The Viterbo Province
Viterbo province is the most northern of Lazio, bordering Tuscany, Umbria, and the Tyrrhenian Sea. The ancient name of this territory is “Tuscia” and is still referred as such today. Of all the provinces this feels the most ancient. It has a sense of tranquillity, perhaps an ancient reverberation in the earth 3000 years on, in a land which once belonged to a highly advanced civilization: the Etruscans. Hundreds of tombs in acres of burial sites as yet unexcavated.
From the fields above Tarquinia to vinyards below in the stretch of land between the Cimini mountains and the sea, one could almost imagine being in a scene from the film ‘Gladiator’. A short distance from these fields is the important UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Monterozzi necropolis at Tarquinia. The majority of historically significant findings from here are on display in the National Etruscan Museum, Villa Giulia in Rome, but a few very special pieces are held in the local museums at Tarquinia and Bolsena.
There are 2 lakes here, both extinct volcanoes: Lake Bolsena – larger of the two, offering watersports and a lovely promenade, and Lake Vico – highest lake in Italy at 507 mtrs asl surrounded by thick beech forests. According to legend Vico was created by Hercules who challenged the local people to extract his club from the earth. Obviously nobody succeeded so he withdrew it himself and as he did water sprang forth from the hole his club left, which then rapidly filled with water.
City of Viterbo
Viterbo is a university city, steeped in history, surrounded by the Cimini & Volsini mountains. It was known, in the 8th c. BC, as Castrum Viterbii, and was fortified by Lombard king Desiderius in a vain attempt to keep Rome at bay. In the 11th & 12th centuries AD the city was totally enclosed by great protective walls with 20 gates – only 6 of which remain and only 2 give vehicle access (Porta Romana & Porta Fiorentina). The other 4 are: Porta della Verità, Porta del Carmine, Porta Salsicchia, Porta San Pietro. Viterbo University (Università della Tuscia) has 2 important faculties: ‘National Treasures’ (Beni Culturali) and ‘Agriculture’: considered among the best in Lazio and in particular the Faculty of Agriculture is considered among the best at European level, highly acclaimed for its research.