Numerous are the religiuos buildings, the churches and the places of worship that are of particular interest, both artistically and historically, to be found in the Province of Viterbo. These testify the ultramillenary presence of the Catholic Church. For the Jubilee Year 2000 an interesting European project has been dedicated to the Via Francigena, the route used by the pilgrims during the Medieval period to reach Rome, following the lay-out of Consular Cassia.

Tuscania: santa maria maggiore Our journey begins from VITERBO as usual. The capital of the Province has the SANCTUARY OF THE MADONNA DELLA QUERCIA (1470), one of the places of worship that is still visited by many believers. Every year on the 1Oth September representatives of the Brotherhoods from all over Latium come together to bring out a solemn procession to renew the so-called PACT OF LOVE with the Virgin Mary.
Inside the Sanctuary itself is the MUSEUM OF THE EX-VOTO, an extraordinary collection of panels and other objects used as offerings, the more ancient ones dating back to the XVth century.

The most spectacular religious event is held on the 3rd September every year. On the day dedicated to the Patron Saint of Viterbo, SANTA ROSA, an imposing illuminated MACCHINA is carried in procession by 100 Facchini (porters). It is 30 meters high and weighs 5 tons.

A Sanctuary is dedicated to the saint who guided the Viterbesi in the revolt aganist Frederic II. Near the SANCTUARY is situated her NATIVE HOME. Among the churches of prime importance are the romanesque churches of S.SISTO (IX century), S.GIOVANNI IN ZOCCOLI (1037) and S. MARIA NUOVA (X century). Remaining in Viterbo we can visit the imposing CISTERCIAN ABBEY in the country ward of S. MARTINO AL CIMINO.

At SORIANO AL CIMINO are situated the CHURCH and the CATACOMBS OF S.EUTIZIO, dedicated to the Saint who became a martyr during the Diocletian period. At VALLERANO is the 17th century SANCTUARY OF THE MADONNA DEL RUSCELLO (designed by Vignola) and the CHURCH OF THE MADONNA DELLA PIEVE (XI century). At GALLESE is the CHURCH OF S. FAMIANO, dating back to 1155, erected on a cave where the Saint was buried (tel. +39.0761.495021). From Gallese we move on to CIVITA CASTELLANA to admire the 14th century DUOMO (Cathedral) whose portico is covered with refined mosaic decorations. After stopping off at CASTEL S. ELIA to visit the SANCTUARY dedicated to MARIA SS. AD RUPES and the BASILICA OF S. ELIA (VIII-XI century) we reach NEPI where we can visit the CATACOMBS OF S. SAVINELLA. We then return to the Romanesque style with the churches of S. FRANCESCO (IX century) at VETRALLA and S. MARIA IN CASTELLO (beg. XII century) at TARQUINIA.

Of particular religious interest in the coastline town is the annual nocturnal PROCESSION OF THE SEA which takes place on 15th August. However the most important romanesque style churches are at TUSCANIA. The ancient Etruscan centre holds the splendid BASILICAS OF S. PIETRO and SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE (VIII century).

Also in Tuscania of particular interest are the two processions that take place on GOOD FRIDAY as in other towns in the province; particularly interesting are those held at BAGNOREGIO and ORTE. Next stop will be made at MARTA to visit the SANCTUARY OF THE MADONNA DEL MONTE, destination of the BARABBATA, a picturesque procession of thanksgiving held every 14th May Then on to ISCHIA DI CASTRO to visit the SANCTUARY OF THE MADONNA DEL GIGLIO.

An itinerary in Province of Viterbo We then arrive at ACQUAPENDENTE where the CATHEDRAL OF HOLY SEPULCHRE (XI century) is situated and where on the third Sunday of May, in occasion of the anniversary of the Madonna del Fiore, the famous procession of the I PUGNALONI takes place(they are coloured panels decorated with flowers, moss and grass in memory of the driving away of Federico Barbarossa). Continuing along the coastline of the lake we reach BOLSENA, where during the Diocletian period S. CRISTINA was martyrized. In the same town the famous MIRACLE OF CORPUS DOMINI took place in 1263, remembered nowdays with a solemn procession that unfolds in the hisoric town centre on an extremely long carpet of colourful flowers.

Of particular importance are the CHURCH (XI century) and the CATACOMBS OF S. CRISTINA. Moving on to MONTEFIASCONE we can admire the uncommon and imposing CHURCH OF S. FLAVIANO (XI-XII century). Finally we arrive at CIVITA DI BAGNOREGIO, the “dying town” where we find the CHURCH OF S. DONATO (VIII century). This town is also famous to have been the birthplace of SAN BONAVENTURA, minister of the Franciscan Order, philosopher and writer. During the Christmas period fascinating presentations of the Nativity take place each year throughout the Province; especially interesting are the LIVE CRIBS at CORCHIANO and BASSANO IN TEVERINA

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