[Feeling Green]: Tears of Venus stayed in Nemi forever
As a strawberry addict, I was absolutely stunned when I found out that there is a town in Italy famous for strawberry production. Amazed and curious, I started my research.
The name of the town is Nemi, it is located 30 minutes from Rome with a car. Settled on the hill, Nemi has a beautiful view of the valley and the lake.
There are many legends and historically significant stories connected to Nemi. Although I am not really sure when was Nemi established as a town, evidence of settlement go back to 6th century BC. Today, you can see the remainings of the temple which is over 2000 years old. The area was starting to be inhabited around 9th century when the castles around were started being built.
During the Roman domination, 2 well-equipped ships were built on the lake Nemi by Roman emperor Caligula. It is not clear what was the purpose of building 2 huge ships on such a small lake and how it ended up at the bottom of it, there are many theories about possible scenarios. Concerning the fact the lake was sacred, assumptions state that the whole story has a religious background.
While taking the ships out of the lake to put them in the museum, there were speculations about the existence of the 3rd ship. During the WW2 German soldiers set the museum on fire and ships burned down. Today, in the museum, which was specifically designed just for ships` preservation, you can see only the scale models. Wikipedia claims that the project for reconstruction of the ships on the lake is being developed.
The main reason for my attraction towards this place is strawberries. The volcanic ground is perfect for cultivating so it is normal that the town has good agricultural products. Strawberries are specifically famous and recognized because of its taste. Even the whole festival was organized to promote the product. For almost 100 years now (since 1922.), Nemi hosts an annual festival called Sagra Delle Fragole in June. The whole town gets decorated with flowers, inhabitants wear traditional costumes and make a parade. The festival is very popular touristic attraction. I did not manage to see the parade but I did try some strawberry products.
Prosecco and dessert made my day. Be sure not to skip it when you visit.
According to the legend, strawberries represent tears that Venus shed for Adonis. If you are not familiar with the story, I will give you a short summary. Adonis is a beautiful man and Venus is a goddess of love. She loved him while he had no interest in her. Being sad because of his lack of interest, she was trying to get his attention. All he wanted to do is to hunt. She had a vision in which he died during the hunt but he ignored her warning. Next day he died and she cried.
Read the poem, William Shakespeare is the world’s greatest dramatist, indeed.
Other attractions worth visiting:
Religious monuments: the church of San Nicola, the Romitorio di San Michele Arcangelo, the church of Santa Maria, the parish church of Santa Maria del Pozzo, the sanctuary of the Santissimo Crocifisso.
Architecture:Palazzo Ruspoli, the Fajola osteria/Casale dei Corsi.
Archaeological remains:The temple of Diana Aricina, the emissary of the Lake of Nemi, the villa of Cesare.