According to the words of Virgil in the Aeneid as well as in actual fact, the town of Ardea has had a glorious past, especially in the Archaic period, when, unrivalled, it controlled trade between the Hellenic and the Roman world.
Much loved by artists and poets, like Gabriele D’Annunzio, it has always entranced its illustrious visitors with its wild beauty, including the sculptor Giacomo Manzù, who settled here in the early 1960s.
There is now a museum devoted to Giacomo Manzù, which houses a large number of the artist’s works.
The Landriana Gardens are splendid and well worth visiting in spring or summer; they stretch over 10 hectares in a large estate on the Lazio shore and contain a huge range of botanical varieties, set among ponds, avenues and specialist gardens.
Due to the presence of the Albani Hills volcano, Ardea is renowned for the quality of its spring water, with its high concentration of bicarbonate, calcium e magnesium.
Several equestrian centres show how strong horse-racing tradition is in the area. Famous horses like Varenne, one of the most acclaimed racing trotters in the world of all time, have been bred here.
The wide open spaces found in this area make Ardea ideal for golf, among other sporting activities.
The local cuisine is influenced by Roman culture and by the sea. From spaghetti alla gricia [a white version of amatriciana], to amatriciana itself, to carbonara; main dishes: tripe, coratella [made with offal], oxtail stew and abbacchio allo scottadito [suckling lamb].
As for seafood, we find spaghetti alle telline,[with clams] little gnocchi with seafood and rocket, tonnarelli pasta with anchovies and pecorino, or with squid, and fried fresh fish.
Vegetable dishes include pan-fried chicory, chicory shoots in anchovy sauce, the rustic pantano tomato of Ardea and the spunta variety of potato.
And for those with a sweet tooth, boccacce, sweet fried pizza, and Maritozzi, cakes made with pine nuts, raisins, candied orange peel and cream, should do the trick