Following the roads and paths meet solitary peaks in cool valleys, rolling hills covered by olive trees and secular woods. The lush green slopes and the gold of the wheat are interrupted by a thousand streams of the purest water. Eleven lakes dot the region’s massive Nuria comes to life the source of Peschiera, a site of exceptional natural interest, which, with its clear waters supplies the aqueduct of Rome.
In the Sacred Valley the river Velino, before giving rise to the waterfall Falls, draws a territory studded with pearls environmental gorges, the plain of Saint Victorinus, generous guardian of water, and wetland reserve of lakes and along Ripasottile. Everything is framed by mountains that hide solitary exclusive and wild, covered with snow during the winter and colored by rich and colorful blooms during the summer.
The flora offers an extraordinary variety with forests of beech, birch, oaks and ash trees. At lower altitudes chestnut and oak trees are interspersed with shrubs typical of the Mediterranean. In more humid areas willows and poplars encircle reeds that hide the bodies of water and their water lilies.
The “Holy Valley” is called the Valley Retina because St. Francis chose to make three fundamental of his life and his spirituality: in 1223 took the first Nativity of Christianity, the same year he wrote the definitive Rule of the Order, and probably, which is the most tender hymn Canticle of the Creatures. St. Francis loved deeply the Rieti Valley. There he found refuge from the vanities of the world, ordinary people and close to his message and a sweet nature and lush.
Next to Assisi and La Verna, chose it as one of his three homelands. There are four convents related to him linked together in the Way of St. Francis, a religious and spiritual itinerary included in a spectacular nature of purity. The territory is mostly mountainous in fact, with the Mountains of the Duchess and the mountains of Cicolano south, Mount Terminillo (2217 m) and the Reatinis Mountains to the north, the Monti della Laga (2458) to the east on the border with Abruzzo.
An area protected in parks and reserves, the Regional Park of Monti Lucretili the Mountains Regional Reserve of the Duchess, the Regional Natural Park of Sirente – Velino to the National Park of the Gran Sasso Monti della Laga. There are also numerous lakes, which are also included in nature reserves.
Traditionally considered to be the geographical center of Italy, and for this reason also referred to as Umbilicus Italiae, Rieti is situated in a fertile plain at the foot of Monte Terminillo, on the banks of the river Velino.
So she tells Edward Lear in 1843, “the ancient Reate Rieti, a town of the Sabines, very old, is on the Velino, at the end of a broad and fertile plain whose beauty can be appreciated only by a little visitor in a hurry. [...] I think I’ve seen a few times a scene more attractive than that offered by the towers of Rieti and its peaceful vineyards of the world, as I saw her the last night of my stay. “Around it, in a naturalistic context of ‘exception, there are towns and villages rich in history and culinary traditions also valued at festivals and celebrations such as the Palio of Velvet. Just think of Antrim with his “rags” and amateur, home of the famous Amatriciana.