Discovering Lazio

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

"Ahò" If there is one thing you will always remember from your trip to Rome is the distinct Roman dialect heard around you. We are not here to talk about Rome, however, we are here to talk about the Region that Rome belongs to = Lazio. Most who come to explore this region come for one thing, and one thing only - a trip to the eternal city, Rome! There is actually so much more to discover in Lazio but let's take a look at how Lazio is divided into different provinces.

Lazio is divided into five provinces:

  • Frosinone - Where my best friend Ellis lived and worked as a language assistant for a full year, and I had the opportunity to visit!

  • Latina - Popular beaches as well as the island of Ponza which is a popular vacation destination for Romans and Lazians alike

  • Rieti - A mostly mountainous province and home to Lago di Salto which is Lazio's largest lake.

  • Rome - The metropolitan city of Rome, the capital. This is where many come on their vacations to Italy. If you are interested in learning more about what to do and eat in Rome, click here.

  • Viterbo - The northern-most province of Lazio

When traveling to Lazio it can be accessed by all forms of transportation:

By plane

There are two airports located in Lazio. The "Leonardo Da Vinci" International Airport, also known as "Rome-Fiumicino"and The Rome-Ciampino Airport. Fiumicino and Ciampino are easily accessed by taxi, bus, and train.

By train

Train is alway my go-to when i'm traveling throughout Italy because I just find it easy to navigate. Trenitalia is the train system that runs throughout this region and all of Italy. There is the Leonardo Da Vinci train that is located under Terminal 3 at Fiumicino which can take you to the center of Rome. The main train station is Termini. *It is important to remember to stamp your ticket before you get on the platform or you will face a hefty fine*

By bus

If you plan to get a coach bus out of the region you will likely do that at a bus terminal at a train station such a Tiburtina. Otherwise, Cotral is the transportation company that provides access to the Lazio region while ATAC is for the metropolitan city of Rome. Be aware that sometimes in Rome there are transportation strikes which includes the bus and the metro. I would recommend downloading the app "Moovit" for any and all future travel plans that can help you find your way even around smaller towns!

By car

Of course Lazio, as well as any of the other regions can be explored by motorway if you rent a car and get an international driving license (before you enter the country). Romans, however, drive like crazy and I would not recommend trying to drive through Rome.

The best part about Lazio is the food. I will be writing a more in depth blog about the food in Lazio but until then I recommend you try the following:

The 4 Roman Pasta Dishes:

Carbonara - Typically made with guanciale (cured pork cheek), eggs, hard cheese such as Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano (or a mixture of the two) and black pepper. There are some variations where the dish is made with pancetta especially in instances where guanciale is not available. This dish should NOT be made with cream, in my personal and many other Roman's opinion :)

Amatriciana - Made with guanciale, pecorino cheese from Amatrice, tomato and, occasionally, onion.

Cacio e Pepe - Means cheese and pepper, it is made with simple ingredients consisting of only black pepper, pecorino romano cheese and, of course, pasta.

Gricia - Made with pasta, guanciale, pecorino, black pepper, and salt

Pasta All'Arrabbiata: a spicy sauce for pasta made with garlic, tomatoes, and dried red chili peppers cooked in olive oil. "Arrabiata" in Italian literally means angry and it is named for the spiciness.

Bruschetta: A popular antipasto or appetizer in central Italy pronounced "BRU-SKET-TA". It is usually rubbed with garlic and topped with oil and tomatoes.

Carciofi alla Romana: This dish is usually prepared and served in restaurants in the spring. The centers are stuffed with parsely, lesser calamint (of the mint family), garlic, salt, and pepper.

Carciofi alla Giudia: a deep fried artichoke, and originates from the Jewish community of Rome.

Pinsa: Not quite pizza, not quite a flatbread. A pinsa is a healthier alternative that will still leave you full of the best ingredients in pressed bread form.

Fiori di Zucca: These zucchini flowers are typically filled with mozzarella and anchovies, and then battered and deep fried.

Pecorino Romano Cheese: a hard, salty cheese often used for grating on top of pastas and is made out of sheep's milk.

Porchetta: a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast - commonly eaten in a sandwich.

Saltimbocca alla Romana: consists of veal, prosciutto and sage, rolled-up and cooked in dry white wine and butter. It is my favorite secondo dish when in Rome.

Cappuccino and Cornetto: Your classic Italian breakfast. The north of Italy calls this "Cappuccio e Brioche."

Supplì: snacks consisting of a ball of rice (such as risotto) with tomato sauce and there is usually a piece of mozzarella in the center. They are breaded and then fried. These classic Lazian snacks are closely related to the Sicilian arancini. They are very tasty and super cheap if you want a quick and yummy snack on your Lazio adventure.

Pizza al Taglio: Also known as pizza al trancio, this pizza by the slice originated in Rome! It is great for a quick lunch on the go and there are usually so many different kinds to choose beyond the classic pizza margherita.

I really didn't mean to make anyone hungry! Beyond food, Lazio has some hidden gems around the entire region. And what is not well known to the common tourist, is that Rome has a beach and the Lazio coast has some beaches as well! I would recommend:

  • Santa Severa

  • Ostia

  • Anzio - Here is where you can get a ferry to the Island Ponza

  • Terracina

  • Sperlonga

  • Gaeta

Although I've never made a visit to any of the parks (parco) in Lazio there are many that I've heard are worth the visit as well as some lakes (lago)!

  • Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise

  • Parco Naturale Regionale di Bracciano Martignano

  • Lago di Bracciano

  • Lago di Martignano

  • Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park

  • Garden of Ninfa

  • Villa Gregoriana

  • Parco Nazionale del Circeo

  • Lago Albano

  • Lago di Bolsena

  • Lago di Nemi

If you are spending most of your time in Rome but would like to explore some of the parks in the metropolitan city you can find your way to:

  • Villa Borghese

  • Villa Ada

  • Villa Doria Pamphili

  • Parco degli Aquedotti

Some places i've been in the surroundings of Rome include:

  • Tivoli - Villa D'este & Villa Adriana: If you grew up in the 90s then you grew up with Lizzie Mcquire and have always dreamed to run through the gardens with an Italian named Paolo. Villa D'este is your place to do that. Villa Adriana is equally if not more beautiful.

  • Ariccia: On the outskirts of Rome in the hills, you can find Ariccia where there are some of the best restaurants. It's worth it.

  • Isola del Liri: a cute little town where you can see some waterfalls!

Beyond Rome, Lazio is a region worth discovering. I hope you'll branch out and try to locate some of these wondrous places!

The Localist Abroad
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© Ashley Nicole Weimar.