Frascati is home to a number of grand villas built by some of Rome's most powerful and wealthy families as retreats from the city's sweltering streets. Most of Frascati's day tourists make a beeline straight from the train station to visit the elaborate gardens of Villa Aldobrandini (right), the largest of the estates. I headed in the opposite direction, climbing a steep stone staircase to get to the compact center of town.
The Queen of Porchetta is actually named Isabella Leoni, who operates one of four porchetta stands in Frascati's utilitarian shopping piazza. Standing for a few minutes and observing the activity, it was easy for me to decide where to get my porchetta sandwich. One by one, they all made their way to Isabella's stand: the banker in a suit and tie; the pierced, leather-clad teenagers; the sanitation guys on their lunch break.
The region surrounding the Colli Albani is known for its preparation of porchetta, and Isabella hails from the Ariccia, the area's official porchetta town. Ariccia is popular for its numerous fraschette, simple little places to have a quick bite from a very limited menu that features porchetta. Complete with open, outdoor seating, people from neighboring towns gather at Ariccia's fraschette on weekend nights, eating slices of porchetta by hand and enjoying a glass of the local DOC wine. Isabella has taken her traditional Ariccia porchetta on the road and set up a satellite court in Frascati.
An added bonus was the price tag. My day trip, including round-trip transportation, fantastic scenery, and a seriously flawless sandwich, came in at under €10 (US$15.57 at time of publication). Bravo!
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