Essays about life in Italy, traveling in Italy, and more
This is not a location that I would recommend for a first or second trip to Italy. No one speaks English, you cannot find the International Herald Tribune (English language newspaper) in town, the driving in this area is "intense". The area is countryside, but feels very built up. One towns merges into the next along the SS2 (Via Cassia) on the way south to Rome. Things are not well signed. The towns are interesting but not as beautiful as in Tuscany and Umbria.
Perhaps this is the more authentic version of Italy. If that is what you are after, this is the place.
There are parts of Lazio that I like: the Etruscan tombs in Tarquinia, Sutri (just south of Vetralla), Sperlonga on the coast south of Rome (but I like Liguria better or Monte Argentario in southern Tuscany). There are many parts of Lazio that we did not get to. Many people on our message board convinced me that Lazio was a region I would love.
I had been working for the past year on Mary Jane's web site for her travel consultancy business (I no longer run the site) and wanted to spend time in the area. We spent one day in Vetralla the year before and it all seemed charming. I think perhaps Lazio is an acquired taste, and I have not acquired it (except for Rome, which I love).
It was difficult for me to write this part of the trip report because I was not having a great time this past week. Perhaps that explains why it is nearly one year later that I am finishing this section. Sometimes Italy wears me out. You have to be so "on" to deal with things - the driving, the shopping, figuring out how to get places. I love Italy, but at times I hate Italy.
Lazio was just a little too much for me to deal with at the end of a long trip. I wanted things fun, easier, lighter - and Rome was the perfect place to escape to. We ended the trip with two wonderful days in Rome.
Lazio Information Notes
Bus/Train to Rome: You can take a bus from Vetralla into Rome. Get the bus schedule and tickets at the bars. Catch the bus on the main Viterbo-Rome road at the only traffic lights in Vetralla. The bus runs every hour and takes 1hr 10 minutes to Rome. The train takes longer and you must drive to the train station outside of Vetralla. The train station is unmanned, so get your tickets in Vetralla at a bar.
Shopping: There are many small stores on the main road in the old part of town, but this road is busy with traffic (going slow, but constant) and is not pleasant to walk. There is a large Coop just outside of town on the main Viterbo-Rome road, just south of town. There are two good looking bakeries on the street in town.
Parking: In Vetralla the meter maids are around all during the day, but they whistle before they ticket you. It seems their goal is really to keep the streets cleared of unauthorized parkers, not just to give out tickets. I guess you park where you shouldn't and run out and move the car when you hear the whistle.
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