According to legend, a son of Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, founded Falerii Veteres, the ancient name of this city. The present name was conferred by Pope Gregory V, who gave it the name of Civitas.

The city was built on a spur of red tufa (a brittle volcanic rock) between two deep gorges carved by two tributaries of the Treja and is located along the Via Flaminia, 65 km north of Rome.

These deep gorges are one of the most evocative of the landscape character. In the National Gallery in London is preserved a picture from the early nineteenth century by Edouard Bertin.