VITERBO AND AROUND
This area lies mid way between Rome and Tuscany and it boasts both the scenic countryside of the latter and the historical background of the first.
The town of Viterbo is easily associated to the Middle Ages and to the Papacy, as it rivalled Rome as official papal seat during the XIII century. Here the longest conclave took place: almost three years were needed to elect pope Gregory X in 1271. Still it hosts a scenic Papal Palace, next to endless churches and fountains, medieval alleys and walls, the famous sanctuary of Santa Rosa which is connected to one of the most popular folklore and spiritual events in Italy, the transportation of the so called “Macchina”, a huge tower of five tons requiring well prepared porters for this unique night procession of September the 3rd.
The fortress called Rocca Albornoz is the seat of the archaeological museum reminding also the importance of Viterbo for its pre-roman and roman history: a lot of excavations around town created this interesting collection of Etruscan and Roman pieces.
Complete your day trip:
archaeo fans and active travellers
There are many options in the archeological field just next to Viterbo: for instance the Etruscan necropolis of Castel d’Asso, the burial area of the ancient town of Axia where hundreds of ancient stone caskets are just there for you to explore. You’ll find yourself face to face with chisel marks and artistic carvings older than the Roman empire. The tombs are surrounded by beautiful hikes through cliff sides and forests. About a kilometer from the tombs sits a solemn medieval tower, accessible by staircase, the top of which holds a beautiful view of the ruins, as well as the countryside of Tuscia.
For those more versed into the Roman history, Fèrento is a perfect destination: you find here the ruins of an old town and especially remarkable is the theatre, dating back to the Augustan age and still preserving the original outer arcades
Vetralla is a nearby town which deserves a visit, especially for the gothic/romanesque church of St. Francis dating back to the XII century. The main work is a fresco of “St Ursula and the Virgins” by a follower of Benozzo Gozzoli. Interesting is also the crypt incorporating Roman elements, probably coming for the nearby location called Forum Cassii, two km away, next to the roman Via Cassia.
Also Sutri can be an interesting stop, for its ancient amphitheatre and the dark mythraeum converted in a medieval chapel called “Madonna del Parto”.
relax seekers and nature lovers
Several hot springs for a relaxing bath and a massage are accessible from Viterbo, more or less formal and confortable, for any taste.
In summer we recommend a stop at the uncontaminated Lake of Vico
families and romance
The “Park of the Monsters” in Bomarzo was created in the 16th century by Pier Francesco Orsini and contains surreal sculptures with a mysterious connection. Here, you’ll find sirens, elephants, Cerberus, a huge ogre with its open mouth, a dragon…. Children are amused by the strangeness of this complex and become happy explorers of the park!
The legend tells the park was devoted to the memory of the love of the prince, the wife Giulia Farnese, and this makes the walk in this fabulous garden a very romantic promenade