Viterbo is the ancient city in the Lazio region of central Italy and is the capital of the province of the same name. The city dates back to the 8th century and was a place of residence for many Popes in the 12th century onwards, as they sought to gain authority over nearly Rome. In the 16th century Viterbo lost importance once Rome had become the official residence of the Pope.
The main attractions in Viterbo centre around its historic importance and it’s known as one of the best preserved medieval towns in central Italy today. The biggest attraction is the old Papal Palace, which was home to many Popes as a country residence, with its columns being spolia from a Roman temple.
Elsewhere there’s the Cathedral of S. Lorenzo, which was built in the 12th century and as such has a Romanesque structure. However, it’s interior was slightly downgraded in the 16th century when it was refurbished unspectacularly, something that’s still criticised to this day.
The church houses the sarcophagus of Pope John XXI and the famous picture Christ Blessing by Gerolamo da Cremona, painted in 1472. Other notable attractions include; The Fontana Grande, The Rocca castle and the Palazzo Comunale, all of which were built in the Middle Ages and are steeped in history.
During the summer months of July and August Viterbo plays host to the Tuscia Opera Festival, which brings in a lot of tourism to the town and serves as one of the most important cultural events in Viterbo. As well as this there’s the transport of the Macchina di Santa Rosa, which takes place annually on September 3rd, at 9pm. The Macchina is an illuminated bell-tower, 30 metres tall, that has the Patron Saint of Viterbo, St. Rose, on the top of the tower. 100 Viterbesi men carry it through the streets to seven churches for it to be blessed, with crowds gathering along the route to witness it.
Car hire in Viterbo is recommended so that you’re able to get to and from the airport without any hassle, as well as being able to travel around the Viterbo province to other towns and cities. AnyCarHire.com makes this part of your trip easy, by finding you the best deals on a wide range of cars in little time.