One of the best things about going somewhere new is marveling at how different it can be from home. You can see these places in movies and in pictures but its just not the same as experiencing it in person. There is always a sensation and impression that you get from being exposed to something different that you just can't get from a picture. I love that feeling. Yesterday my boyfriend and I went to explore some of the towns in the Alban Hills. Mostly we just drove through but one place we did stop was a small town called Nemi. It was by far my favorite place of the day and one of my favorite places in Italy.
Nemi is a very old and small town that over looks a volcanic crater lake called Lago di Nemi. Perched on a cliff, this town was full of tiny cobblestoned streets that could only be explored on foot. We walked down tiny alleyways with dead ends that were so full of character. English Boy was laughing at me every time we turned a corner and I would say "Wow! This is so cool!" Let me see if I can describe it to you. I wasn’t exactly on top of taking pictures. (I blame it on the cold weather)
We started by walking up the main street past unique shops, restaurants and cafés. Judging from some of the items being sold, Nemi gets many tourists and is probably very busy in the summer time. We were welcomed into the town by a norcineria (pork-butcher) that had a boars head hanging outside. It was one of the busiest places in town but for me the smell was unbearable. Or should I say 'unboarable'?
After exploring a bit of the town and the view of the lake, we stopped in a café for a hot chocolate and pastry. Nemi is known for its wild strawberries and they sell them everywhere. On their own, in pastries, as jam…. All of the cafés had these little pastries with wild strawberries. They were to die for! I could eat one of those for breakfast everyday. And the hot chocolate was like heaven in your mouth. Italian hot chocolate is not the same as the drink you get in America. It's thick and creamy and has to be eaten with a spoon. If you have ever made the chocolate pudding, the kind you cook on the stove, then imagine eating a cup of that while it's still warm. It is amazing.
Nemi is only big enough to take a couple hours of your day at best but totally worth the time. If given the chance I think everyone should visit to admire the view of the lake, eat some wild strawberries, and maybe pick up some jam to take home. Exploring the towns in the Alban Hills make a great day trip from Rome.