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Viterbo Tourism

The hill where the Cathedral presently rises was inhabited by the Etruscans. The settlement was then destroyed by the Romans approximately in 310 b.C.
During the Middle Ages, the city spread out considerably, thanks to the building of wall enclosures that are a peculiar feature still today. That period was also dominated by civil strife and by the conquest of the town by Frederick I Barbarossa in 1170.
In the following years, the city witnessed the political struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines, and then was unespectedly beseiged by emperor Frederick II, on whom it had to wage war harshly.

Albornoz Fortress

It seems that Cardinal Raniero Capocci, helped by the young woman who was later canonized with the name of St. Rosa, incited people to revolt.
The period of splendour for Viterbo was the second half of the Thirteenth century, when noble palaces, churches and typically Mediaeval fountains were built, the built-up area was sizeably spread and the city was chosen as a papal seat, as popes were forced to flee from the fiery atmosphere of Rome.
A few popes were elected in Viterbo, including Gregory X, Nicholas III and Martin IV. The latter brought the papal seat back to Rome in 1281.
During the Renaissance, the Farneses changed Italy's political framework and were able to reach the apex of splendour and power, as they established a self-governing State, free from the Church rule, the Dukedom of Castro, under their own guidance.


This is an obelisk-shaped structure, thirty meters high, weighing four tons, carried on back by one hundred men (named facchini) through the city streets.
At the very beginning, the macchina was a simple canopy carrying the effigy of Saint Rosa.
After the XVIII century, it became larger and larger, until it was so high that, due to its excessive swinging, a few people died in 1801, crushed by the panic-stricken crowd.
A few years later, the macchina fell down and facchini were run over. In 1967, facchini had to leave the transport unfinished because of its overweight.
Each year the city inhabitants and hundreds of thousands of tourists swarm into the streets to enjoy such a stirring sight.

Regione Lazio - Italia
Provincia di Viterbo
Comune di Viterbo

Comune di Viterbo:
Tel. 0761 3481
(located 325 meters above sea level, 80 km from Rome)

Carabinieri: Tel. 0761353542
Pronto Intervento Tel. 112
Polizia Municipale
Tel. 0761 348500
Polizia Stradale
Tel. 0761 343107 - 0761 3341
Questura di Viterbo: Tel. 113

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