I’ve driven by Toffia many times on my drives from Rome to Rieti, but never made time to visit.
On a recent weekend trip to Rieti, my son and I decided to take a little detour from the Via Salaria to visit this picturesque, medieval town.
We were in Toffia on a perfect summer day. This is definitely a town to be visited with clear blue skies and warm sunshine illuminating the grey stones, for Toffia is nothing of not picturesque.
Toffia is what is called a borgo in Italian, the remnants of a medieval town that was built around a castle and, more importantly, within its defensive walls.
Ove the centuries, these homes and squares have been expanded and rebuilt, but always within the footprints of the original medieval settlement.
These towns are always filled with charm, and it never takes much imagination to squint your eyes and imagine how the town must have appeared hundreds of years ago, or to imagine all the history those ancient stones had witnessed.
Toffia is indeed in a strategic location, with clear views over the surrounding countryside, and therefore, to the invading troops that may have approached the borgo in eras past.
Although there are traces of settlements dating back to the Bronze Age, the founding of the medieval town is placed in the 10th century. The original settlers were connected to the Benedictine monks of the nearby Farfa Abbey.
The name is believed to be derived from then Latin tophium, which is the word for the soft tufo stone of the region that served as the building material for the town and its imposing enclosing wall.
It’s a small, but fun town to wander. It was eerily silent when we arrived at lunchtime on a summer Saturday, but it was still fun to explore and feel we had the pretty town to ourselves.
The local school children had obviously been active decorating the town with bright touches of color and little niches meant for reading and reflection by the youngest residents and visitors.
Here’s the cute little study space/ fort for the local kids, tucked away on one of the many passageways to be found in the town.
Enjoy your own exploration of charming Toffia the next time you’re travelling through this region of northern Lazio.