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Food, wine and antiquity in Frascati and the Roman hills

On sultry evenings, canny city-dwellers escape the heat for carafes of chilled white and traditional foods in maker-run wine bars a short train ride from Rome

‘We’re going for an aperitivo,” says our guide, Valerio, “but first we need to shop.” In Frascati’s ancient centre, we head to a norcineria (pork butcher’s) for a selection of cured meats, then a deli for olives and panzanella (crunchy bread salad with tomatoes and lots of oil and aromatics) and the all-night bakery for sourdough bread.

We settle with our goodies at a battered table outside Osteria dell’Olmo and order a carafe of chilled white. Owner Remigio Sognatesori doesn’t bat an eyelid, because bringing your own food is a time-honoured custom in the fraschette (maker-run wine bars) of the Castelli Romani, 17 small towns on volcanic hills south-east of Rome, of which Frascati is the liveliest.

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