Spoleto, Norcia e Valnerina

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Spoleto, Norcia and Valnerina: Umbria triumph

Sceneries framed by the time and amazing and quiet places, postcard landscapes where old towered and walled villages are spread, rich of witnesses from the past and of religious traditions, musical icons and sports opportunities. An ideal route can start from Spoleto, a cosmopolitan town, elegant, full of views, monuments and places that become each year the setting of the famous Festival of the Two Worlds.

 Everywhere the history, the art, the culture mix up and go beyond the centuries: from the arch of Druso belonging to the Roman Age to the churches and the cathedral of San Gregorio Maggiore, from the theatre that dates back to the XIXth century that is one of the places where the festival is held – to the monuments outside the walls such as the Paleochristian church of S. Salvatore, the church of St. Peter with its remarkable late-Roman façade and the huge bridge of the Towers (XII-XIII century, 236 metres long and 76 metres high). The Council House hosts the Art Gallery that keeps works from the XIIth to the XVIIIth century – and the fortress of Spoleto must not be missed too. In the surroundings there is an amazing place: the source of the river Clitunno, celebrated by Virgilio, Byron and Carducci.

The pond there is very clear and the poplars and the weeping willows look in its mirror. From Spoleto the travellers can go to Valnerina, featured by the park of the river Nera. The rivers Velino and Nera, the lake of Piediluco, the waterfall of Marmore decorate this area that is an open-air gym where you can perform many different activities, mainly the rafting in the river Nera. More than this, there are plenty of peculiar routes and the one that leads to Nicciano from Ferentillo is very nice since it is spread with small churches, the remains of old limestone and coal caves. In Ferentillo there are the natural cliffs that offer climbers hundreds paths - it is not a joke! – but don’t forget to visit the Roman crypt of the church of Santo Stefano di Ferentillo where the mummies are kept inside the crystal shrines that were discovered in 1805. The miracle keeping of the corpses is due to the dry underground atmosphere that is combined to the action of a number of particular micro-organisms.

 Norcia deserves to be seen, it is an ancient Bishop’s seat and it features the Castellina fortress which dates back to the XVIth century and a number of buildings that are surrounded by walls that date back to the XIVth century shaped as an irregular trapezoid. Norcia is also the food capital because of its famous pork, boar and deer meat and also the delicious “black truffle from Norcia”. From Valnerina you can go down towards Terni and you reach the waterfall of Marmore, 165 metres high where the river Nerra runs fast and cuts the rocks for more than three kilometres and shapes amazing rapids that are suitable for water sports: rafting, hydrospeed, activities in the river for all tastes and levels of difficulty as well as all a number of outdoor sports.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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