Rieti (Italian: [ˈrjɛːti]; Latin: Reate, Sabino: Riete; Hebrew: ריאיטי) is a town and comune in Lazio, central Italy, with a population of 47,700. It is the administrative seat of the province of Rieti and see of the diocese of Rieti, as well as the modern capital of the Sabina region.

Comune di Rieti
The city centre of Rieti as seen from San Mauro hill, east of the city. In the background, the Rieti valley enclosed by the Sabine mountains; in the foreground, the Velino river.
The city centre of Rieti as seen from San Mauro hill, east of the city. In the background, the Rieti valley enclosed by the Sabine mountains; in the foreground, the Velino river.
Flag of Rieti
Coat of arms of Rieti
Location of Rieti
Rieti is located in Italy
Location of Rieti in Italy
Rieti is located in Lazio
Rieti (Lazio)
Coordinates: 42°24′N 12°52′E / 42.400°N 12.867°E / 42.400; 12.867
ProvinceRieti (RI)
FrazioniCase San Benedetto, Casette, Castelfranco, Cerchiara, Chiesa Nuova, Cupaello, Lisciano, Lugnano, Maglianello, Moggio, Piane di Poggio Fidoni, Piani di Sant'Elia, Piè di Moggio, Poggio Fidoni, Poggio Perugino, San Giovanni Reatino, Sant'Elia, Vaiano, Vazia
 • MayorDaniele Sinibaldi (Fdl)
 • Total206.52 km2 (79.74 sq mi)
405 m (1,329 ft)
 (30 April 2008)[2]
 • Total47,745
 • Density230/km2 (600/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0746
Patron saintSt. Barbara
Saint dayDecember 4
WebsiteOfficial website

The town centre stands on a small hilltop, commanding from the southern edge the wide Rieti valley, at the bottom of the Sabine hills and of monti Reatini, including mount Terminillo. The plain was once a large lake, drained by the ancient Romans, and is now the fertile basin of the Velino River. Only the small Ripasottile and Lungo lakes remain of the larger original.


Map showing the extension of the ancient lake which once occupied the Rieti valley; modern-day rivers and lakes are shown in darker blue



According to the legend, Reate was founded by Rea, a divinity (that would be the origin of the town name). It was founded at the beginning of the Iron Age (9th–8th century BC).

Probably in earlier times the lands around Rieti were inhabited by Umbri, then by Aborigines and later on by Sabines, who reached the lands sited in the nearby of Tevere river.

Ancient era


Reate was originally a major site of the Sabine nation well before the foundation of Rome. According to the legend, when Romulus founded Rome, Romans kidnapped Sabine women in order to populate the town (The Rape of the Sabine Women) and this led to a war between Romans and Sabines. The battle of the Lacus Curtius came to an end only when the women threw themselves between the armies, begging the men who were by then their relatives to stop fighting. Romulus and Titus Tatius relented and a collaboration between the two people started. According to an account more based on history, Sabines settled on the Quirinale because of their continuous need for grazing-lands.

After the final Roman conquest, carried out by Manius Curius Dentatus in the early third century BC (290 BC), the village became a strategic point in the early Italian road network, dominating the "salt" track (Via Salaria) that linked Rome to the Adriatic Sea through the Apennines. Many lands of Reate and Amiternum were confiscated and allocated to Romans. From the outset, Sabines were offered Roman citizenship but without voting rights, until in 268 BC they gained full citizenship, and were incorporated into two new tribes (Velina and Quirina).

Remains of the Roman bridge (3rd century BC)

Curius Dentatus drained a large portion of the lake by diverting the Velino river into the Nera (thus giving birth to Marmore Falls). The wide area once occupied by the lake turned into a fertile plain (the Rieti Valley). Following Roman customs, the land was split into characteristic square allotments. The town itself underwent significant development, being re-organised according to typical Roman urban standards (e.g., two crossed roads make up the settlement's backbone), and was fortified with strong walls. A stone bridge was laid across the Velino river, and a large viaduct was built to bring goods from the Via Salaria directly to Rieti's southern gate.

Roman Reate receives a number of mentions in Latin literature, thanks to its flourishing soil, its valued assets, and some peculiarities of the surroundings (such as wandering islands and hollow-subsurfaced fields). Cicero, for instance, describes the tensions between Reate and Interamna (Terni) following the lake drainage, and refers to the country house (villa) that his friend Q. Axius owned in the plain.[3]

One of the most important Sabine families that gained success in Rome was the Gens Flavia, from which Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus (who started the building of the Colosseum, also known as the Amphitheatrum Flavium) descended.

The Reatin poet and writer Marcus Terentius Varro was born in 116 BC and he is usually referred to as the father of Roman erudition.

Middle Ages

The medieval walls

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire Rieti suffered destruction by 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 ninth and tenth century and by the Norman king Roger II of Sicily in 1149.

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

Bell tower of St. Mary Cathedral

As a favourite Papal seat, Rieti was the place of important historical events: Constance of Hauteville married here by proxy Emperor Henry VI (1185). Charles I of Anjou was crowned King of Apulia, Sicily and Jerusalem by Pope Nicholas IV in 1289. Pope Gregory IX canonized St. Dominic in Rieti (1234).

Moses ben Isaac of Rieti (1388-1467) was a Jewish scholar and physician who authored a two-part Dantean poem known for its wealth of literary-biographical information, and especially as a primary source for the Shalshelet haQabbalah of Gedalya ibn Yihya. This poem was published as Sefer Miqdash Meat by Jacob Goldenthal (Vienna 1851).[4]

Late Middle Ages and modern era


After the Papal seat had been moved to Avignon, Rieti was conquered by the King of Naples, while inner struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines broke out. In 1354 it was won back by Cardinal Albornoz, and it later became a feudal seigneury of the Alfani family within the Papal States. More of the surrounding plain was drained in the following century, but this led to confrontation with the neighboring Terni.

Rieti was province capital of the Papal States from 1816 to 1860. In 1821 the Battle of Rieti between Austrian forces and southern Italian rebels was fought just outside the city at Antrodoco. After the unification of Italy, it was initially part of Umbria, being annexed to Lazio in 1923. It became the provincial capital on January 2, 1927.



Rieti has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa) with cool winters and hot summers, and plentiful precipitation throughout the year.

Climate data for Rieti
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 8
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 111
Source: [5]



Main sights

Fontana dei delfini.
Loggia and gardens of Palazzo Vincentini.
San Rufo church, in the square considered the centre of Italy.
St. Augustine church.
Mount Terminillo in summer.

The ancient Sabine and Roman city was crowded with buildings, including baths (thermae). Only scarce remains were found during excavations in 19th and 20th century: the foundations of a large temple, the stone floor of the main square (forum), walls from private houses, concrete vaults, statues and pottery items. The most striking remains are the stone bridge across the Velino river and the viaduct.

Piazza San Rufo is traditionally considered to be the exact centre of Italy (Latin Umbilicus Italiae).

Other sights include:

  • Rieti Cathedral: Construction started in 1109 over a pre-existing basilica, was consecrated in 1225 and almost entirely rebuilt in 1639. It has a stunning Romanesque bell tower from 1252. The entrance portico leads to a 13th-century portal. The interior, on Latin cross plan with one nave and two aisles, has mainly Baroque decorations, including a St. Barbara sculpted by Giannantonio Mari (1657), probably designed by Bernini. Antoniazzo Romano contributed a fresco. It also houses canvases from 16th and 17th centuries. The crypt corresponds to the most ancient part of the church, consecrated in 1157. The Baptistery has an elegant 15th-century baptismal font.
  • Palazzo Vescovile ("Bishops Palace" or "Papal Palace"): Construction begun in 1283. Noteworthy are the loggia and eight Renaissance-style windows from 1532. The lower floor is occupied by the so-called "Volte del Vescovado", a great portico with two naves of Gothic arcades. The Grand Hall houses the Diocese Gallery.
Vaults of Palazzo Vescovile, also known as the Papal Palace.
Palazzo Comunale.
  • Palazzo del Governo, with a noble loggia from 1596.
  • Bishop's Arch, a bridge built by Boniface VIII.
  • San Pietro Martire - church of St. Peter Martyr (13th century), with luxurious golden Baroque decorations. It has a Presentation of Christ to the Temple by Giovanni Battista Gaulli.
  • Palazzo Vicentini, attributed to Giuliano da Sangallo the Younger.
  • Walls of Rieti; Walls date from first half of the 13th century, with characteristical rounded and square towers.
  • Sant'Agostino: 13th century Gothic-style church restored in the 18th century). The portal has a fresco of Madonna with Child and Saints Augustine and Nicholas (1354) of Sienese school.
  • San Francesco: church begun in 1245, radically restored in 1636). The interior has a single nave. The original frescoes from the 14th-15th centuries depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis and the Virgin and Child[6] are now in the Diocese Museum and in the Palazzo Vescovile.
  • Teatro Flavio Vespasiano is the city's theater and opera house, built in the late 19th century.
  • Palazzo Vecchiarelli: late Renaissance palace designed by Carlo Maderno.
  • Sant'Antonio al Monte: 15th century monastery and church
  • San Domenico

Also interesting are the sights in the Lake Lungo and Ripasottile Natural Preserve, and the Mount Terminillo.

Notable people

The Sanctuary of Fonte Colombo, near Rieti, founded by Saint Francis and part of the Cammino di Francesco pilgrim way

Twin cities



Strada statale 4 Via Salaria, the main road link between Rieti and Rome, near Poggio San Lorenzo

Rieti is not crossed by any of Autostrade of Italy; all roads connecting Rieti with other cities are therefore state highways (strade statali), in most cases single carriageway roads.

The most important road link is strada statale 4 Via Salaria, which connects Rieti with Rome at south and with Ascoli Piceno and the Adriatic sea at north, just like the ancient Via Salaria Roman road. Other major roads include the strada statale 79 Ternana, which connects Rieti with Terni and with the Orte gate of Autostrada A1; strada statale 17, which branches from strada statale 4 in Antrodoco, connects Rieti with L'Aquila; strada statale 578 Salto Cicolana, which connects Rieti with Avezzano and with the Salto valley gate of A24 and A25 autostradas.

Rieti's railway station

Rieti's railway station is located on the regional, low traffic Terni–Sulmona railway, with trains to Terni and L'Aquila.[12] There is no direct railway link between Rieti and Rome, as the construction of such railway has been subject of a long debate but never took place;[13] Rome can be reached by bus or by catching a train to the Terni station, where direct trains to Rome can be found.[14]

The Rieti Airport is mainly used by small private planes and for gliding.


Athletics venue stadio Raul Guidobaldi
Basketball match of Nuova AMG Sebastiani at PalaSojourner

See also



  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticus 4.15
  4. ^ Rieti), Moses ben Isaac (of; Rieti, Moses ben Isaac da (1851). מקדש מעט: ... [שיר דידקתי כתבנית השיר של דנטי] (in Hebrew). דפוס אלמנת י"פ זולינגער.
  5. ^ "Climate averages: Rieti, Italy". EuroWeather. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  6. ^ Péter Bokody, "Secularization and Realistic Turn in Italy: Antonio Fissiraga's Funerary Monument in Lodi," IKON: Journal of Iconographic Studies 5 (2012): 351-363. https://www.academia.edu/1796258/Secularization_and_Realistic_Turn_in_Italy_Antonio_Fissiragas_Funerary_Monument_in_Lodi
  7. ^ a b Golianopoulos, Thomas (April 12, 2013). "The Secret History of Kobe Bryant's Rap Career". grantland.com. Archived from the original on April 15, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Intervista Kobe Bryant in italiano su Sportitalia 1^PARTE. YouTube. Sportitalia. April 8, 2007. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
  9. ^ "A Ito una delegazione reatina per i trent'anni del Gemellaggio". Official site of the Municipality of Rieti. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  10. ^ "COMUNE DI RIETI: DIECI ANNI DAL GEMELLAGGIO CON SAINT PIERRE LES ELBEUF". Rieti in vetrina. 8 September 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Gemellaggio tra le città di Nordhorn e Rieti". Official site of the Municipality of Rieti. Archived from the original on 9 May 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  12. ^ Trains departing from the station of Rieti
  13. ^ Aldo Fabriani (21 October 2006). "LA lunga storia della questione ferroviaria nel Reatino verrà ripercorsa ..." Il Tempo - edition of Rieti. Archived from the original on 21 June 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  14. ^ Trains departing from the station of Terni
  15. ^ Steve Cram. Why is a small town in Italy such a mecca for world records? The Guardian, 11 September 2007.
  16. ^ Rieti 2013 is "Moving by Nature". European Athletics. Retrieved on 2016-09-26.
  17. ^ Valerio Vecchiarelli (30 July 2003). "A Rieti tutti in pista: mille tesserati su 40 mila abitanti". Corriere della Sera. p. 45. Archived from the original on 19 December 2015. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  18. ^ Andrew Howe, by Giorgio Dell'Arti and Massimo Parrini, in Catalogo dei viventi 2009, Marsilio publishing house.