Province of Rieti, Latium, Italy

46 187

About Rieti

Rieti (Italian: ; Latin: Reate, Sabino: Riete) is a city and comune in Lazio, central Italy, with a population of 47,700. It is the capital of the province of Rieti and the seat of the diocese of Rieti, as well as the modern capital of Sabina.

The center of the village stands on a small hill, which dominates the wide Rieti valley from the southern edge, at the bottom of the Sabine hills and the Reatini mountains, including Mount Terminillo. The plain was once a large lake, dried up by the ancient Romans, and is now the fertile basin of the Velino river. Only the small Ripasottile and Lungo lakes remain of the largest original.



According to legend, Reate was founded by Rea, a deity (which would be the origin of the name of the city). It was founded at the beginning of the Iron Age (9th-8th century BC).

In the past, the lands around Rieti were probably inhabited by Umbrians, then by the Aborigines and later by Sabini, who reached the lands located near the Tiber river.

It was ancient

Reate was originally an important site of the Sabine nation well before the foundation of Rome. According to legend, when Romulus founded Rome, the Romans kidnapped Sabine women to populate the city (The Rape of the Sabine Women) and this led to a war between Romans and Sabines. The battle of Lacus Curtius ended only when women threw themselves into armies, pleading for men who were now their relatives to stop fighting. Romolo and Tito Tazio yielded and a collaboration began between the two people. According to a more history-based account, Sabines settled on the Quirinale because of their continuous need for pasture.

After the last Roman conquest, made by Manio Curius Dentatus at the beginning of the third century BC. (290 BC), the town became a strategic point in the first Italian road network, dominating the "salty" track (Via Salaria) that connected Rome to the Adriatic Sea through the Apennines.

Many lands of Reate and Amiternum were confiscated and assigned to the Romans. From the beginning, Roman citizenship was offered to the Sabines, but without the right to vote, until in 268 BC. they obtained full citizenship and were incorporated into two new tribes (Velina and Quirina).

Curius Dentatus dried up much of the lake by diverting the Velino river into the Nera (thus creating the Marmore Falls). The large area once occupied by the lake turned into a fertile plain (the Valle del Rieti). Following the Roman customs, the land was divided into characteristic square lots. The city itself underwent significant development, being reorganized according to typical Roman urban standards (for example, two crossed roads form the backbone of the settlement), and was fortified with strong walls. A stone bridge was laid on the Velino bridge and a large viaduct was built to carry goods from the Via Salaria directly to the southern gate of Rieti.

Roman Reate receives a series of mentions in Latin literature, thanks to its flourishing soil, its precious assets and some peculiarities of the surroundings (such as wandering islands and underground fields). Cicero, for example, describes the tensions between Reate and Interamna (Terni) following the drainage of the lake and refers to the country houses (villae) that his friend Q. Axius owned in the plain.

One of the most important Sabine families who achieved success in Rome was the Gens Flavia, from which the emperor Tito Flavio Vespasiano descended (who began construction of the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater).

The poet and writer Reatin Marco Terenzio Varro was born in 116 BC and is generally referred to as the father of the Roman erudition.

Middle Ages

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Rieti underwent destruction by the Barbarians, but never ceased to be an important gastaldate during the Lombard domination, as part of the Duchy of Spoleto. Under the Franks, it was the county capital. It was sacked by the Saracens in the 9th and 10th centuries and by the Norman king Roger II of Sicily in 1149.

The city was rebuilt with the help of the Roman municipality and from 1198 it was also a free municipality, of Guelph orientation, with its own podestà.

As a preferred papal see, Rieti was the site of important historical events: Constance of Hauteville married here by the emperor attorney Henry VI (1185). Charles I of Anjou was crowned king of Puglia, Sicily and Jerusalem by Pope Nicholas I in 1289. Pope Gregory IX celebrated San Domenico in Rieti canonized (1234).

Late Middle Ages and it was modern

After the papal seat was transferred to Avignon, Rieti was conquered by the king of Naples, while internal struggles broke out between Guelphs and Ghibellines. In 1354 it was reconquered by Cardinal Albornoz and later became a feudal fiefdom of the Alfani family in the Papal States. More of the surrounding plain was dried up in the following century, but this led to the clash with nearby Terni.

Source: Wikipedia
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rieti