Lazio, a region that lies in the shadow of its famous capital of Rome, is a beautiful, varied area of volcanic lakes, mountains, medieval towns built on rocks, vineyards and olive groves between the Apennines and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Here are some unique reasons why Lazio should be your next holiday destination.
1. THE LAKES
The reason as to why visiting the North and West of Lazio is a must, is because of the two large lakes that live in Bracciano and BolsenaIn and the two small lakes of Martignano and Vico.
Lago di Bracciano is surrounded by the towns of Bracciano, Anguillara Sabazia, and Trevignano Romano, the first two of which can be reached from Rome by train for the price of a couple of cappuccinos. While here, pay a visit to Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, walk among the picturesque streets of Anguillara which spill down into the lake and eat fresh lake fish at one of the many restaurants along the tree-lined waterfront in Trevignano.
Bracciano castle and lake
Midway between Bolsena and Bracciano is the smaller Lago Di Vico, which is situated in a nature reserve. Comfort seekers can rent a sun lounge and dine at one of the bars and restaurants on the south side of the lake. More adventurous visitors can explore the wildlife around the perimeter where hazelnut groves abound and farmers bring herds of pigs and cattle down to the water to drink.
Lago di Vico
All lakes are clean enough to swim in and have plenty of undeveloped public shore where you can put down a towel and stay for free.
2. THE BEACHES OF SANTA SEVERA AND SANTA MARINELLA
In the west, twin beaches of Santa Marinella and Santa Severa are short distance from Rome and easily accessible by train. These beaches are two of the limited Italian beaches with free public access and form part of a golden coastline by pristine water of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Santa Severa has a castle on the beach itself which is open to visitors for a small entry fee and is well worth a visit.
Santa Severa beach and castle
3. THE OPULENT HOUSE AND GARDENS OF VILLA FARNESE
Villa Farnese (confusingly sometimes also called Palazzo Farnese) in Caprarola is a magnificent 16th century villa with a unique pentagonal shape. The villa has a distinctive spiral staircase, with sumptuous rooms decorated in the Mannerist style which include 500 year old world atlas frescoes, and vast decorative gardens which extend for several acres behind the villa itself.
4. VITERBO, THE "CITY OF POPES"
Enter Viterbo, Lazio's second city after Rome and the refuge of numerous medievel pontiffs. The city traces its origins back to the pre-Roman Etruscan civilisation, but the buildings and streets in its historic centre date back to the 12th and 13th centuries when it rose to prominence as the "City of the Popes".
Walk the scenic streets arounf the palace and tale a guided nderground tour of teh Etruscan tunnels which were enlarged and repurposed as secret passageways in medieval times, and later used as air raid shelters during World War II.
Palazzo Dei Papi Di Viterbo
5. NATURAL HOT SPRINGS
The province of Viterbo in Northern Lazio is surrounded by hot springs and Bagnaccio is one of those which gives you one relaxing experience. For an entry fee of 6 euros, you cam luxuriate in the warmth of geothermally-heated sulphur water in several rustic pool fashioned out of white clay. Bagnaccio is open till late evening almost all year round including Christmas and New Year's Eve. If you're feeling hungry, stop by the award-winning Il Babba pizzeria in the nearby town of Vetralla for some of the best pizza north of Naples.
Bagnaccio, Terme & Natura
6. THE "DYING DOWN" BAGNOREGIO
A guide to northern Lazio would be incomplete without mention of Civita di Bagnoregio, a tiny village nestled on top of a volcanic rock that rises abruptly out of the earth like an enchanted kingdom, accessed only by a narrow footbridge. It is commonly known as “the dying village” as its exposed tuff-rock sides are highly vulnerable to erosion and other natural forces. The village was saved from extinction by outside investment, and is now a major tourist attraction. A small entry fee is required, and be prepared to share your visit with large crowds if you come during high season.
7. THE CLIFFTOP ARTISTS' COMMUNE OF CALCATA
If you want to avoid the crowds head to Calcata, another village balanced on the plateau of a rocky volcanic outcrop. This village has a very dramatic feel to it with dwellings that seem carved out of the rock face itself. Calcata underwent a revivial as a new-age artists' community in the 1960's, where you will find an array of puppet makers, artists' studios and dressmakers shops scattered through the village.
8. THE ENCHANTED FORESTS OF ACQUAPENDENTE
The city and commune of Acquapendente ("Hanging Water") is located just outside the confines of the Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve, a wildlife sanctuary managed by the city which spans nearly 3000 hectares and is home to over 1000 plant species. The most compelling reason to visit this area is to see the Forest of Sasseto, located at the north end of the Monte Rufeno reserve. With it's errie big oaks and green ferns carpeting the forest floor, it's no wonder why it is also known as Snow White's wood and the Forest of the fairies.
Bosco Del Sasseto
9. TUSCANIA, THE PEARL OF TUSCIA
Despite being hit by a major earthquake in 1971, this Medieval town nestled in the Marta River valley has survived the impact and has a soft-focused, dreamy landscape. Take in the sculpted Etruscan sarcophagi that line the town's walkways, visit the archaeological museum and the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore on the main piazza, walk up a small slope to the famed San Pietro Church to look over the town itself.
This information has been derived from The Local - 25 September 2018