Latium - Travel Guide and Tourism Information for Latium, Italy
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Provinces: Roma, Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, Viterbo
This region stretches from the western buttresses of the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea. The landscape presents flatlands on the coastline and in the hinterland, ridges and calcareous highlands. Latium has four very ancient volcanic areas where the craters of extinct volcanoes form the lakes of Bolsena, Vico, Bracciano, Albano and Nemi.
The centre is Piazza del Plebiscito, an appropriately named square girdled almost entirely by the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century buildings that make up the town's council offices. You can look in on the fine Renaissance courtyard of the main, arcaded building of the Palazzo dei Priori and also see the council chamber itself, decorated with a series of murals depicting Viterbo's history right back to Etruscan times.Also visit Viterbo's oldest quarter, the Quartiere San Pellegrino.
Piazza San Lorenzo is flanked by the town's most historic group of buildings, notably the Palazzo Papale itself, a thirteenth-century structure whose impressive site, is best appreciated from its open Gothic loggia.
Other attractions include the Duomo, a plain Romanesque church that has an elegant striped floor and Piazza della Rocca, a large square dominated by the fierce-looking Rocca Albornoz, home of the small Museo Nazionale, whose archeological collection includes displays of locally unearthed Roman and Etruscan artefacts. Just off the opposite side of the square, the church of San Francesco is also worth a quick look, a high and unusually plain Gothic church that is the burial place of two popes -- Clement IV and Adrian V -- both laid in impressive Cosmatesque tombs on either side of the main altar.
The lake occupies the remains of a broad volcanic crater and is the largest of its kind in Europe. The surrounding soil is immensely fertile, and there's a super-mild microclimate, with most of the shores intensely cultivated as a result. This is a great place for swimming, fishing… Capodimonte - On the southern shore, is one of the more developed spots, an attractive town that pushes into the lake on a partly forested peninsula. You may visit the sixteenth-century Palazzo Farnese, built by A. Sangallo. With a boat trip you may run out to the Isola Bisentina, which sports Etruscan tombs, five frescoed chapels, and another Farnese villa - the summer retreat of several popes. Isola Martana is the island where Amalasunta, queen of Ostrogoths was killed. On the opposite shore, Bolsena is the lake's main focus, a relaxed and likeable place that's worth a stop. Medieval nooks and alleyways run off the single main drag, with a well-preserved fourteenth-century Monaldeschi castle perched over the western end. Inside is the local museum collection with local Roman and Etruscan finds. Visit the eleventh-century Santa Cristina church, with Romanesque interior behind a wide Renaissance facade added in 1494. Gradoli - On the shores of the lake and famous for its aleatico wine, like Marta with its cannaiola wine and many fish restaurants.
Tarquinia - The great Etruscan city of Tarxuna stood on a strategic
highland, now the plain of Civita; its port later became the Roman
colony of Gravisca. The town now appears predominantly medieval,
dense with towers and buildings dotted with dark volcanic tufo stone.
It is set on a hill not far from the original settlement; close by
is a renowned Etruscan necropolis, unrivalled for its tomb paintings.
The National Museum hosts Etruscan gold jewelry as well as the
winged horses, one of the greatest Etruscan masterpieces.
Occupies the geographical centre of Italy – with a plaque in Piazza di San Rufo to prove it. In the days of the Romans this was a key region, the so-called Umbilicus Italiae. You may visit the Duomo and the Palazzo Vescovile . In the surroundings lies Greccio, a small town with a Franciscan monastery; here St. Francis created the first ever Christmas crib – a real life nativity scene is re-enacted every year.
Cassino: The site of an important monastery, the Abbey of
Montecassino founded in 529 by St Benedict. This was for many years
one of the most important and influential monastic complexes in the
Christian world, During World War II the Allies bombed it to ruins
in May 1944. It was subsequently rebuilt, and the austere medieval
style of its buildings has been faithfully re-created. The church,
in a hideously ornate Baroque style, has a small museum containing
incunabula, old manuscripts.
Ariccia - Visit the Baroque Palazzo Chigi, restructured by Bernini and Fontana and its park with grottoes and fountains. Frascati - From the Villa Aldobrandini, completed by Maderno and Fontana, you’ll get an astomishing view of Rome. Tusculum - an archaeological park in a beautiful natural setting with the Villa of Emperor Tiberius, the Tusculum Theatre and other remains. Grottaferrata - here you may visit a Byzantine monastery, the Abbey of San Nilo, founded in 1004 by St Nilus.
Fregene This is where most Romans go for a sunbath or for a
disco-night during the summer, when its beaches get really crowded.
The Villaggio dei Pescatori, the more traditional area, still
preserves its small houses facing the sea.
Ponza is the main tourist island with two main settlements. Ventotene is smaller and not so crowded – both host several archaeological sites. Palmarola, Zannone and Gravi are inhabitated, but may be visited for a day-trip. All of them are ideal for swimming and diving and have a beautiful landscape.
ROME - Top attractions
St.Peter’s - The Papal Altar, Baldacchino by Bernini, Filarete Door, tomb of Maria Sobieski, Pietà by Michelangelo, the Porta Santa, Bronze statue of St.Peter, Throne of St Peter in Glory, Monument to Pope Alexander VII, Stuart Monument by Canova, the Grottoes, the Treasury and St.Peter’s Sacristy, the Dome
Sistine Chapel - On the walls, The Last Judgment by Michelangelo and other wall frescoes by Perugino and Botticelli, the ceiling with The creation of Adam and Eve and other subjects from the Old Testamen).
Raphael Rooms - Pope Julius II’s private apartments; visit the hall of Constantine, the Room of Heliodorus, the Room of the Segatura and the one of the Fire in the Borgo.
Pantheon - The Roman temple of all the gods ; take a look at the interior of the Dome and the tomb of Raphael.
Colosseum - Rome’s greatest amphitheatre, commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in AD 72
Trevi Fountain - The most famous fountain, completed in 1762
Piazza Navona - A beautiful Baroque Piazza with the Fontana dei Fiumi/the Four Rivers by Bernini, the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone and Palazzo Pamphilj.
Roman Forum - The centre of political, commercial and judicial life in ancient Rome. Visit the Curia, the Basilica Aemilia, Temple of Castor and Pollux, Basilica Julia, Arch of Septimius Severus, Temple of Vesta, Temple of Romulus, House of the Vestal Virgins, the Arch of Titus, Basilica of Constantine
Castel Sant’Angelo - Built as the Emperor Hadrian’s mausoleum in AD 139. Don’t miss the Sala Paolina, a view from the terrace and the staircase of Alexander VI.
Spanish Steps - They link the Church of Trinità dei Monti to Piazza di Spagna. On the piazza you’ll notice the curiously shaped Barcaccia fountain, the Keats - Shelley Memorial house. Nearby the Caffè Greco in Via dei Condotti is one of the oldest cafès in Rome, opened in 1760.
S.Maria Maggiore - A Basilica with a richly decorated interior; the Cappella Paolina, th Tomb of Cardinal Rodriguez, beautiful apse mosaics and a coffered gilded ceiling with the first gold brought from America by Columbus.
And then we may suggest some famous and not so famous spots…
Santa Prassede (with beautiful colourfed mosaics), Vatican Museums (they host one of the world’s most important art collections with Egyptian, Etruscan, Christian, Medieval, 15th - to 19th-century art), Villa Giulia (houses the Museo Nazionale Etrusco with the famous Husband and Wife Sarcophagus), Galleria Borghese (sculptures like Pauline Borghese by Canova, Apollo and Daphne by Bernini), Capitoline Museums (with classical statues, the Etruscan bronze of the She-Wolf, St John the Baptist by Caravaggio), Trajan’s Markets (build in the early 2nd century AD as a complex of 50 shops and offices), Palatine (Temple of Cybele, Domus Flavia, Domus Augustana, House of Livia), Il Gesù (the first Jesuit church in Rome), Pincio Gardens + Piazza del Popolo (a beautiful view on Rome), Palazzo Farnese (imposing Renaissance palace), Campo dè Fiori, (open air market, active nightlife), Fontana delle Tartarughe (the tortoise fountain on a hidden piazza), Tiber Island (S.Bartolomeo, Ponte Fabricio), Via Giulia, S.Maria degli Angeli (incorporated in the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian), Sant’Andrea al Quirinale (known as the Pearl of the Baroque), Domus Aurea (Nero’s Golden House), S.Giovanni in Laterano (Rome’s Duomo), Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (hosts relics of the Holy Cross), S.Clemente ( famous for its catacomb and frescoes), Bocca della Verità (the Mouth of Truth..just put your hand in this marble mouth...), SS.Bonifacio e Alessio (with Cosmati doorway and pavement), Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta (at No 3 have a look through the bronze keyhole and you’ll get a stunning miniature view of St.Peter’s, framed by a tree-lined avenue), S.Maria in Trastevere (facade and apse mosaics),ideal to combine with a walk up to the Gianicolo (for a wonderful view over the city and a romantic stroll), Via Appia Antica (lined with Roman tombs and catacombs, Catacombs of S.Callisto (vast catacombs on four levels), S.Paolo fuori le Mura (this basilica has a beautiful cloister), Ostia Antica (well preserved archaeological site; once Rome’s main commercial port).
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