What villages should you visit in Lazio? If you are planning a trip to this region or are simply looking for ideas for a weekend out of town, here is a list for you.
One of my favourite activities is discovering new villages, the faithful custodians of traditions and typical flavours. I love how they are revealed in a simple and authentic way, without the presumption of being filled with modern architecture and glittering shop windows.
Today I will suggest some of the most charming villages in Lazio. I have chosen two for each province.
Villages to visit in the province of Viterbo:
Civita di Bagnoregio
This is one of my favourite places and I always get excited when I go over the bridge that leads to the village. Civita di Bagnoregio is known as the “city that dies” because the weather conditions and the erosion caused by the two torrents that flow underground, at the foot of the tufa and clay hill on which the little town is perched, threaten to displace this ancient village.
Civita is a place out of time; it is unreal and enchanted. It is made up of burnished alleys and romantic views overlooking the picturesque clay ridges of the Calanchi Valley.
Calcata is known as the “town of witches” or the “town of hippies and artists”. I am fond of this village because it tells a particular story. In 1935 the little town was suddenly depopulated because a law sanctioned the fragile safety of the tufa hill on which the town is perched. Afterwards there were reports that declared the rock’s solidity and in the 60’s a group of artists, fascinated by the town’s beauty, decided to settle down there. Today Calcata glows with new life. It is characterized by a maze of narrow streets, tufa corridors which are lined with handicraft boutiques and art studios. You will surely catch a glimpse of a painter focused on producing a new painting on his canvas.
Villages to visit in the province of Rome:
This little town cannot be left out from the list of villages to visit in Lazio. It is nestled in a breath-taking landscape composed of the Simbruini Mountains and the valley through which the Aniene river flows. The sights to visit are the Benedictine monasteries of Saint Scholastica and Saint Benedict, also called the Holy Grotto. For those who love hiking and nature, I recommend an excursion in the National Park of the Simbruini Mountains, the largest protected area in Lazio with an enormous environmental value.
For lovers of lake landscapes, the picturesque town of Trevignano Romano is just right. It lies on an inlet of the Bracciano lake, offering its visitors a tree-lined lake front with numerous lake view cafés overlooking the lake. Compared to Bracciano and Anguillara – the other two towns which overlook this volcanic basin – it is cosier and more characteristic. In addition, its well-kept old town centre is full of handicraft shops. Climb to the Fortress and enjoy the wonderful panorama from above.
Villages to visit in the province of Latina:
Suspended in an elegant Medieval atmosphere, Sermoneta boasts a rich historical, artistic and cultural heritage. You can walk through winding streets, lined by historical buildings. The village received the Orange Flag and in 2010 the European Union acknowledged it as a “European Destination of Excellence”.
My advice is to visit the Garden of Orange Trees in order to enjoy the view of the groups of houses clinging next to each other.
Sperlonga belongs to the Club of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy and it rises up on a rocky spur that stretches out towards the sea. Here you can breathe the charming combination between a village and a seaside resort; for this reason, it is one of the most fascinating towns of the Lazio coast. The alleys are narrow among little white houses which vaguely recall Greece, caressed by the bright colours of the summer vegetation, speckled with the blue of the doors and windows.
Villages to visit in the province of Rieti:
This little town, surrounded by wood-lined mountains, is known as the “Christmas village”. In fact, it is the birthplace of the Nativity scene in 1223. St. Francis of Assisi, who used to withdraw here in prayer, chose Greccio in order to celebrate the birth of the Saviour. The Nativity Scenes Museum honours this historical event and it houses an exhibition of crib art with pieces coming from all over the world. You can also visit the Shrine of Greccio, an imposing religious construction set in the rock.
One of the villages to visit in Lazio that I must mention is Labro. In this town you have the impression that time has stood still. What particularly struck me was the beauty of its little alleys: continuous ups and downs with glimpses that give visitors scenic views overlooking the lake of Piediluco; a tangled web of little roads which climb up stairways and wind into delightful cobblestone squares. Labro is undoubtedly a less renowned village, but it enchants with its perfectly preserved Medieval structure.
Villages to visit in the province of Frosinone:
Castro dei Volsci
Castro dei Volsci lies on a plateau overlooking the valley. For this reason, it is often covered by sheets of fog or low clouds. It is entirely surrounded by hillsides blanketed in forests. The village of this gem of the Ciociaria region is made up of stone houses and cobblestone alleys that have been tarnished over time and it is immersed in the Arcadian calm which is typical of villages.
This village rises up on a cone-shaped hill overlooking the Sacco, Liri and Cosa Valleys. The monumental heritage of Boville Ernica is studded with aristocratic Renaissance buildings.
Art lovers can admire important works such as Giotto’s mosaic and an Early Christian sarcophagus and the Madonna with Child and Saint Joseph by Sansovino, with Joseph’s head ascribed to Gianlorenzo Bernini.
Post author: Eliana Belloni