Cantalice dominates the plain of Rieti with a view over the three lakes (Long, Ripasottile and Piediluco) which are what remains of the ancient Lake Velino. During the Pliocene, this lake covered the entire valley of Rieti.
In the Roman period, around 272 BC, a drainage channel was dug (known as “cavo Curiano”) which allowed the emptying of the Velino lake, cleaning up the entire flooded area which led to a stretch of the river Velino.
Today this area lies within the Lakes along Ripasottile nature reserve and is famous for bird lovers and photographers. A nature trail around the lakes is equipped with farmhouses on stilts for viewing and photographing the local wildlife.