Nemi and its delicious Strawberries, 30 minutes from RomeNicola
Nemi, bang in the heart of the Castelli Romani hills and a mere 30 minutes drive from Rome, Lake Nemi is a discreet marvel with desirable menus. Every May, it is decorated with strawberries for the delicious Fragoline di Bosco festival, now in it’s 83rd year. That is, a celebration of the wild strawberries that grow in the nearby woods, which attracts Romans in their droves, who come here to dip their toes in the lake. Bathing and food, it doesn’t get any more Roman than that!
Although May is the main month for the strawberry harvest in and around Nemi, related celebrations last until the end of June. If you want to get there for the main event do so for the first Sunday of June, when local girls in traditional costume offer punnets of berries to the crowds!
The lake is home to the Temple of ancient Roman deity Diana or ‘Diana of the woods’, who was believed to be the goddess of hunting, the moon, birthing and fertility, in ancient Roman times. Myth also has is that the tears of Venere transformed the blood of her contested lover Adonis into small red hearts or strawberries.
The berries are therefore meant to be all the more delicious because of the fertile lands surrounding her temple, a short walk from the lake. The lake has been referred to by poets as Speculum Dianae, Diana’s Mirror, because of the full moons reflections off the surface of the water when viewed from the Temple of Diana. The multi- tasking goddess was believed to have taken on many deity duties, and was one of three maiden goddesses who swore never to marry, along with Minerva and Vesta.
May or June would be the best time to visit in Nemi, when restaurants serve up special strawberry themed dishes with the wild little berries. Have you ever tasted Tiramisu with strawberries or strawberry risotto? Why not book a day trip to the Roman countryside with us and experience delicious seasonal delicacies and off the beaten track towns.
Buon weekend from the Italy’s Best team.