Gradoli is an evocative medieval village in the province of Viterbo, located at 153 km from Rome and 43 km from the area’s capital. Overlooking the northern slope of Lake Bolsena, it is positioned on a tuff hill at 475 metres, in the heart of the Volsini Mountains. The lake’s long coastline and warm temperate climate make Gradoli a destination for summer holidays. In the woods that surround the village is Palazzo Farnese, an imposing 16th-century building designed by Antonio da Sangallo, commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Built on the remains of an ancient fortress, with fine frescoes in all the rooms, the majestic palace was used at the time as a summer residence by the Farnese family. It then became a municipal property and was completely renovated over time. The palace now houses the Farnese Costume Museum, with a fascinating collection of noble, popular and ecclesiastical garments, and arms and armour from the Renaissance period. Well worth a visit is the collegiate church of Santa Maria Maddalena, a church dating to 1100 located near the Castle and the 15th century church of San Magno located on the shores of Lake Bolsena, known for the traditional “Forgiveness of S. Magno” ritual, a plenary indulgence that is repeated every year on August 19.
Don’t forget the tastings of excellent local products such as the Aleatico and Grechetto DOC wines, the high quality extra virgin olive oil and a very special ancient variety of bean, the so-called Faggiolo del Purgatorio, a typical dish in the famous “purgatory lunch” organized in Gradoli on Ash Wednesday.