23 Best Places in Tuscia, Italy’s Undiscovered Heart

Those familiar with this blog already know that the Tuscia region of Italy is one of my favorite parts of the world.

Even though I live in this very area, I never tire of exploring it. The natural places, as well as the historical landmarks that this region of central Italy has to offer are many, unique, mysterious, and absolutely off the beaten path.

The fascination that “La Tuscia” exerts on anyone who visits it on a multi-day trip from Rome is total.

Many are those who decide to buy a second home here, to experience the feel of a dimension where time seems to flow differently.

In this post, you’ll get to know the best places to visit in Tuscia, such as thermal baths, hilltop villages, mysterious archeological ruins, and charming medieval cities like Viterbo.

But before I dive into a thorough guide to the most beautiful places to visit, I would like to answer the question I get asked most often.

What is Tuscia, Italy, and where is it?

Tuscia is an area of central Italy that has no “official” borders but is characterized by a very strong identity, mainly due to its history and traditions.

The Etruscans ruled this region before the Romans. 

The Etruscans were an advanced civilization that flourished between 7 and 3 centuries B.C. in the land known as Etruria and which was delimited by:

  • South and east by the Tiber River Valley (today’s northern Lazio and southern Umbria region).
  • To the west by the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea
  • To the north by the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines (today’s Tuscany and Emilia Romagna regions).

A rather large area then.

Today, when we speak of Tuscia, we mean a less extensive territory that touches the countryside north of Rome, the province around the city of Viterbo, and the southern part of Umbria and Tuscany.

It is common to partition the Tuscia region into two main areas:

  • The Viterbese Tuscia, spread around the city of Viterbo
  • The Roman Tuscia, spread north of Rome to the border with Viterbo province.

Towns and villages in this region are united not only by the presence of the vestiges of the Etruscan civilization, but also by the landscapes, medieval old towns, Renaissance palaces and gardens, festivals, and typical dishes. 

The people here are proud to have been born and raised in Tuscia.

I will reveal first what to see in Tuscia Viterbese, then Roman Tuscia, and finally where to discover traces of the Etruscans in southern Tuscany and Umbria.

30 Best places to visit in Tuscia Viterbese

1 Civita di Bagnoregio

Once you have seen it, this village in northern Lazio will forever remain etched in your memory. What impresses anyone who comes here is the landscape and particularly its colors.

Civita di Bagnoregio stands atop a rocky cliff with colors that seem to blur and is surrounded by a “lunar” landscape, the Valley of the Ravines, consisting of limestone rocks.

You’ll have plenty of time to savor this natural painting as you reach the historic center by crossing the scenic, 300-meter-long bridge that leads to the only, ancient gateway to the village.

About 10 people live in the village with its medieval architecture. You will find small restaurants, the piazza with the church, and many picturesque alleys.

In case I have already convinced you to visit, find out how to get to Civita from Rome.

2 Viterbo

Viterbo is the largest city in Tuscia, as well as the most beautiful city near Rome. It is a perfect base for exploring the region, especially if you prefer the sparkling atmosphere of a small city to places that are too isolated.

Viterbo has charm. Here are the highlights:

  • A well-preserved medieval old town, enclosed by intact defensive walls
  • The picturesque San Pellegrino district, which you can get around on foot. It develops around the Piazza San Lorenzo and the Palace of the Popes. It is all built of the local dark stone, also called “pepper stone.”
  • A myriad of carved fountains make all the town’s little squares unique
  • Excellent and affordable restaurants and pizzerias such as “Il Labirinto and Il Giardino del Papero”
  • The many thermal baths

Local travelers who visit Viterbo do so mainly to relax in its hot thermal baths, which have beneficial properties, such as:

  • The Terme dei Papi
  • The Bullicame, a thermal pool with free admission
  • The exclusive Salus Terme Spa

3 Calcata Vecchia

Together with Civita di Bagnoregio, Calcata Vecchia is the quaintest hilltop town in Lazio.

Perched on a stone hill, this village has a special atmosphere that distinguishes it. Since the late 60s, it has become a meeting place for artists and alternative individuals from all over the world.

The artists relocated here to live according to their own rhythm and to create art, far from the industrialization that was taking over the world.

Artists, and their offspring, still live here, and you can meet them by taking a walk through the historic center. Among the most enjoyable things to do in Calcata are:

  • exploring the artists’ workshops
  • photographing the colorful, flower-filled alleys 
  • seek out the small terraces with breathtaking views of the forest-filled valley
  • stroll through the trails of the Treja Valley Regional Park, which are also home to remains of cultic buildings and tombs from Etruscan times.

Speaking of art, the most incredible example in Calcata is the open-air museum of Art in Nature “Opera Bosco”, where you can admire about 50 artworks made exclusively of natural materials from the forest.

Calcata features medieval architecture, as you can see from the Anguillara Baronial Palace, the watch tower, and the ancient gateway that opens through thick walls.

The basements of the houses hold grottoes even more ancient, certainly from the pre-Roman era. 

Many artists from here have renovated those caves and turned them into charming homes.

If you decide to spend a night in Calcata, I recommend staying in Casa sulla Rupe, which is built into a cave and has a terrace overlooking the gorge.

Check here to see if Casa sulla Rupe is available for your dates.

4 Bomarzo 

The small village of Bomarzo is located 20 km east of Viterbo. The village is divided into new and old towns. The old town is much more interesting, retaining ancient buildings and medieval architecture.

Even more interesting, however, are some places near the town, first of all, the Bomarzo Monster Park, also known as Sacred Wood.

This is a park with sculptures with exceptional features, designed by the nobleman Vicino Orsini, lord of Bomarzo, in the second half of the 16th century. It is one of the best places to visit near Rome for families.

The many sculptures represent mythological figures and monstrous-looking animals, the typical animals that according to mythology accompanied the soul to the afterlife.

The park is mainly a destination for visits by families with children, although designed for adults, perhaps with the intention of being a “path of mystery initiation.”

Here are the names of some of the sculptures, to give you an idea:

  • The Ogre
  • The Leaning House
  • The Fury
  • Cerberus and Proserpine
  • The Elephant
  • The Turtle
  • The Sphinxes
  • The Dragon

A ticket of about €10 is charged to enter one of the most popular gardens near Rome.

Those who enjoy nature walks will find other incredible places near Bomarzo. 

By hiking around the town, which is surrounded by canyons covered with dense vegetation, you can discover the Etruscan Pyramid, a monument from the Etruscan period of which nothing is known and of which there are no other examples.

After seeing the pyramid, you can go to discover the “Pasolini Tower.”

5 Sutri

The village of Sutri lies along the ancient Roman consular road Cassia. Even for this medieval village near Rome, which legend says was founded by the god Saturn himself, the most interesting sites are located just outside the walls of the historic center.

Along the Via Cassia, just before the entrance to the village, is the Sutri Archaeological Park, where you can visit:

  • Roman Amphitheater of Sutri – The elliptical-shaped amphitheater dates back to the 1st century BC and could seat up to 7000 spectators. The peculiarity of this amphitheater is that it was not built but entirely carved into the local stone.
  • Etruscan necropolis – The rupestrian necropolis is located next to the amphitheater. It consists of about 64 tombs excavated in the rock between 1 century BC and 4 AD.
  • Mithraeum – Also located in the context of the archaeological park is the rock church of Our Lady of the Births, which has frescoes from the 13th century AD. The church was built on a preexisting temple to Mithra.
  • Villa Savorelli is a Renaissance villa that now hosts ceremonies and is the headquarters of the Ancient Town of Sutri Regional Nature Park. Surrounding the villa is an Italian garden.

6 Lake Bolsena

Lake Bolsena can boast several firsts:

Lazio’s largest lake, Italy’s largest volcanic lake, and the largest volcanic lake in Europe

It is also one of the cleanest lakes in Italy, where swimming, water sports, and camping are very pleasant.

Several ancient villages overlook the lake, the most picturesque of which are Capodimonte, Bolsena, and Marta.

The shores of the lake are home to reed beds, beaches, and forests.

A special feature of this lake is that there are two small islets within it, Isola Bisentina and Isola Martana.

The smaller, crescent-shaped Isola Martana is a private island and it is not possible to tour it, only to admire it from the water.

Isola Bisentina, on the other hand, can be reached by ferry from Bolsena. Admission to the island costs €24. There are 7 fascinating old churches on the island, each facing one of the villages overlooking the lake.

The village of Bolsena, which gives its name to the lake, has a well-preserved medieval historic center with walls and a castle in a dominant position, known as Rocca Monaldeschi, dating back to the 12th century. The castle houses the Lake Bolsena Territorial Museum, which tells the story of the lake from archaeological, geological, and naturalistic perspectives.

To visit Lake Bolsena, plan for at least 3 days.

7 Tarquinia

Tarquinia is located in northern Lazio a handful of kilometers from the Tyrrhenian Sea. This town is popular for being one of the major centers of Etruscan civilization and for its many medieval towers that characterize the historic center.

Given its proximity to the sea and the presence of long sandy beaches and a seaside promenade, I recommend passing through here if you visit Tuscia in the summer.

Near Tarquinia is one of two Etruscan necropoleis that are listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Monterozzi Necropolis is notable for its painted tombs, which feature the finest and best-preserved examples of Etruscan painting.

If the history of the Etruscans intrigues you as it does me, you should also definitely visit the National Archaeological Museum in Tarquinia.

Tarquinia is only 15 km away from the port of Civitavecchia. If you are traveling to Italy on a cruise, you could visit Tarquinia on a day tour from Civitavecchia.

8 Vulci

Not far from Tarquinia is a place that seems straight out of a fairy tale: the Vulci Castle.

This place is mostly unknown even to Italians. It is located near the border between Lazio and Tuscany and is surrounded by fields. The Castle is perfectly intact and protected by a ditch where crystal-clear water flows. It is located on the edge of a ravine crossed by a panoramic bridge. 

The castle of Vulci can be appreciated both from outside and inside, where there is an Etruscan museum with the finds unearthed in the Archaeological Park of Vulci

In the park, you can walk through Etruscan and Roman remains and visit the fascinating Etruscan tombs.

8 Villa Farnese in Caprarola

Palazzo Farnese is a monumental mansion that dates back to the 16th century Renaissance and is located at the top of the hilltop town of Caprarola. Exponents of the noble Farnese family wanted this palace built as a country residence.

Two of the greatest architects of the time were dedicated to the work, and the result is stunning, especially in the context of this part of the Tuscia region, which is so rural.

Palazzo Farnese has a pentagonal floor plan. 

The rooms are entirely covered with frescoes in the “grotesque” style, which was in vogue at the time, thanks mainly to the discoveries of frescoes in Nero’s Golden House in Rome by the great painter Raphael.

The basement, ground, and main floors are connected by a spectacular helicoidal staircase by Vignola.

Surrounding the palace are gardens that include a romantic nymphaeum and a park with fountains that covers the hill behind the palace.

Admission to the palace costs only €5, a derisory price for what is the most beautiful historical-artistic landmark in the Viterbese Tuscia region.

If you are passionate about history, art, architecture, painting, or landscape architecture, you must visit it!

9 Nepi

The town of Nepi is also known as the ” town of water”; the word “nepeth“, in the Etruscan language, meant “water.”

In fact, the element of water is very present in the landscape. A bubbling stream surrounds the town and also creates a remarkable waterfall, right near one of the ancient gateways to the village.

The setting is enchanting and makes a visit to this village near Rome so far off the beaten track all the more relaxing.

You will not encounter tourists in Nepi, so the pretty old town, with the central street reserved for pedestrians, churches, and old houses will be all for you.

One place to visit is definitely the Borgia Castle, which can be accessed by a guided tour that you can request from the staff of the civic museum. Near Nepi there are also catacombs, which you can visit again with the same guide who took you to the castle.

If you are traveling by car, I recommend that you set aside a couple of hours to visit the nearby village of Castel Sant’Elia, which boasts among the most beautiful views in Tuscia.

In fact, the village overlooks the picturesque Suppentonia Valley.

In the rock face on which the village stands, rock hermitages with the remains of frescoes are excavated.

A walk from the historic center also takes you to the Basilica of Sant’Elia, an example of a Romanesque church, inside which are medieval frescoes and a finely carved marble ciborium (entrance fee €5)

10 Mount Soratte

Mount Soratte is one of the most fascinating mountains near Rome. The fascination is certainly not due to its height, in fact, it is about 700 mt high, as much as to its unusual shape and location.

The mountain lies in the middle of the plain where the Tiber River flows; it is a kind of “cathedral in the wilderness.”

Being “alone” in the middle of the plain, it is very easy to spot it from anywhere in Tuscia and Sabina, it is a kind of compass.

Looking at it frontally, it possesses five peaks, like a crown. Even more interesting is its history.

It was considered a sacred mountain by the Etruscans and other peoples of central Italy.

On the summit was a Temple dedicated to the God Apollo, on the remains of which the Hermitage of San Sylvester was erected in the 6th century AD. According to one legend, Pope Sylvester 1st himself took refuge here to escape persecution.

The story became even more intriguing during the 1930s when the belly of the mountain housed the German supreme command in Italy. 

It was during those years that tunnels were dug into the mountain. Today it is possible to visit the tunnels by participating in a guided tour of the Soratte Bunker.

The nearest village to Mount Soratte is Sant’Oreste, which is one of the most undiscovered villages north of Rome.

11 Soriano nel Cimino

If you visit Lazio in autumn and, more specifically, in October, then you will want to pass through Soriano del Cimino. 

Soriano nel Cimino is an absolutely undiscovered town that stands on the slopes of Mount Cimino

The location provides spectacular views of the Tuscia Viterbese countryside (from the Soriano Castle you will also see Mount Soratte standing alone in the middle of the plain).

Mount Cimino is the perfect natural environment for chestnut trees; in fact, in the historic center of Soriano, the first three weekends of October, the Chestnut Festival is held.

On this occasion, you can taste chestnut dishes such as beef and chestnut stew, gnocchi with chestnut ragout, and chestnut gelato.

In addition, you can attend medieval costume events, which include:

  • Parade with costumes handmade by the village seamstresses
  • Tournament of swordsmen
  • Banner-throwing competition

12 Vitorchiano

Against the backdrop of the Cimini Mountains lies one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Vitorchiano. 

First and foremost, what catches the eye is the landscape: Vitorchiano stands on a dark stone cliff, and the boulders are megalithic, adding majesty to the village’s skyline. 

Vitorchiano also seems to be hanging, like Civita di Bagnoregio and Calcata. 

The village is fairly off the tourist radar, receiving few visitors, and is a perfect destination for a retreat.

The nature surrounding the village is untouched, made up of lush forests of oak, beech, and chestnut trees.

Downstream flows the Vezza River.

If you love marmalade, you will find bread for your teeth here. One of the typical foods here, marmalade is made by the Trappist nuns of Vitorchiano

For over 50 years the nuns have been making jam using artisanal methods with a very high percentage of fruit, little sugar, and no additives or pectin. 

You can buy it at the monastery store at Via della Stazione 23 , Vitorchiano.

Best places to visit in the Roman Tuscia

Now let us discover that part of Tuscia that runs north of Rome to the province of Viterbo.

13 Veio regional park 

30 km north of Rome, next to the town of Formello, you’ll find one of the main entrances to the Veio Regional Park.

Il parco di Veio si estende fra le vie consolari Cassia e Flaminia a nord-est di Roma ed è una grande area naturale ricca di testimonianze storiche, sentieri, biodiversità vegetale ed animale.

Se cercate una gita da fare da Roma con i bambini, questo posto è perfetto. 

The Sorbo Valley, where you’ll find the Cremera River waterfalls, is one of the most picturesque parts of the park to visit and the easiest to hike. The trails are mostly levels and animals such as horses, cows, and small wild boars can be spotted at any time of the day.

The Sorbo Valley, together with one of the most beautiful waterfalls near Rome, features the remains of an ancient mill and the Sanctuary Lady of the Sorbo, one of the stages of the Via Francigena pilgrimage route. 

Veio was an Etruscan city, one of the last to fall to the Romans. 

In the park, are also the remains of an Etruscan temple to Apollo. The stunning statues found in the site are displayed at the National Etruscan Museum in Rome.

Another outstanding testimony of pre-Roman anthropization is 50 km of underground hydraulic tunnels.

14 Lake Bracciano

About 40 km north of Rome is one of the most beautiful lakes in central Italy, and certainly the cleanest. Lake Bracciano is a lake of volcanic origin and is part of the nature reserve ” Regional Natural Park of Lakes Bracciano and Martignano.”

Along the lake, you will find many beaches where you can spend a relaxing day in summer, while the three medieval villages overlooking the lake are pleasant to visit in all seasons.

From the old towns of Anguillara Sabazia, Trevignano Romano, and Bracciano you will enjoy picturesque views of the rooftops of old houses and the deep blue lake.

In Bracciano, the town that gives the lake its name, there is also an important historical landmark, Bracciano Castle. The castle was erected by Napoleon Orsini in the late 15th century, although the fortress certainly has older origins.

The castle’s towers and its intact walls dominate the landscape of Lake Bracciano, giving it charm.

You can visit the castle, which has 20 rooms open to the public featuring frescoes and original antique furnishings, including an arms room and chambers.

The castle has hosted the weddings of celebrities, such as that of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

After visiting the castle, take a tour of Bracciano’s historic center, whose alleys are filled with historic houses. Do so while enjoying a natural gelato from Gelateria Picchio, which is just a stone’s throw from the castle.

15 Trevignano Romano

Of the three towns that overlook the crystal-clear Lake Bracciano, Trevignano Romano is the smallest and most intimate, to be called a village. 

The locals simply refer to it as “Trevignano” and love to visit it from May to October, when the days are hot and the sunset are long enough to encourage aperitifs along the lake.

The heart of this village is precisely the well-kept lakefront promenade, Trevignano’s pride and joy, along which you will find cafes, restaurants, gardens, beaches, and the craft market.

Trevignano is one of the most people-friendly villages near Rome with a mild climate year-round.

The Town Hall building houses a small Roman-Etruscan museum that is free to access and collects artifacts found in some necropolis discovered near the village.

you’ll reach the stairs leading to the remains of the ancient Orsini Fortress, on top of the hill. From there, the view of Lake Bracciano is unforgettable.

16 The Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri

The Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri has been a UNESCO Heritage Site since 2004. 

Also known as “Banditaccia Necropolis”, the archaeological site covers about 200 hectares east of the town of Cerveteri and a few kilometers away from the Tyrrhenian coast.

It is a city of the dead that traces what was then the city of the living, the acropolis of ancient Caere, an important Etruscan center.

The necropolis is a must-visit if you are an archaeology enthusiast and want to learn more about the Etruscans.

By the way, it was in one of the royal tombs in the necropolis that the famous Sarcophagus of the Spouses was found, the centerpiece of the National Etruscan Museum in Rome.

The necropolis is divided into 3 parts, all worthy of a visit. The site accessed for a fee (about €8) is the one with the large burial mounds belonging to aristocratic families. 

The other two sections known as the Pond Necropolis and the Way of the Underworld are free to access.

The Way of the Underworld is certainly one of the most fascinating places on the site. The way is carved inside a rock wall, on whose sides, on several levels, the burial chambers spread out, which can be freely accessed to admire the carved beds and other mysterious details.

After visiting the necropolis, go to eat Cerveteri’s typical dish, spaghetti with clams, at one of the taverns in the historic center, such as Piccola Trattoria Roma.

17 Santa Severa Beach

While most of the inhabitants of Rome choose Ostia or Fregene to spend a day by the sea, one of the most beautiful beaches in Lazio is that of Santa Severa in the Roman Tuscia region

The water is much clearer here than on other beaches near Rome and the profile of the coast by the Renaissance Santa Severa Castle

This place had a crucial importance for the Etruscans, as here there was one of the main port cities on the Tyrrhenian Sea, called Pyrgi, of which we still can see the remains from the 7th century BC in a museum and archeological site inside the castle.

The castle as we see it today dates back to the 14th century and you can visit it with a €5 ticket.
The beach is mostly public but there are also beach clubs where you can rent beach beds and an umbrella.

A landmark for those who decide to spend a day at the beach is the restaurant-bistro “L’Isola del Pescatore,” where you can eat sandwiches as well as freshly caught fish dishes.

18 Antica Monterano Abandoned Town

There are several abandoned towns to explore in Tuscia, Italy, but Antica Monterano is the most spectacular.

The city has been abandoned since the 18th Century, when the inhabitants of this city migrated en masse a few kilometers away, founding Canale Monterano, which is still inhabited today by roughly more than 4000 citizens. 

When the weather is good, by car or on foot you can reach the entrance of the Antica Monterano Nature Reserva. Don’t forget your hiking shoes, because there are some amazing walks to be had here.

Following the trails in the reserve you will come across:

  • an ancient aqueduct
  • Etruscan caves
  • the abandoned town with the noble palace  
  • the Fountain of the Lion carved into the rock by Bernini
  • A church without a ceiling, with a fig tree in the center that is considered sacred
  • A sulfur spring
  • A stream with a waterfall mindful of an ancient legend

And then there are more surprises to discover in this very special place.

19 Tolfa

One of the most picturesque villages near Rome is nestled in the lush and quiet hills that border the Tolfa Mountains, halfway between Lake Bracciano and the West coast of Italy. 

Tolfa is a medieval hilltop town surrounded by unspoiled woods. The air you breathe here is clean, and the atmosphere relaxing. Tolfa is totally off the beaten path.

If you walk through the alleys of Tolfa’s historic center, you will feel like you’re back in time a few centuries and also like you are in the middle of nowhere (if we can call “nowhere” the lovely green hills that stretch as far as the eye can see.). 

If you want to visit this village at the most vital time of the year you should attend Tolfarte, a festival held in the alleys and squares of the city at the beginning of August featuring street performances and street theater.

Tolfa is famous for leather crafting, which was used to make a type of shoulder bag that was very in vogue in 1970s Italy, the so-called “catana” bag.

Tuscia Beyond Lazio: Umbria and Tuscany

20 Saturnia Hot Springs

The Saturnia hot springs, known also as Saturnia Falls, are one of the most popular sought-after natural landmarks of Italy. 

Saturnia is a small village in southern Tuscany, near the border with Lazio.

The waterfalls are created naturally by the course of the Gorello, a thermal stream that flows at 37.5° from the site of the Terme di Saturnia baths.

The site has a picture-postcard landscape, with all the pools of different sizes, one next to the other, leaning against a small hill. 

The highlights of this unique natural place are two:

  • Saturnia’s natural thermal pools are public and accessible 24 hours a day for free.
  • thermal water has highly beneficial properties.

After bathing you will feel not only more relaxed but also healthier.

Near the pools, there is a café-restaurant open day and night and a parking lot.

21 Le Vie Cave, Tuscany

On the border between Lazio and Tuscany, there are some very ancient towns that have been renamed “tufa towns”. 

These towns rise on tufa spurs, as it often happens for the villages of Tuscia. The towns of Pitigliano, Sorano, and Sovana, however, hold something unique in Italy. 

The Etruscans, who civilized these lands, used to dig into the tufa rock some incredible paths, at the foot of the cliffs on which the acropolises stood. Today, those paths are known as “Vie Cave”, which translates to “cut roads”.

There are 30 of these paths connecting the quaint villages of Sorano, Sovana, and Pitigliano and they are all walkable trails. Crossing these open-air corridors you will wonder how the ancient builders made their way through the rock using only hammers and chisels. 

On the walls, you will find mysterious carvings, niches, hermitages, and tombs. The most stunning tomb is that of the “Siren“, called this way because of a bas-relief representing a mermaid at the entrance of the tomb. 

In addition to hiking in the vie cave, you will be pleased to visit the medieval villages and take advantage of the farmhouses that offer organic food nearby, such as “L’aia del Tufo“.

22 Amelia

The hill town of Amelia welcomes those traveling from Lazio to Umbria.

This secret town, known only to locals, has in the past 10 years become a destination for foreigners who decide to retire to Italy but find Tuscany now too popular.

In common with Tuscany, this Umbrian village has so much:

  •  views
  •  ancient buildings
  •  delicious cuisine
  • culture
  • the feeling of being in a village where everyone knows each other

At the entrance to the village, you will be surprised by its impressive polygonal walls, made from giant boulders several centuries BC.

Besides the walls, there are other landmarks to see in Amelia. After entering the town through the ancient main entrance, Porta Romana, visit the monumental Roman cisterns, Petrignani Palace, and Farrattini Palace.

A visit to this quiet Umbrian town will not be complete without eating at a couple of its excellent restaurants such as:

The Baronetto, which enjoys a terrace with exceptional views of the valley

The ConVitto, where you can sample the famous “crostoni,” thick slices of bread topped with house cheese and vegetables.

23 Orvieto

The town of Orvieto is one of the most interesting destinations in the Umbria region.

The large, flat cliff on which the town rests still has the ancient caves that were used by the Etruscans, who founded the city in the 9th century BC.

Orvieto is known worldwide for the Cathedral of Orvieto, a splendid example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture. What is striking about the cathedral is first of all its size; it is in fact the tallest building in the town. I recommend going inside; the entrance fee is €4.

Massive columns with marble in alternating light and dark colors characterize the interior, which preserves great works of art, such as:

  • Luca Signorelli’s Renaissance-era frescoes in the New Chapel
  • The Reliquary of the Corporal, a masterpiece of 14th-century goldsmithing.

The façade is also remarkable with bas-reliefs, mosaics, and a rose window.

One of the buildings behind the cathedral houses the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

The cathedral will focus your attention but there are other historical wonders to visit in the town. Start with the famous St. Patrick’s Well, a work of civil engineering commissioned by Pope Clement 7th in the 16th century. The well is immense: 62 meters deep and 13.5 meters in diameter, it was supposed to serve as a shelter in case of attacks. All around the well are two helical staircases that never meet, lit by windows whose light creates an almost cinematic effect.

Rounding out the wonders of Orvieto is Orvieto Underground, an underground city dating back to the 9th century B.C. that you can visit.

Where to stay in Tuscia

All the villages and towns I have mentioned in this article are perfect as a base for exploring Tuscia.

However, there are some places that have advantages, in terms of amenities and scenery.

Viterbo is the largest city in the Viterbese Tuscia that can become the reference point for your trips to the region. The amount of restaurants, and cafes and the presence of the thermal baths make it a perfect base in spring, fall, and winter.

Not far from the thermal baths, the Relais de Charme Villa Rossi Danielli welcomes you to a historic residence with elegantly furnished and refined interiors. 

Check latest rates and availability for this historic residence

If you visit Tuscia in the summer, I recommend setting your base near Lake Bolsena.

The apartment Clemy's House on the Capodimonte promontory will give you unforgettable sunrises and sunsets.

Check if this apartment is available on your dates.

Best food to try in Tuscia

There are typical dishes common to the whole region.
Let’s start with “lombrichelli,” which is a homemade pasta made from water and flour. This pasta is usually topped with wild boar ragout or porcini mushrooms, or with a simple tomato and garlic sauce.
Vegetables are very important in local cuisine. Bitter ones such as chicory and broccolini are preferred, used both to accompany meat dishes and to season pasta.
Goat and sheep cheeses are very popular, as is lake fish. Fish is prepared grilled, fried, or sautéed to season pasta or sandwiches.

Conclusion

The region I have just introduced you to is one of the lesser-known wonders of the Italian countryside. The fact that it is completely off the routes of local and international tourism should make a visit to Tuscia, Italy all the more inviting.

This region offers many outdoor and cultural activities throughout the year, so do not hesitate to add it to any Italy itinerary.

I recommend devoting at least 5 days to this very special part of Italy and exploring it by car. 

If you don’t feel like driving in Italy, which is so understandable, consider hiring a local driver.

Getting around by local buses in this area can prove frustrating end extremely time-consuming.

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