Earth : Europe : Italy : Central Italy : Lazio
Lazio is a central region of Italy. Rome is more or less in the middle of the region but Lazio (Latium) has numerous other attractions and would well repay a visit even if Rome did not exist. The region has many fascinating cities, several lakes, some beautiful scenery, good opportunities for country and hill walks and a coastline that is almost entirely beach, which is enhanced by hundreds of excellent fish restaurants. Communications are good, particularly going north-south.
The area to the northeast of Rome is made up of the province of Viterbo, and part of the province of Rome. The main city is Viterbo, about 100km to the north of Rome, which was the favourite residence of the Popes when they faced difficulty in exercising their authority over Rome. North of Rome was a center of the Etruscan civilization before its defeat by the Romans. Many Etruscan sites remain, in particular the tombs at Cerveteri, Tarquinia and, to a lesser extent, Sutri, the ruins at Veio, which was at one time the richest Etruscan city, and excellent museums at Vulci, Tarquinia, and Villa Giulia in Rome.
To the northeast of Rome are the Sabine Hills, whose women were famously raped (abducted) by the Romans when invited to a festival in Rome by Romulus. Further to the northeast in Rieti province is the attractive town of Rieti of interest to American basketball fans as the childhood home of Kobe Bryant.
East of Rome is Tivoli, with the garden of fountains at the Villa D’ Este and the extensive and well preserved grounds of Hadrian’s Villa. To the east and southeast are two fascinating monasteries. At Subiaco St. Benedict founded the Benedictine order, while Monte Cassino was another important monastery but these days is best known as the site of a major World War II battle. South of Rome are the fishing port of Anzio, also a major WW2 site, and the Castelli Romani, with Castel Gandolfo, the summer home of the Popes, and Frascati, famous for its wine. The two southern provinces are Frosinone and Latina, which combine agriculture and light industry. Interesting places to visit include the coastal towns of Gaeta and Sperlonga as well as Anagni, former home of the Popes, and Fiuggi, a spa town.