Lazio things to do.
When you think of Italy, all sorts of images may come to mind; visual art, history, architecture, cuisine, culture. Lazio has all of them.
In this remarkable landscape, you are never far away from idyllic lakes, impressive mountains and a coastline that underlines why Italy is one the world’s most visited countries. But beyond that, beyond the natural beauty we would expect from Italy, there is a world of breathtaking culture in the regions capital, a little place called Rome...
Well, perhaps not so little a place. In fact it is an extraordinary city, with a history spanning over two and a half thousand years. It was the capital of the great Roman Empire, it is one of the birthplaces of western civilization, home of the Catholic Church and still today one the most celebrated and visited cities the world has ever known.
Such is its influence and prestige, a writing on Lazio has to begin with a writing on Rome.
But first, you can be safe in the knowledge that Lazio is highly accessible. Rome International Airport
is one of the busiest in Europe. Trenitalia provides good regional transport; however hiring a car may also be a wise option. As long as you adopt good planning and research before you depart, there won’t be any problems.
And so with that, hello Rome. And what a city it is. From the Trevi fountain to the talking statues of Pasquino and Marforio, from famous ancient bridges to medieval statues, from Renaissance art to Neoclassicism architecture, from the Colosseum in the busy metropolis of Rome to St Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Rome is remarkable. So remarkable, in fact, it is difficult to sell. It sells itself; it has its own distinctive character and charm. It is its own brand. It is the ‘‘Eternal City’’. Rome is quite simply, Rome. It is one of those rare places where everything you could possibly want, really is there. Well, almost everything. The rest of Lazio boasts beauty in a unique and surprising manner that Rome quite simply cannot replicate, making it a region that really does have everything.
So where better to start than 50 miles northwards to the city of Viterbo? Within the province popularly known as Tuscia, this former heart of the Etruscan civilization is something special. Its historic centre is widely considered to be among the best in central Italy. Its Palazzo dei Papi is a former residence of many Popes, its Gothic church of Santa Maria della Salute is stunning. It still maintains much of the architecture that helped it once become a more successful city than Rome. You could wander around the serene streets on a sunny afternoon and just think of the generations that walked upon the same medieval paths, and saw the same medieval sites.
But the joys of the Viterbo province are not restricted to the city, they extend to the country. Why not enjoy one of the many Thermal Springs? These natural pools are carved in white clay and dotted all around the surrounding countryside. With soothing steamy waters of 40 degrees, they are the ideal way to interact with nature in a most relaxing of ways, especially as you’re in the midst of deep sparkling lakes, lush green countryside and a range of classic Italian villages, such as Fastello and Campo Nuovo.
Or you could perhaps try Viterbo’s Park of the Monsters. Yes, that’s right. This unique attraction includes sculptures such as the screaming face of an ogre, a tilted house and a turtle with a winged woman on its back. A great opportunity to try something truly eccentric.
And as we move slightly to the east, there is the town of Rieti. Whereas one may be surprised to discover that the true beauty of Viterbo can be found in the countryside, in Rieti it is something to be celebrated. The Annual Festival of Parks, Nature and Fitness pays tribute to the triumph of exercise, of local parks and, of course, the wonders of Italian nature. And these wonders are no more evident than with Rieti’s Sabine hills, its ancient lakes and its Mount Terminillo, all begging to be explored.
Moving further east there is Tivoli, and its Villa d’Este. This World Heritage Site is a triumph of not only Renaissance gardens, but of the Renaissance itself. It may not compare to our Villas, but it is pretty special with its caves and waterfalls, fountains and sculptures. Hadrian’s Villa isn’t bad either. It is not only a fine example of Roman architecture, but also of Egyptian and Greek designs…
To the South East of Rome, there is the unofficial region of Ciociaria. When it comes to ancient traditions and folklore, you will struggle to find somewhere more relevant than the region of Ciociaria. Pescasseroli is a beautiful village within the National Park of Abruzzo, and the village of Fumone and its Castle of Marchesi Longhi de Paolis protected the city in the 11th century, imprisoned pope Celestino in the 13th, and in the 21st is a great option for tourists.
And we complete our circuit with Terracina, a town 80 miles south of Rome. And what a good opportunity to remind ourselves that a true cultural experience is not about what you see but what you do and experience, how you get yourself immersed into the very culture of a region that has convinced you to spend hard-earned money on visiting it. Terracina’s Festival of the Sea is a celebration of the town’s long fishing history. As a statue of the Virgin Mary, standing upright on a fishing boat with fireworks lighting the skyline, makes its way to shore, this is a chance to remind ourselves of the true beauty of Lazio. This celebration in essence represents the region’s many towns that cannot be fitted into this article, towns that may not be Rome, but have their own stories, their own traditions, and their own beauty.
So if you are embarking upon what will be a sensational holiday in this region, remember that although Rome has grown and blossomed on the international stage, its humble local origins lie in the rest of Lazio, a region of breathtaking beauty and variety that the ‘‘Eternal City’’ struggles to match…
For more information on places to stay in Lazio
, please click through on this link or see the small selection below.
Rieti villa for rent in Lazio - Set amongst a charming garden of mimosa, olive trees and other aromatic plants, this is a tastefully restored, stone built villa with pool at the edge of Stimigliano village in the picturesque region of Lazio, enjoying spectacular, panoramic views over the nearby Tiber valley.
Price Range:£1910 - £2385
Umbria/Lazio country villa with pool on wine estate - at La Flaminia you can relax by the pool, visit hilltop towns, enjoy water sports at Lake Bracciano and have a real change of pace with a trip into Rome, just an hour away.
Price Range:£2045 - £3030
Exclusive vacation villa in Lazio - Villa dei Cinghiali is a beautiful country villa with a smart, contemporary style, set among 40 acres of splendid parkland and century-old olive groves producing some of the finest olive oil in Italy.
Price Range:£4040 - £6940
Private holiday home in Lazio Italy: Villa Rubia is a completely renovated, modernised country villa, itself built on the remains of a Roman villa, set in open countryside between Rome and Florence.
Price Range:£1305 - £2535