Surroundings and Events
The Palazzo Dei Papi
The Palazzo dei Papi with its magnificent loggia is the epitome of Gothic style, which was spread in the Lazio region in the 13th century by Cistercian monks. Built in Piazza San Lorenzo, between 1255 and 1266, a period during which the popes made the city their permanent home, it has elements associated with both monastic and defensive construction that they built one of the city’s most striking and admired architectural landscapes.
Currently the Palazzo’s premises are used by the Curia and home to the Diocesan Archive, the Chapterhouse Library and the Cathedral Museum, whose visit also allows access to the Loggia and the Chamber of the Conclave.
Terme Dei Papi
Popes such as Gregory IX and Boniface IX went to Viterbo for its thermal waters. The spa’s renovation and expansion, carried out over the years by various popes, is the reason why the springs are called “Terme dei Papi”.
The spa’s current building has a swimming pool for vascular gymnastics and another indoor pool with hydro-massage. There are areas dedicated to inhalation treatments, mud therapy, saunas, massage, magnetic therapy and lymphatic drainage.
The heart of the spa are the springs of Bullicame (65 °C); the spring feeds a huge pool of more than 2000 m²; treatments specifically concern the respiratory and osteoarticular systems, and also skin diseases, kidney stones, digestive system diseases and so on. Qualified specialists and staff of Viterbo’s University are part of the team that carry out therapies and treatments.
San Pellegrino Quarter
It is one of the city’s oldest quarters that has best preserved its thirteenth century medieval aspect with narrow streets that open onto small squares surrounded by buildings, towers, porticoes with round arches and “profferli” ‒ outside staircases ‒ that reach flowered balconies.
The quarter’s centerpiece is Piazza San Pellegrino, where the eponymous church, from the Romanesque period, is located. Inside the few fragments of frescoes remind us of its lost beauty.
In Piazza San Pellegrino overlooking Palazzo degli Alessandri, it was built in the first half of the 13th century. The three-storey building has a large balcony, a striking lowered arch and exhibits a variation of the typical Viterbese “profferlo” which, instead of being created on the outside, is built inside the building’s perimeter wall. The staircase is decorated with a star pattern repeated on the shelving above it.
On the opposite side of Palazzo degli Alessandri is the Scaciaricci tower, a house with four floors and a tower.
“Le Querce” Di Sutri Golf Club
The course, consisting of 18 holes plus 3 more training ones and an organized practice-field, purposely built by then President of the Italian Golf Federation, Giuseppe Silva , was opened in 1990 and immediately esteemed for the way the ground, on which it stands, was used, regarding the natural use of a horseshoe-shaped ditch that crosses it and that becomes a natural obstacle.
Le Querce Golf Club is located in the Lazio countryside 40 kilometres from Rome. The course was designed and built by American architects George and Jim Fazio along with David Mezzacane. It was included in the Peugeot Golf Guide 2006-2007 among the top ten Italian courses.
Saint Rose and the “Macchina of Saint Rose”
Currently the saint’s body is preserved in the church dedicated to Her in a precious metal urn masterpiece by the goldsmith G. Giardini (1699 ), located at the second altar on the right.
In ancient times it was a small church dedicated to the Holy Mary of the Roses of Viterbo, built in 1215 together with the adjoining convent. Saint Rose was born in 1233 in the vicinity of this monastery and the legend says that in just ten years she helped organize the popular resistance against the imperial army of Frederick II; she was exiled from the city and died young in 1251; seven years later her mummified body was found and they decided to transfer it to the monastery, which was named after her. Every year, on the evening of September 3rd, a commemoration is held involving the entire city and many tourists. The commemoration includes the transport of a structure – “The Car of St. Rose” - about 30 m high and weighing more than 5 tonnes, which is carried on the shoulders of 100 volunteers along a path through Viterbo and that ends at the Church of St. Rose.
Tuscia Opera Festival
The Tuscia Opera Festival is a perfect opportunity to enjoy opera, ballet and to visit the medieval villages. You can listen to a multitude of artists in the beautiful Piazza del Palazzo Papale, where the first conclave was held in 1261.
Civita Di Bagnoregio
The small medieval village of Civita di Bagnoregio (443 m above sea level) rises above a tufa spur and is currently only accessible by a scenic bridge; from the village you can enjoy magnificent views of the valley below where the cliff, exposed to the erosive action of weathering, takes on the typical shapes of gullies (basins bordered by ridges and pinnacles).
Main monuments to visit are: the Porta Santa Maria (St Mary's Gate) of Etruscan origin, the church of San Donato with precious historical and religious relics like the relic of St. Victoria and the Grotto of St. Bonaventure.
Bomarzo and Its Gardens: The Park of the Monsters
The Sacred Grove of Bomarzo was created between 1552 and 1580 by order of Prince Vicino Orsini, a relative of one of the most powerful families of the time, the Farnese.
The idea was to create a majestic park on the slopes of a natural amphitheatre with fountains and large peperine (granite-like rock) sculptures, carried out by using the boulders that were already on site. The park displays the typical style of the spirit and cultural climate of the time, all aimed at the exaltation of scenic effects designed to “inspire wonder” and it is exactly this impression that you get when taking the tour along the park avenues.
The park, abandoned and forgotten for centuries, was rediscovered and restored by the new owner Giovanni Bettini from 1953; the work of numerous artists contributed to its appreciation by the general public, first among everyone the brilliant exponent of surrealism Salvador Dali (see the work “The Temptation of St. Anthony” from 1946 indeed inspired by the Sacred Grove).
The Coast of Tarquinia
The seaside town of Tarquinia Lido is located about 5 km from the city; it is characterized by a wide sandy beach and has a functional tourist infrastructure; it includes the coast between the mouth of the River Marta up to the ruins of Porto Clementino which formed a focal point of the local grain trade towards Rome and other Mediterranean ports.
Two key ingredients are essential for Viterbo gastronomy: simplicity and authenticity. The health-conscious will appreciate the “minestre” (soups) with all kinds of vegetables.
For those who prefer a richer cuisine, try the classic fettuccine (homemade pasta), lombrichelli (spaghetti made with flour and water), which change name depending on the area: cavatelli, bighi, culitonni, brigoli and piciarelli; and the traditional and unbeatable “hay” of Canepina (very thin and light pasta).
Among the noteworthy meat dishes is the Roman lamb dish, roasted, baked or “chasseur” (stewed in tomato, wine and herb sauce) and the variety of fried brain, liver, artichokes and mushrooms.
The fish, from the coast or lake, is cooked in all its variations, including the traditional “fish soup”.
Vegetables are a very popular dish. Do not forget stewed beans with pork rind and fresh chicory flavoured with garlic and anchovies.
Among the simple but tasty cheeses produced, there are pecorino (made from sheep’s milk), caciotta, ricotta and mozzarella.
Wines and Desserts
Viticulture is widespread throughout the region due to the favourable climatic conditions; both red and white dry wines are produced (Est! Est!! Est! Colli Etruschi, Colli Cimini, Valle del Tevere), as well as dessert wines(Cannaiola di Marta, Aleatico di Gradoli) a great complement for traditional desserts prepared with hazelnuts and chestnuts from the Cimini Hills.