Get picked up at your hotel in Rome in the morning and depart for Lake Bracciano. The trip is less than an hour outside of Rome, but a world away from the noise, traffic and crowd of the capital city.
The volcanic crater lake is rimmed with low hills, woods, and charming medieval towns that sit right at its shoreline. The countryside is beautiful and unspoiled – a nature lover’s paradise. The waters of the lake are crystal clear, thanks to environmental initiatives to keep it free from pollution.
Three towns sit on the lake – Bracciano, Anguillara, and Trevignano Romano – where you’ll find charming atmospheres, quaint shops, coffee bars, and restaurants. Bracciano is better known for its castle, 'Orsini-Odescalchi,' built during the second half of 15th century by Napoleone Orsini. The castle is in great condition and became famous worldwide when American movie star Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes at the castle in 2006.
In this majestic castle, surrounded by six cylindrical towers, have sojourned Popes, emperors, and artists, and has a remarkable collection of medieval weapons and fresco paintings. Guests will appreciate the magnificent view of the lake from the ‘loggia’ located in between the towers.
The Odescalchi Castle only allows tours led by their English-speaking guides, so while on the castle tour, you may be with other visitors.
Afterwards, we will continue to Anguillara, another lovely Medieval village of about 12,000 citizens. It takes its name from 'Angularia' because of an ancient Roman villa positioned exactly on a right corner of the same lake. Here in Anguillara, after your driver/guide has introduced to you the history of this village, he will give you some free time to stroll around. You can climb passing between the medieval streets on top of the village (just 10 minute walk), which offers a spectacular view of the entire lake.
At lunch time, your guide is happy to suggest some typical local restaurants in the area based on your specific interests where you can taste some great authentic local dishes.
After lunch, continue to Calcata, a small village located high on top of a mountain, where cars and mobile phones are a distant reality. Hidden behind strong and high walls rising directly from the rocks, Calcata defended its inhabitants against all worldly influences, only to surrender to an international community of artists and craftsmen. During the weekends, Calcata turns into a busy little town with a number of art galleries, restaurants, shops and stalls selling handmade jewelry.
We will return to Rome approximately at 4:30pm.