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Simbruini, the Mountains of Rome

Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.
                                                                (Kahlil Gibran)

Simbruini, the Mountains of Rome (Regional Park of the Monti Simbruini), is a magnificent protected area in the Apennines. Sparsely populated, with true mountains like those behind Cervara, Subiaco, and Filettino. The highest peaks include Viglio (the park’s highest summit at 2156 meters), Livata, Cotento, and Tarino, all reaching or surpassing 2000 meters. These mountains are rich in pristine landscapes, wildlife, and flora. The ancient trees and plant associations in the forests are captivating, with high naturalistic value.

An area rich in unspoiled landscapes

Various species of wildlife inhabit the area, including deer, wild boar, and roe deer. Animals which constitute an important food source for the wolves present in the territory. The marsican brown bear is also noteworthy, along with other mammals such as the wildcat, marten, polecat, and porcupine. Numerous bird species, including the golden eagle, white-backed woodpecker, chough, and quail, can also be found.

Water as the Protagonist

But water is one of the characteristic elements of this territory. The name of the mountains itself comes from the Latin ‘sub imbribus,’ meaning ‘under the rains’. With more than 2000 mm of annual rainfall compared to Rome’s 800 mm. The abundant rains and snow, along with the karst environment with sinkholes, dolines, and deep caves, have created conditions for a network of foothill springs. That still provide excellent drinking water today. All of this is enriched by the water resources of the sources of the Aniene River and the Simbrivio stream.

The area is dotted with small and charming inhabited centers rich in historical and artistic evidence, sometimes dating back millennia. Cervara di Roma, Camerata Nuova, Subiaco, Jenne, Vallepietra, Trevi nel Lazio, and Filettino bear many traces of remote eras in a historical journey spanning millennia.

From the Saracen walls of Filettino, dating back to the 4th-5th century B.C., to the ruins of the ancient settlement of Camerata, destroyed by fire in 1859. And then the historic center of Jenne with the remains of the castle where Pope Alexander IV was born, and Trevi nel Lazio with the imposing Caetani Castle and the pre-Roman Arch. A customs point between the ancient territories of the Equi and Ernici.

The paths of spirituality

But the main attractions are undoubtedly the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity in Vallepietra – which we will discuss in a future post – a destination for heartfelt pilgrimages, and the center of Subiaco, where every corner speaks of history: the Convent of San Francesco built in 1327, the nearby medieval bridge from 1356, the triumphal arch, the Cathedral of Sant’Andrea, and the entire characteristic district that winds around the Rocca dei Borgia, where Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia were born.

A few kilometers away, climbing through the Holy Valley, you encounter the ruins of Nero’s Villa built near three artificial barriers of the Aniene River, and the Monasteries of Santa Scolastica and San Benedetto, which are worth a visit for the artistic treasures they contain and the atmosphere of authentic spirituality.

Finally, Cervara is a true open-air museum, with its numerous engraved sculptures and poetic verses written on the rock, to be read while navigating (strictly on foot!) the labyrinth of alleys and staircases that characterize the small center. A true hiking paradise, in close contact with nature, history, and culture.

With the Blog of Rome and Latium Region, Around Rome guides you to discover the territories for the pleasure of satisfying curiosity and putting culture at the service of people and businesses.

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Edited by il NETWORK | text and photo  Ezio Bocci
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