Monte San Giovanni in Sabina

Monte San Giovanni dominates the Tancia valley that, in ancient times, represented a crucial junction between the Sabina Tiberina and the Rheatina basin for soldiers of fortune, merchants and shepherds. Today it is un unmissable destination for those who want to take a trip back in time.




30,76 km²


728 m

Where is it?

Monte San Giovanni in Sabina rises 728 m. above sea level on a ridge of the Monti Sabini, less than 20 km. away from Rieti. The territory, that counts 680 inhabitants, includes the Tancia pass with its ancient Fortress, the old Osteria and the legendary cave of San Michele Arcangelo

Its origins?

The first news of the castle of Monte San Giovanni is in a sales contract of 1240, when Giovanna de Radolfis, the last descendant of the consortia of Camponeschi, the great colonizers of the Sabine Mountains, sold to Napoleon Orsini the castles of Poggio Perugino, Monte San Giovanni, Montenero e delle Macchie. By the time the Orsini family bought this whole area, the settlement had been completed. Therefore the details of the foundation of Monte San Giovanni and the Castle delle Macchie remain obscure, even if its birth can be probably established between 953 and shortly after the year 1000. Due to its geographical position - right at the top of the Tancia valley, an obligatory passage for those who wanted to reach Rieti from the Tiber valley - Monte San Giovanni gradually became the main center of the Orsini family. Monte San Giovanni remained in the possession of the Orsini family until the early 17th century, when the castle returned to the apostolic chamber that, in the second half of the 18th century, granted it first to Adriano Antoniazzi Tomassi and then to Antonio Flavi. The life of this secluded Sabine village was shaken in April 1944 by the massacre carried out by fascists and Nazis in retaliation against the partisan bands sheltered in the mountains. On the morning of Good Friday old men, women and children were gathered in the chapel of the hamlet of San Michele Arcangelo, from where they witnessed the destruction of the village. In the afternoon eighteen of them were machine-gunned in the opposite square and left for a long time without burial: today they are remembered in a monument standing along the road that leads to the Tancia pass. 

What to see?

Monte San Giovanni is accessible through the tower-gate of the ancient castle, across its typical alleys. The highest part of the castle, an imposing square tower now restored and dedicated to the memory of the fallen of all wars. The Tower is one of the most characteristic elements of the village. A large number of churches, chapels and sacred buildings are preserved in the historic center, the oldest of which is the church of San Sebastiano, dated 1182. However, the register of churches of the Rieti diocese drawn up in 1398, also mentions the churches of San Giovanni, San Pietro, Santa Vittoria and Sant’Angelo (recently restored). With the passing of time many churches and chapels present in the territory of Monte San Giovanni were joined to the Parish Church of San Giovanni Evangelista, which gradually became the most important of the territory. The Church of San Giovanni Battista was built on the remains of the ancient fortress, in front of the tower. But on the subject of sacred places, those who go to Monte San Giovanni can not fail to reach the ancient cave of San Michele, located on the western slopes of Mount Tancia, where the cult of the Archangel dates back to 300 A.D. In one of its ravines, until two decades ago when it was removed, stood a seated female figure, roughly carved in a stalactite. The statuette, 44 cm high and between 9 and 12 cm wide, has often been identified with the goddess Vacuna. Today the cave of San Michele still preserves consistent traces of its past showing the remains of the monastery that housed the monks.

Where to stay?


Tancia Hostel Houste- Osteria Tancia
Azienda Agrituristica Il Fienile di Orazio

Where to eat?

Restaurants and pizzerias

Pizza Dolci e Fantasia
Ristorante Capparella
Il Fienile di Orazio

Utilizziamo solo i nostri cookie e quelli di terze parti per migliorare la qualità della navigazione, per offrire contenuti personalizzati, per elaborare statistiche, per fornirti pubblicità in linea con le tue preferenze e agevolare la tua esperienza sui social network. Cliccando su accetta, consenti l'utilizzo di questi cookie.

Privacy Settings saved!

When you visit a website, it can store or retrieve information on your browser, mainly in the form of cookies. Check your personal cookie services here.

Utilizzato per rilevare se il visitatore ha accettato la categoria di marketing nel banner dei cookie. Questo cookie è necessario per la conformità GDPR del sito web. Tipo: HTTP Cookie / Scadenza: 2 anni
  • Google YouTube

Memorizza le preferenze del lettore video dell'utente usando il video YouTube incorporato Tipo: HTML Local Storage / Scadenza: Sessione
  • YouTube

Refuse all Services
Accept all Services