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Italy » Cities » Viterbo


Viterbo: pop. 60,000

The town lies at 326 meters above sea level in a fertile valley at the foot of Cimini mountains in upper Lazio, north of Rome. This is one of the most beautiful and interesting areas of Italy, if only just discovered. The Viterbo area is rich in history and art, landscapes, mountains, lakes, spas, Roman remains and Etruscan necropolises.


  • Papal palace (1266)

  • The Medieval quarter of San Pellegrino.

  • Romanesque churches

  • Fountains: In many squares in Viterbo's center there are very elegant fountains in Peperino stone, that are very nice works of art; you can find them in Piazza delle Erbe; Piazza della Morte (Square of death); Piazza della Rocca ; Piazza Fontana Grande; Piazza San Faustino.

  • Piazza Fontana Grande: The water which pours from the several spouts of the ancient fountain of Sepale comes from Etruscan excavations just outside the city walls as well as from Roman and later medieval pipes. Construction began in 1206 and was completed in 1279, as the inscription in the second basin attests. Later restorations and few additions (pinnacles with the inscription "FAVL") gave the fountain its present shape. Valeriano, the artist who designed it, could blend the imposing strength of the Romanesque with the emphasis of the perpendicular lines of the Gothic, creating one of the most splendid and best known fountains of Italy.

  • Piazza delle Erbe: City center piazza takes the name from the ancient vegetables market. Has a nice fountain with 4 marble lions (the emblem of Viterbo) dating back to1876.  

  • Museums:

    Civic Museum: Piazza Crispi, It is hosted in the cloister and in the convent adjacent to the Church of St. Maria della Verità. Inside there are several archeological finds on display, such as a nice Sphinx and a set of sarcophagi from the surrounding necropolises dating back to the 8th century B. C. to the 3rd century B.C.. It also preserves many pantings: Madonna with child by Vitale da Bologna, The "Pietà" (1515), and "Flagellazione" by Sebastiano del Piombo, and "Deposition" by Costantino Zelli.

  • The Museum of Colle del Duomo: this museum of sacred art houses some collections of sacred vestments, sacred chalices, reliquaries, several busts of bishops, popes and Saints. It also preserves some paintings; of note, is the "Crucifixion" ascribed to Michelangelo.

  • Pottery Museum: hosted in Palazzo Bugiotti - Via Cavour 67 - More than 200 archeological finds from the upper Lazio area are preserved in this museum, as well as, a large and beautiful series of apothecary's pots.

  • Museum of Santa Rosa: Via San Pellegrino 60 - This small museum preserves material regarding the most ancient and warm tradition of Viterbo: The carrying of the "Macchina di Santa Rosa" whose origin dates back to the 6th century. It houses many flying-scale models of the "Macchina" starting from 1924 to 1955. In the projection room it is possible to see some films about the event.

  • National Museum Rocca Albornoz: Piazza della Rocca - Archelogical museum with a great permanent exhibition of Etruscan domestic architecture.

  • Villa Lante: Outside of Viterbo, in the village of Bagnaia stands this remarkable example of a 17th Century Villa with a Renaissance Italian garden with fountains, basins, cascades and plays of water.


  • Spas: The landscape is rich in numerous hot springs, of which the most important is the "Bullicame", quoted by Dante in his "Inferno", whose sulfurous waters flow at a temperature of 55° C/ 131° F. Well known since the Roman age for their curative properties, they are still utilized today in several therapeutic treatments, such as mud therapies, aerosol inhalation and many more. Visitors can take advantage of 2 modern thermal resorts: " Terme dei Papi" and " Pianeta Benessere", as well as, many natural hot springs in the surrounding area which are free for all.


    San Pellegrino in Fiore: Late in April - Flower exhibition: the streets of the historical center of Viterbo are decorated with flowers.

    Summer theater season: from mid July to mid August - Many spectacles take place in the beautiful scenery of the Roman amphitheater of Ferento, close to Viterbo.

    Santa Rosa procession: Takes places on September 3 at 9:00 p.m.
    (The incorrupt body of S. Rosa of Viterbo (d. 1251) is preserved into the church built in 1850. It was erected destroying the remains of the medieval church of St. Mary of the Roses, whose walls had been frescoed by Benozzo Gozzoli in the middle of the XV century (pale watercolour copies are kept at the Museo Civico). The transport of the Macchina di S. Rosa originates from the triumphal transport which carried S. Rosa's body from the nearby church of S. Maria in Poggio to the chur¬ch of St. Mary of the Roses (1258). The joyful effort of the transport comes to an end near thesteps of the Church of S. Rosa, whose remarkable works are a polyptych (1441) by Francescod'Antonio of Viterbo (also known as "il Balletta") and a marble statue by F. Messina (1940).

    Santa Rosa trade fair: September 4 - Local open air market - about 500 exhibitors participate.

     Distances: Orvieto km 45, Siena 142 km, Lake Bolsena 30 km, Perugia km 125, Rome km 81, Milan km 500,  Florence km 180, Venice km 486, Naples km 280.




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