Today was our first free day since I have been here. I went with a group of 4 other people to Lake Bracciano, which is located about 45 minutes outside of Rome. We took the regional train out of Rome where it left us off at the most beautiful village called Bracciano. We followed the winding cobblestone streets until we turned the corner and saw this view... see photo under AP Studio Art Work tab. We then followed the road up a hill to the 15th century Castle Odescalchi of Bracciano which sits on top of the highest hill overlooking Lake Bracciano. It was a breathtaking sight!! We took a tour of the castle. It was once one of 126 fortresses of the different branches of the Orsini family which allowed them to control all roads to Rome and Naples.
I had the opportunity to draw while I was there. Even though my observational sketching is a little rusty, I ended up with a sketch I am pretty happy with from the castle. Just a little more work on it to make it finished...
After the tour we walked (or possibly could have easily log rolled...yes, it was that steep and long!) down the road to reach the beaches on Lake Bracciano. It has some of the bluest lake water I have ever seen, and I have been in the northern part of Michigan. We were able to take kayaks out on the water for an hour to explore the lake. It was a good thing that I put on sunscreen because there was not a cloud in the sky, again. I'm feeling pretty lucky and wondering when the tide is going to turn with the weather!
We then took the train back to Rome and ended up eating right beside the Vatican at a great little restaurant called L'Insalata Ricca. Of course, we had to save room because right around the corner from the restaurant is one of the other famous gelato places called Old Bridge. I can't think of a better way to end my evening with a gelato after another wonderful day in Italy!