This is one of our most scenic tours with stunning views throughout the day as we explore the ancient Sabine territory.
An itinerary designed around ancient and Medieval history, where you will discover the authenticity and character of the area with pristine natural beauty of the Sacred Valley (Valle Santa). To step back in time you will visit La Foresta sanctuary followed by a chocolate-tasting. If you have a particular interest for ancient cultures we can include a brief visit to the St. Vittoria sanctuary at Monteleone.
At weekends lunch will be in a country house restaurant offering a unique atmosphere set amidst the hills below Greccio, where you will be served the best of traditional local cuisine with a surprising variety of flavors and aromas refined and reworked in a modern way to add a new element to your tour. During the week lunch will be in one of the delightful restaurants in the centre of Rieti.
During the day there will be visits to the sanctuaries at Greccio (a small mountain town twinned with Bethlehem) and Fonte Colombo, situated a short distance from each other. Greccio was the site of the very first 'living nativity' in Europe (1223). You will be able to visit original wooden dormitories and hermitage offering up magnificent views of the entire valley. Descending part way down the mountain we arrive at Fonte Colombo which is where Saint Francis of Assisi's eye operation was performed, and it was also here that he received the Rules of the Minor Friars and you can visit the hermitage where he and his first followers slept.
Saint Francis of Assisi waited for his eye operation at La Foresta sanctuary in 1225 AD. The setting is absolutely charming and has a tranquility hard to find in our busy modern lives. There is a tiny chapel dating to the 1400's with frescoes partially in tact, and an original alter of circa 1000 years old.
OPTIONS - visits to all of the Franciscan sanctuaries in the area (the 3 mentioned above, plus the Sanctuary and ancient Sabine site at Monteleone - each offering something different - or omit the sanctuaries altogether to focus on chocolate and a gourmet lunch.
This will depend on your start location (which can be Rome or Rieti), and inclusions in your itinerary, but we normally recommend a full 8/10-hour day.
Interested in wine?