Frome the North:
From the motorway A1 Firenze –Roma, leave it at Orte, take the freeway Orte-Terni and take the SS79 towards Rieti, pass though Marmore and go on SS79. Once arrived in Rieti, take the Terminillese street towards Vazia, pass thourgh Vazia and follow the signals to Cantalice.
From the South:
Take the motorway A1 Napoli-Roma, at the level of San Cesareo, take the A1 Firenze-Roma (direction of Roma), leave the motorway at Fiano Romano and take the SS4 Salaria towards Rieti, pass through Rieti and take the Terminillese street towards Vazia. Pass Through Vazia and follow the signals to Cantalice.
Cantalice belongs to the province of Rieti, it’s distance from the city is about 14 kilometers. Thanks to its proximity to the Rieti’s Valley and to the connection with the other destinations of the Franciscan’s walk, Cantalice is an important part of this path which presents again the itineraries of the Saint. For instance:
Poggio Bustone – Cantalice – La Foresta (distance: 12 Km / walking time: 4 hours / lunch on one’s own in Cantalice / duration 8 hours)
Gathering and transfer to the Sanctuary of Poggio Bustone. The first part of the trail descends from an altitude of 820m, along the mountain flank, to the village of San Liberato, at 550m, where a generous spring of pure water invites you to take a break; the trail continues though the woods, up and down, passing the lower side of Cantalice, an ancient little town clinging to a steep rock, topped by the ruins of its castle at an altitude of 700 m, against a backgroud of majestic Mount Terminillo. A short rest and lunch on one’s own, before starting off again. The second part of the day's walk takes us down to the small brook of Acquamartina and then up again to the Sanctuary of La Foresta.
The earliest records of this town date to the 12th century. Situated within the borders of the Kingdom of Naples, it was in continuous conflict with Rieti. From the 14th to the 17th century many battles were fought between the small village and the capital city. This animosity reached a climax in 1577 when Rieti attempted to take the town by storm but it resisted and fought off its invaders.
Cantalice is rendered unique by its urban layout. It develops vertically along a steep rocky cliff. A very characteristic flight of steps cuts through the entire town. The silent summit if Mount Terminillo looms above. The little village culminates with the watchtower and the imposing Church of San Felice.
The Church of the Peace
Before going into the street that admit in Upper Cantalice, it’s worth to visit the Church of Peace, XV century, very interesting for frescoes – the remains of the Annunciation are in the apse – and for the ceiling of XVI century. The parish house is contiguous to the church.
The church of St Felix
A Capuchin friar, born at Cantalice, dead at Rome, in 1587. His feast is celebrated among the Franciscans and in certain Italian dioceses on 18 May. He is usually represented in art as holding in his arms the Infant Jesus, because of a vision he once had, when the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and placed the Divine Child in his arms.
Surpassed the narrow tower belonging to the Chief’s Door, where it’s possible to read an inscription of Carlo V, a superb square opens where church of St Felix faces (XVIII century). From this square the view is sublime on Cantalice’s and Rpasottile’s Lakes; far, on the background, a chain of mountains dominated by the Tancia, behind the singnal of the majestic of its history, the Torrione del Cassero, recently restored, below lie the remains of the church of St Andrea, where the belfry is still visible with a portion of the apse with illegible frescoes, the door is still conserved.
Near the church of St Felix, the bell tower stands out, restored at the beginning of the century and on the right there is the seat of St Felix’ brotherhood, which has on the façade the coat of arms of Cantalice. Inside the church, over the altar, St Felix, The Child and Angels are painted; from the same square begins Giovan Battista Valentini street (the eminent humanist, called for his origins the Cantalicio) which with hundreds of steps links the upper with the lower part. After the first steps, looking on the left it’s possible to see the Convent of Franciscan sisters, recently restored and used as private houses.
SS Maria del Popolo
From here it’s possible to enjoy an amazing panoramic view before the parish church of St. Maria del Popolo, its façade is adorned with a beautiful door of 1548. The building almost completely restored, has on the left the portico of the Convento Agostiniano. The church has three aisles and over the altar lies a precious painting of XVII century representing the Last Supper, inside there are monuments in memory of Giovan Battista Valentini and St. Felice Porri, the humble Franciscan friar of Cantalice, the first who has been raised to the honour of the altar. The cross of XV century, preserved inside the parsonage in the past, made by a goldsmith of Abruzzi, is conserved now in the Civic Museum of Rieti.
Oratory of St. Andrea
From the higher part of Cantalice, following the way that connect to Civitella, about two km far, all surrounded by pine trees, lies the oratory of St. Andrea, mentioned in a document of Vescovo Dodone and in a bull of Lucio II.
Sanctuary of St. Felix all’acqua
Going on the descent and passing through the city centre of Civitella, on the panoramic way, there is the sanctuary of St. Felix, called “all’acqua” because of the presence of a source, destination of several pilgrims and popular devotion. From the last Sunday of august to the first one of October a series of rites in honour of the Saint. Inside the little chapel over the altar a painting is preserved on a table representing the saint.
Coming down to lower Cantalice and going on the B road, there is a fork and on the right, at about one km raises the inhabited centre of St Liberato with the namesake church built on a spure, it’s an ancient oratory which conserves inside several and interesting frescoes. In the bell tower there is a bell dates back XIII century, dedicated to the Virgin della Grandine, as the inscription shows.
The lake Lungo
The Lake lungo (m 371 above sea level) sits in the Rieti plain under the town of Cantalice. It is longer than one km and has a circumference of 3, at its extreme southern point is connected by a way of a short channel to another small lake (lago di Fogliano).
A characteristic dish in Cantalice is “strengozze”, a handmade pasta similar to tagliatelle made with flour and water, with a tomato souce
La Pannocchia - (Ristorante-Pizzeria)
di Caluisi Laura
Via Andrea Costa, 123 - 02014 Cantalice (RI)
Il Barone - (Azienda Agrituristica)
di Colapicchioni Marcella
Via Garibaldi - 02014 Cantalice (RI)
San Gregorio (Bed & breakfast)
Via San Gregorio snc - 02014 Cantalice