Lazio – The Former Centre of Power
When people hear the name "Lazio", they immediately think of the history-charged city of Rome. But the region in Central Italy is so much more than that. Besides the tuff stone mountains in the hilly landscape of Tuscia, the Tyrrhenian Sea and the many crater lakes, the former heart of the Roman Empire impresses with medieval cultural towns like Tivoli, Rieti and Tarquinia.
Geography - Metropolis and Mediterranean atmosphere
Lazio and the metropolis of Rome lie in the centre of Italy. The region, which has an area of 17,200 km², borders on the Mediterranean Sea in the west, on Tuscany and Umbria in the north, on Marche and Abruzzo in the west as well as on Molise and Campania in the south. Regarding geography, Lazio is mainly characterised by a flat to hilly landscape, low rock formations of dead volcanoes, the river of the Tiber and the mountain range of the Apennines. The latter contains the region's highest peak, the Monte Gorzano with a height of 2,458 metres. The climate in Lazio is typically Mediterranean with warm to hot summers and mild winters.
Nature - A hilly and mountainous landscape at the Tyrrhenian Sea
Lazio's landscape can be divided into three areas. The hilly Tuscia in the north-west of the region mostly consists of tuff stone, which is of volcanic origin. Several of the mountains which have arisen from this tuff stone, for example the Monti Volsini, Monti Cimini and Monti Sabatini, lie at crater lakes like Lake Bolsena, Lake Bracciano or Lake Albano. The mountainous landscape in the east (Campagna Romana) consists of limestone and accommodates the Monti della Laga with the region's highest mountain as well as the Monti Sabini. Other natural sights are the hills of the Monte Soratte in the Tiber valley as well as the Monte Circeo at the Tyrrhenian coast and in the Parco Nazionale di Circeo. At the Tyrrhenian Sea, you also find the Pontine Islands, a well-known island group in Lazio. The Maremma Laziale and the Pontine Marshes are two of the region's flattest strips of land.
Culture - The core of the Roman Empire
Lazio's history is closely linked to the history of Rome. After the Latins settled the region in the 6th century, the area was conquered by the Romans in the Second Latin War and became the core of their Empire, which would exist for almost a thousand years. Consequently, Lazio is full of historical buildings and cultural monuments as well as art treasures of European history. Travellers find the main sights such as the Forum Romanum, the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City and the Colosseum in Rome. However, Lazio has much more to offer than the history-charged sites of the Italian capital. The towns of Ostia, Rieti or Frascati attract visitors with their ancient town centres and Tivoli is known for the two villas Villa d'Este and Villa Adriana, which are part of the World Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO. The latter was the summer residence of the Roman Emperor Hadrian around 130 AD and with an area of about 120 hectares, it is one of the most elaborate palace complexes of a Roman Ruler. Furthermore, the medieval World Heritage town of Tarquinia, the Benedictine abbey Montecassino and the Garden of Ninfa are worth seeing.
Experience - Est! Est! Est!
Lazio's cuisine is full of delicacies. Gnocchi, spaghetti amatriciana or carbonara as well as rigatoni con la pajata are only a few of the many specialities on the local menu. Dishes with lamb, tripe, veal cutlets and local vegetables are also popular and often enjoyed with a glass of wine. Exquisite wines from the Alban Hills and the Castelli Romani have a good reputation worldwide and have been honoured for their excellent quality. Two of the best-known types are Frascati and Est!Est!Est! di Montefiascone. The latter owes its name to an age-old legend. The bishop Giovanni Deuc is said to have sent a servant to taste the wine and mark the best pubs with an "Est" ("here you find it") on his journey through the region. In Montefiascone the servant was so delighted with the quality of the wine that he marked the wall with "Est" three times.
Activities - Mountaineering in the Apennines, swimming in Lake Bolsena and relaxing in Viterbo
Travellers can do a variety of leisure activities in Lazio. They can go skiing in the winter sports resorts Terminillio, Leonessa and Arcinazzo in the breathtaking mountains on the one hand and go on hikes as well as mountain biking and mountaineering tours on the other. In addition, Circeo National Park, the regional parks Castelli Romani and Via Appia Antica as well as the Garden of Ninfa offer wonderful paths for walks or cycling tours. Water sports fans such as sailors, rowers, surfers and swimmers can pursue their hobbies at the Tyrrhenian Sea or on one of the lakes (e.g. Lake Bolsena or Lake Albano). The diverse underwater world around the Pontine Islands is a paradise for divers. Countless spa resorts invite visitors to relax and unwind. As early as in ancient times, the Romans and Etruscans already knew about the healing effect of thermal springs, which is why the region accommodates many thermal baths of ancient origin with modern facilities. The spa resorts of Fuiggi, Tivoli and Viterbo (Terme dei Papi) are only three of the numerous destinations for spa and recreational holidays.
Lazio can be reached by car, train and bus as well as by plane. Many airlines arrive at the airports in Rome several times a day. The best time for travelling Lazio is probably spring and autumn because it is already warm in these seasons but not too hot. The capital is dominated by stifling heat in summer. Visitors who are planning to go on beach holidays, however, will enjoy the summer months.
Holidays in Lazio are most of all a culturally rewarding experience. Besides the eternal city of Rome, numerous ancient towns give travellers the opportunity to dive into the significant past of the European continent.