On a recent visit to Rieti with my younger son, we decided to explore the nearby town of Cittaducale.

Just 8 km east of Rieti, Cittaducale is an impressive example of a late medieval fortress town.

Perched on a strategic hilltop location and surrounded by mountains, this town is a pleasant place to wander.

Cittaducale, Italy / Kimberly Sullivan

Although it has impressive towers and remnants of defensive walls, the real star of the show is the breathtaking main square, the Piazza del popolo.

We drove our car up the hilly streets to reach the town and parked in the area indicated for visitors just on the edge of town. When we walked to town and emerged on this square, we both took a deep breath and agreed it was a colpo di scena – a showstopper.

Cittaducale, Italy / Kimberly Sullivan

The town was founded in 1308 by King Carlo II d’Angiò, and for centuries it was part of the region of Abruzzo, where it was under the protection of L’Aquila.

Only in 1927 was Cittaducale integrated into the region of Lazio. Today it is part of the province of Rieti.

Cittaducale, Italy / Kimberly Sullivan

The town was largely destroyed – and rebuilt – following earthquakes in 1703 and 1898.

We walked around the rest of the town, too, but the main square itself is reason enough to get to the medieval gem of Cittaducale.

Cittaducale, Italy / Kimberly Sullivan
Cittaducale, Italy / Kimberly Sullivan
Cittaducale, Italy / Kimberly Sullivan