Regional wine & food • Lazio
From the Truffle of Lazio to the villages and parks of Tuscia
In Allumiere on the weekend of 17 and 18 July the “Festival of the Truffle and Ancient Flavors” is scheduled. We are among the Monti della Tolfa, hills of volcanic origin that are part of the Lazio Antiappennino, in a small Renaissance town that owes its name to the widespread deposits of alunite found in this area, the mineral from which alum is extracted. Small historical note: alum is a salt that in the past was of considerable importance in textile processing, in those of paper and leather, but also in medicine for its haemostatic capabilities.
We are about thirty kilometers south of Tarquinia, one of the main centers of what is called Tuscia, or the territory that included ancient Etruria, between Tuscany, western Umbria and northern Lazio (Tuscia derives from the Latin tuscia , the territory inhabited by the Tusci, or rather by the Etruscans).
The Tuscia viterbese
Today Tuscia has become an important tourist destination, not only for the presence of the most important and well-known Etruscan cities, but also for the growing interest in tourism dedicated to smaller centers, of which the splendid villages of ancient origin are the protagonists. This tourism, now defined as experiential, offers in fact a fantastic mix of historical-architectural and landscape charm, culinary tradition for its products linked to hill cultivation and spontaneous products of the woods, and also for the intersection with evocative itineraries, such as those linked to the Via Francigena.
Limiting itself to Lazio, it is mandatory to refer to upper Lazio, and to the territory that is referred to as Alta Tuscia Viterbese. Here there are several villages worth visiting, for the beauty of their historic centers, but also for the woods and landscapes that surround them, and to taste the products of this land, linked to ancient peasant and gastronomic traditions.
The Raid of the Etruschi
Le sponde del lago di Bolsena - foto credits: Raid degli Etruschi
The Tuscia of Viterbo was the backdrop, at the end of June 2021, for the second edition of the Raid degli Etruschi, an international event reserved for historic cars organized by the Etruria Historic Racing Club under the patronage of the Municipality of Viterbo, Latera, Marta and Acquapendente. . The second edition of the Raid degli Etruschi crossed the most characteristic villages and places of the Province of Viterbo including Latera, which stands on a perched hill and once located at the center of the federation of the 12 Etruscan cities, Marta, a small town located on the shore southern Lake Bolsena (of volcanic origin and the largest in Europe), an ancient Etruscan settlement, Acquapendente and its Cathedral dedicated to the Holy Sepulcher, and the Sacro Bosco, located in Bomarzo.
Among archeology and volcanic lakes
In addition to the itinerary chosen for the historical race, below we suggest other villages and places of historical and naturalistic interest in the Tuscia of Upper Lazio, keeping the village of Bomarzo and its "Parco dei Mostri" as the only common point.
For those who prefer an itinerary along the Tyrrhenian coast, in the Lazio Maremma, beyond Tarquinia to the north, about an hour's drive from Allumiere we find Canino, where Alessandro Farnese was born. This is not the period of the traditional Olive Festival, but in its municipal area, and partly in that of Montalto di Castro, there is the archaeological site of the Etruscan city of Vulci and its Necropolis with over 10,000 tombs. Do not miss a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Vulci, housed in the Castello dell'Abbadia, where objects from the excavations of the Necropolis are exhibited.
Canino - foto credits: Comune di Canino
In the Lazio Maremma, the cultivation of lavender is also spreading, as in other areas of Italy, thanks to whose flowering, between the end of May and the end of July, the fields are colored with the typical purple-blue, offering a shock of a wonderful eye, which once could boast only Provence. An extra attraction that you might come across along your path! You will certainly find some farms in the Tuscania area.
Heading inland, however, from Allumiere you can reach Oriolo Romano, which is less than 30km towards Lake Bracciano. Oriolo Romano rises on the Sabatini Mountains, a hilly area rich in woods (we are however just 22km from the sea towards Furbara), inserted in the Regional Natural Park of Bracciano-Martignano. The splendid beech forest, located just outside the town, has deserved to be included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
It is still too early to come across the "Porcino Mushroom Festival", which traditionally takes place in September, but the cuisine, preferably based on zero-kilometer products, can still win you over if you want to stop for lunch or dinner.
From Oriolo Romano, another half hour drive for 25km away, to reach Nepi, the city of water. In fact, its name derives from the Etruscan word Nepa, which means "water".
Nepi - foto: di Fabionepi - Opera propria credits)
Of ancient origins, in addition to the beauty of its historic center, dominated by the imposing Fort of the Borgia, Nepi is also an ideal starting point for hiking following archaeological-geo-naturalistic itineraries. In fact, there are numerous archaeological sites in the surrounding area, with the Catacomb of Santa Savinilla, one of the most important underground funerary complexes in Central Italy, and the necropolis of "Tre Ponti". Do not miss a snack based on Pecorino Romano, and Salame Cotto De.Co., along with other typical products of Tuscia.
From Nepi it is possible to go up north towards Lake Vico, just 15km and 20 minutes by car, to reach Ronciglione and, precisely, Lake Vico. It is probably the best preserved of the great Italian lakes of volcanic origin, as well as being the highest in Italy above sea level, with its 507 meters above sea level. If your excursion happens on a hot day, a few degrees less than the plain will not hurt!
Further north, but just over 30km away and about 40 minutes by car, we find Bomarzo, known for the Palio di Sant'Anselmo, but also for the "Parco dei Mostri", a monumental complex also known as " Sacro Bosco ", located on the slopes of a natural amphitheater, which was built by Vicino Orsini in the 16th century. In the park there are monuments depicting monstrous and mythological animals.
So many places of interest to plan a weekend in this area of Lazio, where even the taste can be satisfied by a cuisine that can benefit from the many local products, starting with that truffle that will be the protagonist of the "Sagra del Tartufo e degli Antichi Sapori ”by Allumiere, from which we started.
By the editorial staff - July 14, 2021