Grazie, castelli romani
We all drank Castelli Romani wines in our youth, feeling smug and sophisticated
that we had graduated from Mogen David. So having a chance to visit the wine-growing region south of Rome last December was a nostalgic visit for me. In fact, years earlier, my husband and I had driven into Frascati, a small Italian town in
the region, because I had read that Romans took the train to Frascati on Sunday
afternoons to sit at outdoor tables. But when we arrived, there was no place
to park. There was, of course, but we still had our North American driver mentality, and when there’s no 10-acre parking lot, that means no parking, so we
left without any experience whatsoever.
Castelli Romani is a series of hill towns. After the barbarian invasions of
the Middle Ages, the Italians built castles to defend themselves. The first
Latin city was built here long before the existence of Rome. A volcanic mountain,
Monte Calbo, is partially responsible for the very rich soil, ideal for growing
vines and olives. The towns are lined with chestnut trees and oaks, and even
in December, there are still roses blooming.