Villa Lante di Bagnaia, Viterbo Province Italy

(Last Updated On: September 9, 2016)

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

A Peek at Everyday Life in an Italian Village

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 your 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 morning to late night gelato snackers in the evening.

Il Borgo Restaurant Bagnaia Italy
Il Borgo Restaurant Bagnaia Italy

Beyond being a sleepy village oozing in quaintness, there is another attraction that 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 the small fee to go inside and we were well rewarded for our curiosity.

Villa Lante

Villa Lante Fountain Inside the Park Entrance
Villa Lante Fountain Inside the Park Entrance

Since we were expecting very little, finding the 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 Bagnaia Italy Viterbo
Villa Lante
Villa Lante Interior Things to see in Viterbo
Mansion Interior

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

Stone Sculpture in Villa Lanta
Stone Sculpture in Villa Lante

The stunning property’s construction began in 1566 on commission by Cardinal Gianfrancesco Gambara. Prior to 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
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.

Lazio Region Park
A Larger Fountain Beckons from the Hilltop
Places to Visit in Lazio Viterbo Italy
Elaborate Nautically Themed Fountain in the Villa Lante – Bagnaia, Viterbo Italy
Villa Lante Villa Lazio Viterbo Italy
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 being 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 of 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 villages in this area. 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 province of Viterbo is located between the popular destinations of Rome and Florence.

So you can easily add a stop in even if your plan is 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.

More about these beautiful towns in the Providence of Viterbo coming soon! Check here to search 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


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Some of the links on this article are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and make a purchase, we receive a small referral fee. If you find the links useful and do make a purchase, thanks so much for your support!

12 thoughts on “Villa Lante di Bagnaia, Viterbo Province Italy”

  1. Looks terrific! We almost made it there. Instead, we based ourselves in Tivoli to the east of Rome and visited Subiaco. Love the smaller Italian towns. One of my favorite things is just waking up and heading to the bar for a morning cappuccino and a cornetto.

  2. Beautiful… what a great little village. Villa Lante looks stunning. We visited Italy several years ago but never made it to this area, a mistake that we will correct next time we are there.

  3. This is such a wonderful write up! I am planning on going to San Marino and this seems like a perfect stop off on the way.

    The monster gardens look like fun, I’d have to check these out too!

  4. 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.


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