The capital of its province, and indeed of northern Lazio as a whole, VITERBO is easily the region’s most historic centre, a medieval town which, during the thirteenth century, was once something of a rival to Rome. It was, for a time, the residence of popes, a succession of whom relocated here after friction in the capital, and today there are some vestiges of its vanquished prestige – a handful of grand palaces and medieval churches, enclosed by an intact set of walls. The town is a well-kept place and refreshingly untouched by much tourist traffic; buses and trains run frequently to Rome and you can comfortably see the town in a day, but it makes the best base for seeing the rest of northern Lazio.