Archaeological Museum of Fara in Sabina – Fara in Sabina

The Civic Archaeological Museum of Fara in Sabina (MUSAF) preserves the main finds from the excavations of two very important surrounding archaeological areas: Cures and Eretum. The building that houses the collection is the historic Palazzo Brancaleoni, a Renaissance-era building, located in the Piazza del Duomo in the historic center of Fara in Sabina, in the same square there is also a very valuable cistern commissioned by the Farnese family in 1588.

The Museum was inaugurated in 2001 and among its most important finds it preserves the Cippo di Cures, the only epigraphic testimony of the paleo sabelliche inscriptions (datable between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC) coming from the Sabina, and it will soon be exhibited also the Chariot of the prince of Eretum, a wonderful funerary kit stolen from the necropolis of Colle del Forno and subsequently exhibited for many years in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum in Copenhagen which has recently been returned to the Italian state. In addition to the Archaeological Museum, it is also possible to visit the Museum of Silence, conceived and managed by the Clarisse hermit nuns and which offers a sensory experience to visitors by trying to recreate the dark and silent environment of monastic life.

The city of Fara in Sabina offers much more and is often a tourist destination especially on weekends due to its proximity to Rome, moreover the cultural and landscape beauties of the area can be fully enjoyed all year round thanks to the climate. favorable and there are beautiful cycle and pedestrian routes to discover this wonderful little world.

Farnese’s well – Fara in Sabina

The Farnese’s well is a valuable monument that stands in the square of the Cathedral of Fara in Sabina, it is located very close to the main church of the city, the bell tower, and the Archaeological Museum and overlooks a terrace that dominates the entire municipal area with a splendid view. The well takes its name from the famous Farnese family who had it built in 1588. The visible element on the square is an elegant aedicule that serves as a well for the cistern that develops below it, since its birth it has always had a public function that continues today. This little gem is one of the most suggestive monuments in the entire municipality, both for its beauty and for the point where it is located from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view.

Montenero castle – Montenero

According to ancient documents from the Abbey of Farfa, the Castle of Montenero Sabino was already build around the 11th century, later numerous families took turns in possession of the Castle, including the Orsini, the Mareri, the Mattei and the Vincentini di Rieti. It is currently owned by the municipality of Montenero Sabino.

    Through the conspicuous documentation coming from the archives of the Abbey of Farfa, we learn that the first mention of the “castrum montis nigri” dates back to 1089; while in another document, dated 1023, we find the simple attestation of “locus qui dicitur montenerium”. This suggests thst the foundation of the Orsini Castle dates back to around the first decades of the year 1000. From found documents for purchase, sale and others, it is clear that, unlike other families, the Orsini have owned the castle for the longest time.

        In 1982 the whole imposing structure passed into the hands of the Municipality of Montenero Sabino. Originaly the structure, conceived as a simple Farfa military outpost, consisted of s simple rectangular enclosure with a polygonal central tower. The tower and some portions of the primeval walls still remain clearly visible, incorporated into the subsequent structures. What we see today is the result of various architectural stratifications of the fifteenth century and, above all, of the sixteenth \ seventeenth century. 

    The double monumental entrance staircase, the portal with the two circular towers, the internal courtyard and most of the residential structures on the upper floors date back to the latter period.

   Most of the monumental  structure can be visited. The courtyard – equipped with a good water collection system(contemporary with the foundation, the impluvium) – with the well still functioning are available to visitors. On the ground floor are the service rooms, such as the oven, carpentry, the cellars, the forge and the stables. The first floor, the noble floor is the most suggestive part. In addition to the large reception hall, the private chapel and the gentlemen’s day rooms, there is a beautiful sequence of rooms with a high-impact perspective effect, which had the function to amaze visitors and guests. 

   The frescoes in some rooms are very interesting. One of them bears the following inscription: “General Gerolamo Mattei of Clement VII. Testimony that Pope Clement Vll, foreseeing the arrival of Charles V’s Lanzechinecchi, was organizing the defense of the Sabine territory and, for this purpose had sent one of his general of the Mattei family.

Church of San Cataldo – Montenero

 Montenero Sabino is a commune (municipality) in the Province of Rieti in the Italian region Latium, located about 50 kilometres northeast of Rome and about 14 kilometers southwest of Rieti. Among the landmarks in the town is the psrish church of San Cataldo.

   The church is at the opposite end of the Orsini Castle, in the lower part of the village. Build in the 15th century presumably at the behest of the Orsini, it was almost radically restored in 1735, to the detriment of the original structure of which the right side and some internal spaces remain.

   Externally it has a sloping façade with a gabled profile composed of two inverted arches, two orders and a wooden entrance portal inserted in a stone portal with a blind lunette. The bell tower, not very high compared to the church, has two series of single lancet windows.

    Upon entering you can admire stuccos, frescoes from the Baroque period and various sculptures of saints, as well as some inscriptions on the floor such as the one that recalls a member of the Lavi family, owner of the Castle before the Orsini.

  The wooden statue of the Virgin, dating back to the 19th century, called “Madonna della Maternita” by the people of Montenero for its particularly sweet face, is splendid. 

Municipal Library “Angelo Vassallo” – Montopoli di Sabina

The Angelo Vassallo municipal library or Ex Church of San Sebastiano in Pretoria is a cultural building in the municipality of Montopoli di Sabina, it is housed in a deconsecrated church located in the small Town of Sabina. The building was called “la chiesaccia” by the locals. San Sebastiano in Pretoria is mentioned for the first time in the “Regesto di Farfa” by Gregorio da Catino in a document from the year 817, it was functional to the inhabitants of the nearby castle of Bocchignano but later became the parish church of Montopoli until the fourteenth century. Replaced in its parish function by the Church of S. Michele Arcangelo, it first became the church of the nobility until 1700, and once deconsecrated it was then used as a hospital for the plague victims.

After a long period of neglect and collapses, the church in the mid-80s of the twentieth century was chosen by the Administration as a possible location for the Municipal Library, which opened after a long phase of restoration and redevelopment, in the early years 2000. Inside, a large mezzanine divides the library into two rooms, and thanks to its single nave structure with semicircular apse it has excellent acoustics, it is often a venue for concerts, screenings and shows. Since 2014 the Municipal Library has been named to Angelo Vassallo, known as the fisherman mayor of Pollica (SA) killed by the Camorra in 2010.

Ruins of Roman Villa "Grottoni-Torrette" – Montopoli di Sabina

The ruins of villa “Grottoni-Torrette” are located in the locality which they take their name, in the territory of Montopoli di Sabina, and are the surviving part of an ancient Roman villa. The Sabina area was in ancient times full of villas of rich Roman families, to the favorable climate and its agricultural vocation, especially as regards the production of olive oil, a product which is still today the absolute symbol of the territory and which has always a role of great importance in Mediterranean culture. The “Grottoni-Torrette” villa was a classic example of this type of construction, in its proximity also find the “Ruins of the Casoni” remains of another Roman villa which probably belonged to the famous Marco Terenzio Varrone.

The ruins come to us are only the cisterns for the collection of the waters below the real villa and are composed of two intact underground arcade and a third half-destroyed arcade that overlooks outside, everything was internally coated by “cocciopesto” (Roman material that had the function of waterproofing). Inside the arcade it’s possible to find traces of the different uses that the building had: the original canals for storing water (in which calcareous deposits can be seen), traces on the floor of ancient millstones used for the production of olive oil, and finally was also used as a refuge from air raids during World War II.

Now we can unfortunately only imagine the beauty of the real villa, cause very few traces remain, but the importance of the place is due to the fact that even these ruins of a simple cistern have always found their own role in history. to the present day, in addition to its role of historical memory of the place, the villa has become a sort of natural stage for truly suggestive theatrical and cultural performances: on summer evenings it is possible to attend comedies, concerts and operas under the moonlight and with a proscenium of 2000 years old.

Ugonesca tower – Montopoli di Sabina

The Ugonesca Tower is a square-plan tower located in the municipality of Montopoli di Sabina, it is located at the highest point of the village from which it dominates the surrounding area. The building is in regular masonry, devoid of crowning battlements and equipped with a half-height door and an archer slit. From the top you can enjoy a breathtaking view: it ranges from the Farfa Abbey with all the towns and castles of Sabina to Mount Terminillo in the distance, from Mount Soratte, recognizable by its unmistakable profile, up to the Tivoli Mountains and on clear days the silhouette of St. Peter’s Dome is recognizable on the horizon.

The Ugonesca Tower was built between 997 and 1038, at the highest point of the municipal territory, on pre-existing fortifications of the pre-Roman period, still visible in its foundations. The construction was commissioned by Emperor Henry II and Abbot Ugo I of Farfa, who wanted to create a control and defense network around the Farfa Abbey, a sort of belt made up of Torre Baccelli (in the territory of Fara Sabina), from the tower of Castelnuovo di Farfa (no longer existing) and from the Ugonesca tower of Montopoli di Sabina.

At the instigation of the local painter Franco Ciferri, and thanks to a project of the municipal administration in collaboration with the artist Mario Bagordo, for some years, in the Ugonesca Tower works and installations of contemporary art have been exhibited, which constitute the first modern art gallery in Sabina.

The tower is undoubtedly the highlight of a visit to the small village of Montopoli, the view from its top is something truly unique and symbolic to understand the importance of the interconnection of the various territories of Sabina and nearby Rome along the course of the history up to the present day. Finally, on beautiful spring and autumn days, the beauty of the sunset colors is added to the spectacle of the view, making the experience of visiting the Ugonesca Tower incomparable.

Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral – Rieti

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Rieti, the most important church in the city, is located in the highest part of the historic center and is listed as a national monument. Today’s Cathedral was built in the 13th century, but there is evidence of a previous place of worship as early as the 6th century; the original style is Romanesque but over time there have been several Baroque additions. The main facade consists of a portico and an impressing bell tower that overlooks the main square of Rieti. 

Between the 12th and 13th centuries the church was often chosen as main “branch” by the Pope and was therefore the scene of important historical events such as the canonization mass of San Domenico, founder of the Dominican order, celebrated by Pope Gregory IX, and the coronation of Charles II D’Anjou to King of Puglia, Sicily and Jerusalem at the hands of Pope Nicholas IV. The close relationship with the Pope and the proximity to Rome led to the construction, between 1283 and 1288, of the Papal palace, built adjacently to the cathedral.

Currently the church is, as mentioned, in Romanesque style since the Baroque additions were removed during a heavy restoration during the Fascist period, in an attempt to exalt the “Romanity” of the building. On the outside there is a large portico with 4 cross vaults which houses the 3 access portals to the cathedral and next to the portico, it stands the squared bell tower about 39 meters high.

Inside the church the baroque style has survived; the church has a Latin cross plan divided into 3 naves with 2 rows of 4 pillars each with the central nave as the largest and covered with a richly decorated barrel vault and niches for the side windows. The 2 external naves are also barrel vaulted, and each one hosts 4 chapels dedicated to the saints, one of them is Santa Barbara (patron saint of the city of Rieti), portraited by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The ancient heart of the church is its Roman crypt, also known as the little Basilica due to its size: it is dated back to the 12th century and is located under the transept of the main church, made by 18 bare columns connected through cross vaults; one of the columns is of “riuso” (re-use) as was an ancient milestone of the Via Salaria, the main road that still connects Rome to Rieti that continues towards Ascoli.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is undoubtedly the main monument of the city of Rieti. Its majesty and its central position aim to show all the importance of the city’s ancient history. It is a splendid place to visit to understand the culture of the city of Rieti.

The Fontana dei Delfini - Rieti

The Fontana dei Delfini is located at the highest and most central point of Rieti, in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, at the intersection of the most important arteries of the historic center of the city.
The square rests on the rocky ledge of travertine where the oldest nucleus of the city was built. Here in fact stood the forum of the Roman Reate, where it seems there was a Temple dedicated to Rea (deity from which it is thought to have taken the name of the city) and a temple dedicated to the Sabine deity Pater Reatinus.

The first project of the Fontana dei Delfini dates back to 1654 by Alfonzo Balzico.
The Baroque fountain with its mixed shapes shows elegance in its sumptuous lines rich in allegorical symbolism; it is adorned by the figures of the powerful satyrs and the harmonious sinuosity of the dolphins, decorations today unfortunately partially muted.
The Fountain of the Dolphins is a tangible example of what the “water exhibitions” meant during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These are monumental fountains that had the intent of representing the exposure of the water brought from the springs by means of hydraulic-building and artistic ingenuity that coincided with the final part of the aqueduct, functional to the water needs of the community.
In 1865 the road plan of the entire square was lowered and the Fontana dei Delfini, which until then was aligned with Via Roma, was moved further east to be in the center of the renovated square.
To facilitate car traffic, in 1930 the Fontana dei Delfini was removed from the square, which was moved to Piazza XXIII Settembre in the Madonna del Cuore district. 
In the following years cars were gradually removed from the square; following a popular petition, in July 1988, the Fountain of the Dolphins was relocated to its original location.

For the enhancement of the most evocative corners of the city through original and creative floral arrangements, during the different festivities and recurrences reatine the fountain lends itself very well to embellishments and decorations.

The National Monument to the Lira - Rieti

The National Monument to the Lira was inaugurated on 1st March 2003, in Piazza Cavour, to celebrate the memory of the historic Italian currency. The choice fell on the city of Rieti because this city has historically the value of the center of the country. 

The work, based on the drawing designed by the artist Daniela Fusco, was made by melting 2,200,000 coins 200 Lire. 
The monument portrays the personification of Italy adorned with draperies representing the tricolour with the inscription “L’Italia per la Lira”, which in the base widen like the roots of a tree, to remember the stability and unity of the country, and then rise and gather around the figure giving rise to a movement that alludes to the monetary circulation of the Lira, to the journey of our currency over the years, to its history, until the creation of the European Union.
The whole culminates in the raised arms of Italy, which carry in triumph the Lira: on the obverse is depicted the Lira of 1951 while on the reverse was originally depicted the first Lira of the Unification of Italy dating back to 1861, today, after a restoration carried out in 2008 thanks to private foundations, the last lira minted in 2008 is depicted.
The statue, five meters high by more than two tons of weight, rests on two overlapping hexagonal bases. On one of the bases are represented in bas-relief, 12 of the most significant coins in the history of the Italian mint.
On one side of the monument flows a small stream that wants to symbolize the river Velino: the water is in fact the emblem of the wealth of the city of Rieti and its province.

Porta Romana - Rieti

Porta Romana is one of the main gates of the medieval walls in the city of Rieti. Its construction dates back to 1586, and its name comes from the fact that it used to be an ancient door, located in the southern area, that connected the city to Rome, through the Via Salaria. In Roman times there was already a gate with the same name that was part of the previous city walls that was as well the entry point of the city on the Via Salaria, but it was located in a different position from the current one, near the crossing of the Velino river. In 1930 it was restored and a rationalist-style brick exedra was built around it; the gate became the central monument of today’s Piazza della Repubblica (Republic square).

The gate today is a monument itself, completely detached from the ancient wall layout, taking on the appearance of a triumphal arch. The rear exedra acts as a scenic backdrop and at the same time develops a road trident; the work was in fact performed by the architect Cesare Bazzani in the Fascist era and it is a typical example of Italian rationalism, a movement that combined together the canons of the classical era and those of the modern movement, driven by a strongly nationalist, authoritarian regime policy. The exedra is symmetrical, squared in shape with two oblique fronts containing three arches each.

Statue of the Farmer – Rieti

Rieti is a city of great historical importance and its statues represent very well the different periods and the different roles that the city has had over the centuries, while always maintaining its strong cultural reality. The statue of the Farmer was instead created in the Fascist era, carved in marble it depicts a farmer carrying a spade on his right arm while performing the Roman salute with the left arm. It is clearly a statue of the regime but represents the farmer culture that it is deeply rooted in the city. Rieti is, in fact, located in the Holy Valley, that was originally the bed of a lake originating from the Velino river: reclaimed by the Romans, that piece of land became famous for its fertility and the great availability of water. It is therefore easy to understand why agriculture has been an essential part of the culture of the city since its origins. The statue is a tribute to farmer civilization and celebrates this important aspect of the city of Rieti, as part of its identity that is still present today

Statue of Marcus Terentius Varro – Rieti

Rieti is a city of great historical importance and its statues represent very well the different periods and the different roles that the city has had over the centuries, while always maintaining its strong cultural reality. Symbolic works of Rieti are the statue of Marcus Terentius Varro, the statue of the Farmer, and the monument to the bombing of the village (year 1944): the first embodies the historical and cultural importance of the city during the Roman era, the second one the strong identity and the link with its territory in the contemporary era, and the third represents the strong mind and the spirit of the population. The statue of Marcus Terentius Varro is located in Piazza Oberdan, one of the most important squares of the city renovated in recent times. Right in the middle there is the bronze statue made by a local artist depicting Varro, sitting in contemplation, holding some books. Marcus Terentius Varro was born in Rieti in 116 BC. and grew up in Sabina where his family had many land possessions. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the culture of his time, he wrote many important works for the Latin language and literature, covering many different topics. For Rieti Varro represents the pride of having an historical link with the city of Rome, a pillar of the culture of the territory of Rieti and Sabina.

Statue of San Francesco – Rieti

The Statue of San Francesco is one of the most important in Rieti, it testifies how important the figure of St. Francis is for the city, since the birth of his cult. The saint spent some time in Rieti, where he wrote down the “Praise of the Creatures” and the rules of his order, as well described the first representation of the living nativity scene in Greccio, a small village just outside the city. The statue is located Near the Cathedral of Rieti, the work in bronze was realized in 1927 and depicts the saint that is placed on a more recent pedestal, which are engraved 4 local sanctuaries linked to the life of St. Francis (Greccio, Fonte Colombo, Poggio Bustone and La Foresta).

San Rufo square (Central Italy square) – Rieti

Piazza San Rufo is one of the symbolic places in the city of Rieti: although that is its real name, it is popularly called “the central square of Italy” and it is known for housing the monument “Umbilicus Italiae” (the belly-button of Italy) which tells us how much for the Romans Rieti represented the central point of the Italian peninsula. Piazza San Rufo is located at the highest point of the city, hidden among the narrow streets of the medieval city; it preserves a secluded atmosphere despite being just in the historic center and very close to the main monuments. In the square, that has modest dimensions, is located the small church dedicated to San Rufo, a modern circular monument plus a plaque celebrating the center of Italy.

The tradition that attributes the position of central Italy to Rieti dates back to Roman times: the first to attribute this name to the territory was Marco Terenzio Varrone, identifying the precise point near the Cotilia lake, later taken up by Pliny the Elder, by Dionysius of Halicarnassus and by Virgil in the Aeneid, although there are different interpretations on the latter. Even in the medieval period there are testimonies that confirm this belief, precisely in this period, in 1635, it was placed the so-called “Umbelicus Italiae” in Piazza San Rufo, by the hand of the bishop and historian Reatino Pompeo Angelotti. To celebrate that tradition, it was installed in the square a monument, a small granite column. Today we know that several cities claim to be the central point of the Italian peninsula even though it is impossible to scientifically define a precise point of a geographic region due to its irregular shape.

The current monument in the square is a gift from the Faculty of Architecture of Tbilisi to the municipal administration of Rieti, donated during a visit in 1998. The artifact has a cylindrical shape, round in the lower part and has a decoration in polychrome marble with the silhouette of Italy above it. The work has often been the subject of criticism for its particular aesthetics, its size and for how decentralized is its position in the square. They often say it could be replaced; however, it is still present today.

Piazza San Rufo is one of the most authentic places in Rieti. Urbanistically, it is a perfect example of the medieval period: a small and irregular square overlooked by a church and other several buildings; space that well embodies the charm and the intimacy of the place. The square is in the end a symbol: the role of representing the centre of Italy is in fact deeply rooted in local popular culture as a symbol of belonging to the city of Rieti.