Imagine eating fresh bread baked in an 800 year old oven, sipping refreshing white wine, while overlooking centuries old vineyards built on the side of an Italian volcano a short train ride away from the eternal city of Rome. The Old Frascati Wine Tour tour will give you this experience, which is why it is the best wine tasting in Frascati, Italy.
Trust me, once you finish reading this post, you are going to want to book a flight to Italy ASAP!
A day trip outside of Rome
I have always had romantic notions of Italy, imagining rolling green hills and quaint centuries-old towns, with friendly Italian families inviting you into their home for dinner. The first place I visited in Italy was Rome. If you have been to Rome, then you are probably already laughing at my naivete. Rome is a big, dirty metropolis with noisy traffic that will run you right over. Rome of course has many treasures; ivy-draped alleyways, cobblestone streets, gelato, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Vatican, etc etc etc…however, Rome is far from quaint.
I traveled to Rome with my husband Travis, soulmate-friend Christine (remember her from my study abroad trip?), and her husband Pat (aka Fancy). We decided to take a trip outside of the city of Rome, and after a quick internet search, we decided on wine tasting in Frascati. Frascati is just a 25 minute train ride outside of Rome, however it is a world away!
We booked a half-day tour with The Old Frascati Wine Tour. We met our tour guide, Dominique, and the rest of our group once we got off the train. As an American who lives in the suburbs, I will never get over my love of traveling by train! But, I digress. Our tour guide was a woman who grew up in California, then married into an old Italian wine family and moved to Frascati…talk about living the dream! We first walked to this beautiful tree-lined street and sat at benches while our tour guide told us about the town of Frascati. Now this is the Italy I had imagined!
We learned that the ancient Romans would vacation in Frascati as a holiday from the hustle and bustle of Rome. Later, it became popular among nobility of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, then later still Catholic Cardinals and Archbishops. At one point, the town was even a walled city for protection. Some of the old buildings even have slits in the walls from whence arrows were launched! I am not a huge history buff, but it was fun to imagine what life was like.
History is interesting, but let’s be honest. I was there for the food and wine. We walked through the Frascati town center and were provided cookies with sweet jug wine for dipping. In many of the bakery windows, were cookies in the shape of a woman with 3 breasts. Yes, you read that correctly. Legend has it, that these cookies are in the image of “Miss Frascati”, who has two breasts for milk, and one for wine. Ohhhh, you silly Italians, haha!
We then stopped at small restaurant that served samples of porchetta with Frascati’s famous pizza bread. The porchetta is slow roasted, juicy and salty pork made into a sandwich with the pizza bread. The bread is crispy and chewy at the same time. I am a vegetarian now, in honor of my love for animals…but is it terrible that I am glad I wasn’t yet a vegetarian so I could sample this porchetta delicacy?
Across from the porchetta restuarant is a thirteenth century building, where the bread is baked. The oven is extremely deep, and the bread is placed and retrieved by what look like 20 foot long wooden oars. The entire piazza is filled with the scent of warm baked bread.
And now the part we came for…the wine! Once we finished our snack in town, a van picked us up, and took us up to the highest point of the volcano where the vineyards lie. The views from this point were breathtaking! There were rows of green vineyards stretching across the land, with views of Rome far below. We learned that several old wine making families from Frascati formed a coalition of wine makers and were honored the DOCG distinction. I don’t fully understand it, but apparently it means that the wine was made following strict guidelines, and it is a prestigious honor.
Paola, who is a 7th generation wine maker, gave us a tour of the wine caves! There were dozens of underground “rooms” with dirt floor, walls, and ceiling, with various barrels and bottles of wine. Some of the bottles were even dated to the year that World War II ended! How cool is that!?!
Finally, it was time of the tasting. They brought us into a lovely dining room and served us various types of pizza bread for pairing with the different wines. They demonstrated how to taste the distinctive notes, Frascati wines are known for acidity and minerality. We were provided generous pours of one white, one red, and one dessert wine. At the end of the tasting, we were offered the option to buy bottles or cases of our favorites!
After all that food and wine, you would think that the tour was finished right? Wrong! The van brought us all back to the Frascati town center to a restaurant with outdoor seating for pranzo. Here, we were served MORE of the fresh baked pizza bread, olives (how I LOVE European olives), red sauce pasta, carbonara pasta, salad greens, veggies, and more. We were served our favorite wine from the tasting at this lunch to complete an afternoon of gluttonous perfection.
Needless to say, if you find yourself in or near Rome I would highly recommend prioritizing an afternoon of wine tasting in Frascati with The Old Frascati Wine Tour!
Leah Little has a full time job as a social worker, and has managed to travel the world while wearing beautiful clothes by knowing how to score deals in travel and fashion. Learn more about her journey here. Join the Leah Little Travel and Fashion tribe by entering your email to subscribe to be the first to learn new ways to enjoy the best in travel and fashion for less. Say hi and send her a message! Contact