COME AND EXPERIENCE LA DOLCE VITA IN OUR RIDICULOUSLY WONDERFUL
COME AND EXPERIENCE LA DOLCE VITA IN OUR RIDICULOUSLY WONDERFUL
-IL BALCONE DELLA LEGALITÀ-
Stimigliano is an Italian Medieval town with a current population of 2,322 inhabitants, located approximately 60 kilometres north west of Rome within the region of Lazio and the province of Rieti. The town is widely referred to as 'the gateway to the Sabina', the latter being the area originally ruled by the Sabine people until its Roman occupation from the year 752BC onward. Prior to the year 1923, the municipality of Stimigliano was a part of the province of Perugia, in the region of Umbria. However, in 1923, the municipality was removed from the province of Perugia and became, instead, a part of the province of Rome, in Lazio, after which, in the year 1927, following the reorganization of the Provincial Circumscriptions, established by Royal Decree No. 1 of 2 January 1927, while under the power of the fascist government, it was removed from the province of Rome and became a part of the province of Rieti.
The town of Stimigliano (pronounced Stimijanu in the Sabine dialect) is located on the northern banks of the river Tiber and faces toward the dormant volcano of Monte Soratte and the town of Ponzano Romano, in the vicinity of the Farfa-Nazzano nature reserve. Stimigliano's historic center is perched atop a small mountain surrounded by the Tiber Valley, while the newer part of the town (Stimigliano Scalo), along with its recently upgraded Roman Metropolitan railway station (which was initially built in the year 1859 to service the Rome-Ancona railway line and which first went into operation in the year 1864), lays at the base of the mountain in an area adjacent to the Rome Florence autostrada. Right up until well into the 20th century, in order to make their way to Rome, the townspeople of Stimigliano's would do so by navigating the Tiber river; however, the town's railway station now serves the Fiumicino-Rome-Orte Metropolitan line.
The municipal territory of Stimigliano is bordered by both the river Tiber and a hilly hinterland consisting primarily of farming land and comprising numerous vinyards and olive groves, and the territory has a minimum altitude of 35 meters above sea level and a maximum altitude of 225 meters above sea level. The terraces of the town squares overlook an area of the river Tiber which takes the form of a corkscrew and is referred to as 'the fiasco'. The three distinct areas of the town are its historic center, which surrounds the 14th century Orsini Palace, the climb of San Valentino, Nocchieto (located just outside the town, near the cemetery), and, of course, Stimigliano Scalo.
From at least the first century AD until the second century AD, the site which is now occupied by Stimigliano's historic center was the location of an ancient Roman villa which is believed to have belonged to the 'gens septimia' (hence the original name of the town, septimilianus, which means 'property of the septimii'), a noble family of the agrarian class. Around this villa, the earliest nucleus of the town was formed; the 'pagus stimiliani'.
In the early 6th century AD, Galla, the daughter of Simmaco (also known as Symmachus, councilor to Theodoric, king of the Goths, who was killed in Ravenna in 525AD), had a basilica built atop the mountain on which the villa stood and on which Stimigliano's historic center now stands in honor of Saint Valentine and on behalf of the diocese of Forum Novum, and in response to the ongoing onslaught against the Stimiglianesi by both fire and sword from the Goths, Lombards, Franks, Saracens and various local lords, the townspeople began to move their homes from the valley below to the area atop the mountain and surrounding the villa soon thereafter in order to better defend themselves, which in turn gave rise to the 'castrum stimiliani'.
From the time of the Middle Ages, possession of the town of Stimigliano was for many years in the hands of the Church. In the early 10th century it was under the control of the Sant'Andrea monastery in Flumine, until, curtesy of a bull by Pope Leo IX, it's control was passed to the abbey of Farfa in 1049. A castle was built atop the mountain some time between the 11th century and the year 1236 by Ranuccio, Francesco di Stimigliano and his nephew Pietro, who had also bought part of the nearby castle of Pozza, and thus began a period of municipal freedom for the town.
In the year 1347 the town actively sided with Cola di Rienzo in a revolt against the domination of much of the the region by the church; a revolt that effectively managed to resist the forces of the church until the spring of 1357, the year in which, following the Ghibelline capitulation, the walls of the castle were finally demolished by order of the "rector of Sabina", along with the houses of all those Ghibellines who had supported the revolt. In 1368, Stimigliano's period of municipal freedom finally came to an end, by order of Pope Urban V, and at this point the town came under the dominion of the Orsini family, and in particular that of Francesco and Buccio, sons of Giordano Orsini, who were responsible for the construction of the Orsini Palace that still stands in the town today.
Francesco and Buccio Orsini were also responsible for the early 16th century drafting of the legislative code of Stimigliano, which is today one of the best preserved legal artifacts from the period in all of Italy. In the year 1604, upon the death of Enrico Orsini, the town of Stimigliano returned to the direct dominion of the church. And, thereafter, along with much of the Sabina and upper Lazio, the town became subject to the Napoleonic wars, before later being annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. And, finally,the town would be engulfed in one further partisan struggle during the Second World War.
The structural origins of the Orsini Palace in Stimigliano date back to around the fourteenth century, when Francesco and Buccio, the sons of Giordano Orsini, were handed control of the town, and it is believed that the palace was built directly over the site of the town's original Roman villa. The palace consists of three main bodies that are arranged in a "C" shape around an internal courtyard. And on the right hand side of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, toward which the Orsini Palace faces, there remains a tower can be seen from many kilometers away. The Orsini Palace is accessed via an an ancient ashlar portal, and the apartments of the palace are elaborately decorated with 16th century frescoes, believed to be from the school of Taddeo Zuccari. From the courtyard of the palace is entered the noble chapel, which was inaugurated in the year 1595 as can be verified by the epigraph located in the chapel itself. And inside the chapel can be admired a fresco representing the Flight into Egypt. Unfortunately, the Orsini Palace is not currently open to visitors.
Beyond the Orsini Palace, the historic center of Stimigliano takes form around a single main street, Corso Umberto I, with various typically Medieval alleys branching off to the left and right of the street, somewhat in the form of a Christmas tree. Piazza Roma, where can be found the Commune, or Town Hall, is located at the farthest point of Corso Umberto I and provides an expansive panorama of Monte Soratte and the Tiber river and valley. Also of particular interest in Piazza Roma is the building to the left of the town hall, within which are located numerous important early Baroque frescoes. Another particularly important palazzo is to be found to the right of the Orsini Palace and Piazza Leone Orsini when first entering the town's historic center. However, at this point neither are open to visitors. Stimigliano's entire historic center is richly decorated with plants and flowers, cared for by its numerous local residents.
The town's principal church, the church of Saint Cosma and Damiano, which stands in the town's main piazza, Piazza Vittorio Emanuelle, is of ancient Roman origin; however it was remodeled during the first half of the 17th century, at which point it acquired its current three nave structure. Then, sadly, another attempt was made at modernizing the church, during the 1980's, which has left the building's façade irreparably damaged. The integrity of the church was then further lessened when its original ceiling was compromised during to the Umbria/Le Marche earthquake of 1997.The church's interior, however, remains richly decorated in marble and the building contains a painting from the school of Caravaggio which depicts the Mocking of the Christ.
The area on which the historic center of Stimigliano stands was originally the site of an ancient Roman villa believed to have belonged to the 'septimia' family, from which it is presumed the town's ancient name of 'septimilianus' is derived, the word literally translating to 'property of the septimii'. The original Roman villa was later transformed into a pagus (a village community of German origin) before again being transformed into a castle. Traces of the town's ancient Roman past can be attested to by the numerous inscriptions preserved throughout the historic center, and by an aqueduct that is believed to have originally fed the Roman villa. The remains of the high-medieval church believed to date back to around 500 years AD and to be that built by Galla, daughter of Simmaco, advisor to the king of the Goths are today to be found beneath the Town Hall.
During the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, especially after the closure of the local ceramics factory, the absence of job prospects led many younger townspeople to leave Stimigliano and move to Rome. The immigration of the population, and above all of townspeople of Romanian origin (around 200 thereof), has however contributed to a cushioning of the phenomenon of demographic decrease and birth rates within the town, which has in turn resulted in the town of Stimigliano having among the country's highest population increase between the years 2000 and 2016, during which time the town's population increased by some 34.7%. This has also resulted in the town now having one of the Rieti province's youngest populations, with an average age of residents of just 42.2 years.
-ETHNICITIES & FOREIGN MINORITIES-
Stimigliano has the second highest percentage of foreign residents of any municipality in the province of Rieti (the municipality of Collegiove having the highest), the third highest percentage of foreign residents in the entire region of Lazio, and the twenty-ninth highest percentage of foreign residents in all of Italy. According to ISTAT data, as of January 1st, 2019, Stimigliano had a foreign resident population of 548 people, which equated to 24% of the town's entire population.
Stimigliano has the lowest crime rate per capita of any municipality in the entire province of Rieti, which, in turn, has the second lowest crime rate per capita of any province in Italy.
In addition to the town's main center, in which live some 1114 people, the municipality of Stimiglianoalso includes some 6 hamlets. Of these, the hamlet of Boccalecave is located 0.75 km from the town center and is 144 meters above sea level. The hamlet of Colli, which has 79 inhabitants, is located 1.95 km from the town center and is 50 meters above sea level. The hamlet of Nocchieto is located 0.75 km from the town center, has 27 inhabitants, and is 72 meters above sea level. The hamlet of Pulignani is located 1.45 km from the town center in the direction of Poggio Sommavilla (a fraction of the municipality of Collevecchio) and is 152 meters above sea level. The hamlet of Terraro is located 1.59 km from the town, has 16 inhabitants, and is 153 meters above sea level. Stimigliano Scalo, which has a population of 526 people and is built around the railway station that currently serves the Fiumicino-Orte regional line, is the main fraction of the municipality. It is 1.01 km from the historic center and is located on the Tiber plain, at an altitude of 41 meters. The remaining 526 inhabitants of the municipality of Stimigliano live in houses scattered throughout the rest of the town's territory.
Stimigliano is renowned for its production of Sabino DOP olive oil (the first DOP product ever to have been established in Italy). Economically, the primary sector produces 2.1% of the country's added value, with the industry close to non-existent, the construction sector is relatively well developed and forms, overall, the municipality's secondary sector, producing 13.7% of the town's income. From the year 1929 until the 1990s, the Sbordoni ceramics factory was a major employer in the municipality. A renowned brand in its sector, the company still functions in the Civita Castellano area. However, after the closure of the Stimigliano factory in the early 1990s, the town experienced a period of economic and demographic decline with the loss of at least a hundred residents. The opening of the A1 autistrada toll booth in the year 2000, however, gave renewed impetus to the real estate, gastronomic and tourism sectors, which in turn feed the municipality's tertiary sector, producing some 84.2% of the municipal added value.
The town of Stimigliano is famous for its desserts and its traditional dishes and products, including the aniseed donut and the Stigiglianese Fallone. Each year the town holds several sweet and donut festivals.
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