La Foresta - Fontecolombo
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Sabina, described and immortalized by writers and poets in Roman times, was singled out by that great Italian, S. Francis of Assisi, who expressed his love of nature and all her marvels in his "Canticle of Creation".
He loved the Sabina region above all others, and in particular the area between the Valley and the surrounding heights.
There are four Franciscan shrines in the Valle Santa of Rieti and the neighbouring hills. They are called the Santuario di Poggio Bustone, Santuario della Foresta, Santuario di Fonte Colombo and Santuario di Greccio.
Leaving the Spoleto Valley, S. Francis went to pray to the hills overlooking Poggio Bustone, 10 miles from Rieti; it is said that the saint greeted the local people with the simple words "Good day to you good people". In the wildest part of the mountain, he found two caves where he prayed and chastised himself in penance; during his meditation he was assured of forgiveness of his sins and was told that his brethren, the new apostoles, would grow in number.
2/, miles from Rieti is the Santuario della Foresta, a shrine on the place where S. Francis stopped to have his eyes treated while travelling to Rieti at the invitation of Cardinal Ugolino, in 1225.
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