Finding Joy and Feeling at Home in Nemi

By Mallie Given

As we have been traveling around Ariccia, Rome, and the Castelli Romani I have been most taken with the town of Nemi. The immense beauty the area possesses is astounding. The view of the Lake Nemi was the most breathtaking scenery I have ever seen.

As we were walking through town we were exposed to the wonderfully friendly people of Nemi, who are all very proud of their tiny strawberries. The miniature strawberries were such a treat and are Nemi’s well-known staple. They are so sweet to the taste and are excellent when added to any type of pastry or baked good.

Other aspects of Nemi that delighted me were the historical ruins from the ships belonging to the former Emperor Caligula during the first century. Hearing how the ships were originally sunk after the emperor’s death, but then drawn out of the water in the 20thcentury was remarkable. We also learned that during World War II these ships were badly burned and now there is only a fifth remaining of what thy ships had had originally. I found all of this history stimulating and I remained in awe thinking of all that history that was unearthed when they pulled the ships from the water. How amazing that time must have been for everyone apart of that excavation. I always love experiencing history as it was back when the famous history was made. Being in the town of Nemi was just that: the roads we walked up were still steep and difficult to climb, but I could not help but think of all the many people before that had taken these same steps. As we were climbing to the top of our trek we were able to stop and see a brick enclosure that was once used to wash clothes by hand, having continual running water into one end and having a system set up to separate the dirty water form the clean. I could see how the way things used to be done was with such care and cleverness.

Another part of Nemi that brought me joy was seeing a different cat on each corner we turned. They were all so sweet and friendly, rubbing against us and wanting love and affection. I have two cats at home and it was a sweet reminder that brought a smile to my face.

As our time came to a close in Nemi I finally began to really feel at home in Italy. I was able to realize that this is not just an opportunity to eat amazing foods and look at beautiful buildings. Instead, this is a time that is so precious in that I am able to walk in the footsteps of some of the most famous figures in history and see what made them love Italy as much as they did.  

The beautiful overlook of Lake Nemi, a view I will never forget.