Europe Frascati Italy Lazio

Sunday in Frascati

To beat the crowds of Rome for a few hours on a Sunday where they were running the Rome Marathon we booked a wine tasting and lunch in Frascati. Frascati is a small city in the hills southeast of Rome which also houses the Pope’s summer residence nearby. After navigating the marathon-imposed closed off streets on our walk to Roma Termini and boarding our train, we were delivered to the Frascati train station.

Whisked away by Marco to the Antiche Terre Tuscolane vineyard we were toured about by the both intentionally and unintentionally hilarious Paola, daughter of vineyard owner, for the tour of the grounds with Orso (bear in Italian) the dog and a couple from North Carolina, another couple from Tel Aviv, three twenty-something’s from Philly and three Jersey girls.

We’ve been on a wine tasting or two in our day. This one was top. Paola was hilarious, witty, knowledgeable and made the same process we’ve heard about many times interesting. Most valuable tip: the label on the neck of the bottle of Italian wine is an indicator of the quality. DOCG means certified level of the wine by the Italian government, DOC is lesser quality and no label around the neck, well, you’re taking your chances.

After touring the cellars which are carved out of legit Roman-era mines for building the streets of Rome and the Empire, we adjourned upstairs to learn how to properly see, smell and taste a wine and tasted the white made on property, a red from another region (neck-label-less) along with some cheese, bread and biscuits.

Back in Marco’s van we were again whisked past the Pope’s place into the village to meet Paola #2 a “force of nature”, in the words of Paola #1 (a force of nature in her own right). Paola 2 showed us around the town, past the church whose facade was the only thing spared during World War II bombings (because of the porous nature of the stone which withstood the impacts).

We tried delicious porchetta sandwiches at Ceralli where we met Nonna (grandmother), the matriarch and were introduced to the “most important woman in Frascati”. No, not Nonna nor either Paola (although this may be up for debate) but the three breasted hard biscuit made locally: two breasts for milk and one for wine. (Though Jersey girl two’s honest guess of “pleasure” seemed apropos given the universe of possible answers when quizzed by Paola 2 as to why a third breast would be necessary).

The day was capped with a two course pasta lunch (as if we hadn’t already eaten) at a local restaurant where we sipped more Frascati wine, lingered, exchanged contact info and solidified new-found friendships.

Thank you Frascati’s Forces of Nature, for sharing with us your town and a great day. For information on this ridiculously inexpensive tour, click here.

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