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If you find yourself in Rome during summer and the beaches close to the city aren’t your thing, you could give one of the many lakes near Rome a try. Believe me, after a few days of sightseeing in Rome in August, you’ll be ready for a cooling jump in the water. In August 2011, we spent one afternoon at the beach in Santa Marinella and another at lake Martignano, or lago di Martignano. It’s located about 60 kilometers northwest of Rome – very close to its much more famous cousin neighbor, the lake of Bracciano (remember the pictures of the wedding of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise?). These two lakes couldn’t be much more different though. While Bracciano has pretty cities surrounding the lake where you can take a stroll and eat out, Martignano has maybe one little house and almost no tourists (at least the side we always stay on – I doubt it’s any different on the other side). I’ve never actually been in the water at Bracciano, but we did explore some of cute surrounding towns and had dinner at a fantastic restaurant there. Another lake near Rome is the Lago Albano. We drove by there on our way to Velletri once and it looked perfect for an afternoon in the water. But let’s get back to Martignano for now…

Lake Martignano aka Lago di Martignano

As I said, the lake itself is much smaller and much less touristy than the lago di Bracciano. It’s not any less beautiful though! Its beauty lies partly in the fact that there are no big restaurants, no fancy gelaterias, no easy access with parking right at the lake… In fact, the lake is a little hard to find. The closest city is called Anguillara Sabazia. Follow this map provided by a local website for detailed directions or check out the Google map below for a more general idea of where Martignano is located. The final stretch, the Via Communale di Martignano, is a dirt road. This road will lead you directly to the top of the hill where there is a big parking lot that is guarded on most days – at least during summer. It’s not very expensive. However, if you want to save a few Euros, you can always park just a little further down the road. If you prefer the parking lot, make sure to bring some cash since that’s the only thing they will accept. From the parking lot you have to walk down to the lake which is located at the bottom of an old, old volcano. So basically, you are parking on the rim of an old volcanic crater and swim where lava used to flow. Neat, right? It’s about a ten minute walk down to the lake and the road can get a little steep at times, but it’s all worth it, I promise. Just wear decent shoes and not flip flops – like me. That will make it much easier!

When you get to the bottom, claim your spot on the sand or on the grass under some trees. There are a few chairs that can be rented, but mostly it’s pretty rough. Make sure to bring your own towels, sunscreen, sodas, and snacks. There is a small place that sells some things, but it’s not always open. You can just hang out and swim in the lake when you need to cool down, but you can also rent canoes, small sail boats and what they call pedalo in Italian – you know, those little boats you sit in and move forward by pedaling with your legs – if you like it a little more active. Some people have put together a website about the lago di Martignano with some information and more pictures if you are interested. Here it is: Lago di Martignano. It’s all in Italian though.

This post was submitted to Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Budget Traverels Sandbox. Head over there for more travel pics from around the world.

Rome to Martignano

Lago di Martignano from the plane

Lago di Martignano from the plane - via Wikimedia Commons

Lakes near Rome: Lake Martignano
Lakes near Rome: Lake Martignano
Lakes near Rome: Lake Martignano
Lakes near Rome: Lake Martignano
Lakes near Rome: Lake Martignano
Lakes near Rome: Lake Martignano

via Wikimedia Commons

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