stretched for about 5000 square meters and therefore most of it must still be brought to light.
But obviously the part of the lion makes it the lake of Nemi, from the circular shape that betrays its clear vulcanic origin. The ancient Romans loved to holiday here, also because it was considered a place of worship because nearby stood a temple dedicated to the Goddess Diana and a sacred wood.
The two Roman ships found at the time were used by the emperor Caligula to holiday on the lake or to create naval battles. The ships were then sunk by the successor of Caligula because of the profound hate he felt towards him.
The shores of the lake are dense with vegetation as it has not been contaminated by mass tourism. Walking around it is almost impossible given the tortuous paths that you have to go all over, in additionthat bathing is impossible. But the beauty of this lake and the uncontaminated nature that surrounds it deserve at least a few minutes to admire it from the terraces of Nemi.
The Strawberry Festival in Nemi
The Nemi Strawberry Festival is an international event. During the festival, the small center of the Roman castles on the lake, is populated with tourists from all over the world attracted by its particularity.
Quintals of strawberries parade under the eyes and the nose of the people, who are inevitably entranced by the ruby red of the delicious fruit and its delicious smell.
The festival has very ancient roots dating back to 1922, the year of its first edition. Since then, the charm and folklore of the event has attracted more and more people.
Queen of the festival is the strawberry that is offered in many dishes and delicacies, including the delicious homemade ice cream that comes from it.
During the festival the town is decorated with flower arrangements, built by the expert hands of the Nemesis florists, strawberries are distributed through the streets of the village, historical re-enactments and typical dances are presented.
Italy Where Else organizes tours and experiences in Nemi and other centers of the Roman countryside.