Our guest kids’ editor Laura is back with a trip she took to Tuscia – a bit of hidden Italy for you – when Francesco was just 9 months old.

Daddy and baby in Viterbo

When Francesco was about 9 months old, we made one of the first trips down to see my relatives in Puglia by car from Tuscany. The trip is too long with a little one so we wanted a halfway stop. In August we chose to avoid all the holiday villages and i wanted something child-friendly. I received a precious suggestion from Rosanna Capitani, owner of Eliotropica Travel (www.eliotropica.it) and a women-friendly travel expert: Tuscania. Believe me, I’m Italian but I’ve never heard about Tuscia before! (Sometimes called Etruria – for a book on this area see this post on arttrav.) And thanks to Rosanna I discovered a beautiful part of our country between Lazio and Tuscany, where there are many things to do and places to visit in a quiet way.

With a baby in his weaning phase, though, it’s important to find in the room a few things such as fridge and stove to preserve and heat milk, food, etc. We also need a high chair to eat and a kids’ cot or crib. Not expensive things but very hard to find in average bed and breakfast. By searching on Google “Agriturismo bambini Tuscania” among the first results I found Arcipelago Art et Agricoltura, a contemporary art themed Bed and Breakfast, in the countryside 5 kms far from Tuscania where we could sleep in a room with a camping bed for Francesco and we could use for free the big kitchen and dining-room for breakfast (with wholemeal bread, cakes, coffee, tea, etc.). As well as the garden with the swimming pool, nice places to hang out, refresh and relax after our hot daily trips, surrounded by olive trees and vines. The owners are Maurizio Pio Rocchi married to Petra de Goede, two artists with children that hosted us in their new bed and breakfast like a proper family!

Host family and us

What can you do in Tuscia? Apart from the Etruscan sites to visit (but not with a baby if it’s too hot), you can spend some nice time in the lovely towns close to the largest volcanic lake in Europe, Lago di Bolsena (with environmental values and wonderful landscapes due to the volcanic activity which originated the territory), visit Gradoli (located on a hill in the Monti Volsini area with a palace owned by the Farnese family and commissioned by Pope Paul III on the site of a medieval castle) and Orte (another Etruscan and then Roman center as its necropolis assesses), join the “Sagra della Pastorizia” in Farnese organized by an association aimed to promote local agriculture and sheep products (olive oil, wine, honey, cheese, etc.) with musical shows and cultural events based on Sardinia and Tuscia territory, go round the historical streets in Tuscania and visit one day Viterbo.

I’d never been in Viterbo before, but it’s a lovely city with the center surrounded by medieval walls built in the 11th and 12th centuries with entrance through ancient gates. You can visit San Lorenzo Cathedral with the bell-tower, the Palace of the Popes, have a look at the beautiful central Piazza del Plebisciti with Palazzo del Podestà, Palazzo della Prefettura and Palazzo Comunale (with important frescoes inside) and the Fontana Grande. On September 3rd takes place the transport of the Macchina di Santa Rosa – an artistic tower-like structure, about 30m tall and made of iron, wood and paper with at its top the statue of the patron saint (St Lawrence) carried out by 100 ‘viterbesi’ acclaimed by the people in the streets of the city center. [AMK’s note: in the area, see also Caprarola and Ronciglione.]

With francesco and the local green space

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