|*** PART 3 - UMBRIA ***
PHOTO ALBUM by Giorgio Zanetti
|PART 1: NORTHERN LAZIO * * * PART 2: SOUTHERN TUSCANY * * * PART 4: ABRUZZO|
* * * PART 5: LAZIO - CASTELLI ROMANI
Described in the following pages is a tour of Central Italy that my family and I undertook in the summer of 1989.|
We arrived at Rome's Fiumicino airport on June 17 and departed from the same airport on July 16. After picking up a pre-booked rental car at the airport, we followed a broadly pre-outlined itinerary and, as we progressed on our journey, decided when and where to go next .
We will be visiting about two dozen locations during this tour and I will be adding them at different stages.
FIND THESE PLACES with:GOOGLE
TUORO ON LAKE TRASIMENO
(309 m. asl)
We stayed at:
|We left Siena in the early afternoon with no real final destination in mind; all we knew was that we wanted to eventually reach Assisi. We connected with highway n. 326 east bound, crossed the fertile Chiana valley and proceeded towards Tuoro, 71 Km. from Siena. Once arrived on the shores of Trasimeno lake we observed the peaceful surrounding and we decided to take a couple of days of rest with no hiking or compelling sightseeing.|
We noticed a billboard advertising an agrituristic center called "La Dogana or "Custom House" situated to the west of Tuoro; it also offered horse riding facilities which attracted my than young daughter .
The name La Dogana was given by the fact that this XVI c. building was once the Papal custom office at the border between the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Papal territories.
* It was in this area that back in 217 B.C. the Romans, under the command of consul Caius Flaminius, were decimated by the forces of Hannibal. The Romans lost over 15,000 men and the memory of the streams of blood coloring the lake survives in the name of Sanguineto or The Bloody One, a small village north west of Tuoro.
There is a self-guided itinerary that takes the visitor along the spots where the famous battle ensued; the main billboards and map of the itinerary are found just across the road from the main building of "La Dogana" just overlooking the lake. For fun I try to follow the directions provided but at that time the sign posts were very difficult to find (non existent?) and so I got lost along the way, but it was a pleasant adventure nonetheless.
(493 m. asl)
|On our way to Norcia we drove by Perugia and decided to make a stop and visit the hill top. There is a convenient escalator that takes you to the top of the city.|
Perugia is the capital of Umbria region and stands on a group of hills above the Tiber valley. Perusia was one of the twelve confederate cities of the Etruscans and fell under the Roman domination in 310 B.C.
* The Cathedral, dedicated to St. Lawrence, was begun in 1345 and the work finished in 1430. It is one of the few hall-style churches in Italy and its façade is still incomplete.
* In the same piazza IV Nobembre there is the Palazzo dei Priori, one of the finest palaces in the whole of Italy, with Tuscan-Venetian styles elements.
*The Fontana Maggiore, a masterpiece of Italian Gothic sculpture, built (1277-80) to plans by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano and Fra Bevignate. It consists of three admirably proportioned basins, adorned with numerous biblical and allegorical figures in relief.
At the top of the city, not far from the main piazza there is a balcony allowing a magnificent 270 degrees view over the town and in the far distance.
(424 m. asl)
We stayed at: a private house; we saw a sign with room for rent and stopped; It was clean and quite and just outside the city walls.
|25 Km. after leaving Perugia we arrive in beautiful Assisi.|
This small and picturesque town rises on the slope of Monte Subasio in a rather peaceful surrounding.
At the time of our visit, no cars were allowed inside the town's walls after 19:00. And so everybody walked around the narrow streets and piazzas. One could hear the shuffle of feet, the chatters and gay laughs; occasionally you would meet a group of people gathered around someone playing music. It was quite an experience!
* The Basilica of St. Francis with its two churches, one above the other to follow the slope of the land, started to be built in 1228. Inside one can admire the great frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto and other famous painters. In the largely Romanesque style lower church there is the tomb of St. Francis.
* In the Piazza del Comune we find the Temple of Minerva dating from the first years of the Roman Empire; the interior has XVII and XVIII c. decorations. Next to it stands the Torre Comunale (1275-1305), then the Palazzo del Podestà (1212-1282).
* The cathedral of St. Rufino was begun in the middle of the XII c. and was designed by Giovanni da Gubbio. The façade, one of the finest in the Romanesque style of Umbria, is embellished by three fine rose-windows.
* The church of St. Chiara, begun in 1257, displays the body of the saint in the crypt (built in 1850).
* The Castello or Rocca Maggiore was built before th XI c. and destroyed in 1198. It was rebuilt in the XIV c. From where the castle stands one has an extensive view of the town of Assisi and the environs.
(604 m. asl)
We stayed at: LA POSTA
|After a couple of nights in Assisi we proceed towards small and remote Norcia, about 80 Km. to the southeast.|
The town, still surrounded by walls, was called Nursia by the Romans and is situated at the west base of the Monti Sibillini.
* The main piazza
* The Basilica of St. Benedict, (XIV c.) with its attractive Romanesque façade, was built over a Roman house of the first century where both Saints were born.
* The Cathedral, with a Romanesque portal and a rose-window, is dedicated to St. Maria Argentea and was built in 1560 and restored in the XVIII c. Inside, the Madonna of the Rosary is an example of the XVI c. Abruzzi-Umbrian art.
* The Castellina is an imposing castle built in 1554-1563 to plans by Vignola. It stands on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to the goddess Fortuna Argentea.
* Piano Grande di Castelluccio. This is a high plateau of 30 sq. kilometers at 1350 m. asl; at the time of our visit the meadows were like a carpet of flowers in bloom and myriads of ladybugs were flying all over. On this plateau they grow excellent lentils: high in iron content, small, multicolored and very tender. (lentils notes from: "CAMMINAITALIA" , Riccardo Carnovalini, Giancarlo Corbellini, Teresio Valsesia; "Le Guide Airone" Editoriale Giorgio Mondadori, 1996.)
* MONTE VETTORE (2476 m. asl): the highest mountain in the Monti Sibillini range and within the boundaries of a national park.
Stefano Ardito suggests in his book "Andar per Sentieri" (Serie Görlich; Istituto Geografico De Agostini - Novara - 1986) the following hikes to Mt. Vettore:
a) from the north side starting from the meadows of Foce (945 m. asl) and in 2.5 hours arrive at Lake of Pilato (1949 m. asl) and then reach the peak of Mt. Vettore (2476 m. asl) with an additional 1.75 hours. There is a hut just 45 minutes from the top of Mt. Vettore - Rifugio Zilioli, 2238 m. asl - but in 1986 he author describes it to be in bad shape, although usable in case of bad weather. For the return count on 3.5 hours.
b) the shorter route is from the south starting from Forca di Presta (1534 m. asl) and in 3.5 hours to the top and back.
The above data was gleaned from the following sources:|
(1) Italy: a Phaidon Cultural Guide; Prentice-Hall, Inc. NJ - 1985
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