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North and East Latium

Tuscia, Tarquinia, Bomarzo, Viterbo, Farfa Abbey, Bagnaia, Bolsena, Tuscania, Bagnoregio, Greccio, Rieti, Rieti Province, Vitorchiano

Day Excursions

Tuscia is the extreme southern part of Etruria, the land inhabited by the Etruscans.
This volcanic land that borders Umbria to the East and faces the Tyrrhenian sea for 40 km about on the western coastal plain where Latium Maremma follows to the Tuscan Maremma, has two beautiful and uncontaminated lakes - Bolsena and Vico - and some thermal pools popular since the time of the ancient Rome. The volcanic soil is rich and fertile with orchards, vegetable crops, olive, hazelnut and grapewine plantations. Famous for the pecorino (sheep) cheese, also good quality wines are produced on the coast of the Bolsena lake and near Orvieto. Off the beaten track, the Tuscia is a hilly land dotted with well preserved medieval villages, former Etruscan and Roman settlements not decaied despite the very low grade of restoring activity existing there if compared with same in Tuscany. This deficiency in fact makes those places more authentic and for this reason highly fashinating. Civita di Bagnoregio, Bolsena, Orte, Tarquinia and Tuscania, one of the most beautiful medieval centres of the region, are only an exemple. Viterbo is one of the most consistently medieval towns in Italy. Elegant, rich and lively is a small real city that in the Middle Ages was a holiday retreat for the Popes and before them for the Romans. Traces of the Etruscans are everywhere, from Tarquinia on the seaside to Blera, Norchia, Tuscania, Vulci in the inland.
A few km far from the Via Appia, in the midland, on the foot or in mid of the mountain chains Lepini and Aurunci the time stopped to the time past, in Monasteries and ancient peasant villages.


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Tuscia is the extreme southern part of Etruria, the land inhabited by the Etruscans, now the Province of VITERBO
This volcanic land that borders Umbria to the East and faces the Tyrrhenian sea for 40 km about on the western coastal plain where Latium Maremma follows to the Tuscan Maremma, has two beautiful and uncontaminated lakes - Bolsena and Vico - and some thermal pools popular since the time of the ancient Rome.
The volcanic soil is rich and fertile with orchards, vegetable crops, olive, hazelnut and grapewine plantations. Famous for the pecorino (sheep) cheese, also good quality wines are produced on the coast of the Bolsena lake and near Orvieto.

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Drive 1h,25', 81km from Formello to Tarquinia.
Modern city on the top of a hill, Tarquinia has always had a great reputation among the twelve Etruscan cities. It is the most famous city of the Etruscans cause its renowned Etruscan necropolis, unrivalled for its tomb paintings and for the winged horses the greatest Etruscan refined gold jewel conserved in the National Museum. Rich also of Medieval, Renaissance and Neoclassical art, the town, closed inside imposing walls and towers on a hill, appears now predominantly medieval.
To see: the old LUCUMONIA, dated back to 2000 years ago, was one of the most important Etruscan cities with its huge harbour activity. At the bottom of the medieval suburb, the Vitelleschi Palace shelters the National Museum of Tarquinia with the sarcophaguses of the richest Etruscan families. Together with Cerveteri, Veio and Vulci,
Tarquinia is one of the most exciting places of the Etruscan civilization.

Worth to see the imposing facade with triple lancet openings of the splendid Vitelleschi Palace, the Romanesque churches of Santa Maria di Castello, (jewel of the XII century and Cathedral until 1435), l'Annunciata, il Salvatore, St. Martin and Sant 'Antonio Abate, the Town Hall. The Gothic churches of St. John the Baptist, St. Francis, San Pancrazio and the Holy Spirit house.

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If you like gardens we suggest :

Drive 74 km from villa Infiorata and in 1h,10' mins you'll reach the Monsters of Bomarzo. (19' and 15 km from Villa Lante, 25' and 21 km from VITERBO)

Famous for the very bizarre Park realized in the 16th Century against the artistic rules of that period, which made BOMARZO popular around the world.
Sir Pier Francesco Orsini, created in his estate at Bomarzo, a labyrinth of symbols.
He populated the "sacred wood" by peperino live rock carved into fantastic monsters Park of Monsters such as a giant stone tortoises, elephant demons and giant statues with enormous mouths, mythological figures, sphinxe and darkly inscriptions taking inspiration from Ariosto's Orlando Furioso.
With no doubt, this great artistic work affects particularly your imagination through the monstrous and macabre sculptures like the "Mascherone" ("The Great Mask") and the "Orco" ("The Ogre").

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Popes PalaceVITERBO
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Drive 61 km from villa Infiorata and in 1h,6' mins you'll reach VITERBO, THE TOWN OF THE POPES. Viterbo is a very intact medieval town still enclosed within its walls. At the beginning of the second millennium, a huge number of pilgrims began crossing through Europe. The “Via Francigena” led hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from Canterbury to Rome. Viterbo was a stop on this route and developed and grew thanks to its strategic position. Viterbo thus became a cardinal destination on the itinerary and was well supplied with hospices and lodgings. In the 13th century it already was a hopping metropolis and the traces of this concentration of pilgrim activity are still very much to be seen today in the Pilgrims district. The old part of town is small enough to enjoy a day wandering through the piazzas, churches, and meandering streets preserving a medieval appearance surprisingly unaltered and even more colourful due to the survival of the ancient artisan traditions. Viterbo is famous for its rare and well kept thirteenth century historic centre and for having been a papal seat
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Villa Lante
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5 km and 12 mins drive from Viterbo, and 63 km and 1hour from FORMELLO, 16km,20' from the Monsters of Bomarzo,

is a small town on the slopes of Monte Cimino, five kilometres from Viterb and 15 from Bomarzo, well known for villa Lante.
It is on the way of Via Francigena, the Via Francigena, traveled in the middle Age by a multitude of pilgrins, merchants, knights and army with destination Rome from all Europe.
The Villa Lante was built by Giacomo Barozzi, one of the greatest who laid out the ornamental gardens in all their essentials. Alessandro Montalto ended this strangest Italian villa and one of the strangest Italian parks.
The Vignola worked in close collaboration with an acclaimed specialist, Pirro Ligorio, and a hydraulics specialist from Sienna - Thomaso Chiruchi , who adjusted the waterworks to perfection -, to deliver yet again a sort of initiatory path with surprises and shocks.
The villa is an example of the best period in the history of garden design: the Mannerism of the Italian Renaissance

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Drive 74km in 1h,74mins from Formello, to reach Tuscania
- A small town completely encircled by massive cyclopic walls with high towers, full of imposing churches, palaces and regular streets with ancient mansions and shops, manifestly a very rich place since a remote past, Tuscania was a powerful -Etruscan town from theVIII cent. B.C., flourishing in the IV and III centuries, then
-Roman town from the III cent. B.C.,
-Medieval center and important diocese with center in the Episcopalian palace on the S.Pietro's hill, from VI to XII century.
-Free Common in the XII and XIV centuries.

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BOLSENA LAKE Bolsena, more pics
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Drive 1h,35mins to cover 95km to reach the Bolsena Lake, the largest volcanic crater in Europe, is a great holiday resort for swimming and fishing. Around the lake small medieval villages are worth to be seen: the romantc fishermen village of Capodimonte; Montefiascone, Gradoli and Marta famous for their wine production, namely Est! Est! Aleatico and Cannaiola; Bolsena town itself that worth a stop to admire the well preserved 14th century Monaldeschi castle and the alleys in the medieval city. A boat trip leads to the Isles Bisentina and Martana, where are interesting Etruscan tombs, frescoed chapels, and the summer villa of Farnese pope.

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Bagnoregio Civita di Bagnoregio, more pics
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Drive 88km in 1h,30mins from Formello, to reach
Civita di Bagnoregio- The Dead Town erected on a clayey cone and a tufo basement which inexorably flake off, letting houses after house slip into the valley below. The Dead Town is uninhabited since 1695 when a violent earthquake started this series of landslips. Worth to be seen.
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Drive 100km
in 1h,30mins from Formello,to reach Greccio
Located about 15 km from the provincial capital of Rieti, The Hermitage of Greccio Sanctuary is one of the four shrines erected by St. Francis in the Sacred Valley, along with the Sanctuary of Fonte Colombo, the Sanctuary of the Forest, and the Sanctuary of Poggio Bustone.
The Sanctuary is located at the beginning of the trail.
The Church of San Francesco is found later after crossing the square.
It is a building that joins the monks' refectory, perched upon a rock. The church has a Latin cross plan with a bell tower.
Under the medieval church of San Francesco is the crypt with a bezel showing the of the crib planning.

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Drive 85km in 1h,15mins from Formello,to reach RIETI. A plaque in the town square prove that Rieti, the "Italy's navel" so called by the Romans, is located in the geographical centre of Italy. The Dome and The Bishop’s Palace worth a visit but in the surroundings the Franciscan monastery in the small town of Greccio is a must. Here St. Francis created the first Christmas Crib and a real life nativity scene is re-enacted every year. In the Monastery are collected ancient and modern nativity scenes donated by artists and persons from all over the world.

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 RietProvince of i
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3 lakes with umpolluted waters are a destination for Romans during the Season’s weekends The territory is populated by small picturesque villages that bring immediate memory to the Nativity. Perched on hills and mountains are all full of color and churches and monuments. At a stone’s throw from each other, they attract tourists proposing fairs and festivals from May till September. The small village taverns have a simple and varied cuisine and the products are usually genuine. Terminillo is a favorite ski destination by the Romans.
The history and life in the province of Rieti is permeated by the presence of St. Francis that has left an indelible memory of the spirituality that continues alive in the four Shrines: Fonte Colombo, Poggio Bustone, the Sanctuary Forest tied to the Canticle of the Creatures and Greccio, the most famous because of the first representation of the Nativity, which took place there, according to tradition, on Christmas Eve of 1223. Since then Greccio remained intimately tied to the Franciscan history, thanks to the develop, around the holy cave, of the Sanctuary, in several stages, and founded in the mid-thirteenth century.

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Botanical Garden
1hour and 60km from Formello to reach the Botanical Moutan Centre in VITORCHIANO
The name “Moutan” derives from the term "Mu Dan", used in China to denote the arboreal peony, and was chosen for this Centre founded in 1993 by the deep wish to know all the species and varieties of existing Chinese peonies, search them in the most remote regions of Asia and import into Europe to bring them together in one place, take care of its maintenance and promote knowledge and dissemination.
The Centro Botanico Moutan collects in a 15-hectare area, ​​the largest collection in the world of arboreal and Chinese herbaceous peonies (over 200,000 types).
It includes 150000 Chinese peonies, belonging to 600 natural hybrids,about 600 different varieties of the botanical species known.
Buttonhole flower of the whole collection, as well as rare variety belonging to the Delavayane group, are the adult mother’s plants of the species Rockii, extraordinary varieties that grow wild on the high plateaus of Tibet, over 2000 meters above sea level, enduring extreme temperatures, even below -20 ° C. It is particularly rare and precious shrubs of which the Centro Botanico Moutan collects more than eighty varieties.
These peonies have all shade of rose - from white to dark purple; can live for 3-400 years and have magic poetry names has "Goddess of Moon", "Secluded Concubine" or "Coffer of Eight Treasures".

To visit in April and May - all days at 9.30-13.00 and 14.30-18.00 -
Tel num. +39- 0761 300490.

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