The small town of Nemi overlooks its own private volcanic lake of the same name. The architecture of the town dates back to the end of the Middle Ages to the Baroque, but the location has been significant for thousands of years as the home of one of Italy’s most important cults. Constructed around 300 BC, current day Nemi was the site of the Temple of Diana Nemorensis which eventually gave the town its name as well as gave the site importance throughout centuries.
Today the charming hill town hosts a thriving strawberry festival to celebrate the local fruit that grows on the sides of the crater in which the town is located. Also in June Nemi hosts a wine festival, the Borgo diVino, which celebrates Italian wines from all over the peninsula.
Just 30 kilometers from the center of Rome, Nemi is the perfect day trip location, easily reachable by car or by Co.Tral coach bus.
If you ask any Roman about Nemi, the first thing that will come to mind are strawberries. Not the strawberries you’re used to seeing at the supermarket, but a special kind of strawberry called fragolino, which is much smaller and sweeter. They are an indigenous variety of strawberry that grow on the side of the volcanic crater, where they get a lot of sun and are protected from the wind.
During the strawberry festival, called the Sagra della Fragola and in its 86th year, you can walk the narrow streets of the hill town that are decorated with colorful flowers and streamers as vendors sell the fruit by the kilo or as jams, creams, ice cream, baked confections and even liquor.
While the season of the festival begins well into May, the official festival day is the first Sunday of June which this year is June 2nd (the same day Italy celebrates it’s Republic Day).
A special mass is celebrated at Il Santuaario del Santissimo Crocifisso at 10am. Followed by the grand opening of the Mostra dei Fiori (the flower show, which takes place in tandem with the Strawberry Festival) at 11am.
Don’t miss the 11.30 presentation of the fragolare, the official term of townswomen dressed in period costume for the event. The girls will walk through the center of town, starting in Piazza Umberto I, accompanied by the musical band Compatrum directed by Maestro Emilio Bossone. At 1pm the mayor of Nemi, Alberto Bertucci, will give a speech welcoming everyone to the festival.
A separate group of fragolare girls will parade around the town dressed in period costume at 4pm, and at 7pm free strawberries will be given out to everyone present. A live concert will take place in Piazza Umberto I at 9pm and the evening will conclude at 11pm with a fireworks show over the lake.
In the same site where just a few weeks before the streets are bustling with strawberries, Borgo diVino transforms the small town of Nemi into a wine-lover’s paradise. Wine producers from all over Italy come to Nemi to share their wines, offering tastings and knowledge on natural wines, sparkling wines, Tuscan and local wines, as well as awarded wines.
Borgo diVino takes place June 7, 8, and 9, 2019 and the cost to visit the venues is free. You can purchase a tasting card for €10 at the box office in Piazza Roma which is valid for 8 tastings.
For more information about visiting Nemi for the Borgo diVino event, visit the official website.
Thinking of taking a day trip from Rome? Take a look at some fo the other day trips we suggest!
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