Overlooking beautiful Lake Albano, Castel Gandolfo has both the Pope and Porchetta
He missed seeing the Pope, or sampling the famous “porchetta“, and was nearly trampled underfoot by pilgrim hordes, but Tony Page enjoyed his visit to this friendly little town occupying high ground on the Alban Hills overlooking Lake Albano, site of the rowing at the Rome Olympics.
“Well here we are at Castel Gandolfo and this is the main lake, Lake Albano and the Pope’s palace (OK, “Summer Residence”). Anyway, over there in the distance is the Pope’s residence and this is the street that leads to the main square where in a bit I shall show you where the Pope talks occasionally from the balcony. Yep, the Pope is a popular guy around here as you can see from the limited selection of postcards.
“Okay, so here we are in the main square and these are some of the pilgrims or whoever – they’re all from France actually – they’ve all got their little placards, bus numbers and everything. I’ve stopped counting at 26 buses, so my God, it certainly was crowded around the car park with lots of people streaming all over the place.
“Now this is the main square, let’s just walk around here. It was full when we came so maybe the Pope has already been here and given his address, but we missed it.
“That is the entrance to the Pope’s residence and summer palace at the end and I’ll just go down here and you can actually see the Swiss Guards. There, can you see the Swiss Guards? As at the Vatican. Now we go up and we see the coat of arms and this is the balcony where the Pope talks to the assembled multitudes, at least that’s what they told me.
Porchetta Is A Speciality
“The other thing that Castel Gandolfo is famous for is porchetta, which is a sort of a barbecued suckling pig actually. People usually have it in sandwiches or similar ways. In fact it is quite common in Italy. I’ll just walk over here and show you this main shopping street. There’s no traffic throughout this place. Now let’s zoom in and if you look down there you’ll see people at some cafes and you can see through the back and if we come in now you’ll see there are restaurants which serve up this stuff. As I’m not a meat eater, I can’t tell you whether it is any good, but they tell me that it is good …if you like dead baby pigs…”