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The Roman ships excavated from the lake were large and quite technologically advanced. It is said that Emperors Tiberius and Caligula sailed on the lake to show that they were rulers aligned to the stars and the Earth's perpetual life force.
In its time Lake Nemi has not only called to emperors but to artists. The American painter George Inness painted the lake during his second trip to Italy, a work that he considered one of his best. There is also a 1976 novel by Muriel Spark, which features a story set among three fictitious villas on the bank of the lake.
The Nemi Ships
The Nemi Ships were built by the Emperor Caligula during the 1st century AD, the largest designed to be a very elaborate floating palace. The ancient ship boasts baths, heating, mosaic floors and marble. Both of Caligula's Nemi Ships made use of the most advanced technology available at the time. It is believed that while building the ships the Emperor was influenced by the lifestyles of the Hellenistic rulers from Ptolemaic Egypt and Syracuse.
Nearly a hundred years later Francesco De Marchi used a diving bell and dove on the wreck. De Marchi was able to determine that tenon and mortise joints had been used during the construction. At the time there was no scholarly interest in the ships so no further investigations were conducted.
With the help of the Navy, private individuals and industry, and the Army, an old Roman water conduit that linked the lake to the farms was reactivated. In 1928 the level of the lake began to drop and the first ship broke the surface in March of 1929. A museum was built to the ships in 1936.
POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATIONS
The town boasts several 18th century churches and the main monument in the area is the Castello Ruspoli. The 10th century castle dominates the entire landscape. Visitors to Nemi should also try their famed wild strawberries, which are small in size but very sweet. The strawberries are grown on the sides of the lake where the climate is warm and pleasant. Every year a strawberry festival is also held in the town.
Genzano di Roma
Every year in the month of June the Infiorata religious and folk festival is held in the town. During the festival, held every Sunday and Monday after Corpus Christus for more than two centuries, the entire street of Via Italo Belardi is decorated with allegorical carpets made of flowers. A masked parade also takes place where the town's citizens dress in traditional medieval clothes. During the spring months there is a Mini Infiorata where the children of the town decorate the street on their own.