The Alban Hills are the site of a dormant volcano complex, about ten miles southeast of Rome. The region encompasses two craters which contain starkly blue lakes: Lago Albano and Lago di Nemi.
The Alban Hills were sacred even before Rome came to power. The area was inhabited by the Latins during the 5th to 3rd centuries BCE.
In fact, the hills and the banks of the lakes have been popular since prehistoric times. From the 9th to the 7th century BCE, there were numerous villages that dotted the area. Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome, are said to have come from the royal dynasty of Alba Longa, the head of the Latin league.
Ever since, the Alban Hills have been a Roman weekend retreat. Less than an hour from central Rome, the area is blanketed by olive groves and vineyards. In Classical times, the hill towns were inhabited as a way to escape the heat and crowds of Rome.
Of the 15 some off towns on the hills, several are renowned for their wines. Another is known for the Pope’s lavish summer residence (Castel Gandolfo). Roman roads, temples, villas, and theatres are still partly preserved throughout the area.