Things to Do in Lazio
The Abbey of Montecassino is one of the most famous abbeys on earth, due in part to its rich history of destruction and recovery. This incredible mountain monastery was founded by Saint Benedict in 529 and served as a reminder to locals and travelers alike of the power or prayer.
Today, thousands of religious pilgrims make their way to Motecassino Abbey, where they take part in holy services, wander the cloisters and absorb the beauty of the abbey’s golden mosaics. A museum on the grounds showcases paintings, manuscripts and historic texts, as well as the story of the abbey told through images.
Thanks to its proximity to Rome, Lake Bracciano (Lago di Bracciano) has long been a popular retreat for city dwellers while remaining largely off the tourist radar. The medieval lakeside villages of Bracciano, Anguillara, and Trevignano have waterfront promenades and the lake waters are ideal for swimming, sailing, and water sports.
With its serene setting on the north bank of Lake Bracciano, the small town of Trevignano Romano makes a strategic base from which to explore the lakeside and a tranquil retreat from nearby Rome.
Trevignano is easy to get around on foot – wander the cobblestone lanes of the medieval quarter, check out the small but fascinating Civic Museum in the Town Hall or stroll the palm-fringed promenade, where numerous bars and restaurants look out over the lakefront. The star attraction is the hilltop Orsini Fortress, a romantic ruin dating back to the 13th century and offering dramatic views over the lake, while swimming, sailing and hiking are also popular pastimes.
While visitors flock to Tivoli for its many pretty attractions and parks, the historic Villa Gregoriana has yet to catch on—a good thing for a park known for its wild and beautiful landscape. Situated at the edge of a wooded gorge at a bend in the Aniene River, the park's rugged terrain makes for excellent hikes through the dramatic woods that run from one side of the ravine to the other. The ancient Roman necropolis at Tivoli sits right behind the park, while a Roman villa and the Temple of Vesta sit within.
The park is named after Pope Gregory XVI, who commissioned the villa in 1835 to rebuild the bed of the river—resulting in the creation of the park's second waterfall, which can be seen from the trails, along with fascinating cliffs and river caves.
Experience nature in the Roman countryside without straying far from the city by visiting Tivoli on a day trip from Rome, less than an hour away.
The Gothic Popes’ Palace (Palazzo dei Papi) was built for the popes who lived in Viterbo for a brief period in the mid-13th century. The palace’s elegant arched Loggia delle Benedizione is where newly elected pontiffs would greet the faithful after emerging from the Aula del Conclave, site of the first (and longest) papal conclave.
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