A charming medieval village

Here nature is the absolute protagonist and frames the splendid and original medieval architecture that distinguishes the houses, churches and palaces of the historic center. We are in Castelnuovo di Farfa, a village characterized by genuine beauty, in the province of Rieti. Beautiful woods, buildings from the Middle Ages, restaurants and farmhouses where you can taste local dishes and the exceptional olive oil, make this place, uncontaminated and evocative, one of the most beautiful territories of the Sabina to discover.

Exploring the village and its narrow streets, characterized by medieval architecture, will give you the impression of being in a place where time has stopped. In addition to the museum, the palace and the church, it is worth discovering the streets and alleys and listening to the stories of the locals.


Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria di Farfa


In the heart of the ancient Sabina region, at the foot of the Mount Acuziano, in a mystic atmosphere of silence all over the village, stands the Abbey of Farfa. Approaching the Abbey, which is surrounded by fascinating verdant nature, you can feel the morning fresh air heated by a bright sun.
The Abbey of Farfa is a very fascinating place, full of peacefulness and simplicity, as simple as the Benedectine monks who live in its profound spiritual atmosphere. Their ordinary life is devoted to God and the Holy Virgin Mary.
In 1928 the Abbey was declared national monument for its architectural and artistic beauty. With its thousand-year history, through periods of splendour and decadence, destructions and renaissance, the Abbey has remained a cultural and spiritual centre thanks to the founders S. Lorenzo Siro (St.Lawrence Siro) and S. Tommaso da Moriana (St.Thomas from Moriana) and the Blessed Placido Riccardi and Ildefonso Schuster.
Several kings, emperors and Popes (the latest was Pope John Paul II, 19th May 1993) have visited the Abbey throughout the centuries.
Today thousands of visitors admire the cultural and artistic heritage, spending some time or even days in this peaceful place in order to rest their mind and soul. Refreshments and accommodation are provided.
Walking through the park and the gardens visitors can also admire the small old quaint village of Farfa, property of the “Filippo Cremonesi” founding, which includes the pretty houses and the workshops run by skilled craftsmen.

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Sabina Oil Museum

The Sabina Oil Museum is dedicated to the oil of Sabina that the doctor Galen (2nd century AD) defined as the best in the ancient world. The nearby Farfa Abbey was one of the few medieval European centres in which the ancient techniques of olive growing were preserved and then transmitted. The museum is housed in Palazzo Perelli, a 16th century building that has been extensively tampered with and recently restored, but also extends to the historic centre and the landscape. The itinerary begins with a section dedicated to the myth of oil, celebrated by sculptures by contemporary masters Alik Cavaliere, Gianandrea Gazzola, Maria Lai and Hidetoshi Nagasawa. The visit continues with documentation on the botany of the Sabine olive tree and the tradition of olive growing, then with the memory room, where the world of oil is told by the voices and images of the farmers of Calstelnuovo. With a pedestrian path in the countryside, you can reach the early medieval site of San Donato where, near the restored church, the “Garden of the world’s olive trees ” it houses the different species cultivated in the Mediterranean basin and with them, symbolically, the peoples who share in history and in the present the culture of olive oil. It is part of the territorial museum system of the Middle Tiber Valley.

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Parish Church of S. Nicola di Bari

The parish church was built in the second half of the 18th century on a previous chapel which was destroyed. Prince Lante, then Abbot General Manager of Farfa entrusted the project to Arch. Virginio Bracci who gave the new building the typical late Baroque imprint of a Roman environment, still appreciable inside.
The church, with a single nave, has an elliptical plan with a large presbytery and 6 side chapels. Above the entrance door there is the choir with the ancient organ then restored in 1939 by the Pacific Inzoli company and sons of Parma.
In 1915 the structure, already in a precarious state of conservation, following an earthquake, suffered considerable damage and the inexorable decay that ensued had the closing of the church as its epilogue, to protect public safety (1928).
The church, as it appears today, I would put: is the result of the architectural restoration works carried out from 1937 to 1939 on a project by the architect. Filippo Sneider of Rome, whose technical and artistic direction was entrusted to Comm. Angelo Salustri Galli flanked by his wife, Donna Linda dei Marchesi Theodoli.
The authors of the new decorative and pictorial apparatuses were the artist Alberto Albani, with his son Luigi, to whom the paintings of the lacunars of the vaulted ceiling, the copings on the large windows and the marmorino of the walls are attributed; while the paintings of the central mirror of the vault and the lunettes of the apse are the work of the artist Ettore Ballerini of which the figuration of the dome of the Virgin with Child and the patrons S. Nicola di Bari and S. Donato Vescovo, the one on the vault of the presbytery of the Eternal Father and the Holy Spirit and, in the lunettes of the apse, the Redeemer in glory among the Angels.
Finally, the stuccos were done by the Giovanni Sabatini and sons firm; the marble floor from the Biggi firm, the Venetian grit and the mosaic coat of arms of the noble Salustri Galli family from the Fattinnanzi firm.

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Salustri-Galli Palace

The Salustri-Galli Palace belongs to the homonymous family that for several centuries administered the lands owned by the Benedictine abbey of Farfa, between the Farfa stream, Ovid’s Fabaris, and the little Riana.
It represents the key element between the town and the landscape, between the culture of oil and the cultivation of the olive tree, which characterizes the entire Mediterranean. The building is made up of different nuclei, probably built starting from the sixteenth century, but the most substantial intervention dates back to the mid-eighteenth century. In those years, moreover, the interiors were decorated with frescoes of great artistic value. Among the numerous decorations appear, in addition to views of the family buildings, also elegant portraits of aristocrats, swampy carriages, commoners and passers-by portrayed with lively naturalness; in the upper doors, certainly to be admired are the so-called “capricci”, a combination of architectural or natural elements not present in reality, composed in a wholly imaginary way. The Italian gardens within the property are also beautiful.

The church of San Donato

The church of San Donato, which can now be visited as the station of the Sabina Oil Museum, is immersed in the countryside, along the naturalistic itinerary that leads to the Farfa river.
The possession of Casale San Donato is attested in the records of the Abbey of Farfa since 768, and in 817 there is also the presence of a church. In 1046 the site housed a castellum or one of the original settlements then abandoned to give life to the medieval village of Castelnuovo di Farfa.
The archaeological site of San Donato was the subject of excavations in the 90s of the last century by the University of Sheffield (UK) as it represents one of the very few physical evidences of the passage between the Roman agricultural world and the medieval one.
The church, used for worship at least until the sixteenth century, was then abandoned and its ruins were finally incorporated into an agricultural building in the second half of the last century.
At the end of the 1990s the complex was acquired as part of the municipal heritage and the church was restored by reinstating the original volume on the basis of the planimetric evidence revealed by the excavations, and therefore intended to house a museum visit station: can listen to a contemporary song, with the Latin words of the chrismal hymn for Holy Thursday of Sant’Efrem Siro (4th century).

Church of Madonna degli Angeli

The church was originally just outside the town of Castelnuovo di Farfa and was erected in the jubilee year 1600 at the behest of the population, as a thanks to the Virgin Mary for having protected the inhabitants from the terrible pestilence that had struck the neighboring towns.
The Madonna degli Angeli is still celebrated every year on the first Sunday of August.
The building, built with local materials, had, as today, a plastered facade, simple and elegant; the small bell tower, later, was added in 1698.
The plant is central and circular in shape, on it there are four chapels and a small apse.
The church, which collapsed in 1933, was totally rebuilt at the expense of Mr. Angelo Salustri Galli, of the illustrious Castelnuovo family to which the Italian gardens and the opposite building also belong.

Around Castelnuovo di Farfa


The “Eternal City”

Rome was called the “Eternal City” by the ancient Romans because they believed that no matter what happened in the rest of the world, the city of Rome would always remain standing. Exploring the city centre by foot surrounded by glorious monuments and colossal remains takes you back in time to the “glory that was Rome”. With its unparalleled history, Rome is the third most visited city in Europe and the fourteenth worldwide. It attracts visitors from all over the world who are impatient to discover the city’s impressive monuments and archaeological sites; not to mention its renowned cuisine and its lively atmosphere.

When exploring the Colosseum, visitors will easily imagine how the gladiators fought for their life in the arena, cheered by the crowd. In the Circus Maximus, travelers will picture the chariots crashing into each other in order to be first in the race, and in the Roman Forum visualise what the Roman public life was like.

Civita di Bagnoregio

The “Dying City”

And she remained like this for a moment, happy and thoughtful, against that flashing background of white writings and fearful abysses, as if the beauty of a woman’s face that descends into a man’s heart is truly one of the hardest things to die in this short, fleeting life. Visiting Bagnoregio is certainly one of the most exciting experiences that can be done in the Tuscia area. The beauty of its Civita, known as “the dying city”, makes this small town in the Viterbo area a popular destination for national and international tourism.Every year, more than 700,000 people from all over the world come here to see an ancient beauty up close, which defies time and the erosion of the tuff spur on which it is positioned. All around the Valle dei Calanchi, a wonderful spectacle born of the wind and rain.

Civita is increasingly a very popular place for lovers, who walk together on the bridge and arrive in the village to exchange promises of eternal love. We are in the land of San Bonaventura, father of the Church and central figure in the Middle Ages. Franciscan land, therefore. As Saint Bonaventure was the author of the biography on the life of the Saint of Assisi, the Legenda Maior.

The country is experiencing a great phase of growth, essentially linked to tourism development. Tourism development that is driving all the induced hospitality and well-being of the tourist. Crossing the town, with its Renaissance appearance, on foot is the best way to experience the most authentic climate of the Italian province. You can decide to go along Corso Mazzini, where characteristic shops have come to life, and thus go down to the Belvedere or allow yourself a little more time to go down the small alleys in search of breathtaking views. The Belvedere offers a privileged view of Civita di Bagnoregio. From here you can take home the best photographs. Continuing, just go down a few dozen steps and you are in Mercatello. From here you climb the bridge that leads straight into the heart of the pearl of the Calanchi. An Etruscan village, with more than 2 thousand years of history on its back. Several collapses, recorded over the centuries, have caused churches and beautiful structures to sink into the valley. Unfortunately, it was lost forever. But it is perhaps this sense of precariousness, of fragility, that makes this place even more suggestive. You enter from Porta Santa Maria, where for centuries they have guarded lions with a human head between their paws.

Visitors, crossing the corridor after the door, will be able to immerse themselves in a quiet place, out of time and out of the world. In recent years, several places have made the excursion more pleasant and it will not be difficult to notice the presence of beautiful cats. The increasingly famous and photographed “cats of Civita”.

The center of the village is Piazza San Donato, in ancient times it was the forum and today it is called “the square”. Dominating the front is the facade of the Duomo di San Donato, the cathedral until 1699.

Before leaving, going down towards the center of Bagnoregio, an important stop is the Cathedral (in Piazza Cavour) which preserves the Santo Braccio. Inside a splendid reliquary of French goldsmiths there is a relic of Saint Bonaventure.

Villa d’Este

Villa d’Este, masterpiece of the Italian Garden, is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. With its impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music, it constitutes a much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles.

The garden is generally considered within the larger –and altogether extraordinary– context of Tivoli itself: its landscape, art and history which includes the important ruins of ancient villas such as the Villa Adriana, as well as a zone rich in caves and waterfalls displaying the unending battle between water and stone. The imposing constructions and the series of terraces above terraces bring to mind the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. The addition of water– including an aqueduct tunneling beneath the city — evokes the engineering skill of the Romans themselves.

Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, after the disappointment of a failed bid for the papacy, brought back to life here the splendor of the courts of Ferrara, Rome and Fontainebleau and revived the magnificence of Villa Adriana. Governor of Tivoli from 1550, he immediately nurtured the idea of realizing a garden in the hanging cliffs of the “Valle gaudente”, but it was only after 1560 that his architectural and iconographic program became clear—brainchild of the painter-architect-archeologist Pirro Ligorio and realized by court architect Alberto Galvani.

The rooms of the Palace were decorated under the tutelage of the stars of the late Roman Mannerism, such as Livio Agresti, Federico Zuccari, Durante Alberti, Girolamo Muziano, Cesare Nebbia and Antonio Tempesta. The work was almost complete at the time of the Cardinal’s death (1572).

From 1605 Cardinal Alessandro d’Este gave the go-ahead to a new progam of interventions not only to restore and repair the vegetation and the waterworks, but also to create a new series of innovations to the layout of the garden and the decorations of the fountains.

Other works were carried out from 1660 – 70; these involved no less a figure than Gianlorenzo Bernini.

In the XVIIIth century the lack of maintenance led to the decay of the complex, which was aggravated by the property’s passage to the House of Hapsburg. The garden was slowly abandoned, the water works– no longer used–fell into ruin, and the collection of ancient statues— enlarged under Cardinal Ippolito, was disassembled and scattered.

This state of decay continued without interruption until the middle of the XIXth century, when Gustav Adolf von Hohenlohe, who obtained in enfiteusi the villa from the Dukes of Modena in 1851, launched a series of works to pull the complex back from its state of ruin. Between 1867 and 1882 the Villa once again became a cultural point of reference, with the Cardinal frequently hosting the musician Franz Liszt (1811 – 1886), who composed Giochi d’acqua a Villa d’Este for piano while a guest here, and who in 1879 gave one of his final concerts.

At the outbreak of the first world war the villa became a property of the Italian State, and during the 1920s it was restored and opened to the public. Another, radical restoration was carried out immediately after the Second World War to repair the damage caused by the bombing of 1944. Due to particularly unfavorable environmental conditions, the restorations have continued practically without interruption during the past twenty years (among these it is worth noting the recent cleaning of the Organ Fountain and also the “Birdsong.”)

Turano Lake

Lake Turano is a splendid mirror of water of artificial origin that extends into the heart of the Cicolano Mountains, a large mountain group in the province of Rieti. The lake was created in 1939 following the damming of the Turano River. The work would have served both for the production of hydroelectric energy and to avoid any flooding of the nearby plain of Rieti. About 10 km long, it is 536 meters high and you have to travel about 36 km to complete the circumnavigation of its jagged coasts.A characteristic of Lake Turano, in fact, is that its banks are continuously interrupted by inlets, promontories and small beaches. We can therefore imagine what spectacle can be presented to the visitor who travels the circumlacual road from which he can admire the lake from every angle and enjoy suggestive views towards the surrounding verdant mountains. During the tour around Lake Turano we can admire a landscape dotted with small mountain villages that overlook its banks. The best known among these are Colle di Tora and Castel di Tora, both rich in historical and cultural testimonies of considerable interest. Furthermore, these villages are set in a practically intact environment where you can admire corners of nature that are sometimes still wild. A dense network of paths allows you to connect the shores of the lake to the inhabited centers until you reach the highest peaks that surround this suggestive mountain basin.

On the north-eastern side of the lake, there is also the Monte Navegna and Monte Cervia Nature Reserve which, albeit small in size, protects an area of ​​great naturalistic and ecological value, where mountains, gentle hills, deep and wild canyons alternate, that create a mosaic of truly unique and fascinating micro-environments.

Of particular naturalistic importance we point out the Fosso dell’Obito, one of the most spectacular gorges that the wild Lazio can offer to tourists and hikers. Those who want to visit Lake Turano will also find itineraries rich in history and art offered by the characteristic village of Castel di Tora, located on a hill overlooking the lake.

Your trip would be enriched even more, combining the visit of the village with the Rocca di Antuni, just a few kilometers from the historic center of Castel di Tora. Thanks to its beauty and its enviable position it has become, in recent years, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Lazio region.

Many surprises, therefore, await the tourist during the visit to Lake Turano. A visit characterized by solemn and relaxing landscapes, enriched by real historical treasures. All this, inebriated by the flavors of traditional cuisine and by the local and regional food and wine culture