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Marcetelli is a very ancient centre in the province of Rieti, quoted by Livy, and its position at the precipice of a rocky outcrop has made it a perfect place to defend. In fact the village is formed around the eleventh and twelfth century when the population sought refuge in a fortress against the Saracen raids.

For a long time it was part of the possessions of Mareri, a powerful family who exercised on and off mastery over this area. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was a victim of banditry being almost on the border between the Papal State and the Kingdom of the two Sicilies. In 1655 it passed to the Barberini, who held it until the subversion of feudalism, following the arrival in Italy of the Napoleonic armies. The name probably derives from the Latin ‘Marsorum tellus’, the land of the Marsi.