According to legend, at one point in its long history, Tuscania changed name. The beautiful town in the province of Viterbo, Lazio, was “set back” to “Toscanella” due to an angry pope’s decision: Boniface VIII, whom Dante placed in his “Inferno”, wanted to punish the town’s treachery with a diminutive nickname and reduction in municipal freedom.
In fact, things went differently, and various experts have discredited the “fairy tale” of the cruel pope and the traitor city: the toponym “Toscanella” was rarely used in a handful of official documents, simply to avoid confusion between the medieval village of Tuscania and the nearby region of Toscana (known as Etruria in antiquity, and later as Tuscia).
The fact is Tuscania is a place that sparks the imagination. It is a perfect image of the Middle Ages as we see them represented on the silver screen – indeed, a few masterpieces were filmed here: the Romanesque Basilica of Saint Peter, for instance, was one of the locations in Mario Monicelli’s “For Love and Gold”, while Orson Welles and Franco Zeffirelli came to Tuscania to direct two Shakespearian works, “Otello” the former and “Romeo and Juliet” the latter.
Lights, camera, action! It’s time to set the imagination free.