Tuscania is one of the most beautiful smaller towns in the province of Viterbo and has existed since the 11th century B.C. A major earthquake in 1971 destroyed some of the main attractions, which were later reconstructed. The main source of income is agriculture, but tourism is becoming increasingly important.
All about Tuscania City Guide
Region: Lazio. Province: Viterbo. The postal code is 01017 and the area code is 0761. The address of the town hall is piazza F. Basile, 4 (tel. +39 076144541). Subdistricts: Montebello, Poggio Martino.
By car/public transportation
From Viterbo by car: The town is located 24km west of the provincial capital and can be reached on the SP2.
From Rome by car: You first take the SR2 in a northerly direction. At Vetralla turn onto the SP11.
Public transportation from Viterbo: There is a direct Cotral bus connection.
Public transportation from Rome: From the station Saxa Rubra (on the line Roma Nord from the subway station Flaminio) in Rome you first take a bus (Cotral) to Viterbo. Here you change to the bus to Tuscania.
Tuscania was already an important settlement in the Etruscan period. Thanks to its favorable strategic location, this hardly changed in Roman times. After being conquered by the Lombards, the city was for centuries a plaything of various noble families. These sometimes had to defend themselves against the church. In 1911 the city received its current name.
Tuscania already existed in the so-called Villanovian period. In Etruscan times the town enjoyed great wealth and influence. This was due to its favorable position on the Colle San Pietro, which overlooked some important consular roads. Several Etruscan necropolises can still be found in the territory of Tuscania.
Roman rule, from the 3rd century BC, had little impact on the city’s prosperity.
In the year 574 Tuscania was conquered by the Lombards and in 774 the city was given to the church by Charlemagne.
St. Peter’s Basilica was built in the 8th century and Santa Maria Maggiore Church followed a century later.
After a period of autonomy, the rule over the city was contested by the church on one side, and the Prefetti di Vico (a family of German origin) on the other.
Later followed a period when Tuscania was owned by several successive families, including the Orsini and the Sforza.
In the 14th century, Pope Boniface VIII renamed the town Toscanello. In doing so, he took revenge on the inhabitants who had rebelled against him.
In 1443, Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi returned the city to the Catholic Church.
Towards the end of the 15th century, after a siege by Charles V’s French troops, Tuscania was razed to the ground. The inhabitants rebuilt the city, albeit at the foot of the hill and no longer on its summit.
In the 16th century, the San Giacomo Cathedral was built.
After the Middle Ages
In 1911, the city received its current name. It comes from the Etruscan word for “Etruscan,” Tuscus.
In 1971, an earthquake severely damaged part of the city.
What to see
Thanks to the many excavations in the area and the National Archaeological Museum, the Etruscan period is well represented in the city. From later times, some churches are especially interesting. One highlight is the Santa Maria Maggiore Church, which already existed in the 9th century. St. Peter’s Basilica, thanks to its beautiful facade and its location on top of the hill, has more than once been used as background for movies.
No festival or other special events.