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Lying between the Apennines and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Lazio is a varied region of volcanic lakes, mountains, ravines, vineyards, and olive groves. Before the rise of Rome, it was populated by the Etruscans and various Italic tribes, including the Latins, after whom the region is named. Besides rich archaeological sites, Lazio also offers skiing and swimming and water sports in the lakes and sea.
Much of Lazio's landscape was formed by the eruption of four volcanoes which showered the area with lava. lakes formed in the craters, and the soil, rendered fertile by the lava, nourished vines, olives, fruit, and nut trees. The volcanic activity also left Lazio with hot springs, notably around Tivoli, Viterbo, and Fiuggi. Rome dominates the area, dividing the wooded hills of the north from the reclaimed Pontine marshes in the south. Swimming and sailing are possible in lakes Bracciano, Bolsena, and Albano, while Lazio's best beaches lie between Gaeta and Sabaudia in the Parco Nazionale del Circeo.