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Lazio

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Cities and hamlets brimming with history, nature reserves and hidden gems, archaeological sites, lakes and beaches: the Lazio region hosts Rome, the city par excellence, but cherishes much more. The region is wide and full of treasures: within its territory you have mountains and sea, rivers, lakes and volcanos; there are the extraordinary historical evidence of the Eternal City but also the Etruscan finds and tombs of the Tuscia in the Viterbo area, the archaeological site of Ostia Antica, the Temple of Jupiter Anxur in Terracina, Villa Adriana in Tivoli, the necropolis in Cerveteri and much more.

 

Roma

Roma

 

What to see in the Lazio region? Your discovery journey cannot but stop in these ten localities:

 

1. Roma:with a history covering 28 centuries, one-of-a-kind treasures and views and a charm impossible to resist, Rome is a constant surprise, a key stage of every Italian “Grand tour”;   

 

2. Ostia Antica: its beautiful archaeological park keeps remains of the VII century B.C. and is an unmissable stage in order to relive the times of Ancient Rome;

3. Pontine Islands: off the Gulf of Gaeta, in southern Lazio, it is an archipelago consisting of six amazing volcanic islands one different to another (including Ponza, Palmarola, Zannone, Gavi, Ventotene, Santo Stefano);

 

4. Roman Castles: a hilly area on the Alban Hills, just out of Rome, well-known for its picturesque villages (like Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence), noble villas and excellent cuisine; 

 

5. Civita di Bagnoregio: called “the Dying City”, it’s a historic village perched on a hill only accessible through a pedestrian bridge, close to Lake Bolsena;

 

6. Tarquinia:  art city and symbol of the Etruscan culture, this town holds extraordinary necropolis, medieval monuments and a nature reserve along the coast; 

 

7. Gardens of Bomarzo:  one-of-a-kind natural park with XVI century basalt sculptures depicting monsters, deities and mythological beings;

 

8. Tivoli: a city 30 kilometers from Rome, a place of sanctuaries and magnificent villas, like Villa di Adriano, the Park of Villa Gregoriana, Villa D’Este and the Sanctuary of Ercole Vincitore;

 

9. National Park of Circeo: a wide protected area along the coast between Anzio and Terracina, UNESCO Biosphere reserve, that also includes Mount Circeo and the uninhabited island of Zannone;

 

10. Sperlonga: set on a rocky spur overlooking the sea, among lanes and whitewashed houses, it is one of the “Borghi più belli d’Italia” (Italy’s most beautiful villages) association.

 

To plunge into history the perfect destination in Lazio is first of all Rome, but all over the region there are important archaeological sites and places of cultural interest. Besides the historical center of Rome and the Vatican, are Unesco World Heritage Sites also the Hadrian's Villa, retreat for Roman Emperor Hadrian, the Villa D’Este, a Renaissance masterpiece, both in Tivoli, the Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, in the province of Viterbo, the area of Mount Cimino and Regional Natural Park of Bracciano-Martignano, a protected area included between Lake Bracciano and Lake Martignano.

Lazio is a destination that offers a lot of ideas and inspirations for those wishing to take a historical and cultural tour.

 

Ponza

Ponza

In addition to the extraordinary gems of Rome, very interesting archaeological sites are the Appian Way Regional Park, the Archaeological Park of Ostia Antica, the archeological site of the Taurine Baths in the neighborhood of Civitavecchia, the archeological site of the old city of Gabi, the site of Lucus Feroniae in the municipality of Capena, on the ancient Tiberina Way, the Etruscan ruins in Vulci, the Etruscan Necropolis in Tuscania and Cerveteri, the archeological area of Tuscolo in the municipalities of Montecompatri, Monte Porzio Catone and Frascati, the Hadrian's Villa, Villa Gregoriana and Villa D’Este in Tivoli, the ancient village of Veio, one of the major Etruscan centers in Lazio, the temple of Hercules in Cori and the Temple of Jupiter Anxur in Terracina.

Lazio, the temple of Hercules in Cori and the Temple of Jupiter Anxur in Terracina.
Lazio also offers much more than history and archeology. Its coast, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, boasts 360 kilometers of mainly sandy beaches, dunes, watchtowers and impressive beachfronts. Among the most beautiful beaches is the long beach of Sabaudia, between sand dunes and the Mediterranean scrub, the beach Litorale del Circeo, in the National Park of Circeo, with its clear sea, the beaches Levante and Ponente in Terracina, the beach of Cala Nave in Ventotene, the beach Tor Caldara, in Anzio, enclosed in a nature reserve, the coastline of Gaeta, 10 kilometers from Montagna Spaccata to Sperlonga, especially with the beaches of Arenauta, Ariana, Sant'Agostino and Serapo. Very impressive is also the Tiberio Cave, a natural cave much appreciated by snorkelers.

If you’re looking for diving spots in the Lazio region you cannot miss the Secche di Tor Paterno, between Ostia and Tor San Lorenzo, and Riva di Traiano a little further north, La Secchitella and Grotta dei Gamberi in Ventotene, Punta del Pecoraro and Torre del Marangone, in Civitavecchia, Secca del Dito, Scoglio Rosso in Ponza and, if you are interested in relics, the Relitto dell’Aderno (3 nautical miles from the port of Civitavecchia) and the Relitto Punta Papa, in Ponza. Among the smaller islands Palmarola with its “cathedrals”, multicolored volcanic rocks with caves and a wonderful seabed of white sand, and the Secca del Mariuolo in Zannone.

If you want to enjoy a bicycle tour you can choose the Monte Mario Cycling Lane that winds in a 25 km long loop in the streets of Rome, the GRAB (Grande Raccordo Anulare delle Bici), a 44 km long loop around Rome, the Tiber Cycling Lane, 35 kilometers from the district of Labaro, to the north of Rome, till the quarter of Tor di Valle, to south-west. Alternatively, you can cycle along the Appian Way until Lake Albano or along the old railway line from Capranica to Civitavecchia or along the Paliano – Serrone – Fiuggi Cycling Lane, a 23.5 km long route that retraces the path of the old railway line Rome-Fiuggi-Frosinone.

Hikers that want to enjoy a trekking getaway have many options in Lazio, from the Apennines to the volcanic lakes of the Roman Castles, until the beaches of the National Park of Circeo. Following marked paths you can go discovering the area of the Alban Hills, with stages like Colle Iano, Mount Cavo, Maschio delle Faete and Mount Tuscolo. Or, they can adventure into the Cammino Naturale dei Parchi, an overall 450 kilometers paths between the Lazio and Abruzzo region, from Rome to L’Aquila, or the area of Lake Duchessa, on the border between the two regions, following the itinerary to Mount Terminillo, starting from the Sebastiani Hut, or discover the Monti Simbruini, one of the main mountain ranges in the central Apennines, or the Monti Cantari, between the provinces of Frosinone and L’Aquila. If you want to enjoy hiking with a sea view, you can opt for the National Park of Circeo, with its 22-kilometer-long coastline for a pleasant hike, or the Isle of Zannone, a nature paradise in the Pontine Islands, where there are many stunning trails between the Mediterranean scrub and holm oak woods.

In the region there are plenty of opportunities for relaxation and wellness: the most famous thermal baths are in Fiuggi, in the heart of Ciociaria, with the thermal waters of the Bonifacio VIII spring whose therapeutic properties were already known back in the XIII century, the thermal baths in Tivoli, sulphurous waters famous since the times of Imperial Rome, today restored and known as “Rome Thermal Baths”, and the Terme dei Papi in Viterbo with their renowned hyper-thermal waters.


If you are traveling with your family you will make your kids happy if you take them to the Sacred Grove (or Park of the Monsters) in Bomarzo, in the province of Viterbo, a nature park inhabited by odd basalt sculptures depicting monsters, deities and legendary beings, or the Bioparco di Roma, the oldest zoological garden in Italy, Cinecittà World in Rome, a theme park with cinema and TV-related attractions, MagicLand, an amusement park in Rome Valmontone or one of the many water parks scattered all over the region.  

In addition to the many sagre and food and wine events taking place especially in the summer, the most important events in the Lazio region include the Rome Film Festival, an international film festival taking place in autumn, the Roma Summer Fest, a summer music festival held at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, and the fashion happenings of the Rome Fashion Week, in September.

There are many celebrations on occasion of Carnival, such as the Carnival of Rome, of Civita Castellana, well known for its huge carnival floats, the Carnival of Frascati with the cremation of Pulcinella, the Carnival of Ronciglione and the Carnival of Tivoli. An important event is the Infiorata di Genzano, a festival with carpet of flowers in the province of Rome, on occasion of the Feast of Corpus Christi, in June, the Palio dei Borgia in Nepi, in the province of Viterbo, and the historical re-enactment of the Franciscan crib in Greccio (in December) and the performance of Christ Carrying the Cross taking place in Bagnoregio at Easter. An historical festival is instead the Festa di Mezzo Maggio (Mid-May Festival) in Acquapendente, established in honor of the liberation from Frederick Barbarossa.

Simple and authentic, jealous of its traditions and of its past, the cuisine of Lazio is often identified with the Roman cuisine but, actually, it goes much further than this, with many typical variations from area to area and influences from nearby regions.

 

Pasta alla Carbonara

Pasta alla Carbonara

 

The greatest expression of the cuisine of Lazio, starters abound with ingredients and original combinations: among the most traditional choices bruschette with oil or cherry tomatoes, carciofi alla romana, “Roman-style artichokes” seasoned with parsley and lesser calamint, that together with fried carciofi alla giudia are some of the most traditional starters of the Roman cuisine. Frying is a very popular cooking method: classic starters are also fried squash blossoms or frittelli, Romanesco broccoli tops battered and fried, very common at Christmas.

 

As for first courses, you cannot miss bucatini all’Amatriciana, seasoned with cheek lard, tomatoes and Pecorino cheese, a dish typical of the town of Amatrice, or spaghetti alla carbonara, with cheek lard, Pecorino cheese and eggs, spaghetti cacio e pepe, with black pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese, or gnocchi alla romana, prepared with semolina, milk, butter and Parmesan.

 

As for second courses among the classics is abbacchio, baked lamb meat with garlic, rosemary, white wine, anchovies and a pinch of chilly, accompanied by potatoes, coda alla vaccinara, that is oxtail stew stewed in a ragu rich in flavors and vegetables, or saltimbocca alla romana, veal wrapped with raw ham and sage and marinated in white wine. If you prefer fish, we recommend calamari alla romana, cooked with artichokes, parsley and white wine, or bianchetti alla giudea, small fish fried with garlic and parsley.

 

To end your meal a traditional dessert: like maritozzi con la panna, soft pastry filled with fresh cream, once typical of the Lent period, Bignè di San Giuseppe, fried cream puffs filled with custard typical of Father's Day, and crostata con le visciole, a tart with ricotta cheese and jam made with visciole, small red fruits similar to cherries.

 

If you want something on the spot, in the Lazio region the street food offer is ample: anywhere you will find pizza a taglio, “red”, when with tomato, or “white”, perfect with mortadella, called “mortazza” in Rome; a typical street food of the cuisine from Lazio is the savory sandwich with porchetta (traditional of the town of Ariccia) and supplì, balls of rice and mozzarella breaded and fried, or fried or baked calzone, generally with ham and mozzarella. Also fried are filetti di baccalà, breaded and fried cod fillets, and fried squash blossom filled with mozzarella and anchovies. When it is hot, what you need is a refreshing grattachecca: ice (hand scraped and not blended) and syrup or fruit juice according to your taste.

 

Last but not least, the wines of the region: the region produces excellent white wines like Frascati Superiore (DOCG), Velletri bianco DOC, Colli Albani DOC and Est! Est! Est! di Montefiascone, or Aleatico. Among the red wines, you should try Cesanese del Piglio, Cerveteri rosso or Castelli Romani rosso DOC.

BY PLANE

The main airport in the region is the Rome–Fiumicino International Airport, about 30 km to the west of Rome. This airport has national, international and intercontinental connections. From the airport, it is possible to reach Rome Termini railway station, in downtown Rome, by Trenitalia Leonardo Express trains in 30 minutes (leaving from Roma Termini, the service is active from 05:20 to 22:35; from the Fiumicino Airport from 06:08 to 23:23). Regional trains of the FL1 line connects the airport to other stations of Rome, like Roma Tiburtina.

 

Many companies operate a bus service between the airport and downtown Rome:

Cotral: operates connections between the airport, Roma Termini and Roma Tiburtina railway station and many other destinations within the region. 

 

SIT Bus Shuttle: operates connections between the airport, Roma Termini railway station and the Vatican.

 

TAM Bus: operates connections between the airport, Roma Termini railway station, Roma Ostiense station and the city of Fiumicino.

 

Terravision: operates connections between the airport and Roma Termini railway station.

 

Rome Airport Bus:operates connections between the airport, Roma Termini railway station and the city of Fiumicino.

 

The second airport in the Lazio region is the Rome—Ciampino International Airport, 20 km to the south of Rome. This airport is served especially by low cost airlines connecting all major European cities and some non-European routes. The Trenitalia Ciampino Airlink service combines train and bus and connects downtown Rome to the Ciampino Airport.

 

Dall’aeroporto di Ciampino è inoltre possibile raggiungere in bus altre destinazioni:

 

SIT Bus Shuttle: operates connections between the airport, Roma Termini railway station and the Vatican.

 

Terravision: operates connections between the airport and Roma Termini railway station.

 

Rome Airport Bus: operates connections between the airport, Roma Termini railway station and the city of Ciampino.

 

ATAC: operates connections between the airport and Laurentina metro station (line 720) and to Cinecittà and Subaugusta metro stations (line 520).

 

BY TRAIN

The main railway stations in the Lazio region are Roma Termini and Roma Tiburtina, both served by Trenitalia and Italo Treno long-distance trains and Trenitalia regional trains. High-speed lines include the section Rome-Florence-Milan-Turin to the north and the section Rome-Naples-Salerno to the south.

From Rome, you can reach all major Italian cities. The Leonardo Express train operates connections between downtown Rome and Rome-Fiumicino Airport.

 

BY BOAT

From the Port of Civitavecchia (70 km away from downtown Rome) by ferry, it is possible to reach Sardinia (Cagliari, Olbia, Arbatax and Porto Torres), Sicily (Palermo, Trapani and Catania), Malta, Barcelona and Tunis. This port is a dock for several cruise ships; it’s connected to Roma-San Pietro railway station by the Civitavecchia Express train service, specifically conceived for cruisers.

The major boat and ferry companies are:

Tirrenia: operates connections to Olbia, Arbatax and Cagliari.

 

Grimaldi Lines: operates connections to Olbia, Porto Torres and Barcelona.

 

Grandi Navi Veloci: operates connections to Palermo and Tunis.

 

Ferryboat companies like Navigazione Libera del Golfo, Vetor and Laziomar operate connections by hydrofoil and ferry boat to the island of Ponza and Ventotene from the ports of Formia, Anzio and Terracina.