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Villa Lante Bagnaia, Viterbo Italy

Villa Lante Bagnaia, Viterbo Italy

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Villa Lante is a stunning estate in Bagnaia, Italy. Bagnaia is a little gem of a village just 78 kilometers (48 miles) north of Rome. There are several reasons to consider a visit to this small village in the Viterbo Italy province, including the important fact that very few people do.

After fighting the crowds to get a peek at Italy’s most visited attractions, a day exploring Bagnaia may be just the perfect thing to do in the middle of your Italian itinerary.

Discover Bagnaia Italy

Clock Tower in Bagnaia Italy's Town Center

Clock Tower in Bagnaia Italy’s Town Center

The easiest way to enter the city is on foot. There is free parking at the car park outside of the village, and then enter the city by crossing the bridge that separates the more modern shopping area and the ancient main square.

The first thing you notice on the bridge is the dual landmarks of the castle tower on one side and the beautiful Church of San Antonio Abate on the other.

Walking through the main square, you can find locals sitting on park benches, sipping coffee and sharing the news of the day.

Many are older men gathering to chat while their wives shop at the market just over the bridge. You definitely get the impression that this activity has been going on for generations.

Sheets hanging from a window in the back streets of Bagnaia, in Viterbo Italy

Sheets hanging from a window in the back streets of Bagnaia, in Viterbo Italy

Sheets hanging from a window in the back streets of Bagnaia, in Viterbo Italy

A Peek at Everyday Life in Bagnaia

Strolling around the narrow street is a peaceful way to spend the day feeling like you are lost in time. Leaving the other tourists behind and enjoying a glimpse into Italy’s rural everyday life is a treat.

Picturesque Courtyard in Bagnaia Italy

Picturesque Courtyard in Bagnaia Italy

Enjoy a gelato or a pizza made in a brick-fired oven while you rub elbows with locals in one of Bagnaia’s few restaurants. Il Borgo occupies a prime spot in the center of the main piazza.

It’s an impromptu gathering and meeting place for locals. The restaurant buzzes all day long: with coffee-sippers in the morning to late-night gelato snackers in the evening.

Il Borgo Restaurant Bagnaia Italy

Beyond being a sleepy village oozing with quaintness, another attraction makes Bagnaia well worth a visit. We stumbled upon a park with a very interesting fountain just inside. We were so intrigued that we decided to pay a small fee to go inside and we were well rewarded for our curiosity.

Villa Lante

Villa Lante Fountain Inside the Park Entrance in Bagnaia

Since we were expecting very little, finding the Villa Lante’s beautiful gardens, stunning views, and elaborate nautically themed fountains was like discovering a little unexpected treasure.

The gardens at the base of the manor are immaculately cared for, the complex geometrical patterns of plants and bushes perfectly aligned.

Villa Lante

Villa Lante 

Villa Lante Mansion Interior

There are interesting sculptures and surprises around every corner of the garden.

Stone Sculpture in Villa Lante

Stone Sculpture in Villa Lante

The stunning property’s construction began in 1566 on commission by Cardinal Gianfrancesco Gambara. Before that, the land was utilized as a popular hunting ground for cardinals and popes due to its proximity to Rome.

Bagnaia Villa Lante Fountain Running up the Hillside

Ascend the hill through the property and discover a series of water features, fountains, and grottos. The water is supplied by an aqueduct that was built in the 1600s.

A Larger Fountain Beckons from the Hilltop


Elaborate Nautically Themed Fountain in the Villa Lante - Bagnaia, Viterbo Italy

Elaborate Nautically Themed Fountain in the Villa Lante – Bagnaia, Viterbo Italy


Villa Lante di Bagnaia Grotto

Villa Lante di Bagnaia Grotto

The impact of the water features, dramatic gardens, and sweeping views are enough to merit a visit. You can even grab a snack at one of the small cafes in town and have a picnic on the grass. Had we known that the park was there – that’s exactly what we would have done.

Other Enticing Things to do in Viterbo

If all of this isn’t enough to entice a visit to the Viterbo area, then here are a few more things to sweeten the deal. The first is the thermal spas, most notably the Terme Dei Papi, in the area.

Best of all, some of the outdoor pools can be accessed for free! A nice day out of the tourist zone with these beautiful views and a day at the spa sounds pretty good. But then there’s also the fact that Bagnaia doesn’t have the only stunning park in the Viterbo region.

Bomarzo, just about 30 minutes away, is home to the Monster Park. The disturbing enormous statues seem as if they came straight from a bad dream. (Read more about our visit to this odd park, il Parco Dei Monstri di Bomarzo here)

Bamarzo - Park of Monsters

But let’s not overlook the very best reason to visit Bagnaia. It’s not the only small picturesque village in Viterbo Italy Province. It’s surrounded by several more that are also deserving of a visit.

Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio

Location, location, location!

And last but not least, the Viterbo Italy Province is located between the popular destinations of Rome and Florence.

So you can easily add a stop in even if you plan to visit Italy’s more visited areas.  Hint: if you do decide to go, take a side trip and see beautiful San Marino. Often mistaken for an Italian city, but San Marino is actually one of Europe’s smallest countries and is definitely worthy of a visit.

Search here for great places to stay in the Viterbo.

Renting a car is the best way to see this region. If you do decide to rent a car, you may need an international driver’s license. Check with your rental company before you decide to book.

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Villa Lante Bagnaia Italy

Here are some related articles about our travels in Italy that you might enjoy:

Wine Tasting in Umbria, Italy

Exploring Parma – A Culinary Road Trip

Walks of Italy – The Best Food Tour in Rome

Stamp Tramps Travel

Monday 18th of December 2017

Great post. I can’t wait to visit Italy one day.

Anita Hendrieka

Tuesday 23rd of August 2016

Wow that looks like a beautiful place to visit! Love your photos too :)


Wednesday 24th of August 2016

Thanks Anita!

Evan Kristine

Monday 22nd of August 2016

There's really so much to see more than the map shows us. Such a wonderful province to visit! So beautiful and it looks really quaint.


Wednesday 24th of August 2016

We're getting ready to post an article with lots more to do!


Monday 22nd of August 2016

Just the fact that it's Italy, I don't think anyone could go wrong. I love that it's so close to a major city yet it keeps its traditional vibe going.

Vicky and Buddy

Sunday 21st of August 2016

This village looks so beautiful. It really would feel like going back in time. And the fact that some of the spas are free!! I don't know why more people don't know about it!