My younger son was – once again – out there for a track and field meet in the town of Velletri on a beautiful spring day. On the drive back to Rome, both my son and I were struck by the dramatic sunset, with the sky painted brilliant pinks, oranges and purples as the sun slipped behind the sea in the distance.
This town was important for Rome, dating back to the times of Ancient Rome, when it was closely associated with Diana, the goddess of the hunt. Today Ariccia is far less hunting grounds and more suburban bedroom community, but it’s still a charming town to explore with a rich architectural past.
The Chigi Pope, Alexander VII dwelled for periods in town, and it is thanks to him that the architect/sculptor GianLorenzo Bernini constructed the church of Santa Maria Assunta – also on the main square.
The monumental bridge we walked across to get to the town was first constructed in the 19th century, and greatly facilitated the town’s access to Rome along the Appia antica.
And, of course, while there we stocked up on Genzano bread (see my earlier post on neighboring Genzano), Ariccia porchetta (pork slowly roasted with wild fennel and herbs) and the local Castelli wines.
One of the pluses of these races is that I get to spend a great day out with my son, explore pretty towns and enjoy beautiful sunsets, and buy my ready-made dinner to deposit directly on our dining room table when we get home. No cooking required!
When in the area, take time to enjoy the gorgeous sunset in picturesque Ariccia.