to Naples. RIETI. u. Route. 173
Eieti (Campana), on the r. bank of the Velino, the ancient
Reate, once a settlement of the TJmbri. subsequently capital of
the Samnites, of which no traces remain save a few inscriptions
preserved in the town-hall, is now an episcopal residence , with
14,000 inhab. The cathedral, dating from 1456, contains a S.
Barbara by Bernini and the monument of Isabella Alfani by
Thorwaldsen; fine view in front of the edifice. A walk to the
neighbouring heights is recommended for the sake of the view
thus obtained of the- extensive plain and the surrounding moun¬
tains. This plain, 1310ft. above the sea-level, was probably a
lake at a very remote period, which gradually became converted
into a marsh. It was drained by M. Curius Dentatus. who caused
the fall of the Velinus to be increased, and is now extremely-
productive, although unfortunately exposed to inundations. The
costume and appearance of the peasants here resembles those of
the Neapolitan provinces.
From Rieti diligence to Rome daily, see Part II. of this
Excursions may be made from Rieti to the picturesque mountain
scenery of the Central Apennines, not, however, unattended by difficulties
on account of indifference of the inns and roads. Thus to Leonessa, 19 M.
distant, erected in a lofty mountain ravine about the year 1252; thence to
(9'ja M.) Cascia, said to be the ancient seat of the Casci or aborigines of
the district; 7 M. farther to Norcia, the ancient Nursia, nearly destroyed by
an earthquake in 1857, with walls of great antiquity, birthplace of Vespasia
Pollia, mother of the emperor Vespasian, whose "family monuments were
situated at Vespasia, 7 M. distant. St. Benedict and his sister Scholastica
were also natives of Nursia.
From Norcia mountain-roads lead to Spoleto and Ascoli (p. 15S). The
return-route may also be accomplished by Accuinoli and Cirita Reale through
the valley of the Velino to Antrodoco, or by Accumoli, Amatrice and Monte-
reale to Aquila (p. 174).
From Rieti the road winds upwards through a picturesque
district in the valley of the Velino to Antrodoco, 20 M. distant.
Near Casotta di Napoli is an eminence, termed Lesta, with traces
of very ancient fortifications, said to have once been the capital
of the fabled Aborigines. Civita Ducale, 5% M. from Rieti.
founded in 1308 by Robert, Duke of Calabria, was formerly the
frontier-town of the Neapolitan dominions. The former frontier
lay between this and Rieti. The tract between this point and
Antrodoco is remarkably picturesque; the mountains are clothed
with forest, their lower slopes with vineyards and olives. In the
valley, 4Lo M. from Civita Ducale, are situated the sulphureous
springs of Bagni di Paterno, the ancient Aqua; Cutilia. regularly-
frequented by Vespasian and the place of his death, A. D. 79.
The Pozzo di Latignano, the ancient Lacus Cutiliae. was by Varro
regarded as the central point ('umbilicus") of Italy. The ancient
Via Salara here ascended the valley of the Velino by Ascoli ts
Atri, the Roman Hadria.