Discover an enchanting world of medieval towns, stunning natural beauty and incredible artworks off the tourist trail
Escape the crowds and discover some of Italy’s most intriguing and overlooked corners on our special day trip to Bracciano, Viterbo and Caprarola. Immersed in the verdant countryside of Northern Lazio, the ancient Tuscia region was home to the Etruscans in antiquity and remains almost unknown to international visitors. But its stunning patchwork of medieval towns are jewel-boxes of fabulous artworks, intriguing history and breathtaking scenery just waiting to be discovered in the company of one of our knowledgeable expert guides – a perfect day trip from Rome!
You'll begin your day with a private car transfer from your hotel to picturesque Bracciano, a warren of medieval alleys overlooking the crystalline waters of a volcanic lake. Bracciano is renowned for its truly spectacular castle, one of Italy's most thrilling Renaissance landmarks where jaw-dropping panoramic views and perfectly preserved frescoes are the order of the day. A world away from the chaotic bustle of Rome, Bracciano is the ideal tonic if you feel you need a change of pace from the capital.
After a stop for lunch in a traditional restaurant in the shadow of the castle’s ramparts, we’ll head to the equally fascinating town of Viterbo a little further to the north. Known as the Città dei Papi, it was here that the Popes called home when Rome was in the midst of urban decline in the 13th century. Relics of those distant glory years stud the sleepy historic centre today.
Walk in the footsteps of the pontiffs through the echoing halls of the Palazzo dei Papi, whose elegant arched loggia is an architectural delight, and learn the bizarre tale of the longest papal conclave in history - resolved only after three years of deliberation when the locals resorted to removing the palace’s roof in order to be rid of the cardinals. A rich array of imposing churches, tinkling fountains and picture-perfect vine strewn alleys, Viterbo’s charming medieval quarter is one of the best preserved in all of Europe.
The final stop on our tour through Tuscia is nearby Caprarola. Picturesquely nestled in a spectacular range of volcanic hills, Caprarola is home to the jaw-dropping Villa Farnese. A massive fortified palace dominating the surrounding countryside, the unique pentagonal design was the brainchild of Renaissance genius Antonio da Sangallo – forget the Arlington version, this pentagon was around 400 years before ground was broken at the DoD!
The spectacular interiors are covered with incredible frescoes recounting the deeds of the Farnese clan, as well as extraordinary 16th-century world maps in the Sala del Mappamondo. The elegantly twisting central Scala Regia is one of the most stunning spiral staircases ever constructed, and the leafy gardens outside are a refreshing delight.
The Villa Farnese in Caprarola is perhaps Italy’s single most impressive hidden gem, and is the perfect way to conclude this special off-the-beaten path itinerary. Afterwards your private driver will accompany you back to Rome, just an hour away but truly another world! Medieval towns, glittering lakes and magnificent Renaissance monuments - this special tour will take you to a magical part of Italy where art, culture and nature come together in wonderful harmony. Leave the tourist trail far behind and discover it with Through Eternity today!