If you’re staying in Rome for more than a few days and have time to venture outside the city, then I would suggest a day trip to Viterbo or even a short stay. Viterbo is a beautiful city in its own right with some interesting sites and its own personality and ambience that is worth visiting. While Rome is an eclectic mix of history from the Middle Ages to the Baroque ot the fascist whims of Mussolini, Viterbo retains much of its medieval charm, is arguably cleaner and quieter, and could serve a respite from the Roman madness.
Viterbo is easy to reach from Rome by train or bus. It is 60 miles north of Rome (approximately 100 km) and takes about an hour and four minutes to reach by train. If you have a car, that’s an option, too, and a shorter travel time. However, like most places in Italy, it’s best to avoid driving when you can to spare yourself the hassle of parking and the high price of gasoline.
This web site is very useful if you do plan to go to Viterbo, Infoviterbo.it. It contains a mountain of information, and the web site can be viewed in a number of languages. The English version of the site can be difficult to understand at times, so please have patience as you read through the site. I might suggest that you attempt to navigate the Italian version of the site which contains more information and is more complete. The site provides links to dozens of lodging possibilities and makes an excellent resource if you do intend to visit. The city of Viterbo’s own web site contains small snippets of information in English, but it is worth a visit in preparation of your trip.
Viterbo has been a spa town for centuries. Since Rome was often ridden with disease, Viterbo was an excellent place to get away from it all (literally). These spas are still open today. Another excellent section is the San Pellegrino district of Viterbo which one might consider a living museum to the Middle Ages — one of the best preserved in all of Italy with its collection of gothic architecture which remains almost unchanged. Viterbo has a lot to offer — look for future posts and updates to this post for more information.