Summer is a glorious time to be in Italy with rich red poppies waving lazily in the breeze as far as the eye can see and if you find yourself in the environs of Rome and want to take a break from all the art, architecture and crowds, make a little side trip to the charming town of Nemi (19 miles south of Rome) nestled in the Roman hills and overlooking volcanic Lake Nemi. This area is famed for its fragoline di bosco, wild strawberries, small, succulent and extremely sweet.
Each year, Italians from all over the boot descend on this tiny town for the Sagra della Fragole (strawberry festival) that takes place on the first Sunday in June. Brightly costumed young girls parade through the town offering sweet samples to visitors. All kinds of strawberry confections are for sale from strawberry jam, to little tarts, strawberry pizza and of course, gelato!
You will never taste strawberries like these anywhere else! Italians serve them in many ways but a favorite is strawberries with wine. After hulling and cutting them in half lengthwise, sprinkle them with a good Chianti or even a sparkling white wine, add sugar and refrigerate them for a couple of hours. The strawberries from Nemi never go far because those fortunate to live there or close by know a good thing when they eat it.