This article is about the Italian city. For the composer, see Vittorio Rieti.
Not to be confused with the Rietti family.
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.


Coat of arms

Location of Rieti in Italy

Coordinates: 42°24′N 12°52′E / 42.400°N 12.867°E / 42.400; 12.867Coordinates: 42°24′N 12°52′E / 42.400°N 12.867°E / 42.400; 12.867
Country Italy
Region Lazio
Province / Metropolitan city Rieti (RI)
Frazioni Case 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
  Mayor Simone Petrangeli (SEL)
  Total 206.52 km2 (79.74 sq mi)
Elevation 405 m (1,329 ft)
Population (30 April 2008)
  Total 47,745
  Density 230/km2 (600/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Reatini
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 02100
Dialing code 0746
Patron saint St. Barbara
Saint day December 4
Website Official website

Rieti (Italian: [ˈrjɛːti]; Latin: Rĕā́tĕ) is a city and comune in Lazio, central Italy, with a population of c. 47,700. It is the capital of province of Rieti and see of the diocese of Rieti, as well as the modern capital of the Sabina region.

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


Map showing the extension of the ancient lake which once occupied the Rieti valley; in darker blue, modern date rivers and lakes.


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). So there was a war between Romans and Sabines. The battle of the Lacus Curtius came to an end only when the women threw themselves among the armies, begging for people who were by then relatives to stop fighting. Romulus and Titus Tatius reprieved and a collaboration between the two people started. According to a version more based on history, Sabines settled on the Quirinale because of their continuous need and search for plain grazing-lands.

After the definitive Roman conquest, carried out by Manius Curius Dentatus in the late 3rd century BC (290 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. Many lands of Reate and Amiternum were confiscated and allocated to Romans. At the very beginning, Sabines were offered Roman citizenship but with no right of voting, but yet in 268 BC they gained the full citizenship, being included in two new tribes (Velina and Quirina).

Remains of the Roman bridge (3rd century BC)

Curius Dentatus drained a large portion of the lake by making the Velino a distributary of the Nera river (thus giving birth to Marmore falls). 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.

One of the most important Sabine family gaining success in Rome was the Gens Flavia, from which Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus (who started the building of Colosseum, also known as amphitheatrum flavius) had birth.

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 county capital. It was sacked by the Saracens in the 9th and 10th 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 I in 1289. Pope Gregory IX celebrated canonized St. Dominic in Rieti (1234).

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 seignory 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. 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.


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

Main sights

Fontana dei delfini.
Loggia and gardens of Palazzo Vicentini.
St. 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:

Vaults of Palazzo Vescovile, also known as the Papal Palace.
Palazzo Comunale.

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 is located on the regional, low traffic Terni–Sulmona railway, with trains to Terni and L'Aquila.[6] There is no direct railway link between Rieti and Rome, as the costruction of such railway has been subject of a long debate but never took place;[7] Rome can be reached by catching a train to the Terni station, where direct trains to Rome can be found.[8]

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


Basketball match of Nuova AMG Sebastiani at PalaSojourner


  1. "Climate averages: Rieti, Italy". EuroWeather. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  2. 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
  3. "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.
  4. "COMUNE DI RIETI: DIECI ANNI DAL GEMELLAGGIO CON SAINT PIERRE LES ELBEUF". Rieti in vetrina. 8 September 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  5. "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.
  6. Trains departing from the station of Rieti
  7. Aldo Fabriani (21 October 2006). "LA lunga storia della questione ferroviaria nel Reatino verrà ripercorsa ...". Il Tempo - edition of Rieti. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  8. Trains departing from the station of Terni
  9. Steve Cram. Why is a small town in Italy such a mecca for world records? The Guardian, 11 September 2007.
  10. Rieti 2013 is "Moving by Nature". European Athletics. Retrieved on 2016-09-26.
  11. 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.
  12. Andrew Howe, by Giorgio Dell'Arti and Massimo Parrini, in Catalogo dei viventi 2009, Marsilio publishing house.
  13. Golianopoulos, Thomas (April 12, 2013). "The Secret History of Kobe Bryant's Rap Career". grantland.com. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013.
  14. Intervista Kobe Bryant in italiano su Sportitalia 1^PARTE. YouTube. Sportitalia. April 8, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Rieti.
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