Nemi is a fantastic small and romantic town around the Ruspoli castle on the edge of the volcano rim with a lying 200-meter below. At an early stage a piece of the forrest at the Nemi Lake was cleared. The medieval town of Nemi since emerged from this place. The sanctuary “Nemorensis Diana” (Diana in the woods) was founded on the cleared area and the lake was called Diana’s Mirror.
In the 10th century was one of Nemi Tusculano count’s castle, later it was transferred to the Cistercians. Thereafter the city and the area were dominated by the great Roman families such as Orsini (1378-1408), Borgia, Piccolomini, Colonna, Cenci (until 1572), Frangipani, Luigi Braschi-Onesti (1782-1816) (son of Pope Pio VI’s sister Giulia and married to Costanza Falvonieri), the son Pio Braschi-Onesti had ownership to 1836, when it was taken over by Rospigliosi-Orsini (1836-1904) and finally Ruspoli (1904-1992).
Among central Italians Nemi is also a very popular destination. Especially on Sundays there is many activities and people in Nemi. On the outskirts of Nemi there has been established many parking spaces. It is not possible to enter Nemi by car unless you live there. We do not recommend driving to Nemi on Sundays. It can be very difficult to find a place to park your car. Nemi is known for its strawberry festival (small wild strawberries), the festival is held in the beginning of June. There is a great crowd where the entire local population participates in some way. Many hours are spent in preparation of performances among the children who are dressed as strawberries, bees, ladybugs and similar in any way possible. Nemi is also famous for its good bread (pane casareccio). There is actually a difference between the bread from Nemi and the bread from Genzano! Romans come to Nemi to buy bread. Nemi also has a large flower industry – the plateau down at the Nemi Lake you will be able to see large greenhouses with colorful flowers in the right season. And of course there is all the wine in Nemi and the surrounding area.
We highly recommend you to take a stroll from Villalba into Nemi city – through the city gate to the lake. You can walk along the paved road or along a path (through the gate and shortly after on the left) – all the way down to the lake – stroll along the lake towards Genzano – along the paved road up to Genzano – through Genzano – and back to Villalba via Via Nemorense. You can do all this in about 3 hours. Remember to fill a water bottle to bring with you.
Another interesting and beautiful hike is up on the mountain ridge – it offers many fantastic views! The hike starts when you pass through the Nemi gate – go a little down the paved road to the lake (about 50 meters) and then slightly upward on the right. The trail is “reasonably” well marked.