Located on the border between Lazio ed Umbria this little village hits any traveller for its quintessential perfection. Its integrity has been mantained by the vision of a Flamish architect, Ivan Van Mossevelde, whose astonishing work kept the pristine character of this Italian “Borgo”. […]
This is the type of Trattoria that belongs to my childwood memories in the 70’s when marketing and image didn’t affect food. Just pure taste of genuine food. Most of the ingredients are bought locally or made here, starting from the fresh home made pasta […]
It’s funny how still Sabina can offer surprises where you don’t expect it…So it happened to me last week during an excursion to one of my favourite places, Vallecupola, that I bumped into a street sign indicating the way to San Salvatore Maggiore Abbey. I decide to drive an extra 15 minutes to find the unexpected.
Located near Vaccareccia (which by the way means cattle or place where cattle is bred) , the Abbey was founded in 735 A.D. during the Lombard domination (the area was part of the Duchy of Spoleto) by the Benedictine monks of Farfa Abbey. Destroyed by the Saracens in 891, it was rebuilt a century later.
In the XVI century the abbey is turned into a fortress and a residence of Ranuccio Farnese, who rearranges the northern wing. In the XVI century the building goes through further restauration thanks to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, the nephew of Pope Ubano VIII
In 1618 the Abbey became a seminar.
Around 1860 the Abbey was abandoned. Over the last few years tha Abbaey has been renovated. Considering the very few resources the local administration is certainly doing its best to bring back the Abbey to a new life. But the works haven’t finished yet and the Abbey can be visited only on reservation.
This place, even if not yet accessible, melts magnificently with the surrounding landscape and gives the approaching visitors the feeling of being back to another era.
Da Lina is a Restaurant located in the outskirt of Stimigliano. The environment is warm and the food excellent: the Picchiarelli, the Stimigliano version of Stringozzi or Manfricoli (the name changes from village to village), very simple pasta made with just water and flower are […]
Located in Configni, which means “borders”, a small village right on the border between Lazio and Umbria, Osteria della Cuccagna, also the local bar, is tiny restaurant where one can taste the typical “casareccia” cusine of Umbria. The atmosphere is intimate, the mum cooks and […]
Sabina is a region that has been economically depressed, the upside of that is that here a visitor can probably feel the same fascination that Grand Tourists used to feel, when British and Northern European tourists visited Italy in the late 18th century and 19th century to admire the classical beauty of the Ehthernal City and other places of the Belpaese like the rediscovered Pompei and Erculaneum. A beauty that was clearly evoking a great past and was enhanced by nature that had partially taken over the scene like in and engraving by Piranesi.
Santa Maria del Piano is a Benedictine Abbey located between Ovinio and Pozzaglia Sabina. Its foundation is not certain. According to tradition, it was founded by Carlemaine on his second trip to Rome but according to Lorenzo Fiocca, Inspector in the early twentieth century of the Superintendence of Umbria, the Abbey was actually built in the XI or XII century.
An epigraph that was placed on the front of the church used to report that Bartolomeo Presbiteri “fecit” in 1229, which could mean that the church was either made or restored in 1229.
In his report on the Abbey Fiocca mentions decorative element that were unfortunately removed and lost. Like the ones around the window on the facade and the rose window.
The little arches on the facade probably had the purpose of supporting the tympanum, that now doesn’s exist anymore, showing that the building was originally higher than it is now.
The bell tower is a masterpiece of romanesque architecture, and it is probably the best preserved part of the whole building, free standing, with a square base and level of arcades.
Also a ignorant eye can easily notice the reuse of pieces of old buildings: pieces of epigraphs and triglyphs of trabeation of a Roman temple, maybe from the Temple of Minerva from the nearby city of Orvinum that Dionysius of Halicarnassus, historian from the I century BC, mentions in the first book of Ancient History of Rome.
Hidden in the wood to the right of the entrance there is an old ruin that used to be part of the compound. It is barely accessible and very run down.
Like at the time of the Grand Tour, visiting Santa Maria del Piano is a bit of an adventure and it is not for everybody: the road that leads to the Abbey is in very bad condition and the whole structure is not accessible as it is fenced … even though the fence has many gaps in it.
Ruins are fascinating but I can’t help thinking of the final words of Lorenzo Fiocca’s report that expresses the wish that this important monument, exposed for centuries to the elements and to the neglect of humble men, could be preserved to avoid further damage, thanks to the measures already takes by the government….not much has changed in Italy since than.
Everywhere in the word this archaeological site would have been studied and open for interested tourists, but not in Italy, and not in authentic and undiscovered Sabina. This structure was built near Cotilia Lake in an area that was already very important in pre-Roman times […]
Amongst the pearls of beauty scattered in the Rieti province Vallecupola stands out for its pristine state and its atmospheric location. Situated between the Turano and Salto Lakes at 1000 m altitude, this quaint hamlet reminds us of the ancient rhythms that used to regulate the rural world in this part of Italy. It was the time of Transumanza when sheperds drove large flocks of sheep from the mountains to spend the winter in the plains of Lazio.
When approaching the village, Vallecupola emerges from this harsh land, still plowed by old farmers, and pastures. A handful of houses clustered around a fortified tower and the bell tower of the Church of Santa Maria della Neve that stands at the entrance of the village in the main square.
A labyrith of narrow alleys crosses the small village offering a magnificent view of the surrounding untouched countryside from almost everywhere, maybe you will notice a shepherd returning its flock to the stable, an old man carrying wood to warm up the house in the chilly winter, an old woman will explain that the lack of shops in the village is not a problem as food and homewares are sold once a week by a peddler.
To get to Vallecupola from Rome the trip will take 1h 45′ taking the Roma – L’Aquila motorway A24 Exit Carsoli then SP34 to Castel di Tora turning before the village to the right direction Vallecupola.
From Torricella in Sabina the trip will take 40 minutes. Take SP 32 (Via Salaria Vecchia) towards Rieti, at località Capannaccia turn right towards Rocca Sinibalda and then take SP32 Towards Longone Sabino/Vallecupola.
On the way back take the route that take through Stipes and from the dam turn left direction Rocca Sinibalda. On the way stop for amazing rustic food in Posticciola at Trattoria Posticciola where Elena will cook home made pasta, and will offer products bought from local producers. The Coratella (lamb hearts and livers cut finely cooked with onion oil and vinegar) is a must. Book in advance
Country villas played a very important role in the lifestyle of noble Roman families in antiquity. The escape from hot, overcrowded and polluted cities has always been something the wealthy have aspired to, even in Roman times. The landscape of the countryside in the classical […]