You read Lazio, and you think of Rome. That’s inevitable. But the region is only apparently “obscured” by the fame of the Italian capital city: it runs alongside the Mediterranean Sea and shows off famous coasts – Ostia, Fregene and Sabaudia -,the archipelago of Ponza, wavy hills often spiced out by parks – like the Circeo – and then lakes and mountains standing out against the sky. Also the four major cities in the region - Viterbo, Latina, Frosinone and Rieti – deserve a careful visit, with no hurry.

Starting from Viterbo, studded with ninety fountains that enrich the squares, the courtyards and cloisters. And there are many places near Viterbo that show a medieval mark since they were built on ancient Etruscan and Roman sites. They are the residences of the papal nobility where great artists of the Renaissance left all their talent. Latina, on the other hand, is a modern and “rational” town”: founded in 1932 with the name of Littoria, it has an octagonal plan and its monuments are the typical ones from the XXth century. A more “untidy” soul is the one of Frosinone, the “ciociara”, with an amphitheatre dating back to the Imperial time and a number of medieval remains in its ancient core, perched on the hill up on the Sacco plane. Rieti, the capital of Sabina, is the umbilicus Italiane (the navel of Italy), that is the centre of the Peninsula. Within its almost untouched walls dating back to the XIIIth century, there are a number of Medieval and Renaissance buildings.

In the outskirts of Rome a national territory stretches among the Roman Castles, where the Tuscolan Villas surrounded by their wonderful gardens stand out. And we get to Rome, many towns in one capital, a canvas made of squares, fountains, palaces, villas, museums, roman baths and archaeological sites and this is not enough to define Rome. Everything has been written about this town, the libraries of the entire world are  crammed with materials: a huge amounts of volumes that try to provide definitions and itineraries. But Rome is too rich in lights and shadows to be confined in a stiff portrait. It offers a huge variety of civilisations and masterpieces of art together with a number of different cultural possibilities and works of art that swarm the urban area like the museums: the ones in Rome include some of the most valuable art collections in the world. The secret underground town with its labyrinths of treasures such as the neo-pitagoric churches and the catacombs. And what about the Vatican City? The museums and art galleries contain the unchanged splendour of art that survived the time with witnesses of a past that experienced beauty as a sort of liturgical ceremony. It was the most sumptuous court in the world where ecclesiastic and secular offices coexisted, a magnificent fresco where each details represented the heritage of the past. A weft of time that should be discovered outdoor relying on chance – after visiting the Colosseum and Saint Peter walk around “without thinking about what you must visit”: «Sans songer au devoir le voir». Getting around without any duties, light-heartedly.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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