Lazio

The Region has five administrative divisions: Viterbro, Rieti, Rome, Latina and Frosinone.

Therre are also four ancient volcanic areas with the craters of extinct volcanoes forming the lakes of Bolsena, Vico, Bracciano, Albano and Nemi.

I think for our first travels to Italy, we place Lazio at the bottom of the list of places to visit. But, in the course of travelling in the Region I must say that call was wrong.

The centre of the Region is Rome.

Latium | Lazio

Latium is the region that surrounds Rome. It is a region of varied landscape. Beaches, landscapes, and what seems like endless monuments dating back to Roman times. Over the years we have criss-crossed the region and enjoyed the sights and experiences. On some of our first trips we would travel through the region on the way to a different location. Then on some trips we stayed in one location and explored the region in more detail.

The Region has four ancient volcanic areas, with the craters of extinct volcanoes forming the lakes of Bolsena, Vico, Bracciano, Albano and Nemi. Today the Region of Latium, or Lazio, has five provinces.

Rome

Rome is not to be missed. We love Rome, we travel there almost every year, but I must admit over the past few years it is a city that is becoming harder to take because of the sheer number of tourists.

Parco degli Acquedotti

Parco Antica

I wanted to visit this ancient park with the goal of seeing and photographing the aqueducts. There are the remains of seven different aqueducts in the park. The park is much bigger than I had thought, and find the right entry point so that I could walk to the adducts was a challenge. In the end, all worked out. I drove to the park while we were staying about 20 km outside of Rome, but then I found out The Parco degli Acquedotti can be reached by taking the Metro Line A to the Giulio Agricola Metro Station. Leave the station and turn southeast on Viale Giulio Agricola. It is about a four block walk and you end on Via Lemonia. The park is right beside via Lemonia. Had I known this then I would have visited the park as a day trip from Rome. But instead, we were staying hear Grottaferrata and I drove into the park. Set your GPS for Via Lemonia, it is a relatively short street, and it was not difficult to find a parking spot.

Monte Romano Aqueduct

On our 2017 trip through Lazio we stayed at Montalto di Castro at an excellent agriturismo - La Pecora Ladra. We enjoyed our stay there so much we booked a return visit for 2018. The town of Montalto di Castro is a little over an hour drive from the Rome airport, so it was possible to fly all day to Italy, pick up the car, and then drive to La Pecora Ladra. Once there, we found the town was well positioned to visit a variety of locations throughout Lazio/Latium as well as parts of Tuscany and Umbria.

Monte Ronmani Acquaduct

I had seen photographs and wanted to see this structure first hand. Turns out the aqueduct was not built by the Romans. It was built in the 1700s. There are a variety of sections that majestically stand today.

Montalto di Castro

We stayed here in 2017, and liked it so much, we have already booked a return visit in 2018. The old town has a historic centre, a small walled hill town a couple kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea. Not only can you tour the region of Lazio/Latrium, but being a few minutes from the border of Tuscany, sights in that region is nearby. Montalto di Castro has about 8,000 inhabitants, yet the modern part below the walled old center has loads of shops, cafes, and services. The historic center is a picture postcard type medieval town, still walled and dominated by its ages-old castle. The Castello Guglielmi was built in the 15th century and belonged to the powerful Orsini family. The ancient Roman road, the Via Aurelia, passes right by the town.

The seaside sister is Montalto Marina, two kilometers away. We were not that impressed with Marina, however, there is a killer piazza restaurant - Bar La Torre Di Miralli Giuletta which has fantastic piazza, server on sheets of paper, carried by hand to your table. No knives or forks. Just great food.. There are broad sandy beaches, and I think the place would be packed in the summer.

Parco Naturalistico Archeologico di Vulci

Not far away there is the Parco Naturalistico Archeologico di Vulci, a nature park and archeological site with Etruscan ruins and a museum highlighting the artifacts and history of these ancient people. I must admit that perhaps the heat of the day took toll on me. The park is expansive. I walked along the trails to see various sites of ruins etc. Maybe I was expecting something more grandious? I had to remember that the Etruscans pre-date the Romans.

Tarquinia

Tarquinia

Above: Santa Maria in the Castello

Located northwest of Rome, Tarquinia is noted for its Unesco designation for the necropolis with stunning frescoed tombs.The centre of the old town is particularly charming. The Barriera di San Giusto is the ancient entrance to the town. Next you will be in the Piazza Cavour with the Renaissance palazzo Vitelleschi. Via G. Mazzini lead to Piazza del Duomo where you can admire the marvelous Cathedral of Santa Margherita (Saint Margaret) with its majestic bell tower. Walk along the Via Porta di Castello to reach the Church of Saint Mary in the Castle.

The Romanesque Church of Saint Mary in the Castle is located in the oldest part of Tarquinia. Walk down  Via di Porta Castello, then through the ancient gate with the Tower of Dante and the Tower of Matilde di Canossa all part the visual scene. I was there early on the morning, so while I did not have to put up with crowds, I have read that at night, the lighting in the old streets is magical.

On future trips I will seek out the archaeological area of Gravisca. This is an ancient Etruscan port, today called Port Clementino (Pope Clement XIII had it restored.

Tuscania

 

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Tuscania was an ancient Etruscan settlement, as you will be able to notice in the numerous necropolis all around the city, like Madonna dell'Olivo (the most important one). Tuscania is rich in surprises and interesting spots: you will have the opportunity to visit churches, monuments and ancient buildings, telling about important events of the past that have marked the local history.

According to the legend, the city of Tuscania was founded by Tusco, son of Hercules. The town rises indeed on the valleys of the rivers Marta and Capecchio, on top of a hill overlooking stunning panoramas.

The churches in Tuscania certainly are one of the best and most fascinating elements in town, we strongly suggest a tour to discover the lovely religious monuments. Starting from the Church of St Marco, one of the oldest buildings; then have a look at the Church of Santa Croce, now unconsecrated and seat of the local Record Office; the Church of St Maria della Rosa, splendid architectural construction; the Dome, dating back to 1500 and upholder of a number of precious works of art; the Church of St Maria del Riposo that, as one of the most significant churches in Tuscania, preserves some important and noteworthy frescoes; the Church of St Maria Maggiore, built in the VIII century, shows a beautiful fourteenth-century fresco representing the "Last Judgement" and the Basilica of St Pietro, main holy building, in Lombard/Romanesque style.

Among the civil must sees, you should take a look at the Fontana delle Sette Cannelle, built during the Etruscan-Roman Age; the Torre di Lavello, immersed into the Renaissance edifices in town; the Palazzo Fani Ciotti, dating to 1500; Porta del Popolo and Porta del Poggio, known as the two main entrances to the ancient fortified city; the Palazzo Comunale (1600), keeping some great Renaissance frescoes. Do not miss the necropolis, just out of the city, Regina and Tomba are really popular.