Our last day in Castel Gandolfo was one that began with mixed weather. Clouds came, and clouds disappeared. Nevertheless, we did our best to get outdoors, and enjoy ourselves.The mosaic artwork, “Bombardamento di Propoganda Fide,” commemorates the bombing of February 10th, 1944, by allied forces of the Propoganda Fide College. The Americans were certain that the town was “full of Nazis,” and that many of the Germans were safely ensconced in the Pontifical Palace, which the Vatican denied. In fact, the town was instead filled with Italian refugees — several hundred of whom were killed during the bombing that day.The ancient Roman road, the Via Francigena, goes straight through Castel Gandolfo. Following its path, one could conceivably walk from the town to Roma, or perhaps head south towards Nemi.If you walk north along Via del Palazzo Pontificio, downhill, you will come to the back entrance of the Palazzo Apostolico. Housed at this end of the property is the Pontifical Astronomical Observatory, which was moved here, from the Vatican, in 1933. After a bit of rain, which we avoided by going back to the apartment for some lunch, the sun returned, and we set out, once again.This time, we were going to head down to the lake. Lago Albano was once an active volcano, but that was many, many years ago. Now, it is one of the deepest volcanic lakes in Italy. In the summertime, it is filled with boats — canoes, sailboats, etc. As a matter of fact, the Olympic Stadium of Canoeing is situated here, built for the Olympics, which Rome hosted, back in 1960. The entire lake area used to be the crater of the volcano. The town of Castel Gandolfo sits on the edge of the crater, with the lake below it. So, as you can imagine, it is a bit of a hike down to reach the water level. Most of the trip down is possible by stairs. There are a few spots where one needs to walk along the street, which leads down from the town, but as long as one sticks to the side of the road, it is relatively safe. About half of the way down, you come to the Castel Gandolfo Train Station. Here one can catch trains to and from Roma. And, while this may be an economical thing to do, I can’t imagine climbing up to the town with luggage in hand! After about a thirty-minute walk, we made it down to the lake shore.After a short walk along the shore, we began our climb back up to the town. We were leaving the next morning, for our next destination. So, we wanted to put our suitcases together, have dinner, and get a good night’s sleep! We ate at a restaurant close to the apartment, La Cruna del Lago. The place is tiny, so I would recommend reservations. The food is delicious, home-style cooking! You won’t be disappointed!
Next up: The coastal town of Sperlonga!
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 more posts from Castel Gandolfo, as well as other Italian destinations! Grazie!