If you are interested in taking a weekend trip, but don’t want to wander too far from Rome, Tuscia is the right choice for you. Historically, Tuscia is the region that was under Etruscan influence, comprising of Tuscany, a big part of Umbria, and the northern parts of Lazio. A much smaller area today, it pretty much encompasses the small towns of the province of Viterbo. At about an hour, to an hour and a half by car (two hours by train), it’s a great area for a weekend escape.
There are many cities that make up the area of Tuscia. All of the cities that I have visited have a medieval feel, with great views leading-up-to and looking-out-from them. The ‘highways’ you take to get to the region are also quite picturesque: loads of green valleys and mountains, horses, flowers, etc. Depending on the season, you can also see the various fruits and trees in full bloom and ripeness. Also depending on the season, you can stop by some of the towns and partake in festivals of particular foods. For example, the month of October is dedicated to chestnuts.
Apart from visiting the cities of Tuscia, the whole area itself is covered in natural hot spring baths. There are both private and public baths, all indicated by ‘terme‘ signs on the highways, and a particular smell wafting in the breeze. Being an area that was frequently visited by the popes, one famous bath house to visit is Terme dei Papi.
Being just north enough, the food of Tuscia is quite different from the common foods of Rome: more soups and yummy polenta! The region also has its own type of porchetta, wine, and cheeses (from special Sardinian sheep!).
Each city has hotels and bed and breakfasts, but I suggest finding lodging in an agriturismo that is outside of a city. It’s a great way to taste local products (sometimes grown on the site itself), and to get insider info on what is going on in the area, and what to do/see. There is basically one major site providing details for all the agriturismi in Italy, as well as detailed reviews to help you make your choice.
To sum it up: Tuscia is a great area for a weekend getaway from Rome. There are many cities to visit, beautiful views and sites, natural hot springs, great food, and a plethora of lodgings from which to choose.