The Viterbo and Rieti provinces make up the northern part of Lazio, the region that surrounds Rome. Rome is the most popular of the cities to visit in Italy, but not many tourists continue into the surrounding region. A few of the places in Northern Lazio can be visited as a day trip from Rome – see Rome day trips.
Northern Lazio has historic towns, beautiful countryside, lakes, Etruscan ruins, and gardens to visit including the Villa Lante Gardens and the whimsical Bomarzo Monster Park. It's a good area to get away from the tourist crowds and mingle with the locals, eating at non-tourist restaurants or just having a coffee in a cafe. The area is also noted for its olive oil and produces some wines, including the relatively unknown wines of the Sabine Hills.
Etruscan Ruins in Northern Lazio
Although remnants of the Etruscans, the predecessors of the Romans, can be found in many parts of central Italy, the heart of Etruscan country lies to the west of Viterbo. The top place to visit is Tarquinia, where there is not only a good archaeological museum but also many tombs dating from the 7th to 2nd centuries BC that have been excavated, some of them with elaborately painted interiors. The Etruscan Necropolis at Tarquinia, along with the one near the town of Cerveteri, is one of Central Italy's UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Lakes North of Rome:
Lakes Bolsena and Bracciano are the largest and most well-known lakes in this area. The town of Montefiascone is a medieval town overlooking Lake Bolsena and home to the white wine called EST! EST! EST! Lake Bolsena is also one of the top places to go for an Infiorata, the elaborate flower petal carpets made for Corpus Domani. Turano Lake is another nice lake to visit with several villages and beaches.
Northern Lazio Towns:
One of the best-known towns is Civita di Bagnoregio, a village perched on a hill that can only be reached by walking across a bridge spanning the canyon below. You'll need a car to get there. The provincial capital cities of Viterbo and Rieti can both be reached by train and have interesting historic centers.
You can also take the train from Rome to Fara Sabina to explore the medieval villages of the Sabine Hills.
If you're taking a cruise, it's likely you'll be going to Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, also on the rail line. See how to get from Civitavecchia to Rome or the airport.
Where to go in the Rieti Province, North of Rome:
Continue reading to find out where to go and what to see in Rieti Province of Lazio.