One of the high points of the holiday were our two visits to Viterbo. There is a rather unassuming looking town hall, in front of which there were some paving works going on. We gingerly found our way around the hoardings towards the terrace that was supposed to give a good view of the Cathedral. No dice, but one of the workmen asked if we would like to visit the Town Hall. Good manners required that we say “Yes”, and to our surprise the upper rooms were well worth the visit. The history of Viterbo was set out in Mannerist paintings, a fact once more commemorated neither by guide-books nor by my photographs – there was a very attentive security guard. So here are the other treasures:

Iīm not sure when Viterbo fell under the influence of the Medicis, but it has the obligatory church & piazza San Lorenzo.

The church of S Maria Novella is much more my style. The whole place is rather plain on the outside. There is a Lombard cloister, dating back to the sixth century:

Nowadays it is used by the restaurant across the road for wedding receptions. The nave is sober, too:

The paintings are mercifully by relatively unknown journeymen. No buses, no umbrellas. Fit for purpose, and no more.

It was only after we left that I discovered that Aquinas had preached from the outside pulpit. So thereīs no photo here.

We didnīt go into the Duomo. There was a wedding going on, so we sat outside on the steps of the Bishopīs palace:

In the evening, we went to the Terme de Palliano, a ruined (apparently Roman) bath house.

Yes, I did go into both the hot and cold springs. I just didnīt trust the others with the camera. While we were at the baths on the first night, there was a long and violent thunderstorm. It started just after we arrived at the baths, went on all through our visit (nearly an hour), and all the way home (another 45 minutes), and was still going strong half an hour after the others went to bed. Itīs quite hard to take photos of lightning – by the time you have registered that itīs flashing, itīs finished; and by its nature, you need a longish exposure too. But hereīs the best I could do.

Like most Italian cities, Viterbo lives at night.

Just not in this square. Perhaps they were all trying out the bramble gelati. Honestly, the best ice (sorbet) you will ever eat in your life!

Also near Viterbo, we visited the abbey of San Martino al Cimino. This was a Cistercian foundation, and the church dates from the 12th Century. I couldnīt stop the (XVth Century) rose window from being “burned out” – it was late afternoon, and the sun was in the West.

So late, in fact, that Doria Pamphilijīs palace was closed. Having conducted a reasonably determined search on my return to Amsterdam, I really cannot find any evidence that we missed anything.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

Email Mike Murphy