Riley Bowen, discovering the City of the Popes

di Riley Bowen*

Riley in tour

It was an amazing and eye opening experience to learn more of the enriching history of the places that I see daily in Viterbo. We walked through most of the city and I got to truly understand the importance of Viterbo.The towers that you can find all over Viterbo are watch towers, and symbols of rich and wealthy families. Each tower represents a family, and around the city walls are watch towers, to protect and look over the city.

The Papal Palace is the image of Viterbo, and its most famous monument. The Papal Palace has hosted 5 Popes elected in Viterbo; Urbano IV, Gregory X, John, XXI, Nicholas III,  and Martin IV.  Pope John XXI is buried in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, adjacent to the Papal Palace.

The historical event that gave the name of conclave to the election of popes dates back to 1270,One of the most famous stories of Viterbo explains the Pope election which took 33 months. Unable to come to a decision, the people were without a Pope for 3 years. It was decided that the roof would have to be taken off of the Papal Palace in order to speed up the decision making process.

The loggia, known as the “Loggia of the Blessings” (the Pope overlooked it as he left the Conclave Hall), opens onto the side of the square with a play of arches supported by slender columns.

The Papal Palace overlooks a valley that used to be full of vegetation and the stream “Urcionio” ran through the middle before the second world war. You can admire here how much this valley has changed and imagine what it used to look like before the war.

We even got the opportunity to walk through the set of “In the hand of Dante” which was being filmed in the medieval district of San Pellegrino. This area is often used for movie sets as it is perfect for shooting scenes of medieval history. This movie in particular includes famous actors such as Johnny Depp, Jason Momoa, and Oscar Isaac.

Viterbo is extremely rich in history and it was an honor to listen to and get to know Anna Rita Properzi, the qualified guide who accompanied me on the tour to discover the fascinating city of the Popes.

Riley e Anna Rita
Riley Bowen con Anna Rita Properzi


Insieme alla guida del Museo Colle del Domo

Riley a spasso per VT_1

Riley a spasso per VT

Riley a spasso per VT_2

Riley a spasso per VT_3

Riley in tour a VT                                  Riley in tour a VT_1

Riley in tour a VT_3                                  Riley in tour a VT_2

Riley in tour a VT_4                                  Riley in tour a VT_5

Riley in tour a VT_6                                  Riley in tour a VT_7

Riley in tour a VT_8                                  Riley in tour a VT_9

Riley in tour a VT_10                                  Riley in tour a VT_11

Riley in tour a VT_12                                  Riley in tour a VT_13


Article author*


My name is Riley Bowen, I’m 20 years old and I’m from Portland Oregon where I attended Southern Oregon University. There I majored in communications and… And minored in creative writing, and played soccer for their women’s soccer team. I have a passion for photography and journalism and have written for my schools newspaper The Siskiyou. I hope to carry on with journalism in my professional career and capture people and places that do not get enough light shed on them.

Mi chiamo Riley Bowen. ho 20 anni e vengo da Portland, Oregon, dove ho frequentato la Southern Oregon University. Lì mi sono specializzata in comunicazione e… E laureata in scrittura creativa, e ho giocato a calcio nella loro squadra femminile. Ho la passione per la fotografia e il giornalismo e ha scritto per The Siskiyou, il giornale della mia scuola. Spero di continuare con il giornalismo nella mia carriera professionale e catturare persone e luoghi che non ricevono abbastanza luce.