Rome Day Trip - Viterbo

Viterbo is an ancient papal city in north Lazio, central Italy and is the capital of the province of Viterbo. I've been there many times, and each time I find something new to like. It's a strange town, similar I guess to York in England, in that it was obviously once very important, but now, to modern eyes, it seems a little anachronistic and out of place. It's beautiful, for sure, with it's medieval walls (built during the 11th and 12th centuries) and it's Papal Palace (Palazzo dei Papi), but there's something else. As with many cities I've been to in Italy, it seems stuck between a glorious past and an unsure future. Almost as if it doesn't know what to make of itself. It's well worth a trip out from Rome though if you fancy seeing something a bit more authentic and off the beaten track.

The first time I went to Viterbo, we did the usual walk around the town, seeing the twisty little cobbled streets and palatial buildings. There are plenty of good shops as well, some touristy, but many just local shops, pasticceria, leather goods (hangbags and belts are the big sellers in Viterbo apparently) and the like.

The second time I was in Viterbo, it was for a specific reason - the Macchina di Santa Rosa. This is a procession which takes place on the evening of 3rd September, to commemorate the relocation of the body of Saint Rosa from the Church of Santa Maria del Poggio to the church of San Damiano (the Sanctuary of Santa Rosa). The Macchina di Santa Rosa is a gigantic structure, nearly 30 metres high, which is carried through the streets by a large team of strong local men. It's great fun to line the streets with thousands of locals, waiting for a glimpse of the tower as somehow, the local guys carry it up to the church. Viterbo also hosts a flower festival in May called  San Pellegrino in fiore, although I haven't been there for that so I can't comment.

I'll post something longer on Viterbo in the future, as this is really just a taster as I realized I really enjoying going there, but I've never written about it! (and once I've dug out my photos of the macchina I'll put them up as well!)

Getting to Viterbo from Rome by public transport:

Is not so easy, or at least can be a little time-consuming, so this would be a full-day trip, or an overnight trip.

Trains are roughly every hour from Stazione Ostiense in Rome, and stop at Viterbo Porta Romana station, outside the Porta Romana (Roman Gateway) in the city walls. The journey takes nearly two hours.

Viterbo is also served by Cotral buses from Rome, which leave from Saxa Rubra.

And finally, here is a link to a tourist information site, not just for Viterbo, but also the surrounding area.

*Image from Wikipedia


  1. I know we follow each other on Twitter but did you realise I actually live in Viterbo according to our postal address! Maybe when you write your posts you would be willing to link to my relevant posts, such as San Pellegrino in Fiore, Macchina Santa Rosa etc etc on News From Italy

  2. Hi LindyLouMac!

    I did think you were living somewhere around there! Beautiful part of the world! Of course I'd be happy to link to any relevant posts! I'm falling in love with the area around lago di vico, with Caprarola and Ronciglione, it's so beautiful. I want to go back already! I've only been up to Lago di Bolsena once or twice, to Capodimonte and Marta, the lake is beautiful!

  3. Thankyou, I now have your blog on my google reader list. I know the places you mention as we used to live only about fifteen minutes from Lago di Vico. We moved up to Lago di Bolsena just last year.