The little fortified village of Morro Reatino, where Giuseppe Garibaldi himself stayed once, is situated on a rocky spur overlooking the Fuscello Valley, among lush woods of oak, Turkey oak and chestnut trees, which are perfect for mushrooms and truffles.
Castles in the bush
Rests of an aqueduct and a coin with the image of emperor Vespasian found here prove that this area was already inhabited in Roman times, and some believe that this was the site of the ancient town of Marruvium. However, the first certain date we have is 1101 AD, when this territory was bought by the consuls of the free commune of Rieti.
In 1152 Morro already belonged to the Nobili family of Labro, who owned at the time a series of castles between the current regions of Latium and Umbria. In that year, in fact, the family donated the castle of Morro to the chapter of Rome’s Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran, in exchange of help and protection against the Norman invasion.
The castle was on the border to Rieti’s territory with the Kingdom of Naples, but nothing is left today. However, we can still see the gateway to the village, built as a round arch followed by a passageway with a barrel vault, but also part of the walls with Guelph merlons and the defensive towers, both round and quadrangular, as Morro used to be a sort of sentry for Labro in case of enemy attack. Moreover, during 14th century its walls were expanded to fit the people escaped from a neighbouring hamlet.
Walking through the village’s narrow alleys, from which you can see down in the distance Rieti’s plain and Lake Lungo, you arrive at the abandoned little church of St. Mary, who is known here as ‘Mozzapiedi’ (literally, ‘feet-cutter’), due to a macabre old story. It is said that, in the 15th century, some bandits were trying to raid the village, when suddenly the Virgin Mary appeared in a flash of light, cutting their feet off. In the church dedicated to patron saint St. Lorence, instead, there is an elegant funerary urn, which is today employed as a baptismal font. The circle of life, indeed.
Furthermore, in the neighboring hamlet called Torricella there are two small abandoned towers amidst the vegetation as well as another church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, interesting for its double medieval façade and the baroque interior, whereas in Coste Lignano you will find the cave-hermitage of St. Michael, where inhabitants and tourist go all together in May. On that day, at the end of a walk through the woods, they drink local wine and eat the traditional porchetta, pecorino and fava beans.
Pro Loco di Labro:
+39 0746 63 61 34
How to get here
From Rieti: Take the SS79, continue on the SP3b towards Apoleggia/Rivodutri, then on the SR521 to Morro Reatino.
From Terni: Take the SS79 and then the SR521 towards Marmore, Piediluco and Labro to Morro Reatino.
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 Morro Reatino.
Morro Reatino's Pro Loco (Info Point):
+39 329 6318729
Via Regina Margherita snc