There are arguably many special qualities about the Italian town of Nemi, just outside of Rome. There’s the beauty, the pristine lake, the history and the tales of myth and magic… but it’s the strawberries that have made Nemi famous.
In an around Nemi there are more strawberries than you could have ever dreamed. Most notably, wild strawberries. You can identify these because they are much smaller than farmed strawberries (and sweeter). Every year in Nemi, during the first week of June, the town celebrates the spring harvesting of the strawberries that took place with a strawberry festival called Sagra Delle Fragole.
There are a number of different events, since the festival lasts so long, but travelers are guaranteed to taste something deliciously strawberry-related no matter which days they attend. There will be a parade, music, and a local tradition dating back to the end of WWI where girls dressed in fun, old timey traditional outfits hand out strawberries to passerby’s.
The festival isn’t just about eating the fresh strawberries in their natural state (though you can never go wrong with that). During the week, and for some products all year, restaurants and shops make special dishes infusing classic Italian cuisine with strawberries. You might find everything from strawberry marmalades and creamy desserts (like my favorite, pictured above) to strawberry risotto and strawberry pizza. And if you’re familiar with the popular Italian liquor Limoncello, then you’ll probably want to try it’s strawberry cousins during the festival in Nemi, Fragolino wine and Crema di Fragola liquor.
As if Italian delicacies as told by wild strawberries aren’t amazing enough on their own… try it with this view. The strawberry festival in the charming lake-view small town of Nemi makes for the perfect beginning to an incredible Italian summer.
All photos via Sarah Freeman