ITS FOOD & DRINK
A good morning in the region of Lazio can't start without a breakfast of maritozzi (exquisite sweets filled with raisins and pine nuts, whose origin it appears stems all the way back to the Middle Ages). To continue to savour the true essence of the typical local cuisine, some recommend proceeding with a gastronomic tour to one of the region's many trattorie [traditional informal eating places], where unique dishes can be had, such as bucatini alla matriciana (a triumph of pasta in tomato sauce, pork cheek, olive oil and Roman pecorino cheese); spaghetti alla carbonara (with eggs, pecorino and bacon); coda alla vaccinara (oxen tail accompanied by a saut¹ of onions, carrots, celery and wine, with tomato added in); or abbacchio alla romana (oven baked suckling lamb). Don't miss the trippa alla trasteverina [tripe], pajata (rigatoni with suckling veal entrails), saltimbocca alla romana (thin slices of veal filled with prosciutto ham and sage), and the fave alla pancetta [broad beans and bacon]. All this wonderful food can be rinsed down with a selection of wines from the area of Castelli Romani. Among the D.O.C. wines of Lazio: Aprilia, Aleatico di Gradoli, Frascati and Montefiascone Est! Est!! Est!!!, whose name derives from a centuries old tale about the bishop Giovanni Deuc, who during his travels throughout Italy, was in the habit of charging his cupbearer with pointing out the hostelries with the best wine, and jotting down the word Est (it is) next to the doors of the right inns. Well, one day, outside a hostelry in Montefiascone, struck by the exceptional quality of the wine being served there, the man wrote Est, Est, Est (adding as many as six exclamation points) to emphasise the excellence of the houses inebriating nectar. The region abounds in still more delicacies: Roman artichoke, porchetta [pork roasted on a spit], black olives from Gaeta, olive oil from Sabina, and chestnuts from the Monti Cimini.
Rome, the Eternal City: capital of Italy, also hosting the Vatican State. An enchanting city, adorned by monuments such as the Colosseum (one of the most imposing works of the Imperial Age), the Circus Maximus (a sort of arena in which quadriga races were also held) and the Imperial Forums, re-baptised øthe largest modern building site of antiquity. And what of the city's fountains: starting with Trevi, where visitors are compelled to make a wish before throwing in a coin over their shoulders, and the Fontana dei Fiumi in Piazza Navona. Dont miss the elegant flight of steps at Trinitù dei Monti, or the park at Villa Borghese, encompassing refined Baroque and Neoclassical works in the midst of small lakes and centuries old trees, Saint Peter's Basilica, and Piazza Bocca della Veritù (an ancient mysterious marble grotesque mask under the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin). Tivoli, in the vicinity of Rome, makes for some splendid sightseeing, with two magnificent villas, both designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Villa d'Este, a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, with its one hundred fountains, and Villa Augusta and the Castelli Romani, for a delightfully carefree outing, before heading off in the direction of Frosinone, to visit the abbeys of Montecassino (founded by San Benedetto da Norcia) and Casamari. For those preferring the seaside to art and monuments, Lazio provides a myriad of possibilities. Sunbathers can choose among authentic gems such as Sperlonga, Gaeta, Formia, Terracina and the islands of Ponza and Ventotene; while sports enthusiasts can indulge in skiing at Terminillo or Campo Staffi, and canoeing or windsurfing on Lake Bracciano. Nature lovers seeking uncontaminated surroundings and ample green spaces will enjoy the natural reserve at Tuscania (Viterbo) and the Parco della Riviera di Ulisse (Latina).