I left the city of Fiumicino, bright and early, to go to the nearby airport, to meet my partner who was flying in from New York City. I had my luggage with me, as I had to check out of the hotel in the morning, and our plan was to go straight to our next destination, from the airport. Of course, the flight from New York had been delayed — for more than three hours! So, I bought a couple of magazines, found a comfortable spot in the passenger arrival area, and began to read. I was able to finish both magazines by the time that the plane had arrived!
We had previously decided that we would simply hop into a taxi at the airport, as it made no sense to me to have to take a train into the city of Roma, and then another train to Castel Gandolfo, which would have taken us a couple of hours to do. A direct taxi ride from the airport to Castel Gandolfo only took approximately forty five minutes, so that was what we did.
Castel Gandolfo, or simply Castello, as the locals call it, is one of the towns that make up the Castelli Romani — a group of towns to the south-east of Rome, which occupy the land which was, long ago, the old Latium. It is a quiet area, compared to the metropolis to the north, yet it is full of history and culture, not to mention the fact that it is beautiful!
We had booked a one-bedroom apartment for our stay, on Booking.com. The name of the place was Casa Vacanza Nonna Caterina, and while it was a bit small, I loved it! The best thing about this apartment was its location: set right at the edge of the town, overlooking the lake. The view from the living room was beautiful!After settling in, we headed out to explore a bit, and to grab a bite of lunch. Directly across the street from us was the Hotel Castel Gandolfo.Corso della Repubblica is the main street of Castel Gandolfo. It runs straight through the town. The street is lined with shops and restaurants/cafés. Corso della Repubblica runs into Piazza della Liberta, the main piazza of the town. Upon entering the piazza, to the right, you will find the Chiesa di San Tommaso Villanova. This small, beautiful church was built in 1658, and was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. We went for dinner to a restaurant called Arte e Vino. Even though the place has tables set outside for alfresco dining, we opted for a table indoors, as it was a bit chilly out. We were led down stairs, through different cave-like rooms, to a dining area, where we were seated at a nice sized table for four — there were two of us. We ordered a house antipasta for the two of us, plus each one of us ordered a main course. Well, the amount of food that was brought to the table could have fed a family of ten! There must have been at least seven different plates in the antipasta, and each one of them was better than the one before! It was a heavenly meal. At the end, not certain if I remembered the way back through the different rooms, I asked a staff member for the best way out. He pointed up a flight of stairs that we hadn’t seen before. This directly led us to the street, but it took both of us a few minutes to get our bearings, because it didn’t look the same as when we entered the restaurant. The reason for this was that we had exited on the other side of Corso della Repubblica. When we were walking underground, we had literally crossed the street!It was a wonderful ending to a great first day in a beautiful town!
Next up: more from Castel Gandolfo, including a visit to the Palazzo Pontificio — the summer home of the Popes!
Note: this blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please check out our archives for posts from additional Italian destinations. Grazie!