Hotel Quattro Stagioni, Rieti ****
The four-star Hotel Quattro Stagioni is right in the historic centre of the attractive medieval town of Rieti, Lazio, just 70 kilometres from Rome and 18 kilometres from the ski resort of Terminillo. The hotel's interior is an elegant combination of light, airy interiors and traditional touches. View hotel
Double rooms from €55
Hotel Quinto Assio, Rieti ****
Hotel Quinto Assio, Rieti - a delightful base in this old Roman town in the very heart of Italy. Family hotels Italy at ahotelinitaly.com. View hotel
Double rooms from €60
Hotel Villa Potenziani, Rieti ****
The impressive four-star Hotel Villa Potenziani is in the historical town of Rieti, Lazio, less than an hour from Rome. This pretty medieval city, set against a mountain backdrop, has plenty of sights to explore, including its ancient city walls, beautiful cathedral, remains of a Roman bridge. View hotel
Double rooms from €125
The geographical centre of Italy (and with a plaque in the town to prove it) the town of Rieti lives north east of Rome, in Lazio province. Historically an enormously important town, Rieti lies on the ancient Via Salaria, the Salt Road, down which the precious stuff was transported to Rome. The invading Romans soon saw off the native Sabines and made the town a hub on the peninsula's (and thus Europe's) early road network. Remarkably, the site of the town was originally a lake, drained by Roman Manius Curius Dentatus in the 3rd century BC to produce fertile farmland and the site of the town.
Sights in Rieti include the Duomo or Cathedral, begun in 1109 over an existing basilica, and with a marvellous Romanesque bell tower from 1252. There is the Palazzo Vescovile or 'Bishops Palace' with a rather lovely loggia and Renaissance windows, two naves of Gothic arcades and the town gallery. The town hall or 'Palazzo Comunale' is a 13th century building remade in the 1700s, and sits on the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, the site of the old Roman forum; you'll find the town museum here. See too the loggia at the Palazzo del Governo (1596), the Bishop's Arch (built by Pope Boniface VIII), and a number of important churches. There is the 13th century Gothic Sant'Agostino and San Maria in Vescovo (8th century, rebuilt 12th century Gothic). Sights outside the town include Lake Lungo, the Ripasottile nature reserve and Mount Terminillo. Rieiti has good road and rail links into nearby Rome.