Lazio - Places to Visit - Viterbo
Viterbo is situated 326 m. above sea level on the gentle hills between Lake Bolsena and Lake Vico.
Of Etruscan origin, it was romanized (Vicus Elbii) though never became of particular importance. It was handed over to the Church in medieval times and was the scene of disputes between the Empire and the Papacy; it was unsuccessfully besieged by Frederick II of Swabia (1243).
From that date, the town was almost constantly a Papal ally, and the seat of a number of conclaves for the election of Popes.
After the turbulent period of the Signorie (14th century) the town finally came under the influence of Rome in 1431.
The historical centre has an interesting structure, is still surrounded by turreted walls (11th-13th century) and preserves much of its medieval appearance, especially in the attractive S. Pellegrino district.
Monuments: Palazzo Papale (13th century) with a seven-arched loggia, Cathedral (12th century with Renaissance faade and Gothic bell tower), Church of S. Maria Nuova (Romanesque), S. Sisto (9th-12th century), S. Maria della Verit (originally 12th century, improved in the 15th century, contemporary frescoes), S. Giovanni in Zoccoli (11th century, Romanesque), Church of S. Francesco (13th century, Gothic style), Palazzo Farnese (15th century), Casa Poscia (14th century), Palazzo Chigi (Renaissance, 15th century), Fontana Grande (13th century).
Viterbo is a busy agricultural and commercial centre (cereals, fruit, olives, grapes, vegetables) but industrial activity is unimportant; there are a few food factories (pasta, oil mills), and also tanning, paper and electrotechnical manufacturers.
The active service sector is linked to transport, banking and public administration. Cultural activities are developing, and are linked to the recently built University.
Events: Opera, concert and prose season, theatrical performances at Ferento Roman theatre (8 km. away), Antique Clock Salon (spring), Festa di S. Rosa (3rd September), with characteristic procession.
Famous People: Lorenzo da Viterbo (artist, c. 1440-1476), Antonio Massari called `Pastura' (artist, c. 1450-1509), Francesco D'Antonio Zacchi called `Balletta' (artist, 15th century).
Cultural Institutions: State Archives, Historical Archives, University, Civic Museum (with archeological section and Art Gallery), Museo della Confraternita.
In the Province: Montefiascone (typical wines), Tuscania (Museo Nazionale, environmental interest), Tarquinia (Archeological Museum, Etruscan necropoli), Sutri (Antiquarium, Roman amphitheatre), Bolsena (Museo del Lago di Bolsena), Bagnoregio (Centro Studi Bonaventuriani) and Bomarzo (Parco dei Mostri).