Let it snow! 5 must-visit winter landmarks in Latium
Brace yourselves, winter is coming! Or, we should say, it’s already here. Temperatures dropped so dramatically during last week that Romans are experiencing somenthing very unusual: a real italian winter!
Although the idea of the Colosseum covered in snow might be fascinating for many, people in Rome consider the possibility of a snowfall as a real disaster: at the first sight of a snowflake public transportation freaks out (you don’t say?), people just get confused not knowing what to wear and all the streets become an indistinct cluster of dirty snow, ice and mud. Anyway you should fear not, Latium is stuffed with wonderful places to visit… especially in the italian winter time.
- Soratte Mountain. Vides ut alta stet nive candidum Soracte wrote Horace in one of hisodes, and he had a reason to, since he used to own a villa at the slopes of this solitary mountain. Due to its unmistakable shape and its proximity to Rome, the mount Soratte has been through the years a sacred site (dedicated to the god Soranus), a holiday destination for noble Romans, a place of pilgrimage (it hosts a paleo-christian hermitage), a palce of interest for foreign intellectuals (“Soratte stands out by itself in magnificent solitude. This mountain is probably made of limestone and belongs to the Apennines” wrote Goethe) and, finally, a miltary base complete with an enormous bunker during the II World War. Despite legends that that this mountain was host to the gate of hell, or that it had particular esoteric properties, this fascinating place is definetly something you’ll want to visit while its beautifully frosted with snow. You may even revive the emotions experienced by Horace during his quiet winter holidays.
- Civita di Bagnoregio. A Few kilometers north from the Soratte Mountain you will find this medieval town, which is known worldwide for its suggestive position and for the fact that it is only accessible through a long bridge that hangs over a deep ditch. Being relatively close to Rome and to other (literally) magical places such as Bomarzo, Civita di Bagnoregio is the perfect location for a magical winter tour: amazing food (the area, the Tuscia, is renowned for its tasty cold cuts and bodied red wines), breathtaking landscapes and an occasion for a detour in the less know history of central Italy, made of small hamlets, old gentry and popular religion.
- The Monti della Laga National Park. Placed in between Latium, Marche and Abruzzo, this national park, adjacent to the more popular Abruzzo National Park hosts a variety of landscapes and places of interest that are particulary enjoyable during the winter.
- From the exotic view of the Giano Mountain with its colossal (and controversial) tribute to Mussolini to the frozen Campotosto Lake, offering a breathtaking view of the Gran Sasso, this park stretches from the ski resort of the Terminillo Mountain, just near Rieti, to the lovely town of Amatrice, place of birth of the famous bucatini all’amatriciana, and is surrounded by charming mountain villages all along its valley. If you need a break from all the hustle and bustle of city life, you won’t find a better place to go.
- Lepini Mountains. A one hour trip from Rome will take you to this astounding place, where sea views and mountain sceneries blend in a unique and picturesque territory that is seeping with history and traditions. Anciently inhabited by the pre-roman population called Volsci, this area is now full of small villages, abbeys, monasteries and places of interest such as the house of Aldo Manuzio (the guy who basically invented books as we know them today) and the necropolis of Caracupa. If you head toward the sea, past the city of Latina, you can also find enchanting coastal lake, which are excellent of bird watching… even in winter.
- Mount Guadagnolo. Just few kilometers from Rome, in the comune of Capranica Prenestina, this peak soars, offering a priviledged view on the metropolitan city and its suburbs. Famous for its handamade fettuccine, the nearby village of Capranica is a lovely town which has preserved the charm of the medieval suburban territory.
Special thanks to our student Andrea Schorn for her help editing this article!