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Postcard - A Day on Lago di Bracciano

Doug S & Judith G from Florida
We departed Civita Castellana in Lazio, navigating the roads South through Nepi and beyond to the SS2 heading towards Roma. Just after hitting the SS2, it was short ride until we saw the exit for Lake Bracciano and off we went.

The night before, we had been looking at the map and saw this lake with a road that totally rings it and thought that would be a nice way to spend a day, maybe even having a lunch at some lakeside cafe. We asked our host hotel about it and they highly recommended the journey. Enough said, it was to be tomorrows plan.

As we wandered down this country road, we soon came to the lake and decided to follow our plan and head south and come up around the Western side of the lake so we could make the full circumference of it.

Lake Bracciano from the Castle with Trevignana in the distance

Lake Bracciano from the Castle with Trevignana in the distance

The views were wonderful as the lake, so calm and clean, had the sunlight just dancing off it and it look wonderful. The scenery was just breathtaking, especially to see a lake with some much frontage not taken up by homes. It was just woodlands and hills surrounding it.

Before long, we came into the town of Anguillara, a wonderful little town right on the lakes southernmost end. It had a central parking lot right on the lake and a long expanse of rocky beach all along its shores. A long fishing dock extended out into the lake and offered some wonderful views as well as some decent fishing for the residents! White swans toured the area and the water was pristine. A sidewalk extended along the lake from the dock towards a few cafe's and some residences that were placed hillside with wonderful floral landscaping all the way up to the houses. They were a photographers dream to see.

We ventured on the road towards Bracciano, a town that is known for its Castle, and a medieval one at that!! It was also the scene of the Tom & Katie Cruise wedding so there was a little intrigue, especially when we saw the size of Bracciano! It must have been the event of the century to have that many people here at once!

Bracciano is a hill town and rests ABOVE the lake so the views are wonderful. We find a central car park, which was free, and venture up the hill towards the castle. There are quite a few cute little shops and we arrive about 12:30pm which, to no surprise, the castle is closed until 3:00pm. Well, perfect time for lunch.

Now Bracciano, though a nice town, didn't offer the wonderful lakefront dining we had hoped for, so we decided to drive the 10 minutes back to Anguillara for lunch.

Upon arrival back in Anguillara, we park the car in the central lot and put a few Euro in the master meter, put the receipt on the dashboard and off we go in search our luncheon paradise. It doesn't take us long to find La Nepitella, a cute little place right on the lake. We observed a bit first and notice that the cafe had an enclosed room, all glass, with a roof and next to it were about six outdoor tables under a tent like cover. As the day was in the low 80's, we opted for the outside with the breeze from the lake wafting over us. The kitchen was in a satellite building so everything was brought from the main building to the dining area outside.

We had a lunch of a light salads with some local lake fish, mine grilled and my wife's fried. Either was a great choice as they were excellent. The views of the lake with the swans floating by and the local fisherman out in their boats made for the perfect setting. The wind kicked up a bit while we ate and made the lunch outside very comfortable. What an ideal setting ... it was our perfect lunch!

When we finished, we went back up to Bracciano, and headed towards the castle. It was now 3:00pm and the doors were open and we bought our tickets. We were told we would have to wait until 3:30 for the tour. My wife bought a cute bracelet from one of the local shops and at 3:30 we were ushered through the massive iron gates with the whole tour ... my wife and I along with a woman and her daughter! The tour guide has us follow her up the steep hill to the castle entrance and leads us inside the dark, cool halls. The smell of age old fires in fireplaces haunt the halls. Barbara, our tour guide, starts her spiel, all in Italian, and I am listening intently to try to grasp some of it from what I understand while my wife, who understands none, is wandering about the room looking all around. Barbara said, "you speak English?" to which I responded "Yes, but I understood some Italian". From that point on, Barbara conducted the tour in both Italian and English for our behalf. The tour was very interesting and had a lot of "dirty little secrets in it" so rather than ruin the stories, I'll leave them for you to hear when you go. Desperate Housewives is child's play to this family!!

We go outside near the end of the tour and get the views from the castle walls and they are just breathtaking!! The views of all of the lake are magnificent. All we needed was a table and we could have stayed right there but that was not possible. We had climbed so high to get there and got the grim realization when we were done with the tour that we had to come down off this hill; a very steep walk back!

As all there really is to see in Bracciano is the castle, we got back to the car to head on our way to complete the circumnavigation.

We head off the hill and continue on along the lake road that is now on the Eastern side of the lake when we suddenly arrive in another town, Trevignana Romana. This town is a litle more populated than Anguillara and has a lot more shopping to it, as well as more restaurants and bars along the water. The difference here is that the restaurants and bars are on one side of the road and the seating is on the other which is ON the lake. As we are too early for dinner we did not stop but it would be the perfect place to complete the day with a lovely lakeside dinner and some late afternoon shopping. For us, it's only 4:30pm and way to early for either so we opt to head back to Civita.

In a few short kilometers, we are back at the road we started on and head back to our hotel, ending what we considered the best day of our trip ... and the most relaxing one.

We would highly recommend this day trip for anyone in the area, including all the Italian residents who live nearby.

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