Viterbo, the city of popes

 

The medieval heart, with its interweaving of ancient stones, shades west towards the Maremma plain, and stops behind the city in front of the Cimini Mountains; to separate the oldest historical sites from the modern city there are still the walls of a time, while in the south-western outskirts you can admire the archaeological and spa areas. We’re in Viterbo, in Lazio, in the provincial capital known as the “City of Popes”.

It was the 13th century, indeed, when the papacy settled here, in northern Lazio, and it stayed there for about 25 years: then in 1257, it was Pope Alexander IV to transfer here the Papal  Curia from Rome, and things remained unchanged until Pope Martin IV, elected in 1281, brought it back to the Eternal City. Tuscia was the name by which the area of Viterbo was known in ancient times, so named by the Etruscan population who once lived in the north of Lazio. The region of Viterbo is undoubtedly an area rich in history and art, one of the best preserved in Italy, important testimony of the genius and mystery of the Etruscans.

10 THINGS TO DO IN VITERBO

1. WALK THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE HISTORICAL CENTER. Do not miss the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, the church of Santa Rosa and Palazzo dei Priori, initially thought as a bishop's residence and then became, since the Renaissance, true social and institutional center of the city, a role that still holds today.

2. VISIT THE PAPAL PALACE, the most important monument of Viterbo’s medieval life. It was built to mark the transfer of the headquarters of the Papal Curia in 1257 by Pope Alexander IV.

3. PASS THROUGH THE MEDIEVAL ALLEYS OF DISTRICT SAN PELLEGRINO that, with its bridge houses, the towers and the buildings, preserves the medieval structure of the city intact.

4. RELAX IN THE THERMAL PARK BAGNACCIO, a spa area in open countryside which includes a variety of sources, both hyper-thermal (65-66°C) and hypothermal (23-29°C), accompanied by significant gas emissions.

5. ATTEND THE TRANSPORT OF THE “MACCHINA DI SANTA ROSA”, a spectacular event unique in the world, dedicated to the patron Santa Rosa, which takes place on September 3 of each year.

6. CATAPULTING IN THE FANTASTIC WORLD OF BOMARZO'S PARK OF MONSTERS, a natural park populated by mythological animals, gods and gigantic stone monsters that, for over 500 years, frightens, amazes and wonders every visitor who passes through it.

7. HAVE BREAKFAST AT THE PASTRY SHOP LE COSE BUONE, (via della Marrocca, 66), a charming little corner of taste in the heart of the historic city center. The selection of high quality local products and the excellent workmanship come together in an impeccable presentation, courtesy and utmost professionalism.

8. EAT ALL TRADITIONAL DISHES AT OSTERIA DEL VECCHIO OROLOGIO (via Orologio Vecchio, 25), one of the busiest restaurants in Viterbo. Thanks to the new local management, the inn offers a reinterpretation of old recipes, but still with respect for tradition. Local products and seasonal dishes in a friendly atmosphere.

9. TASTE AND PURCHASE THE COLD CUTS OF SALUMIFICIO COCCIA (via Lega dei Dodici Popoli, 7), for 60 years interpreter of taste, tradition and authenticity of the made in Italy. Upon entering the store, you will be welcomed by the many wonders arranged in  the counters, hams, salami of all shapes and qualities, and an atmosphere full of perfumes enclosing all the quality of Norcina’s and Viterbo’s classic production

10. STAY IN NATURE AT THE TENUTA VALLE CENTO (SS Cassia - Loc. Settevene, Nepi), a charming farmhouse set in 100 hectares of green valleys and forests, owned by the Nori family. Tenuta Valle Cento offers a simple and genuine cuisine that uses products grown on the farm and selected ingredients from local companies, at a distance of 0 km.