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Trip Planner Europe  /  Italy  /  Lazio  /  Province of Rieti  /  Rieti
(3.6/5 based on 1,500+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, nature, sightseeing
Rieti is a city and comune in Lazio, central Italy, with a population of c. 47,700. It is the capital of province of Rieti.The town centre rests on a small hilltop, commanding a wide plain at the southern edge of an ancient lake. The area is now the fertile basin of the Velino River. Only the small Ripasottile and Lungo lakes remain of the original large one.HistoryAncient eraReate was originally a major site of the Sabine nation. After the Roman conquest, carried out by Manius Curius Dentatus in the late 3rd century BC, the village became a strategic point in the early Italian road network, dominating the "salt" track (known as Via Salaria) that linked Rome to the Adriatic Sea through the Apennines.Curius Dentatus drained a large portion of the lake by making the Velino a distributary of the Nera river. The wide area once occupied by the lake turned into a fertile plain. Following Roman customs, the land was split into characteristic square allotments. The town itself underwent significant development, being re-organised according to typical Roman urbanistic standards (e.g., two orthogonal 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 Salaria road directly to Rieti's southern door.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 houses (villae) that his friend Q. Axius owned in the plain.
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