News / Events


Potato Festival

Potato Festival, a grand event for all lovers of gaiety and good food. Organized by proloco and the municipality where you can eat typical dishes made with local potatoes. So many people rushed from all sides took to the streets of the city to wander through the many stands, many catering outlets which serve sandwiches, sausages and wine. The center of the festival is still the big square where a huge indoor space receives dozens of tables with lots of visitors intent on eating dumplings, and fried potatoes rescallate.


Velvet Horserace

During the last week of June, Leonessa(RI) holds its annual "Velvet Horserace", a historical commemoration of festival that, for eight days, took place five centuries ago for the solemn Fair of St. Peter. The celebration includes the ceremony of dressing the Cavalry and the Tournament of the Equestrians, during which the various "Sexts" challenged each other to classic games, traditional of that period. In addition, there are music, concerts, recitings, taverns with food typical of that era, jugglers, and the city as a whole recalls the atmosphere of the 500's.
The "Velvet Horserace", whose name is linked the local activity of weaving, was held from 1464 until 1557 when the celebration was abolished by an order from the governor, don Alessandro Oliva. In fact, after the dispute about the race, many fights arose among its supporters, and brawls resulted in four deaths that year. The prohibition was accompanied by very heavy fines that aided in the disappearance of this yearly tradition.
The festival was brought back into vigor by the Community of Leonessa in 1997, connecting it also to the solemn entrance of Margaret of Austria, daughter of the Emperor Charles V and the duchess of Parma, whose father had granted her Leonessa in a feud. A complete set of races are held, the most important of which is the horses, between rappresentatives of the districts, known as "Sexts", in which the city was divided in 1278 during the act of foundation on the part of the king of Naples, Charles d'Angiò.
In memory of this date, a procession takes place, dressed in costumes from the French city of Gonessa, the Angiò family's place of origin, and coupled with Leonessa. The "Sexts" are: Corno, Croce, Forcamelone, Poggio, Terzone, Torre, from the names of the most important castles from which the city of Leonessa was founded. The "Sexts" of Terzone was the winner of the 2003 edition of " Palio del Velluto".
The Palio of 2004 will take place from the 25th to the 29th of June.

Saint Joseph of Leonessa

Saint Joseph of Leonessa ((Italian) Giuseppe da Leonessa) (1556—February 4, 1612) is a saint of the Catholic Church. He was born Eufranio Desiderio at Leonessa, a small town then in Umbria, now in the Lazio. It is said that from his infancy he showed a remarkably religious bent of mind; he used to erect little altars and spend much time in prayer before them, and often he would gather his companions and induce them to pray with him.
Whilst yet a boy he used to take the discipline on Fridays in company with the confraternity of St. Saviour. He was educated by his uncle, who had planned a suitable marriage for him, but in his sixteenth year he fell sick of a fever, and on his recovery, without consulting his relative, he joined the Capuchin reform of the Franciscan Order. He made his novitiate in the convent of the Carcerelle near Assisi. He died at Amatrice.
His feast is kept on 4 February throughout the Franciscan Order. He was canonized by Benedict XIV. In his natal town, there is a church and sanctuary of San Giuseppe da Leonessa. The main street is called the Corso San Giuseppe, after him. His cult is mostly local to central Italy; churches at Otricoli and San Lorenzo Nuovo contain paintings of him.

The Saint Francis Walk

The Saint Francis Walk is the same route travelled by the Saint in the Sacred Valley. By taking the Walk, you will travel along the paths and roads that Saint Francis loved so much. You will be immersed in the same spectacular nature that enveloped Saint Francis and you will have a unique and purely spiritual experience. The Walk was conceived by the Director of the Rieti Tourist Board, Diego di Paolo, and was made possible thanks to the precious contributions by the National Forest Rangers Corps and the synergy with provincial institutions.
The 80 kilometres that make up the Walk, inaugurated in December 2003, are divided into eight stops that have been blessed by the presence of Saint Francis. The stops along the Walk will take you to Medieval Rieti with its palaces and churches, the Greccio, La Foresta, Poggio Bustone and Fontecolombo Sanctuaries set within green and lush woods, the Saint Francis Beech Tree at Rivodutri , the ancient town of Posta , a pearl in the Velino Valley, and to the top of Mount Terminillo.