The intriguing history of a military fortress, papal court and the ancient peasant tradition of cheesemaking using thousand year old methods on thousand year old lands.
"Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality." Clifton P. Fadiman (USA 1904-1999)
SAMPLE ITINERARY: We begin with a relaxed promenade at two attractive lake towns followed by a seated breakfast at the lakeside. Following this we have a very picturesque drive towards Bracciano and the imposing Orsini-Odescalchi castle which rises above the lake and shadows the medieval old town. Your private tour will include a visit of the castle, a small attractive secret garden, special access to a watchtower and rooms with striking Late Renaissance frescoes. The castle was built in the 13th century then remodelled in the 15th century. It served primarily as a military defence fortress but was also a civilian residence to feudal lords - most notably the Orsini family. The castle shot to fame in recent times as the wedding venue of Tom Cruise and Katie Homes. Today it remains part of the noble Odescalchi family estate.
Lunch gives you chance to enjoy delicious cuisine overlooking the lake from part way up the volcanic crater, affording delightful views and in the hotter months there are usually pleasant breezes rising up from the lake.
You have chance to explore Bracciano town before taking another short drive to a producer of mouth-watering sheep milk cheeses including Pecorino (taking its name from the Italian for sheep: pecora), caciotta, ricotta, cheeses aged in red wine, ash and other traditional gastronomic delights. You will be able to see the sheep in their natural habitat and possibly have a demonstration of the cheese being made - although this depends on the natural cycles of the seasons as well as, for example, during lambing season when the farmer doesn't take the mothers' milk, he respects the laws of nature and leaves them to nurture their young. Sheep cheese has been produced in the same area as it is today giving you a real sense of history, continuity and the lives and diet of the ancient tribes who once lived here.
This will depend on your start location (which can be Rome, Viterbo or Civitavecchia) but usually approximately 8 hours.