Licenza, Roccagiovine, the Follettoso Mountain and the sanctuary of the Madonna dei Ronci

This itinerary reveals some of the most beautiful views of the Monti Lucretili, with panoramas over the Gran Sasso mountain and wild forests with oaks, junipers and roes, as well as interesting old monuments, temples and churches linked to the deep spirituality suggested by the harsh landscapes.

Licenza, a small modest medieval town, is dominated by the baronial palace with a turret mast housing interesting archaeological finds from the nearby Villa di Orazio, approximately 1 km below. The villa – an imposing Republican villa which was identified as being that of the poet Horace – was built on three levels with a nymphaeum and floors covered with mosaics. Proceed for approximately 5 km to Roccagiovine, built on a rocky spur, which may be identified with the ancient Arx Iunonis with its sanctuary to the local divinity Vacuna. The Orsini castle, built in 1260, dominates the town. Here the itinerary begins: from the main square take Via della Fonte and Via Core Tondo until you reach the end of the asphalt road, then turn on to the path on the left. Leave the buildings behind and proceed to the wood of the Fosso Canepine, then go uphill past a fence, leaving the valley of Stretta Vallicina to your left, until you reach the meadow of Prato delle Forme. Proceed along the same dirt track which to the left leads to the ditch of Fosso delle Forme: further ahead the ditch becomes narrower and takes the name of Fosso di Vena Caparra. Proceed along the side of the roe reserve and the ruins of the small Madonna dei Ronci church, which was built between the 13-14th centuries on the spot where, according to a legend, the Virgin Mary was invoked by a member of the Orsini family who had become a blasphemer because he was persecuted by monstrous visions. At the end of an uphill path the fork with a red “F” marks the beginning of the path to the Monte Follettoso. The mountain takes its name from the presumed presence of elves (“folletto”), and is certainly made suggestive by imposing beech-woods. The path turns right and crosses the ditch, then leads to a fenced-off stretch and turns left on to the ditch of Fosso di Vena Caprara: it then goes through a wood and a pine-wood and leads to the spring of the Rocca. The path again runs along the side of the roe reserve and passes a fence, a wooded ravine and a clearing on the ridge of the Monte Follettoso, then proceeds through a thick forest to the peak of the mountain from where a beautiful view of the Lucretili mountains can be admired. Retrace your steps along the path to the ditch of Fosso delle Forme and return to the starting point.

Time 3 hours
Marked itinerary Yes, white-red, red
Difficulty Average

For further information:
S. Ardito, A piedi nel Lazio, vol. 2, Roma 2005

Area
Via Tiburtina