A Train Trip to Frascati

The town actually has an interesting history: during Ancient Roman time the area was already settled and the village itself was probably founded around the 7th century AD. From the 16th century onwards, various popes, church officials and Roman aristocrats built opulent villas on Frascati’s hillside. These villas, in particular Villa Aldobrandini, are still some of the most popular tourist attractions in Frascati.

The streets of Frascati

In 1943, during the Second World War, Frascati was bombed heavily because it was the headquarters of a German field marshall. About half the buildings in town were destroyed and many people died. There was another important air strike in January of 1944 and the town was fnally liberated from Nazi German occupation in June of 1944. The rubble of the destroyed buildings was actually used as fill for a soccer stadium.

The Cathedral of Saint Peter

I started my walk around this pleasant hillside town and observed the locals going about their business. The Cathedral of Saint Peter (Cattedrale di San Pietro) is located in the heart of the city and was completed in 1598. On one of the main squares I purchased a local delicacy: a porchetta sandwich with delicious slow roasted pork. I sat down underneath a canopy of trees until it began to rain. Fortunately the bad weather passed quickly and I was able to continue my explorations.

My porchetta sandwich hit the spot

Then the strap on my camera broke and a friendly and patient local tried to explain to me where to get a replacement. When he saw my confusion, he took me by the hand and escorted me to a the local indoor shopping center and dropped me off at a camera store. I definitely appreciated this nice gesture.

Porchetta is a big tradition in Frascati

On the grand Piazza Roma I sat down with an ice cream and watched how about 30 local teenagers were involved in a water balloon fight, hiding behind the various buildings, statues and monuments for just the right moment to unload their wet cargo on their friends. I made sure I was far outside their target zone, but enjoyed watching their boisterous battle.

A big water balloon fight erupts in Frascati

On the hilltop the imposing Villa Aldobrandini, also known as Villa Belvedere, was overlooking the town from its privileged position. Built between 1598 and 1602, this is one of the most important sights in Frascati and ownership was split between prominent families and the Papacy.

 

The impressive Villa Aldobrandini

I had enjoyed my outing into the country, but by about 12:30 I had to get back to Rome because I was going on another bicycle tour: the Panoramic Tour of Rome.

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