From the north
Take the motorway A1 FIRENZE-ROMA and leave it at the Ponzano Soratte toll, then follow the indications to Poggio Mirteto.
From the SS 44 (Salaria): direction Roma, at the traffic lights of Passo Corese turn right and follow the SS 313 (Ternana), direction Poggio Mirteto. After having passed the train station of Poggio Mirteto Scalo turn right in the first intersection.
From the south
Take the motorway A1 NAPOLI-ROMA, at San Cesareo take the diversion to the motorway A1 FIRENZE-ROMA, direction Roma; leave the motorway at the Fiano Romano toll and then follow SS4 Salaria, direction Rieti until you arrive at Passo Corese. At the traffic lights of Passo Corese turn left and follow the SS 313 (Ternana), direction Poggio Mirteto. After having passed the train station of Poggio Mirteto Scalo turn right in the first intersection.
Poggio Mirteto is easy to reach from Rome and from Orte with the train line FIUMICINO AEROPORTO-ROMA-ORTE. There is a train every hour from Rome and the nearest station to Montopoli is that of Poggio Mirteto Scalo. For each arriving train there is a blue-coloured COTRAL-bus at the station for Poggio Mirteto.
For further information:
Servizio FS informa tel. (892021) land line.
The municipal territory was certainly frequented by man since ancient times, but the origin of the present village cannot be dated with any certainly: it must have been, during the early Middle Ages, under the dominion of the Abbey of Farfa, and it was fortified and then granted in fief, successively to the Farnese,Orsini,Mattei and Bonaccorsi families. The town is divided into two distinct parts: the oldest nucleus is perched on top of the hill and still has the typical features of a medieval borough, surrounded by walls and dominated by the Castle. The modern village instead is located lower down in the valley beyond the remarkable Porta Farnese.
On the bases of recent documents it is possible to reconstruct, at least approximately, the history of Poggio Mirteto. Nowadays Poggio Mirteto is situated on a hill surrounded by flourishing fields with millenary olive trees, and grapevines and where times ago also corns were rippling. However, its development through centuries has been long and difficult. The oldest houses date back to 488. A certain locality called Mirtetum was mentioned in that same year in ?Chronicon farfense?. The already large Poggio Mirteto was furthermore expanded during 400?s, but the hegemony of the sabine centre, situated along the banks of Tiber, increased only thanks to the Farnese dominion on Farfa. Together with an increasement of political influence new religious structures emerged in the urban landscape, which, figuratively, marked that moment of increased prestige.
There are numerous rustic roman villas in Poggio Mirteto's area. One of the most important ones is incorrectly denominated Bagni di Priscilla a San valentino. Another important roman villa was situated in Poggio Mirteto Scalo. Right outside of the living area there is San Paolo's church, formerly the graveyard church of the castle. The building was probably constructed around 13th century and worked as parish until Chiesa della Santissima Trinità was completed in 1487.
The dead were buried in the annexed cemetery until 1800. On the square of the village, constructed together with the cathedral in the 18th century, it is possible to admire San Rocco's church, also called San Cosimo, and a war memorial sculpted by Balestrieri in 1927.
Castel San Pietro
Worth mentioning is Palazzo Baronale Duranti Valentini, constructed by Orsini on the remains of an ancient mediaeval castle, situated in Poggio Mirteto municipality, more precisely in Castel San Pietro. There it is also possible to observe a tower with a trapezoidal floor-plan and an urban gate, which both date back to the 14th century.
Farfa Abbey is one of the greatest European medieval constructions. It was protected by Carlo Magno and ruled a very large part of the central Italy during the period of full bloom. The abbey?s origins are still pretty much a mystery, although the most recent archaeological diggings lead by David Whitehouse, the head master of the British School in Rome, have verified the existence of a complex dating back to the Roman period under the current Abbey. The almost certain identification of Lorenzo Siro with the bishop of Forum Novum (Vescovio) of 554, would ascertain the creation of a centre for faith and wealth in the sixth century. It is known that a basilica and monastic buildings existed during the times of the invasion of Longobards. According to a legend, during the last twenty years of the seventh century, Tommaso di Moriana (o Morienna) who lived in Jerusalem, after a vision of Madonna in which he was urged to go to Sabina, more precisely in Acuzza, to look for the remains of a basilica dedicated to her, re- erected the building constructed by bishop Siro and refounded the community. During the first years of the eighth century the monastery enjoyed the protection of Duke of Spoleto Faroaldo II.
So Farfa was an Imperial Abbey, free of the papal control but very close to the Holy See. In only a few decades it became one of the most known and prestigious centres of the medieval Europe; Carlo Magno, a few weeks before he was crowned in Campidoglio, visited the Abbey and stayed there for a while. To understand the economical importance of Farfa, it is enough to think that during the third decade of the ninth century it owned a trading ship exempted of harbour customs of Carolingian Empire. Further enlargement of the monastery dates back to that same period. The decline of the Carolingian Empire and the arrival of Saracens were fatal to the Abbey. Abbot Pietro I with his troops resisted seven years and after having divided monks and the treasure in three parts, left Farfa. The Abbey was occupied and set on fire. The first of the three groups founded Santa Vittoria di Matenano in the region of Marche, the second was massacred by the Saracens in Rieti and the third which had escaped to Rome, returned to Farfa once the danger was over, with Ratfredo who had been denominated Abbot and who completed the church in 913. However, it was only a flash in the pan, as after the imperial protection the territorial unity loosened. Some roman families (Crescenzi-Ottaviani e Stefaniani) settled in the territories of the Abbey and became actually owners of these. The decline was so bad that the abbey had actually three abbots at the same time, fighting over it with each others.
The last recovery of Farfa was due to Abbot Ugo I (997-1038), which occurred not at random at the same time with imperial revival that was due to the dynasty of the Ottoni. The reform created in Cluny was introduced in 999. During the dominion of Berardo I Farfa became Imperial Abbey and in the Investiture Conflict it drew up with Enrico VI and against popes. As a consequence in 1097 the monks decided for safety reasons to move the abbatial complex to the nearby mount Acuziano where imposing ruins of the work once started but never finished are still visible today. Farfa owned a large amount of properties over that period and it is all listed in a diploma dating back to 1118. Emperor Enrico V confermed that the following areas belonged to the Abbey: S. Eustachio and Palazzo Madama in Rome, Viterbo, Tarquinia, Orte, Narni, Terni, Spoleto, Assisi, Perugia, Todi, Pisa, Siena, Camerino, Fermo, Ascoli, Senigallia, Osimo, Chieti, Tivoli, the territori of Aquila, Molise, the port of Civitavecchia and half of the city.
The final decline started quite soon: the Deed of Worms (1122) marks the passage of the monastery to the papal authority and with Abot Adenolfo (1125) its total subjection became official. Economical and monastic crisis deteriorated irreparably the life of the Abbey and around 1350 the abbot was interdicted and excommunicated because of a missing payment of tithes to the Apostolic Chamber.
Carbone Tomacelli, Cardinal and nephew of Bonifacio IX was nominated the first Commendatory Abbot in the beginning of the 15the century. The glamour of the past centuries did certainly not come back but in some cases the noble families who possessed the monastery, improved its structure. The family Orsini built the current church in the second half of the 15th century which was consecrated in 1496; the Barberinis reorganized and enlarged the village where at present two large fairs are held each year on 25th March and 8th September, to commemorate Annunciation and Virgin to whom the church is dedicated.
In 1789 Farfa underwent the looting of the French and in 1861 it was confiscated by the Italian State. The Abbey has belonged to a Benedictine community of S. Paolo fuori le mura since 1921.
Monte Tancia (1292 m above sea level, Poggio Catino)
Tancia, among the highest peaks of the Sabine mountains, represents one of the most beautiful areas of Sabina. A wonderful landscape of still uncontaminated environment can be admired from this area. Along the well-marked paths and on the warmer sides of the hill it is possible to admire the Mediterranean vegetation with woods of holm-oaks that above 800 m give space to pastures, meadows and beechwoods. At some points this area is almost inaccessible for man, and that is why several animal species have managed to survive the extinction.
Regional Nature Reserve Tevere Farfa:
The Nature Reserve Tevere Farfa was founded in 1977, after the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The reserve extends on 700 hectares around the confluence of River Tevere and River Farfa and is characterized by marshy areas and sheets of water. Today the park is one of the most important damp areas in Lazio and it provides elevated routes that allow crossing the damp areas, and also several look-out points. In 1994 an Educational park was created. It offers an anthropological museum and guided tours for example by bicycles, and equipped picnic areas.
The woods of Selva Marcigliana
The Selva Marcigliana Park is an ideal place to observe the characteristic vegetation of the Tevere plain.
The woods is coppice characterised by Turkey oaks, British oaks and durmast oaks
The complex of Farfa Abbey, a place with an important symbolic value for the olive-growing in the region of Lazio, hosts the Regional oleoteca which represents the production of olive oil in all five provinces in Lazio. The oleoteca is indeed divided into five rooms, one for each province. Olive tree-made niches host bottles of olive oil that can be tasted and also bought. Pictures of Lazio and those related to all stages of manufacturing of this precious fruit, that is to say olive, are projected in the barrel vault of the room. This offers the visitors the possibility to immerse in the age-long memories, landscapes, colours, scents and flavours of culture and cultivation of olives in Lazio.
Local dishes of Poggio Mirteto do not differ too much from those of the nearby villages as the culinary traditions are pretty uniform in the whole area. Receipes of sweets such as ring-shaped cakes prepared wine or anise; ugly but good (the name derives from the irregular form of the dough made of meal and dried fruit); fettarelle (soft "tozzetti" with almonds and hazelnuts) are known almost by every woman in the village who cherish and pass on their secret receipes to the less willing generations.
Bar-Trattoria da Bruno
p. Martiri della Libertà
cucina tipica casereccia
Piazza della Vetreria n.12
Grazioso locale tipico del ?700 con una suggestiva atmosfera da antica locanda. Cucina raffinata, prezzi medio-alti.
Ristorante il Poggetto
via terzana n. 45
Ristorante il Poggio
Via G.Mameli n.51
Cucina tipica sarda
Albergo da Peppino
Via G. Mameli n.53
Residenza Villa Bella Sabina
Via Pietro Nenni n.2
P.za Mario Dottori n.11
P.za Terenzio Varrone n.5
(castel S. Pietro)
The following list includes only some of the shops located in Poggio Mirteto but these sell a wide range of local products.
Questo e Quello di Colangeli Marino
Via Giacomo Matteotti n.19
E Non Solo Carne
Via G. Matteotti