The first route we suggest starts in Casperia and onto Cottanello, Rocchette and Vescovio taking in less known archaeolgical and historical sites in Sabina.
From Casperia take the road to Cottanello where at the foot of the old town lie the remains of a Roman farm that was producing the Sabina olive oil back the time of Julius Caesar.
The villa, in fact, belonged to Lucius Cotta Caesar's brother-in-law. You can admire the mosaic floors and the layout of the original farm.
From Cottanello proceed along lovely winding country road to a panoramic photo stop; Rocchettine an abandoned castle with its hamlet.
Then on to Vescovio to see the remains of a Roman market town, now a favorite spot for today's Romans to enjoy real country cuisine.
After lunch visit the beautiful and lonely Cathedral of Sabina St. Maria In Vescovio.
The second route will help you locate the four Franciscan shrines in the valley of Rieti.
From Casperia, a panoramic mountain drive with little traffic will bring you to Greccio, known to the world as the Franciscan Bethlehem.
It was here in 1223 that St. Francis recreated the first live nativity or 'presepe vivente'. Every christmas people from all over the world flock to this suggestive sanctuary where local people peform the live nativity.
Proceed to the charming provincial capital Rieti for lunch and shopping or continue around the valley.
The other 3 sanctuaries are Fonte Colombo, Poggio Bustone and La Foresta where the saint was inspired to write his cantical of the creatures.
Saint Francis and his friends arrived in Poggio Bustone, a little village 10 miles from RIeti, in the 1209 to avoid the hostility of his fellow townsmen.
The legend says that he greeted the locals with the famous 'good morning, good people' and the same greetings still accompany the visitors of Poggio Bustone to the places where Saint Francis stayed.
The Saint found two caves in the mountain where he lived and prayed. Here an angel appeared to him to announce the forgiveness of his sins and the expansion of the Order. The Sanctuary and the Sacro Speco overlook the village and the valley with the Lungo and Ripasottile valley.
See also Farfa Abbey and the Museum of Olive Oil