The curvy cobbled alleys climb the hill through ancient arches, hiding tiny old stone houses and charming noble palazzos, while the smell of delicious handmade pasta fills the air: this is Labro, perched on a hill overlooking the Fuscello Valley and offering the best view of Lake Piediluco and the Terminillo massif, amidst woods of laurel oaks and chestnut trees.
Master of the valley
A unique village, elegant and picturesque, Labro is one of the most appreciated destinations by whomever is looking for a relaxing stay in a stunning location renowned for its nature and history. Recently restored by Belgian architect Ivan van Mossevelde and recognised for its excellency by the Touring Club Italiano, Labro has been the perfect example of medieval encastellation. From around the tower, on the top of the hill, the whole village gradually fanned out, with the nobility’s residences first and then the commoners’ homes lower down, all enclosed by defensive walls and seven towers.
According to some, the name ‘Labro’ comes from Latin ‘lavabrum’, meaning ‘bathtub’, ‘basin’, which could be related to Lake Piediluco below. Another option, however, is ‘aper’, wild boar, as it is said that the first Lord Nobili ordered the construction of a castle on the spot where he killed his first wild boar while hunting. Either way, it is a fact that today a wild boar appears in the village’s coat of arms, in honour of that family of Lombard origin that has characterised Labro’s history from the moment they built its castle between the 9th and the 10th century. The Nobili family, who became Nobili-Vitelleschi during the XVI century after the marriage between Gerolamo de’ Nobili and Virginia Vitelleschi, were chosen as lords of Labro in 956 AD by Otto I the Great, King of Italy and future emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
500 years later, after Norman invasions and fights against neighbouring villages, the family was excommunicated by the Pope after Giovanni de’ Nobili killed a priest. They were pardoned after agreeing to replace the original square tower on top of the hill with a church, whereas they were allowed to keep the external walls, next to which they built the current Palazzo Nobili-Vitelleschi. The residence, with well-preserved splendid furnishing, is only one of the many palazzos that you can find while climbing the alleys and steps of the village: Palazzo Corini, Palazzo Crispolti and Palazzo Barbellini are also worth a mention.
To enter Labro you can still pass through three ancient gates, or ‘porte’: Porta Cavour, Porta Reatina and Porta di Piazzale Genzi, from which you reach St. Mary’s Church and the Chapel of the Rosary. Do not forget to bask in the wonderful view of the valley and Lake Piediluco from the highest part of the village, and then visit the church dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows, dating back to 12th century, inside the former Franciscan monastery just outside of Labro.
Pro Loco di Labro:
+39 0746 63 61 34
Things not to miss
How to get here
From Rieti: Take the SS79 and then follow the directions to Labro.
From Terni: Take the SS79bis and then follow the directions to Labro.
From Rome: Follow the directions to E35/A1/Firenze (Florence). Once on the A1 highway (there is little toll to pay), take the Firenze/E45/Fiano Romano/Rieti exit. Take the SS4 Salaria to Rieti.
By public transport:
The closest airports are the two serving Rome (Fiumicino and Ciampino).
From FCO: train to Fara Sabina + Cotral bus to Rieti.
From CIA: bus to Termini train station (Rome).
From Termini: take the B underground line to Tiburtina train station (towards Rebibbia).
From Tiburtina: train to Fara Sabina + Cotral bus to Rieti, or direct Cotral bus to Rieti from the bus station just outside Tiburtina.
In Rieti, take the Cotral bus to Labro.
Labro's Pro Loco