Rummaging through the school memories of Roman history, I present here Veio the Etruscan city which first defied Rome but then was defeated by it. And the Romans after their conquest razed it to the ground so that virtually nothing of this ancient city remains; the eleven tall columns that still decorate the front of the Borsa [stock exchange] in Rome are among the few relics of Roman war booty from the city of Veio.
The site of Veio today is an archeological park on the outskirts north of Rome.
To get there one takes Via Trionfale which starts in the Prati Quarter (at Viale delle Milizie) and skirts the district of Monte Mario. Starting from Prati, we need to achieve a short climb (about 2 km) to reach Belsito (Piazzale delle Medaglie d'Oro) and the Pino della Camilluccia (135 m/440 ft above sea level), after which the road continues more or less at the same elevation.
Curiously, the street numbering on this road is based on the number of meters from the Campidoglio [Capitoline Hill]. So that the number 8500 is 8.5 kilometers [8,500 meters] from the Capitoline Hill, a useful reference for the cyclist!
Once you arrive at km 14, Via Trionfale merges into Via Cassia; continue for about another 4 km; after passing two turnoffs for Anguillara Sabazia on the left, take Via Isola Farnese on the right, which descends for a few hundred meters to the village of Isola Farnese; at the bottom of the hill, on the left, a narrow and steep descent leads to the cemetery of the village. Shortly before the cemetery, on the right, an unpaved side road leads to a house in ruins and a waterfall; a narrow wooden bridge crosses the waterfall and leads one to the site where Veio once stood. Don't expect ruins like those of Pompeii or Ostia Antica; nature once again has had the upper hand on this mighty Etruscan city, which appropriately is now referred to as an Archeological Park.
The place is very evocative and during the `70s was used by director Luigi Comencini for his film Pinocchio; the house became the Osteria del Gambero Rosso where Pinocchio is dragged by the cat and the fox (Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia in the film).
To return go back the same way you came. Obviously the steep descents before Veio have now turned into steep ascents, however, rather short.
Before climbing these ascents take a detour to the village of Isola Farnese, where additional ruins of Veio are now coming to light.