Lake Albano, Italy: Home of the Pope Summer Residence

Only 20 kilometers South of Rome a solitary peak rises from the middle of the plains Campagna di Roma. This volcanic peak is Monte Cano, also known as Monte Albano, has a height of 956 meters, and is part of the Alban Hills (Colli Albani). It’s in the interior of the Albani crater where Lake Albano (Italian: Lago Albano) is found, which has presumably formed after the overlapping union of two volcanic craters. Not far from Lake Albano, inside the same crater is Lake Nemi, which has a smaller surface area and depth. Overlooking the lake is Castel Gandolfo, a small town of around 9,000 people considered one of Italy’s most scenic towns, which is also the papal summer residence.

Lake Albano Stats

Lake NameLake Albano
Surface area5.760
Maximum depth170.0
Average depth32.7
Lake typeVolcanic
Catchment area20.00
Shore length9.18
Residence time7435.6
Average discharge0.293

The Deepest Lake in Lazio

The depth of 170 meters, makes it the deepest lake in the Italian region Lazio. It is 3.5 kilometers long, 2.3 kilometers wide, and elliptical in shape. There are reports of the lake surging over the surrounding hills in 406 BC, destroying fields and vineyards. The lake also had an interesting name in antiquity: the inferno. However, the beautiful landscape with forests and grapevines around the lake certainly doesn’t call for such a nickname.

Lake Albano doesn’t have connections with the rest of the hydrographic network. Its water supply comes from rains and subterranean springs. In the 4th century BC, a 1.2-kilometer long, 1.8-meter tall and 1.2-meter wide tunnel was carved, in order to drain the water from the lake into the river Tiber. The tunnel ends below Castel Gandolfo, at a spot called Le Mole.

Lake Albano hosted the canoeing and rowing events of the 1960 Summer Olympic Games, which were held in Rome. It is still a popular weekend destination for many Romans.

Lake Albano Map