The gentle hilly landscape halfway up the Italian boot is considered the nucleus of Europe. Already since the 6th century B.C. the Latins settled between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Tiber. Their language, Latin, was to become the forerunner of all Roman languages today. At the latest in 340 B.C., when the region was subdued by Rome, it became the core of the Roman Empire. Besides Rome, the Albanian mountains, the volcanic lakes in the triangle of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio as well as the southern Lazio are considered to be particularly attractive, here in particular for example the monastery Monte Cassino, which was completely destroyed in the Second World War, but was rebuilt afterwards.
Italy to France: Venice, Florence, Rome & Paris
Oldest monastery in the Christian Occident
Just 20 km northeast of Rome it feels like a whole different world. Between the sea and the Apennines lies a landscape rich in beauty and grace. Nothing reminds of the loud metropolis, constantly threatened by traffic gridlock. Visible from afar lies the Abbazia di Farfa: Perched on a hill it is one of the oldest and most important monasteries of the Christian Occident. The campanile was built in the 11th century, at which point the Benedictine Abbey was already 500 years old. The typical Italian harmony of landscape and architecture make a visit to the town worthwhile.
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Medieval town on rocky plateau
The episcopal city with less than 20,000 inhabitants lies between the Tiber and the volcanic hills of Moni Cimini, on a rocky plateau which was formed by the deep valleys of the Rio Maggiore and the Rio Filetto. It stands on the foundations of the 2,500 year old Faliscan capital, Falerii Veteres. The Forte Sangallo was built by Antonio da Sangallo on behalf of Pope Alexander VI. Today it houses the Museo dell'Agro Falisco, displaying finds of the Faliscans.
Artists' village east of Lake Bolsena
The artist village east of Lake Bolsena crouches like an eagle's nest on a rock and can only be reached on foot. The downfall of the once significant Civita began with the move of a bishop after an earthquake. In 1990 only a few older people were left before artists and dropouts discovered the place and gave it a new lease of life .
Clean lake in ancient cultural landscape
The lake, embedded in the hills of Volsini, is of volcanic origin and very rich in fish. The lake shore is barely built on and it is only sparsely hit by tourism in summer. The medieval structure of the city of Bolsena, which is best known for its miracle, is still predominant. This miracle is said to have occurred there in 1263, when a Bohemian priest, who had begun to doubt the doctrine of transubstantiation, was convinced of its truth by the miraculous appearance of drops of blood on the sacramental wafer he had just consecrated. The Etruscans lived in this ancient cultural landscape between Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany even before the Romans, as many archaeological sites in the gentle landscape testify.
Through oak woods and maquis
The 720-metre-high mountain between Tuscany and Umbria is protected by a nature reserve of almost 3,000 hectares. All around, the landscape is hilly. Light oak forests alternate with scrub and maquis, which is particularly rich in species due to the volcanic ground.
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Oldest monastery in the Occident
The little town halfway between Rome and Naples is world famous as the location of the first monastery in the occident. The monastery was founded by Benedetto of Nursia in 529 in what was then a remote wilderness area. His principles for leading the life of a monk still apply in all Catholic abbeys and convents: obedience, poverty, and chastity. The majestic cloister building on the high mountain was built over 1,000 years later. It was completely destroyed by the allied forces during World War II and rebuilt in the 1950s.
Jumbled alleyways in the former papal refuge
It is hard to believe that this provincial town in the three-city region of Tuscany, Umbria and Latium was once more important than Rome itself. Nevertheless, it served as a papal refuge and residence from 1257 until 1281. The five kilometer long city walls, which once defended the head of the Roman Catholic church, can still be seen to this day. At the center of all the jumbled alleyways, squares and fountains is the Piazza San Lorenzo, which is dominated by the Romanesque church and the papal palace with its Gothic loggia.