GeoSabina is a project dedicated to the cultural and tourist promotion of the territory, which was born with the idea of creating a system that can allow citizens and tourists to consult information on the main points of cultural interest of the area relating to the Municipalities of Sabina via the internet. and to georeference them through interactive maps.
Through a system of georeferencing of points of interest it is possible to find information on: Monuments, Churches, Places of cultural interest, Places of archaeological interest, accommodation activities and on how useful it can be to those who want to visit our territory.
History and Territory
The Sabine people, who came from the Adriatic coast, settled around the 10th-9th century BC. in the Lazio region north-east of Rome, in centers such as: Reate (Rieti), Amiternum (near L’Aquila), Nursia (Norcia), Fidenae, Cures, Nomentum (Mentana). There are numerous references in the historical tradition of the Sabine participation in the foundation of Rome, such as the famous episode of the rape of the Sabines, partially confirmed by linguistic elements, for which it is not possible to doubt the participation of the Sabines in the initial synecism of Rome. In 290 BC Curio Dentato conquered the whole Sabine territory, reducing the population to cives sine suffragio, until in 268 BC. they obtained full citizenship being gradually absorbed by the Roman state. A few years later, the Roman consul himself was responsible for the first drying up of the Rieti marshy plain with the opening of the “Curian quarry” which gave rise to the “Cascata delle Marmore”.
After a strong earthquake in 174 BC, the rise of numerous Roman villas in Sabina testify to a change in the reorganization of the territory and agriculture. They were called villae rusticae, such as “i Casoni”, a Roman villa attributed to Varrone, built near today’s Poggio Mirteto. Around the second century BC, the spread of Christianity was marked by a series of important signs: catacombs, churches, chapels. Evidence of this in the Sabina can be found in the ruins of the ancient Roman municipality of Forum Novum, in the locality of Vescovio, in the territory of Torri in Sabina, built at the intersection of two secondary roads that connected the new center with the Via Flaminia and the Via Salaria. .
Of particular interest is also the cathedral built in the vicinity of the Forum dating back to the same period of construction of this one. The pictorial cycle created that marks the side walls is noteworthy. On the right side there are scenes from the Old Testament, some of which have become almost illegible today. On the left wall, moments from the new testament are represented. The interior, with a single nave, has not been distorted by renovations in the modern age due to the loss of importance of the diocesan seat itself moved to Magliano Sabina.
Livy and Dionysius of Alicarnassus recall wars between the Sabines and the Romans in the royal and republican period, until, in 449, Rome, winning a definitive victory, occupied Cures, Nomentum and Fidenae.
In the Lombard period, the Sabina was instead divided between the duchies of Rome and Spoleto. The foundation of the Farfa Abbey dates back to the sixth century, with the spread of Christianity and monasticism, which, together with the adjoining monastic buildings, were completely destroyed by the Lombard invasion. Under Abbot Ugo I ° the abbey went through a shining historical period protected by the Carolingians, primarily by Charlemagne. Around the abbey, thanks to the work of the monks who followed the rule of St. Benedict, an active village of artisans and peasants developed in order to sell their products in the frequent fairs that took place in Rome.
In the twelfth century the Sabina, with the decline of the power of the Abbey and the continuous affirmation of the dominion of the Papal State, saw powerful feudal families such as the Savelli, the Orsini and the Colonna settle in this area. In 1861 it was unified with Umbria and only in 1923 was it re-united with Lazio, then constituting, in 1927, much of the new province of Rieti.
The Lower Sabina
About 40 kilometers north-east of Rome, the area called Sabina extends from the bank of the Tiber towards the Sabine mountains, which are part of the Apennine chain. The landscape is made up of hills covered with olives, which rise towards steeper mountains, with extensive oak forests and, everywhere, small medieval villages, castles and monasteries. It is a landscape that has remained substantially unchanged over time and little touched by modern building development.
The Sabina has been inhabited and cultivated for millennia; Archaeological remains show that the area was used in Roman times to produce food for the capital by transporting it across the river. Strabo, writing in the first century BC, describes the Sabina landscape made up of olive groves, vineyards and oak woods. It is incredible how much this is still true in today’s Sabina landscape. The landscape was strongly influenced, even created, by the activity of human beings, but it was a process that lasted centuries, during which agricultural practices remained almost the same as ever, reaching a natural balance. This can be explained by the hilly topography of the area, which makes intensive agriculture impractical, while favoring the production of olive oil.
Geography had a profound influence on the development and history of the area. The number and density of medieval settlements show that the area was well populated, at a time when the population in Europe in general was in decline. There are various reasons for this. The most important factor in choosing the site of a medieval settlement was the defense and the Sabina was full of ideal sites, on spurs or peaks of the hills, for the construction of walled villages, easily defensible. In fact, looking at the names of local villages, you can see that the words ‘monte’ and ‘poggio’ often appear. Another reason was the climate, the hills of Sabina are exposed to the south and sheltered from the north wind by the mountains behind them, so the area is warmer than others further inside the peninsula. These factors, combined with the abundance of water, made agriculture easier and more profitable, contributed to the prosperity of the area and made it possible to maintain a high population. The woods were also an important part of the local economy. The climate also influenced the choice of the highest sites for settlements, so they avoided the mists that form at the bottom of the valley during the winter, and remained cool and well ventilated in the summer. In fact, at the bottom of the valley it is rare to find buildings more than a century old.
Today people’s priorities are changing and this trend is reversing. There are no high-speed roads in the area and in recent years this has contributed to the depopulation of high-altitude countries: many have a population of only two or three hundred people. Instead, many people have moved to the valley floors and lower parts of the area to be closer to road and rail links, including people who go to work in Rome, and this is where modern building development has been concentrated, leaving intact, albeit empty. , the old historical centers. It is to be hoped that responsible tourism development, the increasing importance of telecommunications and the pride and determination of their inhabitants, can save these most remote countries from total abandonment in the future.