Journey through the Tuscia between picturesque and regional food delicacies!
Tuscia is a borderland between Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany: it corresponds to the southern area of the ancient region known as Etruria.
If once the term Tuscia meant the whole area dominated by the Etruscans, today with this word we refer above all to the Province of Viterbo and to the northern part of the province of Rome.
Rich in historical and natural attractions, this land appears as an alternation of medieval towns, perched villages, green lakes and hills. Impossible to leave out a visit to enchanting places like Bomarzo, the lakes of Bracciano, Bolsena and Vico, the Nature Reserve “Saline of Tarquinia” and the splendid Bagnoregio, known as the “dying city”.
But which are the most beautiful villages in Tuscia?
The amazing cities & villages: Caprarola and Vitorchiano
Caprarola rises in the centre of a real nature’s paradise: an uncontaminated place, made even more special by the vast hazelnut cultivations. Those that come from Caprarola hazelnut groves are high-quality hazelnuts, so much that the local Hazelnut Festival has become one of the most famous and popular events in the area.
But the town is also famous for its peculiar urban structure (it is characterised by a central street, the so-called “Via Dritta”, from which all the consular roads originate) and for the Farnese Palace, with its monumental staircase known as the “Scala Regia” and its Italian gardens. Caprarola is one of the main starting points for tourists visiting the Lake Vico.
Speaking of hazelnuts, in the nearby Civita Castellana travellers can visit Luca’s farm, producer of the local hazelnut variety, the “Tonda Gentile Romana”. Here, you will take part in sensory tours among the hazel groves, taste the hazelnuts, as well as the products derived from them. Among these, the precious handmade chocolate from Civita Castellana and the hazelnut spreads, with a high percentage of hazelnuts, small amounts of sugar and no added oils.
Perched on a cliff overlooking the valley, Vitorchiano is characterised by a maze of paved alleys enclosed within the imposing medieval walls. These characteristics make the town one of the most picturesque in Tuscia, giving it that typical charm of undiscovered places. On the central “Piazza Roma”, visitors can admire the Town Hall with the Clock Tower and the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate.
Charming villages to visit in Tuscia: the “dying city” and Tarquinia
Civita di Bagnoregio is probably one of the most famous villages in Italy. Sadly known as the “dying city”, it stands on an isolated cliff, constantly subjected to the erosion caused by atmospheric agents. Civita di Bagnoregio offers no certainty about the years or centuries that it will still last, but what is certain is that it is a small masterpiece, able to remain in the heart of anyone who decides to visit it.
The Etruscan city par excellence is Tarquinia, one of the best preserved testimonies of a people whose origins are still shrouded in mystery. An ancient legend has it that the city was founded by Tarconte, the hero of the Etruscan mythology. Do not miss the National Museum, known for its incredible amount of archaeological finds, the Church of Santa Maria di Castello and the Church of San Giacomo, in addition to the elegant Palazzo Vitelleschi, home of the National Etruscan Museum.
Bomarzo and Viterbo: things to see
Papal seat for more than twenty years, Viterbo is known as the “City of the Popes”.
The large historic centre and the facades made of peperino, a precious local stone, make this medieval town one of the most popular destinations for tourists wishing to visit Tuscia. The Papal Palace is splendid, a rare gem of the Gothic Architecture. Don’t miss the San Pellegrino neighborhood, Piazza della Morte and San Lorenzo’s Cathedral.
Thanks to the presence of the famous Park of the Monsters, Bomarzo is one of the most renowned centres in the Tuscia. The town lies between the Tiber Valley and the Cimini Mountains and is dominated by the imposing Orsini Palace. A few kilometres from the town, there is an enchanted and mysterious place: the Park of the Monsters, or “Sacred Grove”. It was built in the mid-sixteenth century by the architect Pirro Ligorio, who created an extraordinary itinerary full of metaphors, embodied by the monstrous figures that peep out among the lush vegetation. Every sculpture wants to bring back to the sixteenth-century mysteriosophic tradition.
The Tuscia truffle, Tuscia PDO & Canino PDO extra virgin olive oil
Tuscia is not only history and nature, but also good food and high-quality products.
For example, why don’t mention the Blera black truffle and the extra virgin olive oil? As far as truffle is concerned, the clayey soil is ideal for the growth of one of the most sought after mycological species.
Always in Civita Castellana, it is possible to go truffle hunting with a true expert in the field. We are talking about Matteo who, with his dogs, has been exploring for years the hilly areas in search of one of the most coveted treasures by the so-called “truffle hunters”. At the end of the experience, you will return to the farm where you will taste the truffles that you have just found and all the other products, including hazelnut spreads, extra virgin olive oil and good wines.
Mentioned among the best in Italy in many specialised magazines, Tuscia extra virgin olive oil is produced thanks to the large presence of olive groves, which cover about 7% of the agricultural area. The quality of this product depends on numerous factors, including the soils of volcanic origin, particularly fertile and rich in nutrients.
The history of Tuscia extra virgin olive oil has its roots in the past. The Greeks imported olive cultivation in Etruria. A few decades later, the Etruscans took to spreading their cultivation techniques among the other Italic peoples.
Today, this extra virgin olive oil is known for its lively flavour, freshness and fruity accent. The quality standards of Tuscia extra virgin olive oil are guaranteed by the “Tuscia Viterbese” brand, assigned by the Chamber of Commerce to the farms that respond to the requirements in force.
The production includes two different types: the Tuscia PDO and the Canino PDO extra virgin olive oil. The first comes from volcanic soils, is medium fruity, has golden tones and a slightly spicy flavour. The Canino PDO, on the other hand, derives its name from the olives of the homonymous variety. It is an emerald green extra virgin olive oil with golden reflections, a fruity smell and a spicy and bitter undertone of variable intensity. The flavour is stronger than the Tuscia PDO extra virgin olive oil.
In Canino, you can take part in a visit to the olive oil mill, enjoy a tour in the olive groves and taste monovarietal extra virgin olive oils. At the end of the day, you will have a delicious dinner in a local “trattoria”, where you will taste the traditional dishes from Tuscia paired with fine monovarietal extra virgin olive oils. An opportunity not to be missed!