Orvieto, Todi, Terni and Narni

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Orvieto, Todi, Terni and Narni: Umbria for experts

You are in the South of Umbria, to be discovered avoiding being in a hurry in order to be surround by an atmosphere that is paced my amazing places and a whispered beauty. You can start with Orvieto: its blonde tuff cliff goes high then it falls down on the green valley of Paglia and supports the city where the cathedral is one of the best creations of the Italian Gothic architecture.

 Visiting  Orvieto means to go back in time. Here the stones tell plenty of stories from the early days to the present age: Orvieto has been renovating itself though keeping its ancient charm especially with its public buildings. A few  examples? The Council House, the Palace of the Captain of the People (palazzo del Capitano del Popolo) and the palace of the seven gentlemen (Palazzo dei Sette) together with the cathedral and the oldest churches of San Giovenale and Sant'Andrea besides the cloisters of San Domenico, San Francesco, Sant'Agostino and Santa Maria dei Servi. Orvieto hosts in its museums many important remains from the Etruscan people while the Medieval district of Pozzo della Cava stands out, it is part of an interesting underground archaeological route.

The street that leads to Todi deserves to be seen since Todi is a beautiful town with its ancient clocks, a Medieval area that shows the famous Piazza del Popolo in its core surrounded by steep slopes, this town is supported by a number of huge tanks from the Roman Age that can be visited. The Palace of People (palazzo del Popolo) is one of the most ancient public buildings in Italy and the Palace of the Captain is Gothic. The top floor of these two close buildings is dedicated to the Art gallery that is divided into an initial part called the “Museum of the City” that goes through the history of Todi from the pre-Roman Age to Risorgimento, the archaeological collection, the rich section of numismatics and the one of the ancient fabrics and the frescoed room that contains the collection of pottery and the picture gallery. A lot of works of art can be seen in the Cathedral too, dating back to the XIIth century but renewed in the following historical periods and in the church of S. Maria della Consolazione, one of the leading works of the Renaissance from Umbria.

An amazing mix of green and art will catch your attention even at the crossing of the river Serra and the river Nera where Terni is located, it is an historical area surrounded by a lot of green spots and water attractions. Terni is the town of St. Valentine and it keeps its ancient Medieval and Roman structure. Among the sacred places to visit there is the church of San Salvatore – the most ancient one since it sounds dating back to the early Christian Age and the church of Santa Maria Assunta with a double portal façade of Medieval taste and a polychrome altar inside. Piazza della Repubblica together with piazza Solferino and piazza Europa represent the historical centre of Terni where the historical palazzo del Podestà, palazzo Carrara and Palazzo Gazzoli stand out and the council art gallery is based. On the other hand Palazzo Fabrizi hosts the Civic Museums of Terni and their archaeological collections with a number of remains from the necropolis, the steel mill and the Iron Age as well as a number of Medieval and Roman inscriptions.

From Terni you can quickly reach Narni and its Albornoz fortress dating back to the XIVth century; it takes its name from the Bishop and it dominates the entire city – the homeland of the mercenary captain Erasmo from Narni called the  “Gattamelata” -, the city also deserves to be seen for its churches and medieval palaces. 14 kilometres from Narni there is one of the most authentic Franciscan sanctuary, the  Sacro Speco (sacred cave) of Saint Francis. It is a very charming place, full of spirituality and natural beauty and it shows the very simple ancient buildings of the hermitage as well as a number frescoes dating back to the XIVth century in the church, in the cloister and in the chapel of San Silvestro. The Speco (cave) was made from a cutting in the rock, it is sixty metres long and it falls into the underlying valley.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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