The village of Rivodutri has always been a particularly popular place for all those who want to enjoy moments of reflection in contact with nature. It is no coincidence, in fact, that the village was chosen by Saint Francis himself during his pilgrimages.
One of Rivodutri's most iconic monuments is the Porta Alchemica, also known as the 'Magic Door'. This structure dates back to the second half of the 17th century and is now the only surviving one of five other gates of Villa Palombara, a large aristocratic residence that stood on this large green space. The door takes its name from a legend according to which an alchemist, after spending the night in the gardens of the villa, mysteriously disappeared through the door, leaving behind some golden straws. The same symbols engraved on the door, in fact, depict the illustrations of alchemy and esoteric philosophy that were so popular in the 1600s. After all, the same family members who owned the palace and adjacent garden were known for their esoteric research and practice of the so-called occult sciences.
Visiting this village is a bit like stepping back in time, living in a world where time seems to stand still. In particular, in the historical centre you can admire the Parish Church of San Michele Arcangelo, a church dating back to the 15th century that still preserves in good condition a 17th-century chapel with a beautiful fresco depicting the Madonna del Rosario.
Another must-see point of interest is the Faggio di San Francesco. It is located on a beautiful path in the middle of nature, characterised by a very particular conformation of the branches. Instead of rising upwards, the branches of the shrub bend downwards to form a sort of umbrella. Legend has it that it was the branches themselves that bent during a heavy thunderstorm to give St Francis shelter.
What to do
If you love fishing, you can't miss a sport fishing session at the Alle Noci Park. This reserve rises from a former trout farm and the stretch of water is generated by the underground passage of the S. Susanna springs. The spring water is now naturalised with earth, grass and gravel pools, which form a small lake ideal for sports fishing.
Also not to be missed is a visit to the Lungo and Ripasottile Lakes Nature Reserve. Taking the time to make an excursion to these areas will be a perfect opportunity to relax in an unforgettable natural landscape. The lakes, surrounded by reeds and cultivated land, are also a favourite haunt of many birds and other animal species. If you're patient, you'll only have to wait a little while to see various wild animals make their appearance and complete the picture of natural beauty you have in front of you.
For cycling enthusiasts, there are numerous routes around the village, especially for mountain bikes, which you can rent. The routes are suitable for all ages: you can simply enjoy a relaxing day in the midst of lush nature or test yourself on more challenging routes.
What to eat
Like every Italian village or town, Rivodutri has its typical dishes that you should not miss during your holiday. The typical dish par excellence is stringozzi with meat sauce, a traditional first course that is very well known and appreciated. In addition to stringozzi, Rivodutri is known for its fried pizza, famously accompanied by pecorino cheese.
If you visit the village in August, you can take part in the organic trout festival, so you can taste a healthy, wholesome fish with an unmistakable flavour. But that's not all, during this festival you can also taste delicious prawns and exclusive specialities such as carp with sesame.
To end the meal with something sweet, the village of Rivodutri offers the Christmas serpentone, typically Christmas but now to be enjoyed at any time of year, made with walnuts, dried figs, hazelnuts and almonds.
Rivodutri is not only a place of history, excursions and good food. The town, despite its few inhabitants, is also known for its carnival mask, called the Zanno. This mask was one of the first to be created in the province of Rieti. The Zanno was used to stage the Moresca, an ancient Arab dance that wanted to represent the struggle between good and evil.
As we have seen, the village of Rivodutri is a place full of points of interest and things to do, despite its small size. You can learn something new by lingering over the historical monuments and ancient finds, or you can take a walk in the middle of nature or enjoy good food. In any case, a visit to the village of Rivodutri is an absolute must!
Municipality of Rivodutri
Province of Rieti
Inhabitants: 1.160 rivodutrani
Altitude centre: 560 m.s.l.m.
Piazza Municipio 9 - Tel. 0746 685612
From Terni: Take the SS 79, cross Marmore and continue to Rivodutri.