Ancient ruins, the history of the Western world, infamous cuisine and innovative wine; discover where it all began in Lazio.

Maybe Lazio isn’t the first place you think of when you think of Italy, but we bet Rome is. Capital of the country, the Eternal City has been capturing the hearts of people for, well, eternity. Essentially one, large, open-air museum, Rome is a city of living history. The alleys twist onto Piazza Navona bursting with life of all kinds – people milling around fountains, the birds lazily circling and the dogs yapping. In Rome, the dust and the dirt, the noise and the smells, are the welcome proof of thousands of years of tradition.

Of course, Rome cannot be talked about without a loud mention of la cucina romana. Messy bowls of cacio e pepe, carbonara and amatriciana are never to be passed up. Neither are trippa alla romana, coda alla vaccinara or pollo e peperoni – staples of every Roman nonna. Not to mention the outstanding carciofi alla giudia, a culinary delight in the spring when the fields just outside the city burst ripe with artichokes.

All this great food naturally means good wine. While not quite in the same league as Veneto or Piedmont in terms of native grape varieties, Lazio is home to a few knock outs such as Frascati and Grechetto, both clean whites and Cesanese, a DOCG red that stands up to the salty, fatty guanciale that is so well loved in the Roman kitchen. The areas around Rome, such the Agro Pontino Valley and Castelli Romani are also a great place for international varieties such as Syrah and Chardonnay.

Fret not! We didn’t forget about all the art in our quest for good food and wine. From Michelangelo to Raphael, the churches and cathedrals – not to mention the very Vatican itself – proudly display some of the most renown masterpieces in the world. Then there are all the structural works of art, like the Trevi Fountain and Hadrian’s Pantheon, which was one of the most important visits on the original Grand Tour.

One thing that people tend to overlook when visiting Lazio are its amazing beaches. Romans view going to the beach as a summertime ritual, replete with its own specific cuisine and activities. Head to Fregene if you are into a party beat while laying out in the sun, Gaeta or Sperlunga for stretches of sand most frequented by locals or sail to the nearby Isola di Ponza for a truly upscale seaside experience.

A trip to Lazio is the ultimate exploration of art and history, culture and cuisine. The very beginnings of the Western world can be found on the cobblestone streets. They do say, after all, that all roads lead to Rome.