Palazzo dei Papi


Flanking Piazza San Lorenzo, this handsome Gothic palazzo was built for the popes who lived in Viterbo from 1257 to 1281. Its most obvious feature is the Loggia delle Benedizione, an elegant arched balcony onto which newly elected popes would emerge from the Aula del Conclave, scene of the first and longest-ever papal conclave.

The story goes that in 1271, three years after the death of Clement IV, the college of cardinals still hadn't elected a successor. To encourage them in their deliberations, the Viterbesi locked the dithering priests in the turreted sala and fed them nothing but bread and water until they eventually elected Pope Gregory X.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Viterbo attractions

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3. Chiesa di Santa Maria Nuova

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4. Palazzo dei Priori

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5. Museo Nazionale Etrusco

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6. Villa Lante

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7. Parco dei Mostri

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8. Palazzo Farnese

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