Things to see in Viterbo - What to see in Viterbo







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Things to see - What to see in Viterbo          (Back to Viterbo main information page)  

The historic medieval center of Viterbo is one of the best preserved in central Italy.

Many of the older buildings are built on top of ancient ruins, the main attraction is the Papal Palace (Palazzo dei Papi), a XIII century structure whose site, looking over the green gorge that cuts into central Viterbo, is best appreciated from its open Gothic loggia. It was the second country residence of the Papal palace after Rome, built to entice the Papacy away from Rome.

The second most important monument of the city is the Cathedral of S. Lorenzo, erected in Romanesque style over the temple of Hercules. Inside, it has an elegant striped floor, unusual among Italian churches. The notable Gothic belfry is from the XIV century, and shows influence of Senese artists. The church houses the sarcophagus of Pope John XXI and the picture Christ Blessing by Gerolamo da Cremona (1472).

The Palazzo Comunale from 1460 is also a good and worth seeing monument which houses a series of XVI century Baroque frescoes by the Ligustri, and the Cavarozzi. Also some other magnificent Palazzi are the Palazzo del Podest?/b> dated 1264, the Palazzo degli Alessandri in the old district, a typical patrician house of Middle Ages Viterbo,

and the Palazzo della Prefettura, which was entirely rebuilt in 1771 on the central square Piazza del Plebiscito, where the lions and palm trees across the square are Viterbo's symbol.

From Piazza del Plebiscito, through via Roma we find Corso Italia, Viterbo's main shopping street and a busy passeggiata of the evenings. It leads to Piazza Verdi and the XIX century Church of Santa Rosa, which holds the saint's corpse, dressed up in a nun's habit. Not to miss the Festa di Santa Rosa, where a 30 metre high construction is carried through the streets of the town in September.

The Gothic Church of Santa Maria della Salute has a beautiful rich portal, while the Romanesque Chiesa del Ges?/b>, from the XI century is known as the place where the sons of Simon de Montfort stabbed to death Prince Henry of Cornwall, son of King Richard I of England.

The Church of Santa Maria della Verit? with some fine early-Renaissance frescoes by little-known master Lorenzo da Viterbo in the Capella Mazzatosta.

Another important historic palace is the Palazzo Farnese from XIV and XV century as well as some few more churches like the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria Nuova from the XII century, where we find a beautiful cloister believed to date from an earlier period, the Church of San Sisto from the IX century, and San Giovanni in Zoccoli from the XI century.

The Gothic Church of San Francesco, built over a pre-existing Lombard fortress, houses the sepulchre of Pope Adrian V who died in Viterbo in 1276 and the one of Clement IV who died in 1268.

The Museo Civico (City Museum) houses many archaeological specimens from the pre-historical time like the Iron Age, to Roman times, a Pinacoteca (Art gallery) with paintings from the XIII century to the XIX century, from Sebastiano del Piombo, to the Romano, and the Rosa, Grammatica and others.


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