Dotted with the remnants of the ancient Etruscan civilization, the central Italian province of Viterbo is rich in history. During the 12th and 13th centuries, this city was considered to be larger and more prosperous than Rome. Over time, it has become substantially more rural. Should one desire to take a short day trip from the Eternal City, Viterbo is easily accessible via public transit or car, as it is only about sixty miles north of Rome. Unlike Rome, however, Viterbo is not a typical tourist destination, which allows for a truly authentic regional experience without the throngs of crowds.
While taking time to meander among the exquisitely preserved medieval architecture or relaxing at the natural thermal springs in Viterbo, be sure to sample the cuisine. In particular, a stroll into one of the local eateries to try a traditional peasant dish, such as pork liver with pancetta spiedino, is highly recommended. Pork liver, which is rich in iron and other essential nutrients, has a taste that can be characterized as being midway between the rather mild chicken liver and the more assertive beef liver. The pork liver not only provides a textural contrast but its moderately bold flavor is balanced by the saltiness and subtle sweetness of the pancetta. This uncomplicated, rustic pork dish, along with the other savory offerings in Viterbo, is sure to have you making frequent return visits to this gem of the Etrurian heartland.