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ALPS, LAKES AND SEA BETWEEN FLORENCE AND ROME ROME & NAPOLS SICILY SARDINIA
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VITERBO

Like Tuscania the atmosphere is medieval, but unlike Tuscania, here there is no decay; Viterbo remains a busy and lively town, full of fine churches, monuments and palaces. But its finest monument is an entire 13° century district, intact as it was eight centuries ago, the most complete and unspoiled medieval quarter in Italy: that lying round the Contrada di San Pellegrino. We suggest walking round it in the evening until nightfall, in the mysterious shadows of these massive houses,with their rough outside staircases, double windows, balconies, loggias, vaults and the forbidding gloom of the side-streets.

The following morning let us go to the Piazza della Cattedrale, along one side of which runs the most important palace in the city, the Papal Palace (1257-1266) battletreated, with an airy arched loggia flanking it. In the Hall, renowned conclaves were held; from here thunderous excommunications were issued, like that against the entire population of Viterbo who had demonstrated against the election of the French Martin IV through the machinations of Charles of Anjou. Passing Palazzo Farnese (early 15° century) we go along Via Cardinal La Fontaine to the splendid Fontana Grande (Great Fountain) of the 13° century.

Along Via Cavour, after the picturesque Casa Poscia (14° cent.) we arrive in Piazza Plebiscite, with the Romanesque Palazzo Comunale and the Palazzo del Podesta. There are the churches of San Francesco.

The following morning let us go to the Piazza della Cattedrale, along one side of which runs the most important palace in the city, the Papal Palace (1257-1266) battletreated, with an airy arched loggia flanking it. In the Hall, renowned conclaves were held; from here thunderous excommunications were issued, like that against the entire population of Viterbo who had demonstrated against the election of the French Martin IV through the machinations of Charles of Anjou. Passing Palazzo Farnese (early 15° century) we go along Via Cardinal La Fontaine to the splendid Fontana Grande (Great Fountain) of the 13° century. Along Via Cavour, after the picturesque Casa Poscia 14° cent.) we arrive in Piazza Plebiscite, with the Romanesque Palazzo Comunale and the Palazzo del Podesta. There are the churches of San Francesco. With two noteworthy Gothic Papal tombs, Santa Rosa,San Sisto, Romanesque of the 9° century near Porta Romana and Santa Maria della Verita, which now houses a Museum with important Etruscan exhibits and fine frescoes by Lorenzo da Viterbo (1649) and the superb Pieta which reaches heights not unworthy of Michelangelo, by Sebastiano del Piombo (1515).

It would be pleasant to take a trip to the elegant Renaissance church of Santa Maria della Quercia and thence to Villa Lante at Bagnaia (5 km. - 3 mi.) begun in 1477 and finished in 1578 by Vignola with its magnificent Baroque garden, full of statues and fountains.

If there is time, one can go on to the ruins of the Roman Ferentum (majestic ruins of Roman Theatre) which was rich and powerful in Etruscan and Roman times but which never rose again after the rebellious Viterbese destroyed it in the 12° century, because the inhabitants of Ferentum painted Christ on the Cross with His eyes open instead of closed.

From Viterbo we take the pleasant road which skirts Lake Vico, passes towered Ronciglione and the severe mass of tuff on which Sutri stands (30 km. - 18 3/a mi.), with remains of an Etruscan Amphitheatre and the church of Madonna del Parto carved out of the living rock. Then comes a long solitary drive to Isola Farnese (60 km.-40 mi.), near which are the ruins of VEII


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STAGES OF THE CIRCUIT:
"Between Florence and Rome"

Florence
Arezzo
Cortona
Chiusi
Orvieto
Tuscania
Viterbo
Veio
Cerveteri
Tarquinia
Grosseto
Massa Marittima
Siena
Volterra
San Gimignano

Viterbo

Viterbo