Viterbo, the capital of the province of the same name where Lake Bolsena is located, is no more than twenty kilometers from it, in a southern position. It is a city rich in history, of rare beauty and today as yesterday it is an important economic center also given its strategic position within the Lazio region (in the past as today on the Via Francigena).
The imprint of the city is certainly medieval, rich in culture and traditions, considered one of the most famous Cities of the Popes, its major attractions include the entire part of the historic center and the San Pellegrino district. The city is also famous for its thermal baths called Terme dei Papi.
Viterbo became famous following the appointment of a bishopric in 1194 and shortly afterwards it became a papal seat (1257-81) thus raising its prestige even more. The story of the very long conclave that for 33 months (1268-1271) occupied the papal palace to elect the new Pope Gregory X was famous. “cum clave ”the cardinals in the palace and uncovering the ceiling leaving them at the mercy of the elements. The term Conclave was born from this event to indicate the cardinal meetings that choose the new pope.
Chicca di Viterbo is, as mentioned, the medieval district of San Pellegrino which, in addition to having the privilege of being among the best preserved in Italy, is the largest in the old continent. This neighborhood has unique architectural features and in the heart of the neighborhood there are two important buildings: the Church of San Pellegrino and the Palazzo degli Alessandri.
The city is very rich in buildings, among the most important we certainly point out that of the Popes.
Among the museums that deserve a mention are the Civic Museum which is located in the monumental complex of Santa Maria della Verità, the Colle del Duomo Museum, between the Duomo, Palazzo Papale and the house of Valentino della Pagnotta, the Museum of Ceramics that collects 250 artifacts from Tuscia of the XIII-XIX century, the National Etruscan Museum with Etruscan artefacts unearthed from the surrounding areas.
This area is in fact rich in Necropolis, such as those of Castel d’Asso, that of Acquarossa, that of Norchia and that of Ferento
. As mentioned, the Terme dei Papi a bit outside the city are also well known and important.
Patroness of the city is Santa Rosa, a young girl who died at the age of eighteen in 1251. The saint dedicated her short but significant life to the poor and misfits despite the disapproval of the authorities of the time. The most important event in the city and one of the best known in the whole area is dedicated to the saint. This festival takes place on 3 September and consists of transporting the Machine of Santa Rosa through the streets of the historic center, a real artistic monument tens of meters high and transported by a hundred porters. The transport takes place in the evening, it crosses over fifty thousand people, combining faith and spectacle for seven hundred and fifty years.
Another very significant event is San Pellegrino in Fiore which takes place in the district of the same name.