Albano Laziale, or simply Albano, is one of the most important municipalities in the area known as the Castelli Romani in the Alban Hills (Colli Albani) near Rome. Part of its territory is included in the Parco Regionale dei Colli Albani. Continue reading “Albano Laziale (Province of Rome)”
The Palazzo Doria Pamphili is located on the highest point of the hill town of Valmontone, south east of Rome. It is considered to be the symbol of the city and is one of few buildings having survived World War II in a reasonable condition. At the moment it is the seat of the Valmontone Archaeological Museum.
Palazzo Doria Pamphili Valmontone
Address: Piazza Umberto Pilozzi – Valmontone. Phone: +39 06 95990460. Opening hours: From Tuesday till Friday from 09.00 till 13.00 and Saturdays and Sundays from 09.30 till 13.00 and from 16.00 till 20.00. Entrance fee: Free. A reservation is necessary to visit the piano nobile. (Note that the palazzo during the Covid-crisis is not open for visitors).
History and description
The Palazzo Doria Pamphili is an enormous fortified building in the centre of Valmontone. It was built in the 17th century and consists of 365 rooms, spread out over four floors.
It stands 30 metres tall and has a width of 60 metres.
The piano nobile is reached by a monumental staircase and is decorated with an impressive series of ceiling frescoes. Some of these are themed according to the elements, including the “fire room”, the “air room”, the “water room” and the “earth room”. A second series of frescoes is dedicated to the four (yes!) continents. The frescoes were painted between 1657 and 1661. Mattia Preti painted the “Allegory of Air”, which is considered the highlight. Other contributing artists were Pier Francesco Mola, Guglielmo Cortese, Gaspard Dughet and Francesco Cozza.
The most important room is the Sala del Principe, which is also decorated with wall frescoes.
After the war Prince Doria sold the building piecemeal those inhabitants of the city whose homes had been destroyed during the bombings. They stayed there till the 1970’s, when the city of Valmontone acquired the entire building.
Palazzo Doria Pamphili, Valmontone
Viterbo is the capital of the province of the same name in the Lazio region. The city is located around 100 kms north of Rome, in an area that is also known under the name Tuscia. Viterbo‘s nickname is “City of the Popes” (Città dei Papi). Several of its main tourist attractions are related to the former presence there of these religious leaders. Continue reading “Viterbo city guide”
Fiumicino is of course known mostly for being the location of Rome’s international airport Leonardo Da Vinci (FCO), but it is also the name of the third biggest city in the province of Rome. The city is located at the end of the Via Portuense, at the delta of the river Tiber. There are several archaelogical excavations on its territory, including those of the Port of Trajan. The locality Fregene is a favorite beach destination for Romans.
All about Fiumicino
Town hall: Via Portuense, 2498 – Fiumicino (tel. +39 06 65210245). Postal code: 00054. Number of inhabitants: Approximately 80,000.
By car/public transport
By car: From Rome follow the A91 to the coast.
Public transport: The Terravision buses that provide a connection from the central station Termini to the airport then drive on to the city of Fiumicino itself.
The Sant’Ippolito Church was built in the 13th century on an earlier early Christian construction.
The Torre Boaccina as well as the Torre Nicolina were originally watchtowers along the coast. Since the 15th century, however, the coastline has moved considerably and now they are further inland.
A third watchtower is located in the district of Palidoro.
Outside the built-up area of the city there is a well-preserved necropolis. It was built between the 2nd and 4th centuries.
Fiumicino was built on the spot where in the 1st century the Roman settlement Portus Romae was located. It was commissioned by Emperor Claudius to replace the older port of Ostia, after it had become increasingly silted up.
After the invasions of the Barbarians and the Turks between the 5th and the 9th century, the city became more and more abandoned.
In the 10th century, the city was mentioned in a ecclesiastical script under the name of Flumen Micinum.
After the population had increased again thanks to the many hut-dwelling fishermen, Valadier was commissioned to create a new centre. The first foundations of the modern city were laid in the beginning of the 19th century. Work on this city was completed in 1840.
At that time the village consisted of no more than a church, a customs office, a post office, one hotel, a number of osterie and some ordinary buildings, a complex that can still be seen in its original state.
In 1880, thanks to the construction of a railway, a period of economic prosperity began.
During the Second World War Fiumicino was severely damaged.
Until 1992 the city was part of Rome, but from that year on it is a municipality of its own.
Fregene is the most famous part of Fiumicino and a very popular beach spot with the Romans. It was originally an Etruscan settlement, but later became a Roman colony. In the course of the centuries the settlement fell into disrepair, which was caused by the many malaria epidemics. Nowadays it is a popular holiday spot.
On 7 September 2019, the first saxophone museum in Italy was opened in the municipality of Maccarese. In the Museo del Sassofono about 600 saxophones can be seen. The smallest soprano saxophone measures 32 cm, the largest double bass saxophone about 2 metres.
Fiumicino, Province of Rome
Anzio is especially famous as a landing place for British soldiers in the Second World War and a number of attractions refer to this era. In Roman times, however, the city was also very important and from this older history some monuments can still be seen.
Top 10 Tourist Attractions Anzio
01. Villa of Nero
The Villa of Nero is the main attraction of the Archaeological Park of Anzio, which stretches along almost the entire Via Fanciulla d’Anzio. The park also includes the Caves of Nero.
02. Archaeological Museum
Anzio‘s Archaeological Museum is located on the ground floor of Villa Adele, a 17th century building built for the Pamphilj, which later changed hands several times.
03. British Cemetery
There are two cemeteries where the British soldiers who died during the Allied landing are buried. The largest of the two is located outside the centre of the city, near the district of Falasche.
04. Ruins of the Old Harbour
If you walk all the way to the end of the commercially exploited beach, you will arrive at the few remaining ruins of the ancient port of Anzio.
05. Villa Adele and Museo dello Sbarco di Anzio
The Villa Adele is a 17th century palace in Anzio and is the seat of both the already mentioned Archaeological Museum and the Museo dello Sbarco of the city. Over the centuries it has belonged to large numbers of historically important Italian families.
06. Tor Caldara
The Tor Caldara WWF-maintained natural park is located within the city limits of Anzio.
07. Villa Spigarelli
The modern Villa Spigarelli is built on the ruins of an old Roman villa discovered in the early 20th century. During construction of the modern complex the exact floor plan of the antique villa was followed, incorporating mosaics, sculptures and marble decorations from the old structure.
08. Roman Amphitheatre
The Anfiteatro Romano is located in Piazzale del Teatro Romano.
Angelita is the name Allied soldiers gave to a crying little girl they found on the beach of Anzio. Nobody knew who she was or where she came from, so the soldiers adopted her. Only a few days later she was killed in bombardments. Along the coast there is a statue of the girl.
10. Villa Borghese
The Villa Borghese is located between the towns of Anzio and Nettuno. It is nicknamed Villa Bell’Aspetto because of its location: From the hill on which it is built you have a magnificent view over the sea. Corridors under the building served as American headquarters during the war.
More Sights Anzio
The bronze monument in honour of Nero, the Emperor who was born in Anzio in the year 37 AD.
Although Anzio was already a famous seaside resort in Roman times, outside of Italy the city is mostly famous because the Allies landed here during World War II.
According to legend, Anzio was founded by the son of Enea, Ascanio. Later the city was conquered by a tribe called the Volsci. After this, there was a continuous war with the Romans. In 338 the fleet of Anzio was defeated in a famous naval battle. The naval rams of the defeated ships were proudly taken to the Roman Forum by the Roman victors. Here they were used to decorate the Rostra.
After Anzio was finally subdued by Rome, it became a popular holiday resort for wealthy Roman citizens. Nero had a large harbour built there. Some remains of both this harbour and the ancient Roman theatre can still be seen.
During the Middle Ages, Anzio fell into disrepair. One major cause was the replacement of Rome by Byzantium as the capital of the Empire. The destruction and looting by the Goths and Saracens also played a major role in the decline of the city.
In the 17th century, the city regained some prestige and prosperity. Pope Innocent XII had a new port built.
However, it was not until the 19th century that the population began to grow significantly again. At that time, the town also regained its old reputation as a holiday resort.
At the beginning of the 20th century, ruins of a 3rd century Roman villa were used as a foundation for the Villa Spigarelli. Some of the original mosaics are still visible.
Especially in the United States, England and Commonwealth nations Anzio is famous because the allies came ashore here on January 22, 1944. In the course of the following days, the city was almost completely destroyed. The war cemetery is still visited by the children and grandchildren of soldiers who died in those days.
Anzio is a small fishing village south of Rome and also the port where ferries and hydrofoils to the island of Ponza have their home base. Anzio used to be a rather important port in the times of the ancient Romans, but especially Americans will know it as the place where the Allied Forces landed in World War II, in order to liberate Rome from the occupation by the German troops. It is also the birthplace of Emperor Nero.
All about Anzio
Originally a settlement of the Volsci tribe, Anzio (or Antium) became one of the favorite spots for rich Romans. The Emperor Nero, who was actually born in Anzio, built a villa in the town, ruins of which can still be seen.
Anzio tourist attractions
Although not amongst the prettiest beaches in the area around Rome, Anzio does have a beach and it is located close to the railway station. A visit to the city’s tourist attractions can therefore easily be combined with a couple of hours of swimming and/or reclining in the lounge chairs of one the city’s many beach concessions.
The Imperial Villa of Nero is the most famous monument in Anzio. In all probability, the villa was much larger than the ruins that can be still be seen nowadays.
There are some ruins of the old port left, at the end of the stretch of commercial beaches.
The archeological park at the top of the cliff.
Piazza Pia: Anzio‘s main square.
Museo dello Sbarco di Anzio: Like the Archeological Museum this Museum of the Landing in Anzio is housed in the Villa Adele.
Roman Amphitheatre: On Piazzale del Teatro Romano.
Tor Caldara: A WWF-run nature reserve with sulphur springs.
British Cemetery: The Cimitero Inglese lies outside town.
Anzio Tourist Information Office
- The tourist information office (Ufficio Turistico) is located in the Piazza Pia, 2 (tel. +39 069848135).
By car/public transport
By car from Rome: Follow the SS148 and from Aprilia the SR207. Alternatively you can take the SS7 and at Castelgandolfo take the exit onto the SR207. People who prefer to travel along the coast can follow the SP601 from Lido di Ostia.
Public transport from Rome: The easiest way is to take the train from Roma Termini. A ticket costs 3,60 Euro and the journey takes just over an hour. The FR8 train between Rome and Nettuno also stops in the city, but is not very practical for most tourists, as in Rome it only stops at the not very centrally located Torricola station. From the Laurentina metro station (line B) there is a very regular Cotral bus service.
Anzio, Province of Rome, Lazio
Tivoli is the 5th biggest town in the province of Rome. It is located along the eastern border of the capital itself and has more than fifty thousand inhabitants. It has a beautiful historical center, but is mostly famous for the Villa Gregoriana, Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa) and especially the magnificent Villa d’Este.
Tourist Information Tivoli
There is a tourist information office (Punto Informativo Turistico) right in the center of town. It can be found in the Piazzale Nazione Unite (almost in front of the bus stop, for visitors arriving from Rome). It is open from 10 AM till 1 PM and from 4 PM till 6 PM (closed on Mondays). Free maps, including an itinerary along the most interesting tourist sites, are available here. (Tel. +39 0774313536)
The most famous tourist attraction is the Villa d’Este. This sumptious villa is decorated with over five hundred fountains. The Villa Adriana was the residence of the Roman emperor Hadrian, while the Villa Gregoriana is also located in the centre. There are several Roman temples and near the medieval castle Rocca Pia one can see the ruins of an amphitheater. The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore was built in the 5th century.
A Very Short History
What used to be called Tibur was one of the main components of the Latin League. This consisted of a number of Latin cities that had formed an alliance against enemies like the Etruscans. After the city had been conquered by the Romans it became a sort of holiday spot for the wealthy. In the early middle ages it was the seat of the Byzantine duchy and later the main papal possession in the area. Frederik I Barbarossa conquered Tivoli in 1155. It became part of the city of Rome in 1259. During the Renaissance cardinals and other rich people started building prestigious palaces again. In 1527 the city was plundered by the Landsknechts (German mercenary soldiers).
There are trains from Rome to Tivoli. These do not leave from the main railway station Termini, however, but from Tiburtina (metro line B) and the railway station in Tivoli itself is also not located in the center of the city. It is therefore recommended to take metro line B to the Ponte Mammolo stop and then a bus (Cotral). The 2,20 Euro ticket can be bought from the Cotral ticket office or from the bar/tobacco shop in Ponte Mammolo station. The ride takes approximately 30 minutes. On the way you will pass some of the quarries where the marble of many of Rome‘s monuments was won.
From the Grande Raccordo Anulare (the ringroad around Rome) you follow the E80. This is a tollroad. The Via Tiburtina (SR5) starts near Termini and is slower, but free.
Tivoli, Rome, Latium, Italy
Frascati is a hill-town located in the province of Roma and can easily be reached from Rome. The city is one of the towns that are collectively known as the Castelli Romani. It is famous for its white wines, for its porchetta, and for the beautiful view over Rome.
Already in the days of the ancient Romans, people came to Frascati in order to escape Rome’s hot summer days. Wealthy people used to construct villas in Frascati.
Tourist attractions in Frascati
- Villa Aldrobandini: Designed by Giacomo della Porta. Its main feature is a huge water fountain, which is no longer in use though. Permission to visit its gardens can be obtained from the tourist office on Piazza Marconi.
- Villa Torlonia: Public park, with the Teatro delle Acque fountain. Designed by Carlo Maderno.
- Several restaurants have terraces outside, which allow for a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside and over Rome itself.
Frascati special events
- In February there are parades in honor of Carnevale.
- The town’s patron saints are called Filippo and Giacomo. In May there are festivities in their honor.
- Sagra della Lumaca: The yearly snail-eating festival takes place on June 23rd.
- Sagra del Vino: The wine festival takes place in October.
There are several beaches near Rome, but the quality varies a lot and they are not always very easy to reach. Another problem is formed by the so-called stabilimenti that take up almost the entire coast line. These “beach concessions” ensure that you can only access the best parts of most beaches if you rent overpriced beach chairs. Ostia Lido is the nearest one, but is incredibly crowded during the summer months. Sperlonga is very beautiful. The beaches at Anzio and Santa Marinella are close to the railway stations of those cities and therefore easier to reach.
Best Beaches near Rome
The beach closest to Rome is the one at Ostia Lido. Unfortunately during the summer months, unless you are willing to travel a bit further down the coast, you will have to pay quite a bit in order to enjoy the beaches here since they are completely taken up by the stabilimenti. The stabilimenti charge you for the use of beach chairs and beach umbrellas. Especially in August (after the 15th) the Romans flock en masse to Ostia. A trip here can be combined with a visit to the ruins of the ancient Roman harbor of Ostia Antica.
Directions: Metro line B to Piramide and then the train to Ostia Lido. For the free beaches you have to take another bus.
Santa Marinella is a small town 60km north of Rome. The beaches here tend to be far less crowded than the ones at Ostia. Santa Marinella can be reached by train as well as by bus from Rome. The beach is only a short walk from the railway station. Apart from two ridiculously small spaces on each side, almost the entire beach is taken up by stabilimenti. Though Santa Marinella often gets good reviews, the money-grabbing vibe (50 cents for a glass of tap water) can put you off.
Public transport: Train from Termini.
Our favorite beaches are to be found at the city of Sperlonga, around 110km south of Rome. Not only are the beaches themselves cleaner and whiter than any other in the region of Lazio, the city of Sperlonga itself is also well worth a visit. Its town center is on a cliff overlooking the sea; all its buildings are white and the stairs going off in all directions make you feel as if you’ve landed in the middle of an Escher painting.
Directions: Sperlonga can be reached by taking a train to Fondi-Sperlonga and then a bus. Note that this bus is not very frequent on sundays.
The city of Anzio is mostly famous because it is here that the allies landed during World War II. The beach is definitely not amongst the most beautiful ones, but it is located near the city’s central station. The travel time is about one hour.
Directions: Train from Roma Termini, followed by a short walk.