You’re about to read a comprehensive guide to the city of Anguillara Sabazia in central Italy, locally known simply as “Anguillara”. Anguillara Sabazia is the nearest to Rome of the three main cities overlooking Lake Bracciano. The most ancient part of Anguillara Sabazia is perched on a tuff cliff and is filled with cute alleys and small squares, more than the nearby lake towns of Bracciano and Trevignano Romano. The urban structure of the old town is medieval. The town takes its name from the shape of the coast, which forms a 90° angle (angulo in Latin), and also from the name of the family that ruled the area and built a fortress there around the 11th century (the Anguillara family). You can visit Anguillara Sabazia with an easy day-trip from Rome. Locals love it because it is a relaxing, beautiful getaway from the chaotic Rome. The best period to visit Anguillara Sabazia goes from June to November.
How do you get from Rome center to Anguillara Sabazia?
Get on the subway and get off at either the Piramide or Valle Aurelia station. From there, take one of the city trains heading to Bracciano or Viterbo, and get off at Anguillara Sabazia (make sure the train stops at Anguillara Sabazia before boarding). there are about two trains per hour. Ticket costs around €2.60. Anguillara Sabazia’s train station lies 4km from the cute city center, the boardwalk, and the beach. When you get off the train you can take the public transport “Schiaffini” for a short ride to get to the city center. Tell the driver you want to go to the “Lungolago” (boardwalk), or “lago” (lake); he will help.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN ANGUILLARA SABAZIA ITALY
Anguillara is a city of fewer than 20.000 residents, a tiny cozy thing compared to the metropolis that Rome has become. If you’re looking for a place to stay outside Rome but still conveniently connected to it, I couldn’t recommend Anguillara enough. I lived there myself for a while and even if the winters were a bit boring, with just a bunch of pubs and a little movie theater in the nearby town of Trevignano Romano, I didn’t really miss my hometown, Rome. Would you like to visit Rome but also to be able to escape the crowds, the scammy places, and the pollution due to the crazy amount of cars in the center? Do you like to be able to see and enjoy a crystal-clear lake whenever you want? Anguillara Sabazia on Lake Bracciano might be the right place for you. The city is generally laid-off, and even at peak hours, the view of the lakes is uplifting, not to mention the countless attraction and activities you can do if you rent a car and explore the area. I’m talking about hiking, horse-riding, windsurfing, kayaking, basking in thermal baths, exploring ghost towns, and mysterious ruins… The north-west province of Rome is amazing! Let’s see first the things you can do in Anguillara Sabazia itself.
On foot exploration of Anguillara Sabazia, Italy
My favorite activity in Anguillara Sabazia is strolling along the lake’s promenade known as the “Viale Reginaldo Belloni”. On one side, the beautiful lake surrounded by lush hills, on the other side, a few coffee shops and restaurants at the shade of tall plane trees. If you visit during the summer, you need to bring your bathing suit and sunscreen with you. There are parts of the beach with very convenient beach facilities but you can mostly feel free to place your beach towel, have a picnic, and have a refreshing swim in the lake that will make you forget about all those interesting Rome monuments.
Itinerary in Anguillara Sabazia Italy
After you’ve had a look inside the tiny “Chiesa Della Madonna Delle Grazie” church which you can find along the boardwalk, in front of the lovely coffee shop “Il Principe”, that makes amazing ice cream and pastries keep walking on Via del Molo and Via Delle Rupi until you reach a small square that looks like an amphitheater. You’ll have reached one edge of the promenade or “lungolago”. Take a look at this side of the steep cliff tuff cliff on which the city was built in ancient times. Anguillara Sabazia flourished during the Middle Ages; it was fortified and the houses’ foundation was part of the actual stone, as you find also in many other villages of the Tuscia Region. Take your time to hang around the main gathering point or “Piazza del Molo”, where you can get again coffee, gelato, frozen yogurt, sliced pizza, or a quick meal at the cafeteria “Il Gabbiano”. You might bump into the open-air market on a summer weekend. Now you can reach the top of the cliff – it’s just a short climb. Walk up the stairs from the Piazza del Lavatoio to the Piazza del Comune where you can see the Fountain of the Eels. Keep going up to the lookout point at the medieval tower, and walk to the church of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as the Collegiata Church, from where you’ll have stunning views of the blue water of Lake Bracciano. Don’t forget to get lost in the alleys…
POINTS OF INTEREST IN ANGUILLARA SABAZIA
Fountain of the Eels.
“Eel” is translated “anguilla” in Italian. The eel is commonly identified as the archaic symbol of the town of Anguillara Sabazia and of the House of Anguillara, which used to rule in the region. Other researchers argue that the name of the city derives from the Latin word “angularia” (translated “which forms an angle”), and must relate to the shape of the promontory on which the town lies. The fountain of the eels is located next to the massive old gate of the town and in front of the town hall (Baronial Palace).
Fountain of the Eels in Anguillara Sabazia
The Baronial Palace
This was erected in the 16th century, and today hosts the municipal headquarters or town hall. It preserves some frescoes which were recently restored.
The Medieval Tower
It is now the home of the Farmer’s Museum. From the garden surrounding the tower, there is another sweet view of the lake.
The Collegiata Church
This late-medieval church was only renovated once. Some of the frescoes date back to the 14th century. The church is the highest point in the old town and marks one of the most spectacular views of Lake Bracciano.
Church of San Francesco
This church dates back to the XV century and hosts what was once a monastery of Franciscan Monks. It needed several renovations but still presents the original structure and materials. It hides remarkable frescoes, especially in the apsis.
Hike from Anguillara Sabazia to Lake Martignano
This is an easy 2-hour hike in the countryside from the town of Anguillara Sabazia to Lake Martignano. The lake lies hidden from sight among the green valleys of a nature reserve. You need to bring a bit of food and water with you, since the area is completely isolated, but you can find plenty of shade under the many trees along the beach. This is a fine place to relax and contemplate nature. To reach the lake, start walking at the intersection of the Via Anguillarese and the Via Della Mola Vecchia (you can get here with a bus ride from the lake or from the train station), then follow the instructions on your Google Maps until you get to the lake. When you get to the highest point of the hike, just before you will need to start hiking down to reach Lake Martignano, you’ll be able to get a panoramic view on Lake Bracciano as well. This is one of the easiest hikes near Rome and you will enjoy it even if you have kids with you, but remember to wear hiking shoes, and avoid going in case of bad weather.
Beyond Anguillara Sabazia
If you love the region, you should keep exploring! There are so many amazing places to see. Rent a car and give yourself more days to get to know this fantastic, underrated area in the Lazio region. Get inspired, I’ll mark all these places on the map:
The beach in Vigna di Valle
The ghost town of Canale Monterano
The Altieri Palace in Oriolo Romano
The Macchia Grande Forest in Manziana
The Etruscan Necropolis in Cerveteri
WHERE TO EAT: RESTAURANTS IN ANGUILLARA SABAZIA
Even if the nearby cities of Bracciano and Trevignano Romano have a wider offer of restaurants and cafes, Anguillara will not disappoint you either. Let’s find out the local dishes and the places where you can have them. Having dinner with the sunset on the lake as a background is an experience you shouldn’t skip on your visit to Anguillara 🙂
Lake and sea fish at the Pescheria Toto fish-shop and restaurant
A fish-shop facing the lake with tables, menus, and a kitchen. Have the catch of the day straight-away. Specialties are the variety of fried saltwater and freshwater fish, fish salad, and supplì with fish. The fish burgers are really good too. You can have them together with a glass of wine or a beer. If you get there at the aperitivo hour, you’ll have a glass of your favorite drink plus fried fish for €10.
Fried fish at Pescheria Toto
Il Chicco d’ Oro | Best bakery in Anguillara
This is the small and incredible bakery where I used to buy bread, sliced pizza, cookies, and small pastries that are some of the most popular foods of Rome‘s tradition. This place has the best quality for baked goods. Products go away fast. If you want to try the delicious croissant and the sliced pizza try and get there in the morning.
Harvey Restaurant Pizzeria
This restaurant makes pizza and a lot of traditional Italian dishes. A simple, classic restaurant with big rooms, so that you’re sure to find a seat. Try the local specialty “tagliolini di lago”, spaghetti with freshwater fish from the lake and cherry tomatoes.
Pizzeria da Brontolo
This place specializes in pizza, and it’s got more than 100 varieties! The cook likes to offer customers a challenge: if they can eat a huge pizza in less than 20 minutes, that pizza is for free… For a new twist in the way of pizzas, try the pizza with honey and walnuts.
Vapoforno Coffee shop and bakery
A place where you can get your meal at pretty much any time of the day. Start with a classic breakfast with cappuccino and cornetto, then come back at lunch when you can choose from the showcase which dishes of the day you want to try. They have all kinds of baked goods, including sliced pizza, and many desserts. Locals come here mainly at the aperitivo hour – when you order a drink, you get a tray of sliced pizza, home-made chips, and other snacks (as shown in photo).
Caffè-gelato shop “il Principe”
Because of its location and the number of outside tables facing the lake, in a privileged position next to an ancient church, this deserves the top spot among all the coffee shops in Anguillara. This is also the place for gelato in Anguillara, they make the best one.
Roughly one km from the historical center, this pizzeria makes amazing pizza of any kind. They work mostly with take-out, but they do have a dining room on the first floor and an outside garden, if you want to eat there. Because of the convenient prices and the exceptional quality, this place is popular among families with kids. Their supplì (typical balls of rice with ragu or vegetarian filling, covered in breadcrumbs and fried) are undoubtedly the best in town.
Il Gabbiano Cafeteria
The interior looks like a tiny, traditional Italian coffee-shop, but the porch overlooking the pier has comfy seats and room for everyone. Besides coffee, drinks, and gelato, they prepare abundant, economic panini, cold-cut platters and salads with fresh local ingredients. Recommended particularly for vegan and vegetarian travelers.
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I hope you liked this guide to the town of Anguillara Sabazia in central Italy… let me know in the comments if it was helpful on your trip!