I love Lake Martignano, a small volcanic crater lake about 15 miles NW of Rome. The area is very unspoiled: there are no roads nor houses around the lake and only two agrotourism farms in the environs (these are working farms that usually have a place to eat, a shop selling homemade cheeses, oil and such and a few rooms to rent for short stays). It’s an easy drive, although the last bit is on a single file path carved through tufa with a couple of blind turns and, given the Italian predilection for driving like insane people, is a bit hair-raising. The ‘beach’ at Martignano consists of rolling grassy lawns attached to the agrotourism farms. One of the beaches features hammocks and, inevitably, bongo drums. The other has a fenced-off area for dogs and that’s where Morgan and I went last Sunday. Lula stayed home because, although she loves to swim, she has grown increasingly grumpy and anti-social in her old age and I feared a mishap. Or several.
Entrance to the beach is 7 Euros for humans and that includes a beach chair. You need to buy a membership card for the dogs and that will set you back 20 Euros for 10 visits.
It was Morgan’s first time swimming (if you discount the time I cruelly tossed him into Susan’s pool) and I was anxious to see how my little terrier would do in the water. He went nuts, running up and down the beach, jumping into the water, chasing all the dogs and barking his fool head off. I don’t think I have ever seen him so happy.
There’s a great dynamic on the dog beach. Very few fights (because Lula wasn’t there), dogs shaking themselves dry and getting everybody wet, stealing each other’s frisbees and balls, digging holes in the mud at lake’s edge and generally having a grand old time. It was a bit cool and breezy so I took my sweet time getting into the water, but once I did, Morgan swam right alongside of me, all serious and dapper in his new summer haircut.
One thing to know before you go: it’s best to eat at home or grab something at the little bar on the beach. I made the mistake of pulling out a sandwich and was instantly surrounded by 50 drooling canines. Morgan was not pleased because, to his mind, that sandwich was rightfully his. He chased all the other dogs away and sat there giving me the hairy eyeball while I quickly finished it up.