If you travel to Italy and Rome is one of the cities you visit, do not forget to check out the cities surroundings as well as you may find little gems, that otherwise you would not even think of. One of the cities to take up for a day trip is Viterbo.
Viterbo is a one of the main cities in the Latium region and it is about 60 kilometers or 38 miles north of Rome, the city is still surrounded by walls and the center still resembles a medieval town which was built back in between the 11th and 12th century.
Viterbo became known as the Pope’s city because with Pope Eugene III in the 12th century was one of the first Popes to make it his residence and for several centuries they lived and ruled there before descending to Rome.
Inside the wall of the city one of the most important sights is the Palazzo Papale, being one of the jewels of the city, the palace began in 1255 by Raniero Gatti, who was the captain of the people and whose coats of arms decorates the battlement. The palace was completed in 1267, so stating that Viterbo’s will to become residence of the papal court. Clement IV was the first pope that lived in the palace, and his death brought the longest conlave in history which lasted three years and it brought also the council of Lion in 1274 which established the institution, and then after so much chaos Gregory X was elected.
Another important site is the Piazza Fontana Grande; the water which pours from several sprouts out of the ancient fountain of Sepale comes from Etruscan excavations just outside the city walls as well as the Roman pipes. Construction of the fountain began in 1206 and was completed in 1279 by Valeriano which blended the Romanasque with the Gothic lines creating one of the most splendid fountains in Italy; later the restorations and few additions gave the fountain its present shape.
And the third site is the Museo Civico, which is one of the most ancient museums in Italy and it is located in a convent. The museum’s contents range from the Etruscans and their sarcophagi and the Romans and their inscriptions in the Viterbo region and surrounding areas. There is also a particularly rich picture called the Deposition, a painting by Sebastiano del Piombo which bears some drawings attributed by Michelangelo.