Montebuono

This is in a little town the heart of the Sabina area, 70 kilometres from Rome, blessed with splendid panoramic views that take in the Cimini Mountains, Mount Soratte and the Sabini Mountains.

The San Benedetto Mountain shelters the town from the cold northerly winds, making the climate mild all year round – hence the name Montebuono [fair mountain].

The old part of the town is rich in arches, alleyways, jutting-out balconies and rickety stairways up to the houses, while the stout wooden doors of wine cellars bring the past back to life.

There are many vestiges of Roman times in Montebuono, such as its structural layout, typical of the Castrum [fortified precinct], with its almost rectangular shape, as well as the cisterns.

Along the road leading to Magliano Sabina, not far from the town, we can admire the beautiful Romanesque Church of Pietro “ad centum muros [with 100 walls]”, thus defined on account of its being built on the imposing remains of a Roman Villa. Today both the exterior and the interior may be visited.

The village of Fianello is an unmissable sight, for its sheer fascination and for the important archeological and historical finds made there, dating from the Sabine, Romanesque and Lombard eras.

If you climb the slopes of the mountain, on a clear fog-free day, with the aid of some decent binoculars, you can actually see the Dome of St Peter’s.

Delicacies to be savoured are numerous and varied, including:

frittelli (fritters), fregnacce pasta, schiacciato (flatbread baked in wood oven), “fried” pizza and pasta alla contadina (with vegetables). The local meat is excellent – much livestock breeding goes on in the area, including that of the buffalo, whose milk supplies local cheese-makers.

The cheeses and extra virgin olive oils produced here are outstanding.

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