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When travelling to a new place, make sure you prepare a list of towns and attractions you absolutely have to see to make the most of your trip. If you’re planning a trip to Santa Cristina Castle for the first time, this article is for you!

These are 10 major must-sees between Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria within a maximum distance of 1 hour and half from us!

  1. Orvieto – The jem of Umbria

(40 minutes by car)

One full day in Orvieto is plenty of time to see all the major and some of the minor sights!

One of the best things to do in Orvieto is quite simple: wander the streets.

Orvieto is tiny, and once you ride the funicular and/or escalators up into the old town, you won’t need to do anything other than walk to get around!

If you are looking for memorable souvenirs from your trip to Italy,

many of the shops here offer local products that frequently come with a lower price tag than those in larger, popular cities like Rome and Florence: delicious cured meats, local olive oil, wine, or truffle-infused products

Did you know that there are 1200 caves under Orvieto?

Each one of them is man-made, some dating back as far as the Etruscans, and each has been put to good use.

Be sure to add a tour of the underground to your list of things to do in Orvieto!

In addition to being a town, Orvieto is also the name of the surrounding wine region!

Known primarily for its white Orvieto Classico wine, wine lovers should be sure to order a glass while exploring Orvieto.

If you have enough time, you can even head to a nearby vineyard and add a wine tasting to your list of things to do in Orvieto!

 

  1. Civita di Bagnoregio – Lazio’s ghost town

(30 minutes by car)

The village is so enchanting that it has been included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy and this despite the definition “The city that dies” given to it by the writer Bonaventura Tecchi, who spent his youth there.

Civita’s obvious rarity is its location: a slim bluff of land rearing up from the valley floor. It’s cut off from the nearest town, Bagnoregio, by a mini canyon called “Valle dei Calanchi”.

To reach Civita, visitors must cross a 366-meter pedestrian-only bridge, cantilevered over the void and rising steeply to meet the village walls.

The terrain of the “calanchi,” or badlands, where soft tufa rock sits on a fragile, constantly shifting stratum of sand and clay. The unstable terrain has led to erosion over the years, making whisked-egg peaks of the neighboring valley, and sending entire portions of the village (which was once a town) into the depths below.

Over the centuries, most of the population moved to Bagnoregio, the neighboring town, which was once attached to Civita but was separated in the 18th century by an earthquake and is now divided by that canyon.

The bridge linking the two was partially destroyed by fleeing Nazis in World War II, and the villagers started to leave. A new bridge was built in the 1960s, but people were living in extreme poverty and the council ordered them out. By the 1990s, the village was practically abandoned.

Spend at least an half day in Civita di Bagnoregio and the best Instagram shot!

You’ll get the best shots at dawn, at sunset and in the fog!

 

  1. Pitigliano (Little Jerusalem of Tuscany), Sorano and Sovana – The Cities of Rocks

(20 minutes by car)

Make sure to spend an half day or more in Pitigliano, in the heart of Tuscan Maremma

Also known as Little Jerusalem, thanks to the large Jewish community it hosted within its walls in the 16th century, Pitigliano is definitely one for the bucket list next time you’re in Tuscany.

A stunning village practically carved out of “Tufaceous” rock (volcanic rock) that sits upon one of the suggestive tuff spurs, conferring a unique beauty to the town landscape. Pitigliano makes up part of an area called “borghi del tufo” — towns carved of tuff stone — together with Sorano and Sovana.

 The town of Pitigliano is full of palazzos and historical buildings, the majestic Palazzo Orsini, the ancient residence of the Orsini family, lords of the County of Pitigliano, Sovana and Santa Fiora and the Salvini Theatre.

One of the most striking buildings in Pitigliano is certainly the Medici Aqueduct,

Don’t miss the Jewish Ghetto, the ancient neighbourhood built by the Jewish community. Visit the other beautiful towns that take part of the area of tuff stone: Sovana, considered one of the most beautiful villages in our area, finally Sorano, defined as the fortified rock of Tuscany built on the side of a gorge, along a path in the archaeological Park of Tufo, an area characterized by the Vie Cave: a network of narrow routes carved in the rock by the Etruscan who lived here many centuries before Christ. These are incredible pieces of engineering trapped between suggestive and steep walls of rock.

If you are a wine lover don’t loose a wine tasting in famous Fattori Aldobrandesca Antinori.

 

  1. Lake Bolsena – Larger volcanic lake of Europe and its towns

(15 minutes by car)

Wandering to discover Tuscia you will be fascinated by the stunning beauty of Lake Bolsena.

Hundreds of thousands years ago a volcanic explosion threw out lapillipozzolana, and lava, emptying the underlying area.  The surface crust sank forming a caldera. In the course of tens of thousands of years, the rain filled up this huge crater creating Lake Bolsena. Volcanic activity continued and other explosions inside the lake led to the formation of two marvelous islands: Martana and Bisentina.

The lake itself has a diameter of 60 km and is surrounded by some splendid towns.

From Santa Cristina Castle you can also do a tour of the lake by car, visiting the most beautiful towns:

The town of Bolsena, just 15 minutes away from the Castle, has become the only Italian site to be included on Forbes’ list of the 10 most beautiful towns in Europe.

Capodimonte, a small town overlooking the lake, rich of natural and historic beauties as the Bisanzio Mountain park, an original Palaeolithic ship into the cultural centre “Vittorio Fanelli” and the Historic and Religious Museum. From here, it is possible to reach the Bisentina Island or visit the underwater Nativity scene in via della Rocca.

 –Marta, a small fisherman village always lived during summer both because its beaches and small port. Very characteristic is the panoramic Torre Dell’Orologio, the Reinassence palace near the City Hall or the Madonna Del Monte sacred place. If you are going to visit Marta, taste its lake fish and the DOC local red wine, Cannaiola!

–     Montefiascone, ancient Etruscan city sits at about 600 meters above sea level enjoying a breathtaking view of Lake Bolsena and the surrounding landscape

One of the ways to experience the best of Lake Bolsena is for sure a private cruise, renting a boat or take one of the ferries.

 

  1. Saturnia hot springs – Amazing wonder in Tuscan countryside

(50 minutes by car)

 Terme di Saturnia or Cascate del Molino in italian, definitely worth a visit and it is one of the best things to do in Tuscany.

Only 50 minutes by car from Santa Cristina, these naturally warm water cascades into travertine stone pools, creating a perfect atmosphere for visitors to wonder at the beauty of nature and relax.

The hotsprings are totally free to enter.

 

  1. Torre Alfina and the Snow White’s forest

 (30 minutes by car)

Torre Alfina is a a charming medieval village, situated on top of a hill of volcanic origin. The imposing castle of Torre Alfina overlooking the village, can be  reached only through a dead end street, and this makes it even more fascinating, with its austere profile that brings to mind its troubled past.

visit the fairytale forest ,Sasseto Forest, a Natural Monument of the Lazio Region since 2006, envelops the suburb and the Castle of Torre Alfina with a mantle of holm oaks, beeches, elms, maples and 30 other species of trees, creating an extremely rich and living undergrowth. Described by National Geographic as the Snow White’s forest, this deciduous forest owes its name to the lava boulders pertaining to an ancient volcano, around which ancient trees have now grown over 25 metres high with diameters of over a metre.

 

  1. Viterbo – City of Popes, Villa Lante and Bomarzo

(40 minutes by car)

If you have already googled Viterbo, chances are that you found it online as the “City of the Popes”. Just like her famous sisters – Rome and Avignon –  Viterbo has been in fact the Papal Seat between 1257 and 1281.

The Palazzo dei Papi (Palace of the Popes) hosted 11 popes of Rome. It is the most important monument and the most photographed landmark in town.

Viterbo can boast one of the best preserved medieval historic centers in Italy but the heritage of Viterbo also extends to the subsoil and to the surrounding areas, rich in spas and archaeological sites.

A few minutes away is the small village of Bagnaia, for example, with the wonderful gardens of Villa Lante and the tiny medieval historic center.

Truly surprising is the Parco di Mostri of Bomarzo, that translates to Monsters Park, also known as Sacro Bosco, Sacred Woods. It was created by Vicino Orsini, a nobleman of the XVI century, to mourn his deceased wife. The park’s imaginative sculptures represent fantastic creatures in monumental dimensions.

Just 9 km from Viterbo there is also the amphitheater of Ferento, one of the most important Etruscan sites. The ancient Romasn hinerited it, and gave it the actual name.  Not far away there is also another archaeological site well worth a visit, Vulci.

 

  1. Radicofani – Val D’Orcia

(45 minutes by car)

On a hill in the scenic Val d’Orcia in the Siena province of Tuscany sits Radicofani, one of the most spectacular fortresses in Tuscany which has been a hugely important stronghold in Italy for centuries.

The mighty tower, 37 metres high and rebuilt in the last century, offers enchanting endless views all over the Val d’Orcia park and the Monte Amiata .

While, heading south, you’ll reach the Monte Amiata, an extinct volcano, that, with its 1738 meters, dominates southern Tuscany’s landscape. You reach the mountain after driving along a scenic succession of curves through the woods, that, one after the other, open onto beautiful rural landscapes. Before heading on to Mount Amiata, I suggest you a stop along the route to the village of Abbadia San Salvatore, that boasts one of the most beautiful and suggestive abbeys of all Italy

 

  1. Tuscania

(30 minutes by car)

Just 30 minutes  from the Santa Cristina you can discover Tuscania, a pictoresque village known for its medieval walls and towers and two impressive churches.

Because of its geographic position, it was a very important junction between the coast and the hinterland, a place of choice for the Etruscans, who left important traces of their presence that are still visible today on the land surrounding the village. 

There are so many places and monuments to visit in this charming ancient village that was beautifully restored after an earthquake in 1971 badly damaged the medieval center

A visit to Tuscany usually begins with the Church of St. Peter, which is located on a hill and was the ancient seat of the Etruscan Acropolis

Tuscania is certainly worth a stop.

If you love good food, a myriad of trattorias and restaurants will welcome you to sample typical dishes of the area.

 

  1. Angelo di Roccalvecce – The fairytale village

(1 hour by car)

In the enchanting, fairytale village of S. Angelo di Roccalvecce, time seems to have stopped and crystallized in the atmosphere of a fairytale. And this is by no means a figure of speech, S. Angelo is therefore an authentic open-air museum where female street art is the main protagonist.

Fantasy characters that take adults back to their childhood days. From Alice in Wonderland to Pinocchio, The Sword in the Stone, Peter Pan, The Little Prince, The Little Match Girl, The Ugly Duckling, Grimm’s Gnomes, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Mowgli – The legend of the Jungle, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Around the World in 80 Days, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Thumbelina, The Fairies of Avalon, Puss in Boots, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Pencil Tree, Beauty and the Beast… These are just a few of the 44 “enchanted frescoes” that you can admire as you walk through the characteristic village with its magical atmosphere.