The city has ancient origins (the name comes from the Latin Viterbo Urbs Vetus, that is Old Town, and has a vast medieval town center - with some well-preserved districts - walled.
Viterbo is historically known as the City of the Popes: in the thirteenth century was in fact the papacy and for about 24 years, the Papal Palace was home to several popes elected. Pope Alexander IV decided in 1257 the transfer of the Papal Curia in the city because of the hostile climate present in Rome; the papal residence lasted, with brief interruptions, until 1281.
The center of Viterbo offers numerous important works of art. The most famous is certainly the Pope's Palace, built between 1255 and 1266 on the hill of San Lorenzo to protect the pontiff, with the famous loggia formed in one side by seven arches supported by slender twin columns that intersect to form an elegant entablature . From the loggia you enter the Great Hall of the Conclave, theater of the famous election of Pope Gregory X.
Not far from the Piazza del Duomo and the medieval quarter of San Pellegrino, almost intact: here we find many homes with profferlo, the open staircase typical of Viterbo.
Worthy of mention, not only for its beautiful old fountains that adorn the Piazza della Rocca, Piazza Fontana Grande, Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Morte, as well, for its structure, the tower of Branca, called the Beautiful Galliana, near the Gate Faul, and the medieval walls, with two main gates (Porta Romana and Porta Fiorentina).
Two km away from Viterbo there are the famous Terme dei Papi spa, with thermal pools of sulphurous water and its healthy relaxing baths.