Here are some suggestions of places to visit during your holiday in Lazio:
The city of Rome which offers an infinite selection of places to visit, historical sites, famous buildings, important museums, parks, restaurants, events. Enjoy, discover, breathe in the history and beauty of this timeless city, eat amazing food, soak up the sun, and be glad you chose Italy for your holiday.
The Vatican along with the Vatican Museums makes for an important part of most Catholic and non-Catholic visitors to Italy. The Papal audience takes place every Wednesday and is open to the public. Just make sure you reserve a seat in advance if you are interested in experiencing Easter or Christmas mass at the Vatican with the Pope.
Palestrina’s National Archeological Museum is located a top the largest pagan temples in Europe dedicated to the Goddess of Fortune. In addition to its priceless collection of artifacts, the museum houses the famous Mosaic of the Nile.
Palestrina’s Diocese Museum is a great place to visit for those interested in the particular details regarding the Catholic Church, its rituals and rules. Relics, artifacts and richly embroidered garments are on display.
The birth place and home of composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina is both a museum and historic musical archive. History and music intertwine and provide visitors with a lifetime of incredible achievements by the man known as the Prince of Music.
Palestrina’s walls of cyclopean masonry add a hint of mystery to the whole town. How were they built? How were the blocks cut and mounted? What population is responsible for this giant work of art?
Guadagnolo’s Mentorella Sanctuary was made famous when Pope John Paul II went to pray there on the very day that he was elected Pope. This religious sanctuary and its breathtakingly beautiful views are not to be missed.
The Castle of Lunghezza is a great place for families to take their children on the weekends from spring to autumn. The area around the castle comes to life as actors portray children’s favorite heroes, monsters and fairy tale characters and re-enact stories with the participation of the children.
The Toy Museum inside Palazzo Rospigliosi in Zagarolo is a fun museum for families as parents and grandparents can show their children the kind of games they used to play with. Toy construction laboratories allow the children to make their own toys.
The Aqueduct Park of Gallicano nel Lazio offers a series of enormous aqueducts which can be reached on foot or by car and cover a 10km area. Explore these forgotten monuments and imagine what they must have looked like while in their prime. Many can be visited inside, underneath and on top; many paths provide the opportunity for a great hike and pic-nic areas are perfect for relaxing with a sack lunch.
Magicland Amusement Park in Valmontone offers fun for the whole family with rides and shows to keep everyone entertained. Open from Easter to Halloween and at Christmas & New Year’s Eve. Special events such as the annual international fireworks competition liven the park every summer. Enjoy the many rides and the live shows for kids of all ages. For those who wish the fun would last longer, there are special summer season prices for multiple park entries; season multiple entry tickets are available directly on the Magicland website.
Fashion District Outlet Valmontone is the best place for discount shopping on brand names. Located just in front of the Magicland Amusement park and open all year long. Special discounts for guests staying at Altavista. What could be more exciting and stylish than shopping in Italy and enjoying discounts on over 300 name brands? Shopping at the Fashion District Outlet in Valmontone is a convenient and wise choice for those who wish to take advantage of extra low prices on quality Italian fashion. How can tourists in particular save money? The Fashion District Outlet already offers base prices which run about 20% less than normal prices found in high street shops and boutiques. Foreign tourists can also take advantage of an extra 22% VAT tax savings refund by simply filling out a form at the entrance to the outlet. Twice a year Italian shops open the sales season by offering extra discounts from 30-80% off the original prices. And last but certainly not least, any visitors who come from outside of the immediate area can register to receive a discount card at the office at the entrance to the outlet and immediately receive an additional 5-20% off for purchasing articles in the many shops and restaurants located within the outlet.
The Astronomical Observatory in Monte Porzio Catone on Via di Frascati, 33 often organizes evening events for the whole family. For information and reservations: http://webdiva2.oa-roma.inaf.it/highlights.html
The cultural associazione Tesori del Lazio proposes frequent excursions to discover the hidden ancient places of Lazio. For information and reservations: www.tesoridellazio.it
The cultural association A Refera organizes excursions throughout the Monti Prenestini, for hiking and archeological discovery. For information please contact: https://www.facebook.com/associazionenaturalistica.arefera?fref=ts
For first-time visitors, Palestrina is an amazing cultural and historical discovery. Palestrina has been chosen as one of the 21 national marvels of Italy: www.meravigliaitaliana.it. There are many places of interest to visit including: the National Archeological Museum, the birth place and home of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, the Museo Diocesano, l’Antro delle Sorti, the walls of cyclopic masonry, or you can go for walks among the hills and footpaths of the Monti Prenestini and admire the naturalistic beauty of the Cannucceta Nature Reserve.
Palestrina's central location allows for easy access not only to the city of Rome, but also to the Castelli Romani, the villas of Tivoli, Magicland amusement park, the Fashion District Outlet shopping center in Valmontone, Guidonia's water slides at Acqua Piper.
Here is a link to a slide show of photos taken in Palestrina.
A charming town and just a stone’s throw from Rome and the Vatican, Palestrina pre-dates Rome and it was founded around the largest pagan temple in Europe dedicated to the goddess of fortune. The town's history has its share of wealthy noblemen, popes, wars, destruction and rebirth and the entire area around the Monti Prenestini is one which is rich in culture, interesting events, delicious food, small and winding cobblestone roads which lead to enchanting places and beautiful scenery. There is so much to discover including local festivals, archeological sites and museums, guided visits through town, traditional cooking with genuinely fresh products, music concerts, embroidery classes, famers markets, cooking lessons, wine & craft beer tasting and much more.
Details on local events and photos from life outside Rome on the following blog: www.TravelBeyondRome.blogspot.it.
Year long there are food festivals and fairs where everyone can taste delicious local products and enjoy entertaining events. Palestrina offers an array of events and festivals such as the strawberry festival, the Giglietto festival, Nel Nome del Rock (In the Name of Rock) music festival, the Albatros travel literature award, the Palio and other festive games for the patron saint of Palestrina. Nearby towns celebrate wine festivals, the chestnut festival, the wild boar festival, and many more. There are often theatrical representations, concerts, film projections, and other free, public events taking place in the main square of town. Information on local events is updated regularly: www.facebook.com/www.altavistaroma.it
Only after the Allied Bombing during WWII was an enormous pagan temple rediscovered in Palestrina. In ancient times, the Sanctuary dedicated to the Goddess of Fortune was an important place of pilgrimage for devote followers as well as for travelers passing through Rome on their way to distant places. Worshipers would pay to have prayer figurines made, and these clay objects were used to represent the physical ailment which needed healing. Travelers would ask oracles to consult the lots drawn from the bottom of a well before continuing on their journeys. When Christianity was imposed on Roman citizens, the temple fell into disuse and the statues and building materials were used to construct other structures; by medieval times the entire temple was covered with private homes and the temple was soon “forgotten”. Today most of the temple is visible and the uppermost section is home to the National Archeological Museum of Palestrina.
Although today it is housed within the National Archeological Museum, the Mosaic of the Nile was originally found on the floor of a room in Palestrina’s Forum, with water flowing over it to seem like a real river scene. The mosaic was moved many times and with each disassembly the work was altered, and the scenes as well as the animals depicted were subsequently transformed. Today the mosaic is mounted on the wall of the uppermost floor of the National Archeological Museum in Palestrina and today still represents one of the largest works of detailed mosaic art in such an excellent state of conservation. The museum also houses other findings from excavations in the area which reveal Etruscan and Roman culture. Pieces like grave markers, busts, sculptures and pagan relics fill the museum and provide for a provocative visit. The outside archeological area, which is the main part of the pagan temple dedicated to the goddess of fortune, can be explored on foot; still visible are: the well from which the wooden tablets with fortunes were taken, the semi-circles and the terraces.
Palestrina’s National Archeological Museum is open every day from 9:00 am to 7:00pm; the entrance ticket costs 5 euros and allows access to both Palazzo Barberini and the open air archeological area just below the museum entrance. On Sundays and holidays, the museum opens its entrance at the following specific times: 9:00am, 10:30am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:30pm, 5:00pm, 6:30pm. At 12:00pm, for an additional 5 euros, a guided tour can be provided.
Every Saturday and Sunday in Palestrina, the guided tour "Akropolis" begins at the bookshop just below the entrance to the national archeological museum on via Barberini and takes visitors on a three-hour journey back in time to discover art, archeology and history while walking from Palestrina to Castel San Pietro Romano where participants can also enjoy a bird's eye view from Monte Ginestro. For information and reservations: www.articolonove.com.
The new guide to the Museumgrandtour can be downloaded here free of charge.
Historically Palestrina was a prosperous town with many noble families and wealthy merchants who worked hard and found their fortunes in local trade. Often the upper class displayed their wealth by wearing richly decorated clothing and using fine linens throughout the home and in each daughter’s dowery chest. There were several embroidery schools in Palestrina where young girls and women could learn the art of embroidery and other fine handicrafts to become certified embroiders. Around the turn of the century the Palestrina stitch was invented; a simple series of knots which, when done properly, is one of the most elegant embroidery stitches. Today there are still cultural associations and organizations which can give lessons to those willing to learn the art of embroidery.
The month of August is livened by the festivities around the celebration of the patron saint of Palestrina, Saint Agapitus, on August 18. The whole city participates in a week of activities such as the taverne which are open-air restaurants located in every neighborhood in the center of town. Games are played, songs are sung and great local food is served for dinner each evening (reservations are necessary). Other activities include tournaments between neighborhoods who compete in medieval games such as tug of war, races, handball tournaments, jousting tournaments, and the palio horse race.
Known as the Prince of Music, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina earned his fame as one of the first composers of polyphonic music. He worked as choir director in various churches in Rome and in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel as well as in the Cathedral of Sant’Agapito in Palestrina. Today his home in Palestrina houses a museum and historical and musical archives as well as the Foundazione Pierluigi.
One of the most beautiful annual celebrations in Palestrina is Corpus Domini. Every June the preparations begin with early mornings spent in the hills above Palestrina and wooded areas around the Cannucceta Nature Reserve as participants search for fresh flowers and petals. The night before Corpus Domini, a 3km route through town is marked and hundreds of drawings are prepared on the cobblestone road. During the night town members work together to fill in the drawings with flower petals and make an elaborate and touchingly beautiful floral tapestry through the center of town. Photos can be seen here.
The best way to enjoy your holiday is to make sure that you eat what the locals eat. Traditional dishes in Palestrina include the giglietto cookie and a handmade pasta called gnocchi a coda de soreca (“rat tail pasta”, but I promise there are no rat tails in it!) which is served with a tomato sauce or meat sauce and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese (or Roman sheep cheese). In this area, there are some typical wines like the white wine from Frascati or the Cesanese fizzy red wine from Piglio; even the small town of Zagarolo produces a white wine that’s Zagarolo DOC. There are many kinds of popular local vegetables like cavolo romano, olives, artichokes and chicory, as well as local fruit such as figs. The agricultural area in Carchitti (part of Palestrina) holds an annual strawberry festival every May and all through summer the residents sell their fresh produce (strawberries, peaches, cherries, apricots, etc) in small stands outside their homes, all along the main road. Other places that are not to be missed: in nearby Labico Carlo Noro’s bio-dynamic farm which sells their more-than-organic vegetables and fruit every Friday afternoon; the Gelateria Greed on the main road of Labico which sells home-made ice cream in classic flavors and crazy flavors, too; Mauro Marini, a beekeeper in Palestrina, who sells his organic honey at the Sunday morning farmer’s market in Zagarolo; freshly made ricotta cheese from the many local farms in the area; Daniele dell’Orco’s organic chocolate made in Labico. Palestrina's traditional cookie, the gigiletto, is delicious because it’s simple, sweet and light. It was imported from France in the 1600’s by one of the Barberini family’s chefs. The cookie was found quick success in Palestrina and families have been making it ever since! Cooking lessons and recipes are available for anyone who might be interested. The giglietto food festival takes places each year between July and August.
Just a short distance from Rome, Altavista Holiday Home offers hospitality and convenience. This self-catering holiday rental is located in the upper part of Palestrina in the historic quarter called "gli Scacciati"; a quiet night's rest is guaranteed and just a short walk away you'll find restaurants, pubs, town services and entertainment. A full kitchen is available for meal preparation for those who wish to cook.
Altavista Holiday Home's balcony provides a bird’s eye view of the valley which opens in the direction of the seaside. Altavista has been recently renovated and tastefully furnished so that you may enjoy a comfortable stay either as a romantic getaway or a family vacation; it's low price makes this the perfect place for those who are looking for quality accommodations within their budget.
Nearby there are free parking areas, a mini-market, a coffee shop, a butcher shop, and the pagan temple dedicated to the goddess of fortune which is now the National Archeologic Museum. The central location makes it easy to discover all the treasures of the Lazio Region.
All furnishings at Altavista Holiday Home were carefully chosen to make guests feel at home; this means there are high quality embroidered bed linens, fluffy towels, antique beds with new mattresses and pillows to ensure a good night’s rest. A fully equipped kitchen and nearby mini-market make meal planning easy, and the washing machine allows for clothes washing at no extra cost. Samples of products are provided at the beginning of the week and include dish washing detergent, clothes washing detergent, makeup remover, toilet paper and paper towels. In the kitchen there is always a supply of coffee and tea in addition to table linens, dish towels and a Brita water filter. The “hidden” drawer inside the table has sharp knives, scissors and bottle openers. Pots, pans, plates, silver wear are supplied.
There are two bedrooms, one with a double bed, and another which can have either a double bed o two single beds. When making a reservation, guests are kindly requested to indicate which situation they prefer.
Inside Altavista Holiday Home you'll be able to use free WIFI, guide books, maps, brochures from local places of interest, shopping guides, restaurant guides and more!
The fireplace can be used at no additional cost, however guests are asked to indicate in advance whether they would like firewood to be supplied.
Please feel free to get in touch, as Altavista Holiday Home's owner will be more than happy to provide more information about the house, rental prices, parking areas, the territory and local events. Anything you need to know to make an informed decision for your vacation planning!
Address: via degli Scacciati 30, 00036 Palestrina (Rome), Italy
Mobile phone: +39 3336205004
Facebook page for Altavista Holiday Home: http://www.facebook.com/www.altavistaroma.it