Everyone loves the Eternal City, but there’s no denying it’s hard going: hot, chaotic and painfully inefficient. So the last time I visited for work, I spent an inordinate amount of time beforehand researching a coastal retreat for the final day and night of my stay. The criteria: convenient to Fiumicino, ideally with a pool, characterful but not tatty, a treat but not ostentatious.
La Posta Vecchia, as beautiful as it is, was just too indulgent. So eventually I settled on the Alle Tamerici, a couple of kilometres along the coast in Ladispoli. A fraction of the price of its decadent neighbour, the hotel was a delightful find. Tasteful, rustic-style rooms around a painstakingly kept lawn and large inviting pool. The staff were friendly and service was good (in that uniquely Italian nonchalant way), and they even indulged my obsession with silence by moving me from a room with a faintly dripping cistern to a larger and more luxurious room (of the same category) with peaceful plumbing.
The Alle Tamerici is right on the coast, a short walk from the town centre, and has its own private beach. After a restful night spent listening to the sea, I enjoyed a decent breakfast and a refreshing swim in the enormous, empty pool, before settling down with my laptop in the shade to catch up on some work. For my last lunch of the trip, I had possibly the best caprese of my life followed by some seriously good fish and a glass of local white at the hotel’s seafront restaurant, which was exceptional in every sense.
Make no mistake, Ladispoli beach is not pretty in any traditional sense. The sand is a dirty black and the water was rough and cloudy. I knew this in advance and had decided to make a compromise, but what the town lacks in beauty it sure makes up for in charm. The direct, regional train from Rome only takes about 45 minutes, but there’s a deeply provincial feel about little Ladispoli. There’s one main shopping street leading down from the station to the seafront, and alighting after work, I was thrown headlong into that inimitable, intoxicating atmosphere of the evening passeggiata.
Though Italy is blessed with plenty of spectacular beaches, many such places have become victims of their own success: overpriced, crowded and with an ambiance dampened by the self-consciousness that comes with tourism. The same can’t be said of Ladispoli. Staying at the Alle Tamerici was something of a punt; it could have gone either way. In the end, the experience exceeded all expectations and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to escape the bedlam of the capital for an authentic taste of the provinces.