30 Days on the Road in Italy…Day 20: Castel Gandolfo

Come with us as we explore Italy and check out properties for Gira! Italian Vacation Rentals.


Even though it’s just a short distance on our map, it seems like a long ride from Lenola to Castel Gandolfo.  We sense Rome’s presence ahead of us as the traffic becomes more intense and the buildings begin to close in on us.  Rome is a busy place, and so are many of the towns that surround it.  Albano Laziale is such a place–one of the last towns you go through on this journey.

The signage throws us off course and we rush into an insurance office to ask for directions. A kind young man is surprised to see us rush in from the rain, and he is happy to print us a quick Google map.  We aren’t that far out of the way, and in a few minutes we are back on the familiar route. As we finally make our way into Castel Gandolfo, we begin to see its charms.  The town center is not so large, with three main streets, running in parallel, rich with shops and restaurants.  Lago Albano lies gently below, providing a beautiful contrast to the ancient town buildings.  And the peaceful ambience of the place is not lost on us.

Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace and Lago AlbanoWe chose to come here for two reasons. First, it’s a handy refuge from noisy, bustling Rome. The train station is an easy walk from the town center and the trip to the center of Rome is only about forty minutes.  It would be a great launch pad for us to take care of business in the center and then go back to a quiet, lakeside spot in the evenings.

The second reason is that Castel Gandolfo is included on the list of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”, which is run by Club dei Borghi più belli d’Italia.


Although much of the town is shut down, this adds to the charm, as we walk its streets and pathways unconcerned about the crowds who come here during the high season, when the pope is in his summer residence.  We walk into the town square and are impressed with the massive palace that sits at one end.  From time to time, the pope appears on his balcony during the summer and offers a blessing to the crowds in the square.  Pope John Paul II was known to sometimes go into the town streets and shops, but those days are long past with the new emphasis on papal security.

Lago Albano from Hotel Castel GandolfoWe are very happy with our stay at Hotel Castel Gandolfo and our panoramic terrace. Again, the great delight is in being here during off season.  Hardly anyone is around, so it’s a joy to relax in the lobby and take care of business on the laptop, with hardly a guest coming through.  The owners become our good friends, as there is lots of time for conversation.  They give us excellent advice on restaurants and transportation.  And each morning, the breakfast is much more than we could have hoped for.

As evening comes, we take a deep breath and prepare ourselves for our visit tomorrow to Rome.

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