TUSCIA , the land of the Etruscan and much more ……
Tuscia is a land of many historical, artistic and folkloristic landscapes, situated in the northen part of the Lazio region bordering Tuscany and Umbria. One of the most interesting places of this area is Viterbo, a town surrounded by impressive walls in lava stone whose construction began in 1095 and was completed in 1268. They are more than ten metres high, and feature well preserved towers and medieval doors that had remained intact. The City of Viterbo maintains its characteristic medieval look particularly in Saint Pellegrino area, with palaces and towers dating back to the XIII century. The most significative monumental complex of Viterbo is definitely the Papal Palace: facing the central piazza San Lorenzo, it is a great example of gotic architecture, featuring double lancet windows, merlons, seven-bay arcade; it is also adorned with a splendid loggia supported by doubled columns and decorated with crests and reliefs. The public square also hosts a Renaissance cathedral with its beautiful old bell tower and a number of fountains of different shapes, that embellish the square and the streets of the City of Viterbo.
Viterbo is today famous all over the world for a religious event called “ transport of Macchina of Santa Rosa “. This spectacular event takes place every year, on September 3rd, at 9 o’clock in the evening. The Macchina is an artistic illuminated bell-tower with an imposing height of 30 meters. It weighs between 3.5 and 5 tons and is made of iron, wood and papier-machè. At the top of the tower, the statue of the Patron Saints enthusiastically acclaimed by the people in the streets of the town centre, where lights are turned off for the occasion. One hundred Viterbesi men (known as the Facchini) carry the Macchina from Porta Romana through each of the major streets of Viterbo to seven churches to be blessed, concluding with a strenuous ascension up to the Piazza of Santa Rosa, its final resting place the sanctuary Santa Rosa. Each Macchina’s lifespan differs. But contests are held every few years in order for a new design.
Among the religious itineraries in the Province of Viterbo, the most famous through the centuries is surely the “ FRANCIGENA ROAD“. It was at the beginning of the first millenium that Europe witnessed pilgrims flocking along the sacred routes to reach the holy places of the Christian religion, and in particular Rome. Of the various roads that led to Rome, the Francigena road was undoubtedly of prime importance. Men travelled along this road, bringing with them their culture, emblems and languages, and even today many signs and memories of these journeys can still be found in the Viterbo area. It’s interesting to see how through the centuries the Roman “statio” (resting places) were replaced by inns for pilgrims and how merchants, soldiers and emperors have always left behind some sign or written record of their journey or stay.