12 must-do things to do in Tuscany

Civita di Bagnoregio

Visiting Tuscia: what are the best things to do and see in this historic region of Italy?

Are you traveling in Italy and feel like getting off the beaten track? Without hesitation, head for Tuscia, a little-known region just outside Rome, but well worth the detour!

It stretches from the province of Viterbo to northern Lazio, passing through Tuscany and ending in Umbria. Its Italian name, « La Tuscia » (or Etruria), comes from the « Tusci » (the Etruscans), who inhabited this historic region between the 6th and 2nd centuries B.C. Strolling through this beautiful region, you’ll have many opportunities to observe magnificent testimonies to this era and civilization.

Ideal for a road trip, this region is fascinating both for the historical treasures it contains and for the hilly landscapes it offers. With emerald lakes, picturesque villages, thermal baths and archaeological sites, Tuscia offers a wide range of activities and places to visit.

There’s an enormous amount to see and do in Tuscia, but we’ve tried to put together a list of the must-sees, so you don’t have to miss a thing. It’s over here!

1. Viterbo

Le palais des Papes de Viterbo - visiter Tuscie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – DinoPh

You can’t visit Tuscany without visiting its capital: Viterbo (or Viterbo). This fortified city is also known as the city of the Popes, as it was their residence in the 13th century. The Popes’ Palace is one of the city’s major attractions. Don’t miss a visit to the magnificent cathedral, or the Palazzo dei Priori, which offers a magnificent view of the city from its terrace.

The town is also famous for its authentic medieval quarter, where time seems to stand still. Take the time to stroll through its picturesque streets and typical  » piazzas « . You’ll love it here!

2. Lake Bolsena

Capodimonte et Lac Bolsena - visiter Tuscie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – ValerioMei

You can’t visit Tuscany without stopping off at Lake Bolsena, 90 km from Rome. Its shape and location in the heart of the country have earned it the nickname « Italy’s navel ».

A real star attraction in the region, this crystalline lake of volcanic origin is the largest crater lake in Europe. Here, swimmers and water sports enthusiasts have a field day! Indeed, its clean, clear waters make it an ideal summer playground for cooling off, or simply enjoying the surrounding calm on a kayak trip, for example.

Right in the middle of the lake are 2 small, unspoilt islands, where nature is still intact:Bisentina Island andMartana Island.

The shores of the lake are home to a number of charming medieval villages, including Bolsena of the same name, Marta, Montefiascone and Capodimonte. We recommend exploring them all on a tour of the lake by car.

3. Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio - visiter Tuscie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – daringtoexplore

A visit to the Tuscia region means discovering a host of delightful medieval hamlets. Not far from Lake Bolsena, discover Civita di Bagnoregio.

Overlooking the Vallei dei Calanchi, it is classified as one of the « most beautiful villages in Italy » and has a population of no more than a dozen. Its particularity is that it is situated on an extremely crumbly rocky spur that has collapsed over time.

Today, it can only be reached on foot, via a footbridge. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, you’ll arrive in a picturesque setting, as if frozen in time. Here, the medieval ambience that reigns in the heart of the alleyways promises you a leap back in time and lovely memories.

4. Vitorchiano

Vitorchiano - visiter Tuscie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – essevu

When visiting Tuscia, don’t miss a visit to the pretty town of Vitorchiano. Located 8.5 km east of Viterbo, this medieval town is perched atop a cliff overlooking the forest. There’s much to discover here.

First of all, its historic center, protected on either side by two deep ravines, and its well-preserved medieval buildings. Its pretty cobbled streets are home to pleasant terraces, where you can enjoy an incredible view during a refreshing break. Don’t miss a visit to the Palazzo Comunale, thechurch of Santa Maria, or the 15th-century convent of Santa Agnese.

If you’re feeling peckish, head for the southern part of town, which offers a wide choice of bars and authentic  » trattorias  » serving typical cuisine.

Last but not least, nature lovers will be delighted by the multitude of small trails that wind their way through the surrounding hills and forest.

5. Tarquinia

Musée archéologique de Tarquinia - visiter Tuscie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Takashi Images

Wondering what to do in Tuscany? The town of Tarquinia, one of the oldest and most important cities in Etruscan times, is a must-see in the region. Here you’ll find the National Archaeological Museum, housed in the Palazzo Vitelleschi. It’s the ideal place to learn all about the fabulous Etruscan civilization.

6. Monterozzi necropolis

La nécropole de Monterozzi - visiter Tuscie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Takashi Images

A few kilometers from Tarquinia, at the top of a hill, lies the impressive necropolis of Monterozzi. Not to be missed if you’re visiting Tuscia! This fascinating site is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The necropolis contains almost 6,000 tombs, accessible via a staircase descending underground. Among them, 200 are magnificently decorated with incredible paintings depicting daily life in Etruscan times. A place steeped in history and emotion.

7. Tuscania

Tuscania - visiter Tuscie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – ValerioMei

You can’t visit Tuscany without discovering one of its oldest cities, Tuscania (formerly known as Toscanella). This traditional, picturesque town is steeped in history. The town’s two imposing basilicas and the frescoes they contain bear witness to this. These are the Basilicas of San Pietro and Santa Maria Maggiore.

8. Caprarola and its palace

Villa Farnèse

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Luca Lorenzelli

What to do in Tuscia? Discover the small village of Caprarola and its impressive  » Palazzo Farnese « , without a doubt. Also known as Villa Farnese, this palace is one of the most impressive examples of Renaissance architecture in the region.

The city also boasts a number of churches to visit, some of which house magnificent works of art. These include theChurch of St. Lady of Consolation, theChurch of San Marco and the Cathedral of St. Michael.

9. Bomarzo and its gardens

Parco dei Mostri - visiter Tuscie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – canadastock

A visit to Bomarzo and its gardens is a must in Tuscany. Located north of Lake Vico, this village is home to a spectacular and astonishing garden, nicknamed the  » Parco dei Mostri  » or Monster Park!

The nearly twenty-hectare site features some thirty buildings, including a dozen huge, frightening statues depicting monsters from Greek mythology. They were sculpted on site, in volcanic stone, by a famous landscape artist, Pirro Ligorio, at the request of Condottiere Vicino Orsini in 1550. But why? It’s still a mystery! But this extravagant garden is definitely worth a look if you’re visiting Tuscia!

10. Bagnaia and Villa Lante

La Villa Lante Bagnaia

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Massimo Santi

Visit Tuscie and discover this pretty hamlet with its charming narrow streets. A stroll here will take you back in time.

The Villa Lante Bagnaia and its immense gardens, built in the 16th century for the Bishop of Viterbo, Giovan Francesco Gambara, will add a touch of elegance to your visit.

Indeed, one of the finest examples of the Italian Renaissance will hover before your eyes. Stroll through its vast Italian gardens, laid out in five terraces, where statues blend perfectly with the geometric fountains and pools.

11. Montefiascone

La Rocca dei Papi - visiter Tuscie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Miti74

On the shores of Lake Bolsena, a multitude of small villages dot the landscape. But if there’s one you must visit without hesitation, it’s Montefiascone, the largest of them all.

First and foremost, because its hilltop location gives you a breathtaking view across the lake to the Tyrrhenian Sea. But the village also boasts some magnificent monuments to admire or visit, such as the Rocca dei Papi (papal fortress) and its belvedere, the cathedral of Santa Margherita, and thechurch of San Flaviano.

12. Tuscia Spa


Photo credit: Shutterstock – siete_vidas

If there’s one thing you can do in Tuscia, it’s enjoy its renowned spas. Indeed, the region’s geographical location on volcanic soil makes it a renowned spa resort.

One of the most important thermal springs is the Bulicame. It lies to the west of the town of Viterbo. You can enjoy this spring free of charge, where the water gushes out at 60°C. A real treat!

How do I get to Tuscia?

Are you planning to visit Tuscany and wondering how to get there? Here are our tips:

By plane

To visit Tuscia, you can fly to Rome, about 1h30 from Viterbo. Once you’re here, the easiest thing to do is rent a car, so you can explore the region at your own pace.

To get the best airfare, use a flight comparison service like Skyscanner.

By train

A train line runs between Rome and Viterbo every day, several times a day. A direct train will take you there in 1h40, for a fare of between €8 and €17, depending on the timetable.

By car

It’s easy to reach the Tuscia region by car from France. The region’s « capital », Viterbo, lies 200 km south of Florence, and 100 km north of Rome.

Where to stay in Tuscia?

If you choose to visit Tuscany, don’t worry about accommodation. You can either choose to stay in Rome, in which case there are a multitude of choices, hotel categories and budgets to choose from.

Either you decide to explore the region over several days, and you’ll find bed & breakfasts or small hotels with character in the various villages you pass through. You’ll also find a few Airbnb accommodations, so you can live like a local. As the villages are fairly small and uncrowded, we advise you to book in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises.

And to find the best prices, don’t hesitate to search on an online hotel comparator, or on the Airbnb platform.

So, are you ready to visit Tuscany? One thing’s for sure: you’ll be won over!

Map of hotels and accommodation – Italy