Focusing more on the promotion of exquisite, lesser-known towns like Nemi guarantees a positive tourist experience and, at the same time, combats Rome’s overtourism.
Nemi was Divertimento Group’s founder’s first love, once she began to explore smaller towns further from her home near Rome’s center. Then, her twin sister and sister’s husband fell in love with the town too. Which is how the almost annual “Sunset Pizza & Prosecco Party” on a breathtaking terrace overlooking Lake Nemi got started.
Time seems to have stopped in the small towns that make up the lovely Castelli area 15 miles south of Rome.
Photo courtesy of Divertimento Group traveler Susan Merl-Nachinson
The ancient Roman Goddess Diana (Greeks called her Artemide) figures prominently in the town’s folklore. She is known as the protector of wild animals and forests and apparently was able to keep Nemi beautiful and safe for the next centuries. Like in many of the lesser-known, less-crowded “alternative locations”, time seems to have stopped here.
A cool and breezy alternative to the city of Rome
The small, round, truly amazing volcanic lake nestled in a little crater in the center of Nemi receives so little attention in the guide books, that it seems as if the travel writers might never have visited at all – because it is inconceivable that the lake’s extraordinary beauty has escaped them…
Nemi, with a population around 2,000, is one of the 15 interconnected, small towns that make up this lovely area called the Castelli Romani, about a half-hour southeast of Rome’s center. Castelli means “castles” and there are actually a few, but they are not considered a main attraction. Ancient Roman nobility and Emperors, of which the most notable was the famous (or infamous) Emperor Caligula, came here because of the exceptionally beautiful volcanic lakes and lush, rolling hills (at the foot of the Alban Hills), which offered a cool and breezy alternative to the city of Rome. Present day Romans still come for this reason. Lake Albano, the largest of the two special lakes is well known because Castel Gandolfo which overlooks it is where the Pope’s summer residence is situated and has been for centuries.
Some of the towns in the Castelli area have train stops, but others do not. We highly recommend suggesting to your clients a private Divertimento Group driver for a half or full day – that includes Nemi! Most private or semi-private tours on agency websites include the wine town of Frascati, but do not even make a stop in Nemi, just minutes away. Your clients will thank you for this suggestion – it is really the best way to enjoy this area!
Perfect place for a destination wedding or honeymoon
Not only famous authors and artists have paid homage to Nemi, but many visitors who have travelled extensively claim that it is one of the most romantic, exquisite corners of the planet. Please encourage all of your clients who are headed to Rome to visit this marvelous, peaceful little jewel. It is the perfect town for all types of romantic celebrations (special birthday and destination parties of any kind are certainly welcome)!
We nominated Nemi as “Caput mundi of romance travel.”
Nemi is famous for its exquisite wild strawberries
The few words that are written about Nemi in the travel guides usually make reference to its production of teeny, fragile, wild strawberries (“fragollini”) that burst with flavor. The town’s Wild Strawberry Fest every summer is a favorite among tourists and locals and is deserving of attention. But, homage is paid to these teeny berries all year round. Even the local jewelry store sells wild strawberry necklaces and earrings (Yes! People actually buy them and wear them). Wild strawberry risotto, wild strawberry liqueur, wild strawberry preserves, exquisitely wrapped in wild strawberry paper, are also very popular…though Divertimento Group staff think the mignon custard tarts topped with strawberries are worthy of praise.
Archeological treasures amidst natural beauty
While small numbers of visitors are getting to know Nemi’s natural beauty, thanks to travel professionals who have let the secret be known – the town’s “Caligula Connection” is better known throughout Europe. The Roman Emperor’s majestic boats where he spent much of his time floating on the lake, are legendary. There is actually a naval museum with their replicas –Mussolini was able to recover ruins of the real vessels from the bottom of the lake (by draining it). True stories of them being set on fire by the Nazis are still told by
In 2017, Mayor Bertucci welcomed about 100 archeologists from the most prestigious European universities who joined excavations in search of a missing 3rd Caligula boat and other treasures. In 2018, Divertimento Group will be working with young archeologists born in the Castelli area to create unique archeological tours here, but also other outstanding archeological sites not far from Rome (be sure to check our Archeological Tourism page in the near future).
Divertimento Group’s movement against overtourism
We will be publishing some of our thank you notes-tweets-posts and Instagram photos from clients who visited Nemi. Please send us your clients’ photos and comments. THANKS!
Leading the STOP Overtourism Movement with travel professionals everywhere…