A Quick Tour Of Italy - Latium West Of Rome

Let's see what Western Latium offers tourists...

Latium Countryside

Latium countryside

Let's sip some wine under the tree

If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider the Latium region of central western Italy on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Latium, also known as Laszio, includes Italy’s capital Rome, the Eternal City. This short article focuses on Latium west of Rome. A companion article describes Latium east of Rome.

The Etruscans dominated large parts of Italy including Latium from an unknown prehistoric period up until the Roman Empire. While we don’t know much about them, much of what we do know about them can be seen on our tours of Latium.

Cerveteri, population about thirty thousand, was once the Etruscan city of Caere. Cerveteri is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its Etruscan tombs. There are over a thousand of them, dating from the Ninth Century B.C. to the Third Century B. C. Other local sights worth seeing include the Rocca castle, the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Sixteenth Century Palazzo Ruspoli.

Tarquinia, population about sixteen thousand, is the site of about six thousand Etruscan tombs, some of which are decorated by wall paintings. The National Museum housed in the Fifteenth Century Palazzo Vitelleschi is known for its archeological contents. Tarquinia is home to a cathedral and several churches and medieval towers.

Viterbo was once the favorite residence of the popes. Its historic old center is among the best preserved towns of central Italy. Make sure to see the Papal Palace and the Romanesque Cathedral of San Lorenzo, which served as a Papal residence. Pope John XXI died here in 1277 when the ceiling collapsed as he was sleeping. The Plaza di San Lorenzo contains several other buildings of interest. The medieval district of San Pellegrino is quite well preserved.

The nearby village of Bagnaia was the personal fiefdom of the bishops of Viterbo for centuries. It is best known for its magnificent Sixteenth Century water gardens, Villa Lante. There are two sets of buildings, built for two bishops, one of whom was known for living simply.

Latium’s pasta is said to be among the best in Italy. Fettuccine Alfredo comes from this region. See our companion article I Love Touring Italy – Western Latium for a sample menu and more information on Latium wines plus an in-depth examination of its tourist attractions. Cantina Colacicchi’s Torre Ercolana is a Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend from Latium that comes highly recommended but I have yet to taste it.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.

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