Rivodutri is an ancient village amongst the mountains, surrounded by woods and vineyards and forever tied to the abundant waters of the St. Susanna Springs. In here is the miraculous beech tree that provided shelter for St. Francis during a storm, and the extraordinary Alchemical Door, which hides secrets yet to unveil.
A village by the water
Rivodutri is a pretty medieval hamlet shrouded in mystery and myth. Starting from it founding, which is said to have been carried out by Oenotrus, son of the last king of Arcadia, the Edenlike Greek region itself. And then its name: according to some, it comes from Latin ‘Rivus utrinque’, between two creeks; according to others, from the original merging of two smaller villages called Rivo and Utri.
Shelter for Guelph partisans during the Middle Ages and an old rival of Rieti, Rivodutri still preserves today a net of curvy streets and alleys that climb along the side of the mountain, although the village was partially destroyed in autumn 1439 by cardinal Giovanni Maria Vitelleschi’s army after providing shelter for the Alfani family, who had rebelled against the pope, and then by a violent earthquake in 1949. The town has also several churches, like the one dedicated to St. Mary of the Valley, originally built where the Virgin Mary had appeared to a man called Alessio Damiani.
Another holy place is Saint Francis’ beech tree, near the suburb of Cepparo, which is said to have protected the saint during a storm by miraculously folding its branches like an umbrella. Could a 800-year-old beech tree actually exist? Who knows. What is certain is that its shape is wonderfully rare, as well as enchantingly beautiful.
Furthermore, Rivodutri hides an arcane Alchemical Door, also known as Holy Door or Door of Nicolò - the family who owned it between 1757 and 1847 - built at the end of the 16th century and originally employed as main entrance for the baroque stately home belonging to the Camiciotti family, who managed public and church assets. The door, which now opens onto a garden, is decorated with esoteric, cabalistic, biblical and alchemical sculptures and engravings not yet fully understood, as well as allegories of the four seasons and elements.
Finally, in the suburb of Piedicolle and within the area of the Lakes Lungo and Ripasottile Nature Reserve, are the St. Susanna Springs, a real gem in Rieti’s landscape which has been declared Natural Monument. Next to the sources, you can have a stroll in a lovely botanic garden till the old watermill. The waters from the sources reach Lake Ripasottile and the Velino River and every Christmas host an underwater nativity scene. They are rich in shrimps, trouts and three-spined sticklebacks, to which festivals are dedicated in August.
Pro Loco di Labro:
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Rivodutri's Pro Loco (Info Point):
Piazza del Municipio snc Rivodutri
From Rieti: Take the SS79 towards Terni/Rivodutri and continue for 12 km (7.5 mi).
From Terni: Take the SS79 towards Rieti/Marmore and continue for about 30 km (18,6 mi).
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.