The province of Viterbo has an area of 3,612 sq.km and is bordered to the north by the region of Tuscany, to the north east by the region of Umbria and the province of Rieti, to the south by the province of Roma and to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea. The area is also unofficially, but quite commonly, known as Tuscia.
It is a fertile, green province which is dotted with pretty little medieval villages steeped in history and tradition. The terrain is volcanic with fertile soil and lakes which have formed in old craters. It is fairly flat in the north but then becomes more hilly before reaching the Cimini Mountain Range. The coastline is pretty with sandy beaches and clear water.
The city of Viterbo is the capital of the province of Viterbo in the region of Lazio. The historic centre is surrounded by well preserved 11th century medieval walls with access to the old centre gained through one of several ancient gates. This is one of the best preserved medieval towns in central Italy.
Viterbo has a good industry in the production of goods made from marble, wood and pottery and is the city where the Italian gold reserves are kept. It also has the University of Tuscia, an Academy of Fine Arts and is home to the the Italian Army's Aviation Coammand headquarters and training centre.
The main sites in the city are:
Not far from the city of Viterbo is the small town of Bagnaia where you can find the little known but stunning Villa Lante and its Mannerist garden. The main feature of this garden is water and all around there is a spectacular choreography of waterfalls, fountains, lakes and gently dripping caves.
During World War II this village was severely damaged when a train loaded with German munitions blew up at the station and destroyed all the rooves and walls and of the old hamlet. This meant that there was a mass evacuation of the area and it remained uninhabited for many decades. There has recently been a recovery programme and over thirty houses have so far been fully restored.
The main points of interest here, other than the old hamlet, are:
The main attraction here is the garden called Bosco Sacro and nicknamed 'Bosco dei Mostri' meaning 'Woods of the Monsters'. It has earned this name due to the large sculptures, mainly carved from bedrock, which preside over this rather bare landscape. This rather strange park was created between 1528 abd 1588 by Pier Francesco Orsini after his wife died and most of the work is attributed to Pirro Ligorio. It was certainly not created to be pleasing but more to shock but there is no explanation to be found as to why.
The bizarre nature of the park appealed greatly to Salvador Dali and inspired many other surrealist artists. It certainly makes a very different and fun day out which is usually enjoyed greatly by children.
There are the remains of amphitheatre here measuring 49 metres by 40 metres as well as the remains of the city walls. The most interesting site to visit in Sutri has to be the church of Madonna del Parto which is cut out of the cliffs facing the town.
Sitting on top of hill overlooking the Sutri valley and at the feet of the two extinct volcanoes Cimini and Sabatini, this village has a very volcanic prospect with hills, wooded valleys, deep rivers and hot springs. The medieval centre is in excellent condition and Federico Fellini shot part of his famous film 'La Dolce Vita' here.
The main sites are:
This is another town which is renowned for its mineral waters and here it is sold, bottled and distributed throughout Italy as drinking water under the name of Acqua di Nepi.
The main sites are:
Located in the Cimini mountains, roncigliione is considered to be one of the most beautiful medieval burgs in central Italy.
The main sites include:
Both a DOC red wine and a white frizzante wine are both produced here. The medieval walls are still intact and there are also many medieval towers.
The main sites are:
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