Subiaco is located in the Aniene Valley inside the Natural Park of the Simbruini Mountains. You may not know exactly where that is, but its just 60 km from Rome, towards Mount Livata.
Roman Emperor Nero built his own prestigious villa here together with two artificial lakes created from the waters of the river. The legend says that the slaves who worked on it also founded the town of Subiaco.
A few centuries later, Saint Benedict arrived. The year was 480AD and he stayed here for three years as hermit in prayer and solitude inside a grotto of Mount Teleo. The subsequent Sacro Speco became a magnificent and unique complex hewed from the overhanging rock. The corridor and the walls of the structure are covered with amazing frescoes.
Saint Benedict wasn't finished here, he founded the Monastery of St. Clement on the ruins of the Nero's villa. It was here he wrote the famous rules of monastic life for the Benedectine monks.
All in all, the zone boasts 12 monasteries founded by the Saint. Follow the provincial road to find one of the the most important, the Monastery of Santa Scolastica, named after the sister of Saint Benedict.
In the 15th century, two students from Gutenberg arrived bringing with them a very early printing machine. A revolutionary device on which the the first ever printed book in Italian was created in 1465. This is why Subiaco is known as the birthplace of of typography in Italy. Visit the dedicated museum inside the complex.
The town of Subasio has a cute medieval center made up of little streets stretching up the hill. Look out for 'Via degli Opifici', named after the various factories which formed the medieval production zone of the Subasio, such as water mills, a pasta factory, wood-burning ovens and blacksmiths.
At the very top of the town is a fortress constructed in the 11th century when Subasio was at the top of his splendours, not least due to the Borgias. According to some historians, Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia were born here in 1476 and 1480.
Back to the River Aniene where you'll find the Church of Saint Francis donated by the great man when he came to Subiaco as a pilgrim. Enter it just to see the the painting of the nativity by Pinturicchio.
The nearby Saint Francis bridge crossing the river is one of the most beautiful and well preserved medieval bridges in Italy with its unique 37 meter arch called 'schiena d'asino' or 'donkey back'.
Finally, a modern curiosity for 50's cult movie lovers. Subasio is, of course, the birthplace of famous Italian actress, Gina Lollobrigida.
If you are having a meal in Subasio seek out the baked trout, fettuccine pasta with porcini mushrooms or pappardelle with hare sauce. Also try the Subiachini cakes made with almonds and the Benedettino liqueur.