Sunday, December 23, 2012

Taking the back roads to Barbarano Romano

Barbarano Romano surrounded  by medieval walls

 While  the  pre-Christmas crowds and traffic  besiege  the cities and shopping centers and most of  the Western world is  in a frenzy of commercialism, its time to make a visit to one of the many  tiny walled town set deep in the Viterbo countryside we call Etruria.

Only entrance and exit to the town  

This weekend we drove the winding back roads from Vetralla to Barbarano Romano,  through a landscape dotted with green pastures where lazy Maremma cattle grazed.

fountain with town's coat of arms 
 Located only 50 miles from the capital of Rome, the town of Barbarano Romano is  ignored by most tourists with the  exception of  those who love eco friendly walking  or biking tours and delving into Etruscan sites. See  this site for more information about walking tours in the area.
details on a facade

terracotta animals decorate a window
Sleepy at most times, the town comes alive whenever  there is the slightest hint of a festival. 

This weekend  the  festival  combined a  conference dedicated to tourism in the  rock hewn (rupestre) necropolis and ecomuseum of the area with a few tables dedicated to locally produced handicrafts and food products.
two black cats beneath the loom
Patrizia, artisan in soft wool
Patrizia Gaiba's handwoven  shawls 

The town  is set on tufa spur and surrounded  by gorges, the Marturanum park and eco-museum and exudes that other-century  feeling  that city dwellers crave.
hand turned wooden candlesticks 

pottery and ceramics 
A visit at any time of year will restore  one’s   postcard image of old Italy  that enamored D.H. Lawrence and other early English visitors.    

The solid  character of its intact walls, the fireplace glowing in  Trattoria  La Pacchiona, (country bumpkin) welcome visitors to explore the town's narrow lanes where cane bottomed chairs are set in each patch of noon day sun by elderly residents. 
ancient  forms of transport  used in Barbarano

Unspoilt   surroundings  hide  Etruscan rupestre  sites such as San Giuliano where Swedish king Gustaf once  played archeologist.

medieval garage for a 1950s  wagon


  1. We've been there! Had a tasty lunch with lamb grilled on an open fire.

  2. We've been there too. Tried to buy the Fiat but it was not for sale