Lazio, Italy

Lazio is a region in central Italy. Famous all over the world since the Italian capital Rome is located here, Lazio is one of the richest regions in history and art, in fact here are the major monuments of Roman civilization, considered world heritage. It is also the second most populous region of Italy after Lombardy.

Located along the Tyrrhenian side of the peninsula, it borders Tuscany to the north-west, Umbria to the north, Marche to the north-east, Abruzzo and Molise to the east, Campania to the south-east. to the west it is washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea. Inside there is the small enclave of the Vatican City.

In ancient times, Latium meant the territory between the lower reaches of the Tiber River and the Liri River, and the central Apennines as the eastern limit.


Geographic hints

Lazio can ideally be divided into a series of strips parallel to the sea (with some interruptions and many irregularities).

The first, closer to the sea, consists of areas of low hills or perfectly flat areas, in particular the Maremma and the Pontine plain. A strip of volcanic complexes follows, which host lakes of various sizes (Bolsena, Vico, Bracciano, Martignano, Albano Laziale, Nemi). This strip is interrupted in southern Lazio, but ideally finds its continuation in the Roccamonfina complex in Campania.

The third strip is made up of not very high limestone mountains (the peaks are mostly between 1000 and 1500 meters): the Sabini, Tiburtini, Lucretili, Ruffi, Lepini, Ausoni, Aurunci mountains. These mountains, with much steeper sides than the volcanic reliefs, approach the coast towards the south, until they reach it near Terracina (as well as with the detached Mount Circeo).

A series of basins and valleys separates these mountains from the higher Apennines proper. The latter has greater breadth and orographic complexity in the Reatino area, while further south it is reduced to a border region between Lazio and Abruzzo. The highest peaks are located just above 2000 m.

Administratively, the archipelago of the Pontine islands also belongs to Lazio, small islands in the past attributed to Campania.

Lazio is crossed by only one important river, the Tiber. The longest of the rivers whose course is entirely included in Lazio is the Aniene, a tributary of the Tiber. We should also mention the Liri which, uniting with the Gari, forms the Garigliano, which sanctions the border line between Lazio and Campania.

In addition to the volcanic lakes mentioned above, there are also coastal lakes (Lago di Sabaudia and others) and artificial lakes (particularly in the Rieti area).


Anthropic and administrative geography

Lazio is dominated by the presence of the city of Rome, in which about half of the inhabitants of the region reside. The province of Rome, very vast, also includes mountainous areas.

Among the other cities, the most populous is Latina, the capital of the province of the same name. Throughout Lazio there are five provinces: Rome, Latina, Frosinone, Rieti and Viterbo.

The most important port is Civitavecchia.


When to go

To visit the cities and archaeological sites of Lazio, the most advisable periods are March-June and September-October, given that it is very hot in the middle of summer. November is usually rainy.

For recreational purposes (sea, mountain) all the summer months are recommended, from May to October (swimming in the sea from the beginning of May to the beginning of November). Skiing can only be practiced in the winter months in some elevated areas.


Territories and tourist destinations

In addition to the 5 administrative provinces of Rome, Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, Viterbo, due to its longitudinal extension, Lazio can be divided into northern, central, eastern and southern Lazio:
Northern Lazio — Northern Lazio, sometimes also called Upper Lazio, is made up of Maremma Laziale, the Lazio coastal area north of Rome, Tuscia, which includes the remaining part of the province of Viterbo and therefore also the Faliscan countryside and the Sabatino which includes the area of Monti Sabatini and the lakes of Bracciano and Martignano.

Eastern Lazio — Eastern Lazio is made up of Sabina, the historical region in the Reatino area which also extends into the neighboring regions of Umbria and Abruzzo and Cicolano. the territory in the province of Rieti, historically belonging to Abruzzo.

Central Lazio — Rome and its coast are located in central Lazio and are also made up of the Roman countryside, the area of the territories of the Tiber and Aniene valleys and the upper Sacco valley, the central-Latium Apennines of the Castelli Romans.

Southern Lazio — Southern Lazio, sometimes also called Lower Lazio, is made up of: Frusinate, Agro Pontino, Monti Lepini, Sud Pontino, Valle del Liri, Cassinate, Valle di Comino.


Urban centers

Rome — The capital of the Italian Republic also known as the Eternal City. Rome is often referred to as "an open-air museum" and needs no introduction. From the ruins of the Roman Empire to the beauties of the Renaissance Baroque, every corner of the city exudes history and beauty.
Cassino — Ancient Oscan city, after the Volscan, Samnite and Roman conquests it became a thriving centre, the last city of the Latins. In the Middle Ages and in modern times it was the administrative center of the ancient Land of San Benedetto, the city develops at the foot of the hill on which the famous abbey of Montecassino stands, for which it is mainly known. However, it also boasts important evidence of its Roman past: amphitheater, theatre, mausoleum, nymphaeum, urban walls of the Casinum archaeological park. With its Abbey of Montecassino, the monumental war cemeteries and the archaeological park of the ancient Roman city Casinum, the Martyr City, as it was defined after the Second World War, is one of the main tourist destinations in Lazio. It's a spa.
Viterbo — The historic center of Viterbo is one of the best preserved medieval centers in Lazio and includes a medieval district (via San Pellegrino). It also boasts churches in quantity, small squares with fountains, narrow streets surrounded by turreted walls which contribute to making the impression of having gone back in time even stronger. It is defined as the City of the Popes as it was the birthplace of numerous popes and was also the papal seat for some years. Of undoubted beauty is the Papal Palace, a fine example of Viterbo Gothic. It's a spa.
Tivoli — Tivoli boasts of being older than Rome, of which it shared the ancient glories. In addition to the ancient historic center, it can boast of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites located on the outskirts of the city: the Roman Villa Adriana and the Renaissance Villa d'Este. It's a spa.
Rieti — considered by the authors of the classical age to be the geographical center of Italy (Umbilicus Italiae) was founded at the beginning of the Iron Age and became an important city of the Sabines; still today its territory is identified as "Sabina". This capital has a characteristic medieval centre, with partially intact walls and bordered by the Velino river which creates a suggestive landscape. It's a spa.
Frosinone — an ancient Volscian city, later conquered by the Romans, Frosinone is divided into an upper and lower city. It has a well-preserved historic center and Roman ruins. There is an archaeological museum.
Albano Laziale - It is one of the main centers of the Castelli Romani, which rises on the shores of the homonymous lake.
Anagni — Known for being the papal seat and for this reason defined as the City of the Popes, Anagni has a well-preserved historic center, embellished by the cathedral and the palace of Pope Boniface VIII, where the famous outrage against the Pope called Schiaffo di Anagni took place.
Velletri — On the Colli Albani, it is the center of wine production and a city of beautiful atmospheres, with a historic center of good interest, as well as allowing the view of beautiful panoramas.


Civita Castellana



Other spas

Monterano canal
Castel Sant'Angelo — The center was already frequented in Roman times, as evidenced by the Terme di Vespasiano outside the town dating back to the 1st century AD.
Palestrina - boasts the important remains of the Roman temple of the goddess Fortuna; born on the site of ancient Preneste, the city collects numerous finds in its rich archaeological museum.


Other destinations

Ponziano Archipelago (Pontine Islands) — The archipelago consists of two distinct groups:
West group: formed by Ponza, Palmarola and Zannone
East group: formed by Ventotene and Santo Stefano
Of these, only Ponza and Ventotene are inhabited.



Lake of Bolsena
Bracciano lake
Lake Vico and Monti Cimini


Archaeological sites

Acropolis of Alatri
Necropolis of Banditaccia
Civil Court of Preneste
Appii Forum
Forum Clodii
Casinum Archaeological Park
Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia
Shrine of Hercules Victor
Varronian Baths
Rock tombs of Quarto Conca
Roman villa of Torvaianica
Hadrian's Villa
Pompey's villa


How to get here

By plane
Rome-Fiumicino Airport
Rome-Ciampino Airport

By car
From the north: A1 towards Naples.
From the centre: A24 towards Rome or A25 towards Torano, then A24 towards Rome.
From the south: A1 towards Milan.

On boat
Civitavecchia — the largest cargo and passenger port in Lazio.


Getting around

On the train
8 regional railway lines branch off from Rome and connect it with most of the urban centers of the region.
What see
Those interested in speleology can visit the Natural Monument of the Falvaterra Caves and Rio Obaco or the Pastena Caves.



Via Carolingia — European itinerary that crosses the places traveled by the court of Charlemagne between the eighth and ninth centuries to go from Aachen to Rome, where Pope Leo III crowned the Carolingian sovereign emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on Christmas night in the 1800s .


Events and parties

Ronciglione Carnival


What to do

Park of Monsters (Sacred Wood of Bomarzo), Bomarzo. 16th century park famous for the presence of monstrous or grotesque sculptures and architecture.



Lamb Alla Romana
Bucatini all'amatriciana
Hunting rabbit
Grilled lamb cutlet
Rigatoni alla pajata
Saltimbocca alla Romana
Spaghetti carbonara

gentian liqueur
walnut liqueur
sambuca from Viterbo
strawberry wine

Lazio boasts three DOCG wines:
Cannellino of Frascati
Cesanese del Piglio
Upper Frascati

and a long list of DOC wines: Aleatico di Gradoli, Aprilia, Atina, Bianco Capena, Castelli Romani, Cerveteri, Cesanese di Affile, Cesanese di Olevano Romano, Circeo, Colli Albani, Colli della Sabina, Colli Etruschi Viterbesi, Colli Lanuvini, Cori , East! East!! East!!! of Montefiascone, Frascati, Genazzano, Marino, Montecompatri Colonna, Nettuno, Orvieto, Rome, Tarquinia, Terracina, Velletri, Vignanello and Zagarolo.



Generally it is a fairly safe region, in the Rome area it is necessary to pay attention to any pickpockets and possible scams.


Physical geography


Lazio, a region of central Italy, is located on the mid-Tyrrhenian side and occupies 17,232 km² of Italian territory, extending from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea. The territory does not have homogeneous physical characteristics, on the contrary it is characterized by its heterogeneity, with a prevalence of mountainous and hilly areas; the plains are mostly found near the coast. It is a predominantly hilly region: 54% of its territory is occupied by hilly areas, 26% by mountainous areas and the remaining 20% by plains.

Starting from the northwest of the region, we find three distinct mountain groups of modest dimensions: the Volsini Mountains, the Cimini Mountains and the Sabatini Mountains. The common feature of these mountain groups is their volcanic origin, testified not only by the geological elements, but also by the presence, in each of these, of a lake; Lake Bolsena on the Volsini, Lake Vico on the Cimini and Lake Bracciano on the Sabatini. These mountain groups slope gently towards the Maremma plain to the west, and towards the Tiber valley to the east, the two northernmost Lazio plains. Maremma finds its southern limit here, in the Monti della Tolfa.

In the eastern part of Lazio there are the highest reliefs of the region, which reach their highest point with the Monti della Laga in the 2,458 m of Monte Gorzano. This is a portion of the Abruzzo Apennines, which runs diagonally from north to south. Here we also find the mountain ranges of Monti Reatini, Monti Sabini, Monti del Cicolano, Monti della Duchessa, Monti Simbruini, Monti Cantari and Monti Ernici. The Piana Reatina carves out a space between the Reatini mountains and the Sabine mountains.

In the middle southern Lazio, starting from the Colli Albani, we find a whole series of other mountain ranges that run parallel to the axial chains of the Apennines, from which they are separated by the Valle Latina where the Sacco and the Liri flow, ending their course in the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Gulf of Gaeta, near the border with Campania; these are the Volsci Mountains divided internally into the group of the Lepini Mountains, the Ausoni Mountains and the Aurunci Mountains.

Even the Colli Albani, hills of modest dimensions, are of volcanic origin, and here too there are numerous lakes of volcanic origin: the Albano and Nemi lakes, the now dried up lake basins of Ariccia, Valle Marciana (Grottaferrata), Pantano Secco ( Monte Compatri), Prata Porci (Tuscolo) and Castiglione (or Lake Gabii).

The area of Rome is occupied by the Agro Romano which continues towards the south, always following the coastline, in the Agro Pontino, which until the reclamation carried out from 1930 to 1940, was covered by marshes.

The Lazio coast is very regular, low and sandy; despite this there are some "protrusions", such as Capo Linaro south of Civitavecchia, the mouth of the Tiber between the municipalities of Rome and Fiumicino; south of the river we find in succession the promontory of Anzio and Nettuno, Monte Circeo which stands isolated between sea and land, and the promontory of Gaeta, near the border with Campania. In front of San Felice Circeo is the Ponziano archipelago, made up of six small islands, all of volcanic origin.

The Tiber is the main river of the region; it arrives there from Umbria, first with a south-easterly course, but which then turns south-westerly, to cross the entire Roman countryside as far as the sea. The main tributaries of the Tiber are the Paglia and the Treia, on the right side, the Nera and the Aniene on the left side.

Further south, with a trend that recalls that of the Tiber, we find the Sacco and the Liri-Garigliano, while in the northern part of the region there are other minor rivers such as the Fiora, the Marta and the Arrone, which descend directly to the sea with a relatively short course.



The region's climate, monitored by several dozen meteorological stations (many of which managed by the Lazio Regional Hydrographic and Mareographic Office), shows considerable variability from area to area. In general, along the coast, the temperature values vary between 9-10 °C in January and 24-25 °C in July; rainfall is rather scarce along the northern coast (the minimum values below 600 mm per year are recorded in the Maremma, in the municipality of Montalto di Castro, near the border with Tuscany) while values are reached around 1100 mm per year in the area between Formia and the border with Campania.

Towards the interior, the climate is more continental and, on the hills, winters are cold and at night, temperatures can be quite rigid, close to zero and even lower. The coldest province is that of Rieti, followed by those of Viterbo, Frosinone, Rome and Latina.

Precipitation generally increases with altitude and is distributed on average in the intermediate seasons and in the winter, with a single dry season, the summer: the maximum rainfall is recorded in the area occupied by the city of Velletri, with an annual average of 1500 mm as well as in the mountain massifs located on the border with Abruzzo, most exposed to Atlantic perturbations (Monti Simbruini, Monti Cantari, Monti Ernici), reaching values even higher than 2000 mm per year. In winter, precipitation is generally snow from medium altitudes upwards; sporadic snowfalls can reach the Castelli Romani and, on some very rare occasions, also affect the surroundings of the city of Rome.

With particular regard to the sunshine, it should also be noted that, of the regional capital cities, Rome is the one with the highest number of hours of sunshine and days with clear skies during the year.



Even before the birth of Rome, this territory was called Latium, from its Latin inhabitants. According to one interpretation, the ethnonym derives from the Latin latus, or "extensive", in reference to the flat inhabited area, compared with the mostly hilly and mountainous terrain of central Italy. According to Virgil Latium derives from the verb "lateo" (to be hidden, to hide), because according to legend Saturn, driven out by Jupiter, hid there. After the period of the republican era and with the ordering of Augustus in the Roman era, the region, together with Campania, went to form the Regio I Latium et Campania (from which the other toponym Campagna Romana originates).



The history of Lazio is profoundly marked by the history of Rome, both for what this represented for the region in its millennial unfolding, and for what this history determined with the consolidation of the temporal power of the Catholic Church, also this millennial, and for the strongly symbolic and ideological meaning that Rome came to exercise for the Kingdom of Italy and fascism, but also for the modern Italian Republic.

The historical phase is evidenced by the presence of various Indo-European populations who settled in the Lazio area since the 2nd millennium BC, including Latins (the inhabitants of Latium and to whom the name is connected), Sabines, Volsci, Ernici, Equi and Aurunci which in different eras settled in the areas of historical Latium, while in the northernmost part of the current region, i.e. southern Etruria, the presence of the Etruscans established itself, whose influence was predominant at least until the fifth century BC.

From the 5th century BC until the 1st century BC the history of Lazio is increasingly identified with that of the struggle for dominance of Rome against the other populations, which slowly, slowly, will be subjected and assimilated to the Latin element. The last leap of autonomy of these people came with the social war.

For the entire duration of the Roman imperial era, Lazio enjoyed a situation of general tranquillity, interrupted only by episodic internal wars for the conquest of the imperial throne. However, its role as the center of the empire was increasingly reduced, marginalized, in favor of other regions of the empire, up to the episode of the deposition of the last western emperor, Romulus Augustus by Odoacer in 476, referred to to mark the end of the empire.

The vacuum of power in Lazio, after various vicissitudes following the fall of the empire, was filled by the presence of the Catholic Church, whose vicissitudes determined the history of Rome and the region until the capture of Rome in 1870. In the 6th century it passed to the Duchy of Spoleto, with the reign of Charlemagne Lazio was part of the so-called "Holy Roman Empire". After the new disintegration, in 1276, during the papacy of Gregory X, an attempt was made to merge the various Lazio territories of Velletri, Anagni and Rieti into a single center in the State of the Church, with administrative headquarters in the Vatican City in Rome. After a failed attempt by Cola di Rienzo to bring Rome back to a republic, Lazio remained a sub-region of the Papal State until the unification of Italy. So in 1870, with the symbolic capture of Porta Pia, papal rule fell, and Rome was proclaimed capital of the Kingdom of Italy on February 3, 1871.

From this moment the history of Lazio is identified almost totally with the history of Rome, capital of the Kingdom of Italy, with the exception of the period of the great reclamation of the Pontine marshes, an epic that lasted a decade which will mark the birth of new cities, first among all Littoria, today's Latina, and the acquisition of new productive lands for the region, albeit with the simultaneous sacrifice of large extensions of lowland forest, the last edge of which is protected by the Circeo National Park. In 1927 Lazio increasingly assumed the connotation of the current region (established in 1948), with a royal decree by Benito Mussolini, who annexed the already existing territory of the former State of the Church, adding the province of Rieti, taken from Umbria, incorporating the former district of Cittaducale, which was part of Abruzzo, and annexing the Alta Terra di Lavoro, i.e. the whole area that goes from Fondi to Sora passing through Sperlonga, Itri, Pico, Gaeta, Formia, Cassino, Aquino, Atina, Arpino, Sora. Thus the province of Frosinone and that of Latina were created, together with Rieti.

World War II swept through the region, taking a heavy toll on it in terms of both military and civilian lives. From this point of view, the ferocious fighting that took place in the Cassino countryside (with the destruction of the thousand-year-old abbey), the Allied landing at Anzio and the Nazi occupation of Rome were relevant. In 1970 the Lazio Region officially became an institution with the elections by universal suffrage of the regional council, which in turn elected the President and the regional council.