Friday, August 19, 2011

Cool Italian and Russian gardens and pools

keeping cool in Pza. S. Egidio 
 The summer heat wave is again upon us... and since we are no longer  youngsters we have had to say "no" to the many invitations and  happenings  this weekend.

When its this hot we get up early (6 a.m.) like the local farmers do then by  10:30 a.m. its time to  stay indoors, behind the wooden shutters (persiane) which along with the  ancient, thick walls keep  the heat out.  
no need for air conditioning 

  A plus  during these hot days is that there are finally  lots of parking spaces, for the town is almost deserted.  Most people head for a  one of the nearby  lakes (Lake Vico, Bolsena  or  Bracciano)  or   perhaps the grassy lawns at this ancient Roman swimming hole.   

This  circular  pool is actually  a frigidarium   dating  from Roman times at  Le Pozze  di San Sisto half way between  Viterbo  and  Vetralla. Its  icy  waters are  balanced  by an  adjacent  hot  pool  caldarium  and another   luke warm  one.   

For    tourists and visitors  here are some  more of  the  coolest places  around: 
  • If you  are a cruiser   docking  at  Civitavecchia you  could   trade  a hot, exhausting  day in Rome  for  a visit  to Tarquinia  where the  Etruscan tombs  and   quiet churches  such as  S. Maria in Castello provide  welcome respite.  For  a  glance of  this magnificent church  see  Dietmeyer's website.
fountain in front of Tarquinia's city hall

fountain of  the Moors, Villa Lante, Bagnaia 
River  god  fountain, Villa Lante, Bagnaia
(photo  by John Ferro Sims) 

  • Garden lovers  will love   the historic gardens of Villa Lante  where  the  trickle of  fountains  and  mossy pools  give  welcome  relief from the heat. 
grotto , Villa Lante 

water gurgles  down the rope fountain, Villa Lante
 In  the hill town of  Soriano nel Cimino another   fountain comes  complete with a   waterfall. Perfect  for  a cool walk  is  the   Faggetta, the mountain top  forest located   above  Soriano.
Papacqua   waterfall, Soriano nel Cimino

 Here are a few of the  romantic, cool spots I have enjoyed  discovering  in these past  years while lecturing aboard cruise ships.  
  • in Montenegro the fiord   (Bocche  di Cattaro) leading  up to  the  port of  Kotor

  •  The gardens of Peterhof,  outside the city  of  St. Petersburg , Russia are another perfect  place to catch some coolness. 
    Grand Cascade and canal to  the gulf of Finland, Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia
    The majestic fountains and gardens  overwhelm visitors

    Peterhof fountain, St. Petersburg , Russia 

    the Pyramid fountain, Peterhof gardens, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Oia on the  Greek  island  of Santorini is famed for its  whitewashed  houses  and blue domed churches 

The  same  turquoise color  can be found here  in Vetralla in a   romantic  pool  inside  a grotto. 

a private pool half in, half out of  a grotto 

 Read more about our local wash house on  my article on  Italian Notebook 


  1. Some of your images actually began to make me feel cooler, not easy as I'd just spent a couple of hours ironing! Christina

  2. thanks for the positive feedback...I put the Villa Lante photos in for you and other gardeners.

  3. Nice post! The photo of Villa lante looks a bit like the gardens of Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola. They're also a great place to cool off (after looking around the beautiful Palazzo of course).

  4. Pete, you are correct--the same artisans worked in both gardens.
    ARen't we lucky to have such historic gardens and palazzi here ? Another is Castello Ruspoli in Vignanello. Have you visited it ?

  5. here is another cool place just behind my house I'll try to add some photos I just took...

  6. my favourite cool place is certainly the Riva Fiorita at Lago de Vico ! when it was 40° C at the oliveto we found it was at least to 8° cooler in the shade of the trees near the lake. We went up there most of the afternoons during our stay in July

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.