Lazio

http://www.touritalynow.com/italy_information/italy_information_regions/images/italia_regions_lazio.jpg Major Cities:

Roma (Rome)
Viterbo
Gaeta

Home to Italy’s vibrant historic and cosmopolitan capital city of Rome, the region of Lazio is otherwise quiet and laid-back, situated on the west central coast and occupying about 6,600 square miles. About half of the terrain is hilly while other areas are split evenly between mountains and plains, making this quite a geographically diverse area.

The 5.5 million or so people that live in Lazio are employed mostly in the services sector, largely due to the presence of Rome and its rich tourist, banking, and insurance industries. In other parts of Lazio, agriculture still reigns supreme and the area is known for the cultivation of wine grapes, olives, and other fruits and vegetables. Textiles, automobile manufacturing, paper mills, and building material manufacturers account for the remainder of Lazio’s wealth and the region is indeed the most prosperous in the country.

The large coastline of Lazio is occupied by sandy beaches and interesting towns like Gaeta – important to Italy’s military history. Other coastal towns of note include Civitavecchia, a seaport on the Tyrrhenian Sea that serves as a port of call to cruise ships from all over the world. It’s also the site of a few notable churches, a castle or two, and some Roman baths, still in use by a number of locals. The National Park of Circeo is on the coast as well, established in 1934 to protect this rich bio-diverse area of the coastal plain of the Lazio region.

Rome sits smack in the center of Lazio, basking in all its glory, rich in history, culture, industry, and touting its role as the 11th most visited city in the world. It has long been and remains the most popular tourist attraction in Italy and boasts a rich historic center that was one of the first locations placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list. It takes weeks to explore Rome – most Italy tours only scratch the surface – as there is so much to see and do, from admiring ruins and great monuments, to browsing architectural gems, to visiting some of the best museums in the world, including the awesome Vatican complex. There are bridges to cross, fountains in which to throw pennies, and even catacombs to explore. Rome is truly one of the great cities of the world.

But while Rome provides endless opportunities for those looking for a cultural and historic experience, other parts of Lazio offer plenty of peace and quiet. Consider, for example, the Pontine Islands, an archipelago off the coast of the region, once used by the Etruscans and greatly expanded residentially during the reign of Caesar Augustus. They were also used by the Fascist regime as islands of exile but are now a popular vacation spot thanks to their secluded, unspoiled beaches, grottos, and small vineyards that tourists simply love to visit.

On your trip to Rome you will also want to take the time to explore the medieval town of Viterbo – known for its pottery and marble, and the notable Etruscan settlements of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, each fascinating in their own right, full of grand archaeological and architectural offerings.

www.regione.lazio.it