Nemi: Land of Strawberries and Goddess Diana

Next we visited Nemi, which is a charming town that overlooks sparkling lake and claims Diana as the town’s patron goddess according to legend. Nemi is known for their strawberries and delicious strawberry tarts, which of course I tried. These are the wild, natural, and flavorful strawberries too- not the giant bio-engineered ones trucked over from who-knows-where.

Nemi hosts a Strawberry festival in June that is suppose to be a ball. I wasn’t there at the right time to catch it though.

Nemi’s Ships and Crazy Caligula

Nemi was once (and I guess still is) known for their giant ship remains from a long-expired ruler, Caligula. Caligula was a big partier and, in fact, quite a pervert. Apparently he was really into bestiality.

Knowing he would be shunned, he took his goat-cuddling parties to the sea, building two huge pleasure ships that he lived on and hosted parties on (basically the original yacht party). Perhaps it was the punishment of God, or just poor construction, but the ships eventually sank.

Many years later, excavation teams wanted to drag the ships out. They couldn’t manage to get them out of the lake, so they drained the entire lake and pulled them ashore (I didn’t realize what a big deal this was until I saw the lake. It’s no bathtub!) There are some really cool old photographs of when they drained the lake and pulled the ships up in a local cafe that Ivano brought us to.

The ships were put in a museum in Nemi, but it got bombed during WWII, and now only a tiny part of the ship remains, with a much smaller museum.

Nemi also had this lion head fountain that poured out fresh water that was naturally slightly sparkling. Pretty cool stuff!

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