What to see in Caprarola and surroundings: things you cannot missCaprarola: recommendations on what to see and eat and 4 nearby destinations: Ronciglione, Sutri, Lake Vico and a beech forest in the Monti Cimini.
Caprarola, one of the most attractive medieval villages near Rome, is located on a tufa promontory in the province of Viterbo and it is famous not only for the Palazzo Farnese, but also for many other interesting things.
From the picturesque streets of the historic center to the restaurants that satisfy the most demanding palates, this small town in the Tuscia Viterbese area provides a complete experience for tourists in search of history, culture and beauty.
In this article we recommend what to see in Caprarola and four nearby destinations worth a visit.
Caprarola's Palazzo Farnese, also known as Villa Farnese, is the town's main attraction. Built in the 16th century, it represents the prestige and power of the Farnese family, among the most powerful families during the Italian Renaissance and Baroque.
Its architecture has a unique pentagonal shape with a circular courtyard in the center. Inside it is decorated with important frescoes, such as those in the Sala dei Fasti Farnesiani and the Sala del Mappamondo. There are also remarkable Renaissance gardens with fountains, sculptures and terraces.
Palazzo Farnese is a must-see for those who love history, art and architecture.
The historic center of Caprarola and the Via Dritta
During the period of the Farnese family, the historic center of Caprarola underwent considerable urban planning changes in order to build the Via Dritta, a straight street leading directly to Palazzo Farnese.
For the construction of this street, which took place around 1560, many buildings of the old villa were demolished in order to build new buildings with a nobler appearance.
However, part of the medieval structure has been preserved and you can see it just by walking through the old houses and facades of the side streets of the Via Dritta, which divides the entire town in half.
Looking for these details will make you feel as if you were traveling back in time!
The church and the Santa Teresa Convent
Apart from Palazzo Farnese, Caprarola has several churches and buildings worth seeing, among them:
- the Church of San Michele Arcangelo (the Dome);
- the Church of Madonna della Consolazione;
- the Church of S. Marco;
- the Stables of Palazzo Farnese.
In addition, the Church of Santa Teresa and the Convent of the Carmelites are also worth a visit, as they are located on an imposing tuffaceous cliff in front of the magnificent façade of the palace.
Caprarola: the town of hazelnuts
If you are wondering what to eat in Caprarola, you should know that the production of hazelnuts is one of its peculiarities, so much so that the village has been called the "village of hazelnuts". Indeed, on the road leading to the village you can admire several hazelnut groves.
One of the most famous events in Caprarola is the Sagra della Nocciola (Hazelnut Festival), an extraordinary event during which everything becomes a big party, animated by floats that pay homage to the hazelnut by parading in the main streets of the historic center.
If you pass through here between the last week of August and the first week of September, you cannot miss this unique opportunity to get to know the local culture and taste the specialties of the area. You will be able to taste typical hazelnut sweets such as "tozzetti" and "amaretti". And don't forget to try a type of pasta called "pici" (handmade with water and flour), wild boar, "funghi porcini" and chestnuts.
What to see near Caprarola: 4 must-see places
In the Tuscia area there are several beautiful places; for this reason, we recommend you to explore the surrounding area as well. Here are 4 places near Caprarola that you should include in your itinerary:
Among the most beautiful villages in Tuscia, you can visit Ronciglione, which won the Borgo dei Borghi competition in 2023 and is famous for hosting every year one of the 10 most beautiful and oldest carnivals in Italy. Like Caprarola, in this beautiful town there is a part with sixteenth-century palaces built by the Farnese family and another part that is typically medieval. Among the things to see in Ronciglione, besides the medieval village, are:
- The Duomo (the Cathedral);
- The Church of SS. Rosario;
- The Porta Romana or Porta San Giovanni;
- The Church of Sant’Eusebio dating back to the 4th century and considered the most important early Christian monument in Tuscia, located on the ancient route of the Via Francigena;;
- The Ponte di Ferro (Iron Bridge), built in 1928 by Officine Savigliano using the same method of construction as the Eiffel Tower, is one of the nine bridges in the world with this type of construction.
2. Sutri and the archaeological park
Sutri is another of the many charming villages of the Tuscia Viterbese region. It is situated on a tufa hill, whose origins date back to the ancient traces of an Etruscan settlement. Its walls and medieval architecture convey a truly unique atmosphere.
The Archaeological Park, however, is the main attraction for visitors from all over the world, where you can see several monuments such as the Roman amphitheater, the mithraeum and the necropolis.
3. The Nature Reserve of Lake Vico
The Lake Vico is located between the municipalities of Caprarola and Ronciglione, surrounded by the Monti Cimini. A 15-minute drive from the ancient town of Caprarola, it is one of the most beautiful lakes in Lazio and central Italy.
Its high natural value is what makes it truly unique compared to other lakes. In 1982 a nature reserve was created in this area and for this reason, most of the shores are covered with dense vegetation that, with the change of seasons, gives the lake different shades of color. However, there are also plenty of shores where you can enjoy spas, restaurants, bars and picnic areas. In addition, if you love outdoor activities, you will have many options throughout the reserve: you can choose from several hiking trails; try water sports such as canoeing and sup or, if you like to observe wildlife, practice birdwatching.
Another really interesting thing to know is that there is a local legend around this lake. It is said that Hercules, the demigod son of Zeus, wanted to test his power against the local shepherds. He planted his club in the ground and waited in vain for someone to pull it out. When he finally retrieved it, he did it with such force that... from the hole he created a stream of water began to pour out, so abundantly that it formed the Vico Lake.
In the rooms of the Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola there is a fresco depicting this legend. The lake is actually the result of volcanic activity in the area, dating back thousands of years.
4. Beech Forest of Monti Cimini
Besides the Lake Vico Nature Reserve, we recommend a walk in an extraordinary beech forest: the Faggeta del Monte Cimino, declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2017 and boasting centuries-old beech trees among the highest in Europe.
There are numerous hiking trails and a chalet with restaurant where you can taste local products. Among the things to see near Caprarola, perhaps this is a little more remote destination but worth seeing. A true oasis that will immerse you in a timeless fairy tale.
Visiting Caprarola and its surroundings is a truly extraordinary experience for history and nature lovers.
So, as you may have noticed, the ancient villages of Caprarola, Ronciglione and Sutri, along with the beautiful Lake Vico Reserve and the majestic beech forest of Monti Cimini, are all worth a visit!
Don't miss this fascinating area of Tuscia, and if you would like to discover more destinations, check out more articles on our site!