Italy on the road

Genzano, the ‘infiorata’ flower festival, ‘coppiette’ and excursions in the area

The traditions of this part of Lazio are ancient and enthralling, as well as extremely tasty. Here are our tips for an out-of-the-ordinary visit a few minutes from Rome

Genzano is a town in the province of Rome, famous for its traditional Infiorata, the spectacular flower festival. Every year, the streets of the old town centre become a marvellous carpet of colourful flowers. The inhabitants of Genzano work for months to prepare the Infiorata, using flower petals and creating elaborate and beautiful designs.

An ancient tradition

The Infiorata tradition dates to the 17th century and takes place on the day of Corpus Christi, which falls 60 days after Easter. Attending it is a unique opportunity to immerse into a centuries-old tradition that is still able to impress and amaze.

An area to discover

Every year, thousands of visitors come to Genzano from all around the world to attend the event and admire real works of art. The area is rich in picturesque places with ancient traditions, where it is possible to discover Roman history out of the hustle and bustle of the Eternal City. In an ideal itinerary, Genzano is one of the stops along a route that should also include Frascati, Albano Laziale, home to the famous Tomb of the Horatii and Curiazi, which is accessible free of charge, Ariccia, and Lake Nemi with its beautiful village bearing the same name, where the delightful Strawberry Festival has been held in June since 1922. 

Continuing wandering around, we recommend going into the heart of the Castelli Romani Regional Park, where you can enjoy hiking and nature, thanks to bike tours, canoe routes, and even a kayak wine tour, an enchanting tour of the area seen from the water, with swimming and the inevitable wine, cold cuts, and cheese tastings.

What to eat in Genzano

Including this small town south of Rome in your tour of Lazio is well worth it because the Infiorata is not only entertainment, but also good food. During the festival, in fact, as well as attending music and dance performances, it is possible to taste typical Roman dishes, like porchetta – a tradition that Genzano shares with neighbouring Ariccia – or the most famous pasta dishes: carbonara, gricia, amatriciana.

Genzano is also famous for its extraordinary bread. The naturally leavened Pane Casareccio di Genzano IGP is one of the area’s most famous products. This is a bread with a crispy crust and soft core, made from durum wheat flour and water. It pairs perfectly with porchetta, the typical roast pork cooked in a tasty marinade of herbs and spices.  

Inspired by this delicious bread, we have created two very tasty recipes: the typical panzanella of the Castelli Romani – a symbol of Italian summer in all its variants – and the delicious Bread lasagna with vedgetables, easy to make at home.

A gourmet bonus: the Roman coppiette

Genzano is a true paradise for foodies, where every product is made according to the old traditions of the area. And among the most evocative of these are the ‘coppiette’, strips of dried meat, forerunners of street food.

Along the roads of transhumance and in the many vineyards, shepherds were already eating dried meat in the year 1000. Outside in summer or next to the fireplace in winter, the meat was matured, spiced, and left to dry, so it could be eaten outdoors, on the road, all year round.

Today, the making of Roman ‘coppiette’ is an ancient art handed down by a few local artisans, and the original donkey meat, now practically unobtainable, has been supplemented by horse, pork, and beef, much more common and just as good. 

The name ‘coppiette’ (small pairs) comes from the original preparation technique: the strips were folded in half and tied two by two with a string, before being dried.

Should you be in the area, you simply must try at least one of these typical products, to discover the authentic flavours of the typical cuisine south of Rome: every village has its own specialities, and we would like to suggest you to stock up and bring a little bit of Roman-ness home with you.

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