Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Va Bene, Viterbo

The past few days have been spent with my best friend, Morgan, in Viterbo, Italy.

Morgan has been studying this summer at the University of Santa Maria in Gradi.

By car, Viterbo is a little under an hour and a half slightly northwest of Rome. This city moves at a much slower pace than Rome or Florence, and it has been a wonderful chance to relax and get some sunshine.
More importantly, they city has got some great history.
Viterbo is a medieval walled city. Of course, today some of the city extends beyond the walls, but most of it is still walled in. Even better, Morgan's apartment is in the Medieval Quarter of the city. The buildings are old, old, old, and the streets are narrow and winding. I've had a lot of fun trying to imagine what this place must have been like seven hundred years ago.

The city is small enough that it's easy to go exploring. If you get lost, the good news is that you will eventually run into the wall. Follow the wall, and you'll find yourself back to somewhere familiar.
The Porta Roma, so named because the road leading out of the door leads to Rome. But don't they all?

The medieval courtyard at Morgan's university

The university used to be a monastary 
The Renaissance courtyard

The Wall!

Viterbo is also home to an old Papal Palace. I was able to visit the nearby church and museum. The museum included a crypt with bones still in it (and over which I had to walk), lots of reliquaries (some still housing relics), old Papal seats (thrones?), effigies, and more. One of my favorite exhibits were the massive books of ancient Chant notation. The Papal vestments below are a 12th century copy of the original works from the 6th century. They are one of the most ancient examples of vestments in the world.