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Whether you want to see interesting remains from the great Roman Empire and combine it with a good beach holiday, or just enjoy Rome and its amazing atmosphere, then Lazio is the place for you. You can find many small and idyllic lakes in the region, surrounded by soft hills and scenic mountain areas, and then there are the fine sandy beaches to the south or around Anzio.
The list of exciting towns in Lazio is very long. When focusing on historic wealth from the Roman era, Rome is obviously top of the list. But Rome is grand in many ways. The atmosphere is unique. Piazzas, cafés, restaurants, stylish boutiques and awareness of its own historic value make Rome a fantastic city.
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Another exciting and wonderful town is Tarquinia with its Etruscan frescos, palaces and lovely countryside. To the south Terracina enjoys splendid sandy beaches, plenty of atmosphere and a beautiful location. Ostia Antica is also worth a visit if you want to see Roman monuments. Smaller towns like Sperlonga, Gaeta, and Minturno with the Roman theatre are also interesting because they combine atmosphere, history and sea. Viterbo in the northern and more central part of the region is a good place to visit, and Frascati is also worth seeing.
If you want a beach holiday or just the chance to swim now and again, then Lazio can satisfy all your needs. Terracina has beautiful sandy beaches ideal for sunbathing and swimming in the alluring Mediterranean sea. In Tarquinia, as in so many other places in Italy, the coast alternates between cliffs and sandy beaches. But it is also possible to swim in many of the region's lakes.
There are many sandy beaches around Anzio and you have to go out a long way before the sea becomes deep, making it ideal for families with children. The island of Ponza is capable of satisfying even the most discerning beachgoer. It has a fine white sandy beach and cliff formations that make diving exciting.
The scenery in Lazio varies quite a bit from soft hills to mountains. A special feature of the region is the many lakes. In winter it is possible to ski in Lazio, but this is hardly the primary reason for people choosing to holiday in the region.
Lazio has several beautiful natural parks spread over the whole of the region including Parco Nazionale del Circeo, Riserva Naturale Lago di Vico, Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso and Parco Naturale Regionale Monti Simbruini.
Roman cuisine is known for its rustic dishes incorporating bacon and cream, the very liberal use of olive oil, casseroles and the Jewish influence on some of the more ordinary dishes. Artichokes and heavy pasta dishes are classics in Roman cuisine.
Fish and seafood: Prawn soup "Zuppa di gamberi all'uso ciociaro" is a relatively common dish and Civitavecchia is known for producing fine fish soups.
Meat, game and poultry: The Romans eat a lot of lamb prepared in different ways with potatoes and vegetables.
Sausages and ham: In Lazio good air-dried hams are produced including “Prosciutto di Bassiano" from the Latina province, which is dried more than 500 m above sea level. In this province it is also possible to try the sausage “Salsiccia di Monte San Biagio".
Cheese: Lazio's best and most famous cheese is the goat's cheese “Marzolina", but Pecorino made from sheep milk is also produced.
Wine and vineyards: Lazio is probably best known for its white Frascati wine, which in latter years has been disappointing. But experts are talking about a small revolution taking place within wine production in Lazio. At present the best wines are produced from international grapes like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Below is a small selection of the best vineyards: Castel de Paolis, Mauro Paola – Colli Picchioni, Falesco, Christine Vaselli.
Much of the history of Lazio can be described with one word – Roman. But it would not be right to say that the Romans were the only ones to leave their marks on the region. We should not forget that for a long time the headquarters of the catholic church have been in Rome, or rather the Vatican. For many hundreds of years Lazio has therefore been the central point for solving or creating conflicts between church and empire, or other more worldly orientated individuals.
Poring over medieval history it becomes clear that the old saying that ‘all roads lead to Rome' is right. The papal power was so immense that an excommunication issued by the Vatican could lead to kings losing their authority. Consequently at some point all the reputable German-Roman emperors, Norman kings and other heads of state had to go to Rome in an attempt to placate the papal state. The many outstanding Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo and Rafael, who visited Rome and used their talent to decorate many of Rome's churches should also be remembered.
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