The days are getting longer and the temperatures are rising: Spring has definitely arrived! Viterbo is the perfect place to be during this season, thanks to the numerous events in calendar and the beauty of nature that awakens after the long, Winter sleep.
The first event that marks the arrival of the new season is San Pellegrino in Fiore: an open-air flower show that literally transforms Viterbo’s medieval city centre into a magnificent garden, giving a brand new meaning to the usual sightseeing. Almost every single square and alley gets filled with amazing colours that stand out from the grey of the Peperino – the volcanic stone locally used to build houses in the Middle Ages – and everywhere the air smells extremely nice.
This flower extravaganza – a well-balanced mix of retail, landscaping and product displays – has now reached its thirty-first year and, over time, has become a catalyst for other events that now gravitate around it: exhibitions, historical re-enactments, photography contests, food tastings, antiques markets and workshops for children. This year, San Pellegrino in Fiore will take place between April 28th and May 1st: the itinerary will take you from via San Lorenzo, through the largest Medieval city centre in Europe, to piazza San Lorenzo – where the Papal Palace provides a stunning backdrop to the floral installations.
One season, many attractions
Piazza San Lorenzo, besides being beautifully unique, is also the starting point of the guided tour organized by Archeoares, the company that manages the Polo Monumentale Colle del Duomo – the museum centre which includes the Papal Palace, San Lorenzo’s Cathedral and the Colle del Duomo Museum itself. The tour starts from the loggia of the Papal Palace, dating back to 1267 and also known as Loggia of the Blessings, as in the past it was used by the Popes to bless the crowd.
Then the visit takes you inside the palace and here you can admire the famous Aula del Conclave, a large room where the first conclave in history was held back in 1271. Next, your guide will take you inside San Lorenzo’s Cathedral which has – among many other beautiful features – a stunning Baroque choir and a fascinating sacristy. With the same ticket, you can also access the adjacent Colle del Duomo Museum: its three sections – Archaeology, Art History and Sacred Art – will give you a good insight into Viterbo’s history and how the Popes somehow influenced its development.
Spring in Viterbo is a good time also for car lovers and petrol-heads as the famous Mille Miglia race passes through the streets of Viterbo. This regularity race brings hundreds of classic and vintage cars into town and – since Viterbo is one of the main stops along the route – it is a fantastic opportunity to get close to some iconic beauties and enjoy a little VIP spotting. The appointment for this year is on the third week-end of May (18th – 21st).
Last but not least, if wandering around makes you peckish, right in the heart of Viterbo’s medieval city centre (Piazza Della Morte) there is a lovely place called Magnamagna (literally: “eat, eat” in the local dialect): here you can enjoy a great selection of the best local delicacies such as cheeses and cold cuts – which often get combined in fantastic sandwiches – and, of course, wine and beer.