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 Get set for a drive to destinations from a distant past, where vulcanology meets mythology and gastronomy in the belly of Roman culture. History reawakens as we walk in the footsteps of Diana Nemorensis, cruel Emperor Caligula, German infantry, and a long list of distinguished artists and writers.

 The owner of Eternal Tours Rome lived in Ariccia for almost two years from 2004. He has described "Crater Lakes of the Gods" as being the classic day trip from Rome for Romans and travellers alike.

 Ariccia has a fascinating tale to tell, immortalized in literature by Sir James George Frazer in his magnum opus "The Golden Bough", and in Romantic period paintings such as "Ariccia Sunset (c. 1828) by Joseph William Mallord Turner, and "The Well in the Wood at Ariccia" (1831) by Ludwig Richter.

 Landscape artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot painted Ariccian scenes on several occasions, as did many of his contemporaries. Goethe visited in 1787 en route to Naples, and he wrote about Ariccia with zeal.

 The gateway to Ariccia from Rome, Ponte d'Ariccia (three-tiered monumental bridge), survived heavy Allied bombings in 1944 and features in the Robert Mitchum and Peter Falk war film, "Anzio" (1968).

 On arrival in Ariccia by private car from the peaceful railway station close nearby, enjoy dramatic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea from the slopes of Monte Cavo.

 In ancient times this was Appia Antica, and the ascent to Ariccia was very steep. A short walk leads to Piazza di Corte and Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo, designed by Bernini. Palazzo Chigi will inspire before you sit down for a traditional lunch to remember.

 This is what makes Ariccia so popular with the locals and all Romans - porchetta d'Ariccia served with spicy cheese, casareccio bread, olive oils and a wholesome dose of wine from the vineyards of Val d'Ariccia.

 The green mountain hides several ancient acqueducts and long abandoned places of worship. We drive to the summit to see a Wehrmacht military base, captured by American soldiers in 1944. Here, you'll be shown the magnetic properties of the mountain. Expect a real X-Files experience!

 We stay on the mountain surrounded by impenetrable forest, seeking out prime vantage points on this long dormant Pleistocene stratovolcano, before moving on to picturesque Nemi.

 You will have ample time to wander through the old town and take in spectacular views of the crater lake. Stop and sip aromatic coffee with fruit sweets, wash your hands in the Fountain of the Gorgon, then catch the light from the Terrace of Lovers.

 In season (peaks May - June), the little strawberries for which Nemi is renowned are everywhere. Less well known is that strawberry pizza and strawberry risotto are not flights of fancy, they do exist in Nemi and can be washed down with various blends of strawberry liqueur, naturally.

 Did the tears of Venus transform the blood of Adonis into strawberries native to Nemi? Who can tell. What we do know is that Nemi has been painted and described in classical literature for centuries past.

 Soon after leaving Nemi, we visit the sacred Temple of Diana Nemorensis, an obscure location abandoned for two millennia. Now, an incalculable moment in time on your journey. Statues of Diana the Huntress can be found in many towns squares today, but this is where it all began.

 Pick up tasty take-out food from Ariccia for the return journey, then at the station, bid farewell to your driver and board the train that will carry you back to Rome.




 Rated 5 / 5 by Lana M on April 9th, 2024  A day in the Roman countryside - so beautiful! Many thanks to Eternal Tours in Rome for this!

 Rated 5 / 5 by Anna P on March 30th, 2023  We were ready to book a similar day trip through TripAdvisor but searched some more and contacted Eternal Tours. We learned that the owner lived near these lakes for some years and studied the Cult of Diana Nemorensis while he was there. That was more than enough for us to book! From Rome by train to the lakes we met our driver, Giovanni, and from then on it was just a really lovely day of beautiful scenery, lakeside walks, wines, and plentiful porchetta, peppery cheeses, and the best breads we've ever eaten. The olive oils were from the plot of land right beside where we sat at lunch. Eternal included two food stops - the generous lunch then at the end, pork sandwiches and wine in front of the church dome and fountains in Ariccia. Thank you!


   BASE PRICE: €499
  2 TRAVELLERS + €79
  3 TRAVELLERS + €158
  4 TRAVELLERS + €237
  5 TRAVELLERS + €316
  6 TRAVELLERS + €395
  7 TRAVELLERS + €474
  8 TRAVELLERS + €553
  9 TRAVELLERS + €632

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