marcus travel journal
Originally founded by the Etruscans, and later taken over by the Romans, Viterbro has held a place. In the 13th Century it became the residence of the Popes.
World War II resulted in a fair amount of damage to Viterbo. But, the town was rebuilt. We were impressed with the centre of the town. It has been over twenty years since we were in Viterbro, but are returning in 2018. You will be impressed with the narrow streets and massive palaces the are on both sides of the streets.
The Piazza del Plebiscito is surrounded by 15th and 16th palaces. The Palazzo dei Priori is open daily, but remember it will close over the lunch break. There is an impressive 17th century fountain in the courtyard.
The Cathedral di San Lorenzo dates from the 12th Century. The Sala del Conclave is where the elections for the Pope took place and it is at the top of the steps, and included with your admission ticket to the Cathedral.
The Chiesa di Santa Maria Nuova, restored after the bombing of World War II, include beautiful cloisters that are worth a visit. The Baptistery dates to the 13th Century and is located behind the cathedral. Octogonal in shape with a doom, it is green and white marble. Simple inside, with a stark appearance. The Sansovino baptismal font is impressive, all made from white marble.
The Chiesa di San Francesco was also restored after World War II bombing. It contains tombs, with lavish decorations, for two Popes (Clement IV, 1268 and Adrian V, 1276). The tomb of Adrian has work by the artist Cosmati.
The Roman Theatre is located near the walls and has 19 rows of seats remaining as well as part of the stage and column.
The Thermal Springs, that is why the Roman's established this town as a resort, are located 3 km west of the town itself. None of the old Roman bath structures remain.
Sights Near Viterbo.
Villa Lante is a villa with an impressive garden, complete with an array of fountains. The villa has two almost identical houses built by two different owners. The gardens feature cascades, fountains and dripping grottoes. The water works are bgy Ghinucci, a hydraulics engineer. If you like ornate Italian gardens, you will enjoy Villa Lante. The Villa is about a 12 minute drive from Viterbo.
Civita di Bagnoregio
Civita di Bagnoregio is located about 30 km north of Viterbo, about 35 to 40 minutes by car. Here you walk up a long narrow walkway to the top of a hill to reach an old town that is just enjoyable to walk about. When we were in this town some 20 years ago, we just walked up the walkway. Now tickets are available in the ticket office in the Bagnoregio village.
Monte Romano Drive
A pleasant drive, that has views over the rolling hills of Lazio, with the remains of an aquaduct appearing and dissappearing is to drive from Vetralla towards Tarquinia along the S2 bis road. That was my drive through heaven last year and we are returning again in 2018. The acquaduct appears as you past the town of Monte Romano heading towards Tarquinia.
Every morning I would head our from Montalto di Castro to visit some of the towns in the area. My morning to see the sunrise in Tarquinia was spectacular. Located on a ridge, the view from the piazza over the valley is great. Lots of intereseting churches and buildings to view in the town. Tarquinia is less than 50 km from Viterbo, but you don't make that much time on the small roads. Just spend the time and enjoy the drive.
About a half-hour drive from Viterbo, Tuscania is one of the charming towns that luckily is not overrun with tourism.
Known as little Jerusalem because of the historical Jerwish community, this is an interesting town located on tufa rock with a lush valley below. As a point of reference, it is an hour's drive from Viterbo.