Surrounded by the stunning Sabine mountains, the city of Rieti is a beautiful place to experience rural Italy. As the modern capital of the Sabina region, it may be isolated but it doesn’t compromise on urban allure. Coupled with historic sites like the stone bridge, viaduct and cathedral, the city also serves up a chic café culture. For those who want to claim they’ve been to the heart of Italy, Piazza San Rufo is traditionally renowned as the country’s exact centre point. By far, one of the city’s drawcards is its location on a small hilltop, which commands beautiful views over the Rieti valley.
While the city of Rieti is brimming with charisma, exploring the wider province is a great way to soak up the charms of wider Sabina. The Reatini Lakes Nature Reserve is always a favourite with nature buffs, while visiting silvery olive groves is an absolute must for those wanting to taste the region’s wonderfully fragrant olive oil that has been produced in Sabina since the 6th century.
Located 80 kilometres north-east of Rome, Rieti can be reached in just over an hour by car. The city can be reached by train, though there is no direct link to Rome. Instead, passengers will have to change in Terni, which can add hours to the journey.
Historically, Rieti is an incredibly sacred place, with a handful of archaeological sites indicating that St. Francis of Assisi travelled through the area. Ancient ruins reveal traces of both Roman and Medieval settlements, though according to legend the city was founded in the Iron Age by Rea, an ancient divinity.