The heart of Viterbo is definitely well represented by the San Pellegrino quarter, which is a clear example of thirteen-century architecture still well maintained.
Here you can face a completely different atmosphere compared with rest of the city: walking through the narrow streets and getting lost among them is the best way to discover this wonderful district of this medieval city.
Typical building you will find over here are the "case a ponte" (bridge houses), wonderful houses that connect two other buildings. You can even walk under this ones.
1) San Pellegrino Square
San pellegrino Square is little jewel which you can find amazing tuff houses, many different bars, delicious restaurant and the beautiful San Pellegrino Church. The high buildings you can find here are the Alessandri Palace and the Scacciarici Tower, which you can see in the following picture.
In this small but astonishing square, is located the Macchina di Santa Rosa Museum where it is possible to find pictures, books and much more regarding the Santa Rosa celebration, the unique event celebrated every third of september to pay tribute to this holy woman.
An other beautiful celebration you can not miss if you are in Viterbo at the beginning of may, is San pellegrino in fiore ( Flowers in San Pellegrino), when every corner of the quarter is decorated with colorful flowers. All the district turn into an awesome bloom.
An event to not miss!!!
From San Pellegrino you can easily walking along on the Paradosso Bridge (Ponte del paradosso) and reach an other typical Viterbo quarter, the beautiful Pianoscarano. Like San Pellegrino the district, this has maintained for centuries his original look.
The best things to see in this area are the old fountain in the middle of Pianoscarano square and the Sant'Andrea Church.
3) The death square
The death square has this name because of the close San Tomas Church in the Middle Ages accommodated the "confraternita della buona morte" (the good death confraternity), which offered the burial to those families could not have it because they were poor.
This is a typical Middle Ages square where you can feel a real atmosphere of that period and the following one is a picture of the beautiful and ancient square.
4) San Lorenzo Cathedral
In the huge and well decorated San Lorenzo square you can find the San Lorenzo Cathedral. The sixteenth-century facade hides internally a romantic structure.
The bell tower instead is a fourteenth-century building. Two famous people are buried here: Giovanni XXI, the only portuguese Pope in history, and Letizia Bonaparte, the cousin of Napoleon III.
5) The Popes Palace
The Popes Palace was built in the 1200 because the clerical curia was moved over here, thanks to Alessandro IV, the Pope. Here was celebrated the first conclave in history.
The most recent part is a beautiful loggia, which was used by the Pope to bless people.
Near to the Popes Palace and the San Lorenzo Cathedral the Colle Duomo Museum. This is the best museum in Viterbo and is a must for every tourist.
This is divided in 3 sections:
- Archeological Section: here you can find Etruscan, Roman and Middle Ages evidences.
- Historical-Artistic Section: here you can find artistic treasures form the XIII century on.
- Holy Section: here you can find holy objects used by old Popes, cardinals and bishops.
The last section shows how important was Viterbo, especially in the Middle Ages, for the vatican.