Both the monastery at Subiaco and the cathedral in Anagni house stunning frescoes dating back to the 12th & 13th centuries, their colours still vibrant even after many centuries.
Quoted as 'the king of all Lazio wines'; 'the wine of gladiators' and 'the next Italian wine sensation' - the Cesanese grape dates back circa 3000 years. It was originally produced as a sweet or slightly sparkling wine rather than the sophisticated medium-full-bodied red of today, in fact this is a wine all its own - spicy, velvety, warming, perfect!.
If you are interested in Medieval Art & Wine, this itinerary is perfect! Your guide will reveal the fascinating symbolism and hidden meanings of the frescoes during your visits. The monastery route leads up a mountain and is perched on the side of a cliff at 500 mtrs asl, whereas the cathedral is located in the old part of Anagni town. Refreshments stops are possible before or after your first site visit.
For lunch you have a choice of dining in an excellent restaurant in Anagni overlooking the cathedral; or do as the locals do and build your own picnic lunch at a fantastic cheese shop & delicatessen; or enjoy a seated buffet at the vineyard.
Our preferred restaurant gives further opportunity to try other Cesanese wines from the surrounding territory and dishes are prepared using local seasonal produce. The restaurant is charming, combining modern elegance with traditional cuisine an in the summer you can enjoy your lunch on the patio and admire the views.
In the afternoon you will have a guided tour of the cathedral and crypt followed by a wine tasting at a nearby vineyard. Some have described the crypt as being as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel and it doesn't disappoint - it is quite stunning and very well preserved. There is a fine example of Cosmati floor mosaic in the main church. Origins date back to the 12th & 13th centuries. The oratory dates back to the 12th century but prior to that it was originally a pagan Mithraeum used in Roman times (1st century AD).
The wines have a strong history linked to the people who used to live on the land centuries ago and enjoyed by popes and princes! The splendid landscape varies with a mixture of rugged low mountains and stretches of olive groves and grapevines climbing the nearby low mountain range. Piglio, an ancient hill town rises in the distance. First human settlements date back over 700,000 years according to the dating of Palaeolithic fragments.
Anagni has been cited in the writings of Virgil and Livy and ancient pre-Roman tribes (Hernici) lived here - Anagni was important to them, having temples and sanctuaries here (roughly 7th century BC). This area also gave four popes to Rome so you can imagine they probably drank this wine - although it will have tasted a little different back then.
Grape varieties on this tour: Passerina for whites and Cesanese for reds and rosé.
OTHER OPTIONS: if you have already had the pleasure of visiting Subiaco or Anagni we can substitute with the amazing Charter House at Trisulti which has its own unique features, intriguing history and spectacular countryside panoramas. You need a head for heights on this one as the road leading up snakes around the mountain side but your reward is a beautiful setting with amazing vistas and a tranquillity that is hard to find in our busy everyday lives. As an additional/alternate a visit to the Boniface Palace near Anagni cathedral could be included, depending on how full you would like your day to be.
This will depend on your start location (which ideally will be Rome), and inclusions in your itinerary, but we normally recommend a full 8/10-hour day.
The Lazio variety is known as 'Aleatico di Gradoli' - Gradoli is a nearby village overlooking lake Bolsena of north Lazio. It is generally believed that the grapes were introduced by the Etruscans. They are traditionally used for red wines. Tasting notes: aromatic, floral, hints of roses and violets, black cherries, velvety, smooth.
This wonderful grape has many synonyms (in Lazio it can also be known as Arciprete or Cacchione. It was cited by Pliny the Elder: proof that Bellone has been present in Lazio since ancient times?). Tasting notes: fragrant, rounded, smooth, peach, apricot, sometimes banana, honey, bitter orange, hazelnut.
Originating in France, introduced into Italy in the 1800's (parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, used as a blending grape in the famous Bordeaux blend), Cabernet Franc does extremely well in Lazio as a single varietal. Tasting notes: peppery, dark aromatic spices, red fruits, licorice, sometimes tobacco and violets.
Of uncertain origins, with recent studies suggesting a spontaneous cross-breeding between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc during the 18th century, although Pliny cited a vitis caburnica, which could be a reference to the same grape. Tasting notes: dark fruits, chocolate, earthy, velvety tannins.
One of Lazio's 3 DOCG wines produced by this antique autochthonous varietal. The Piglio valley has been used for growing grapes since Etruscan times. Earliest records date to the Roman era (133 BC). Tasting notes: intense cherry and forest fruits, black pepper, floral (violet), mineral, tobacco and juniper.
Opinion differs re the origins. Some say a native of Burgundy (after Roman soldiers planted Gouais Blanc there which crossed with Pinto Blanc); others say it came from the Middle East, brought to Italy by returning crusaders. Tasting notes: fresh, crisp, smooth, acacia, peach, exotic fruits, apple, vanilla, honey.
A central Italian grape variety (Greci genus) and probable Greek origin brought to Italy by Greek colonists into Magna Grecia (southern Italy). It is often used in blends but also as a successful single varietal. Tasting notes: exotic fruits, white flowers, aromatic, buttery, hazelnut, vanilla, subtle woody flavours.
It is said that since ancient times two varieties of the Greco Bianco (Greci genus) were cultivated in a small territory of south-east Lazio, but over time had almost become extinct. Today these varieties are revived and thriving in the same area. Tasting notes: peach, pear, almond, vegetal, mineral, tropical fruit.
There are 3 varieties in Lazio, predominantly in the Frascati/Castelli Romani volcanic complex, but also elsewhere in the region. Used in blends (single varietal in passito). An antique Peloponnese vine thought to have arrived in Venice via Crete. Tasting notes: apricot, floral (acacia, lavender), citrus and dried fruits.
A well known Bordeaux grape from Gironde, the Merlot grape reached Italy late 1700's/1800's. Often produced in Lazio as a single varietal - finding ideal conditions in both terrain and climate - as well as in blends. Tasting notes: summer berries, vanilla, warm woody spices, dark fruits, velvety, sometimes herbaceous.
This well documented autochthonous grape most likely originated in Tuscany and represents one of the best of central Italy reds (not to be confused with the Sangiovese grape of the famous wine Nobile di Montepulciano). Tasting notes: black cherry, blackberry, licorice, spices (nutmeg).
The Nero Buono grape has obscure origins but is believed to have been cultivated around the Cori territory for two millennia. The micro-climate and geology of surrounding volcanic hills are ideal for this rediscovered and revived grape. Tasting notes: complex spiced, full-bodied, dark berries, cocoa.
Origins of the Passerina are uncertain - a rare autochthonous grape producing a well regarded wine of the Ciociaria. Named after a small bird (Passera - of the Sparrow family), which likes to eat the grapes. Tasting notes: golden apple, citrus fruits, fresh floral aromas with a good balance of sweet and savoury.
Originally from the Mèdoc are of Gironde and used traditionally in blends with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it holds its own in Lazio as a single varietal, adapting perfectly to the micro-climates of this region. Tasting notes: red berries, myrtle, juniper, full-bodied with velvety tannins, incense and a peppery finish.
Taking its name from the blood of Jupiter (sanguis Jovis) this central Italy grape gives us the famous Brunello di Montalcino and the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Well known by the 16th century but probably dating to Roman times (reference to the god Jupiter). Tasting notes: red fruits, earthy, strawberry, spices.
There are two schools of thought re the origins: that the grape came from Shiraz, Ancient Persia, or from Syracuse, Italy (imported from Egypt by Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus). Used in blends for Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Tasting notes: cherry, blueberry, warm spices, vanilla, black pepper, cinnamon.
Lazio has two predominant varieties: Toscano (also known as/related to Procanico) and Giallo (known as/related to Roscetto). Pliny the Elder named the latter "Vinum Trebulanum" (Romans were already calling the vine Trebula - meaning 'farm'). Tasting notes: aromatic, woody, almond, melon, apricot.
Origins are unknown but presumed to be an ancient grape. One legend states that Emperor Marcus Aurelia Probus brought vines to the Rhone Valley probably from his home-land, Dalmatia/Sirmium (an ancient Roman province). Tasting notes: fresh floral and mineral aromas, creamy ripe peach, sensuous.