Hill Towns of Alto Lazio - Tuscia - Italy
Hilltowns of Alto Lazio - Tuscia - Province of Viterbo
"...All this is seen on the plain; but go northwards towards the Tiber, and you will find that you are far from being on low ground; the river flows five hundred feet beneath you, through a valley which in fertile beauty has few rivals, even in Italy. Or attempt to approach some one of the towns whose spires you see peering above the woods of the plain; and many a ravine, darkly profound, unseen, unthought of till you stand on its brink, yawns at your feet, and must be traversed to its uttermost recesses ere you attain your object. In these lower regions you are amid scenes widely different from those on the upper level. Your horizon is bounded by walls of rock, but what it wants in distance it gains in intrinsic beauty.
The cliffs, broken into fantastic forms, and hollowed into caves of mysterious interest, display the richest hues of brown, red, orange, and grey; wood hangs from their every ledge, and even crests their brows - a wood as varied in mass as in tint - ilex, ash, alder, oak, chestnut - matted together with ivy, vines, clematis, and honeysuckle; a stream winds brawling through the hollow, here spanned by a rustic bridge, there sinking in a mimic cascade; now struggling among the fallen, moss-grown crags, now running riot through some lowly mill, half hid by foliage.
A white shrine or hermitage looks down from the verge of the cliff, or a bolder-featured town, picturesque with the ruin of ages, towers above you on an insulated mass at the forking of the glen; so lofty, so inaccessible is the site, you cannot believe it the very same town you had seen for miles before you, lying in the bosom of the plain. Such are the general outlines of the scenery..."
George Dennis, Chapt. "Beauty of the Ager Faliscus", (IX p.117-118) from "The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria" Published in 1848