Situated to the north of Rome, close to the borders of Lazio with Tuscany and Umbria, the city of Viterbo, capital of an extensive territory known as Tuscia, has Etruscan origins, testified by the numerous necropolis scattered in its surroundings.
Viterbo saw its heydays in the Middle Ages, if we consider the urban, monumental and artistic development of these years (the ceramic production of that time is impressive) but also because it was chosen as a residence by the Popes: evidence is the Palace of the Popes, in which the word "conclave” was created and it is still used to define the cardinals’ meeting for the election of the Pope.
In 1271 the people of Viterbo, tired of three years of indecision of the Cardinals, shut them "cum clave" (looked up with a key) in the great hall of the palace of the Popes and they opened up the roof, so to hasten the election of the new Pope Gregory X. The city hosted six Popes in total, including John XXI, the only Portuguese Pope in history. The area around Viterbo is also interesting. Starting our journey from Viterbo, more precisely from Bagnaia, it is possible to visit the extraordinary Villa Lante built in 1578 by Vignola’s project, who inaugurated with it the concept of “Italian gardens”, it represents one of the most interesting Renaissance villas to be found in central Italy.
The city of Popes
The historic town centre, surrounded by an imposing wall, is rich in buildings, fountains and monuments that conferm the past glories of the ancient “City of Popes”. Remaining in Viterbo in the country ward of San Martino al Cimino, it is worth visiting the Palazzo Pamphili, the cistercense Abbaye and the characteristic historic town centre (of the 17th century) with its famous “row of houses”, one of the first examples of town planning.
The city of the Popes is still characterized by the spirit of hospitality that drove the pilgrims of the sacred ways of Europe to stop and rest before the last effort to reach Rome to receive the forgiveness of the Jubilee. It offers itself to the visitor’s view in all its charm, made of fountains and stately homes, medieval alleys and towers, extraordinary monuments and museums full of testimonies of a precious past.
Moreover, the stories and the legends, the tradition not only of food and wine, the uncontaminated environment, the well-being of the thermal waters. The thermal area centered around Viterbo, consisting of various sulfur springs that are considered among the most abundant of Italy. Starting from Viterbo, just beyond the Terme dei Papi, there is an high concentration of rock tombs, the most interesting of Etruria to the charming unspoilt landscape that surrounds them as in the areas of Castel d'Asso and Acquarossa.
Francigena road is the name that is assigned to the path of pilgrims from northern Europe, across the Alps, traveling to Rome. Viterbo is one of the milestones along the Via Francigena and, as such, a number of hospices and hospitals were built for accommodation. In the decades following the year 1000, the beneficial initiatives for the pilgrims multiplied in Viterbo, perhaps like no other Italian contemporary city.
The geographic position of Viterbo puts its cuisine at the crossroads between the flavors of the Tuscan food, the roman gastronomy and the sim¬plicity of the Umbrian cuisine. Two key factors are the basis of the Viterbo area’s cooking: simplicity and authenticity.
The folklore in the Viterbo area has its roots in ancient folk traditions, handed down through the centuries and still deeply rooted. The feast of St. Rosa in Viterbo (3 – 4 September), is certainly the more traditional and fascinating event of the province.
A walk through Viterbo
From the beautiful medieval city wall, which surrounds the town center, to the countless churches, squares, fountains, stately homes, the city is a monument in the open air. Heart of the city center is the medieval district of San Pellegrino, once a destination for the jubilee pilgrims, coming from the sacred ways of Europe, heading to Rome, the holy city: small squares, narrow streets, towers and houses with the typical “profferlo”, and striking spots frozen in time. Not far away, the aforementioned Palace of the Popes, with the nearby and imposing Cathedral of San Lorenzo, and the Piazza del Gesù, with the church where Henry of Cornwall was assassinated in 1271, an episode dealt with by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy.
And also, Piazza del Plebiscito, with the Palazzo dei Priori, seat of the Town Hall, with its beautiful painted rooms, the interior garden dominated by Vignola’s fountain and the imposing clock tower, which still beats the rhythm for the people of Viterbo. A few meters away, Piazza delle Erbe and the fountain with the lions, symbol of the city. "City of the beautiful fountains and beautiful women," says an old proverb about Viterbo and in fact there is a fountain in every square, one more beautiful and evocative than the other.
Download now Enjoy Viterbo App
and explore the city with us!
The App is available in both languages, Italian and English, for smartphones and tablets, downloadable on the official stores. It's designed to facilitate contact between all companies and the end customer who wants to explore the city.
Download now Enjoy Viterbo to get your personal Fidelity Card with discounts and coupon, and win incredible prizes with Scratch and Win section!
Questo sito utilizza i cookie per fornire la migliore esperienza di navigazione possibile. Continuando a utilizzare questo sito senza modificare le impostazioni dei cookie o cliccando su "Accetta" permetti il loro utilizzo.