Despite the limitations of the current pandemic, Italian wine and gastronomy tours continue to attract increasing numbers of tourists. No longer a niche market, agrotourism is an up-and-coming trend, drawing not only families keen on relaxing in the peace of the countryside, but also serious gourmets and wine experts.
Rome is particularly well placed for this type of experience, with the celebrated wine towns of the Castelli Hills a mere 30 kms or so from the city and easily accessible.
The town of Frascati, the uncontested capital of Castelli wines, makes the ideal focal point for a journey of discovery around the vineyards and farms of the Roman countryside, which offer not only wine tastings and excellent food, but also unexpected dips into the history of ancient Rome. A number of wine farms in the Frascati area, such as Pietra Porzia and the Casal Montani estates have important Roman monuments on their land or underneath their villas, showing that the ancient Romans were not so different from us in tastes and preferences for scenic spots.
The Frascati name is well-known world wide, thanks to its aristocratic villas and charming scenery. However, for centuries its wine has been virtually synonymous with “fraschette” - the traditional hostelries depicted by artists like Pinelli. In the last few years, this has been steadily changing, thanks to the dedication and efforts of local wine-growers, grouped together under a consortium: “Consorzio Tutela Denominazione Vini Frascati” (Consortium for the Protection of Frascati Wines Denomination). Many of the members produce distinctive top quality wines that are attracting the attention of experts in the international market.