TraveLazio: Looking back at a year off Rome’s beaten path and on to 2024

When Marina came up with the idea last year of doing a second blog, the idea already made me feel exhausted – until I heard her idea. Rome averages 10 million tourists a year, the second most in Europe behind Paris. Let’s give visitors places to visit outside of Rome for a day. Rome’s heat gets to them?

We could write about lakeside towns such as Bracciano, Anguillara Sabazia and Paganico Sabino.

They don’t want to fight the crowds of Pompeii or spend money on a hotel? Take a train to Ostia Antica, the poor man’s Pompeii. Or how about exploring Castelli Romani, the series of towns high up in the Alban Hills southeast of Rome where visitors can cool off in higher altitudes? They can taste Europe’s sweetest strawberries in Nemi, eat Italy’s best bread in Genzano di Roma, gorge on the famous porchetta sizzling pork in Ariccia.

Rome’s Lazio region is littered with UNESCO World Heritage Sites few people know about. Go to Palestrina and see the still-standing temple where thousands of people worshiped during Ancient Rome.

See how the Roman aristocracy lived it up in Hadrian’s Villa, where one of Rome’s most popular emperors had his pleasure palace and beautiful pools lined with marble statues.

Marina and I went to 25 sites in Lazio, never missing a bi-weekly assignment. Each one was different. Each one was fascinating. Each one was beautiful. Even Marina, a third-generation Roman, had not been to many of the places we covered. And there is so much more to visit in 2024.

We have yet to cover Castel Gandolfo, where the popes keep their summer residence. We haven’t done Viterbo, a larger town known for hot springs that once counted Michelangelo as a client. How about Calcata, a tiny artsy village perched precariously on a cliff that looks right out of a Chinese painting?

Thank you all for your support and your readership. Please gaze at Marina’s lovely photos from our year in Lazio and see what you might have missed. So much more is to come.

Stay tuned. – John Henderson

John and Marina on almost every Travelazio expedition.