27 June, 2019
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The love for a craft work which turns into art: this is the story of a boy who has preserved an important heritage, guided by his grandmother.

Photo by Claudia Ioan

 

The meeting is at the Retificio Mancinelli, in San Feliciano (Magione). To frame the garden there are the plastic circles of the larger nets, bundled on one side to indicate the industriousness of that villa on the lake, apparently quiet.
Andrea Mancinelli and his grandmother welcome us in the large and bright work room. The morning sun cuts it obliquely like a perfect diamond. On one side, stacked wooden chairs rise face to face with a particular hanger, which instead of cloche, shows some nets.

 

Andrea Mancinelli and grandmother, photo by Claudia Ioan

A room lost in the past

In a room with many windows, Andrea and his grandmother sew the nets. The Retificio Mancinelli could be reduced to this luminous box, where the boy learns an ancient trade and gives it new life. Andrea is guided by a person who is really well known in this area. It does not seem so out of place that table, dangerously similar to the teaching post, sandwiched between boxes filled with nets and covered with sinkers and needles.
A room that seems lost in the past, with the cotton models of the nets and the photo of the late patriarch to keep under control every element of a craft work that has its roots in the daily life of the Trasimeno fishermen.

 

Photo by Claudia Ioan

 

To complete the scene, a sort of wooden stool placed above a cabinet – which I will later discover to be a support for the large nylon traps – and some pulleys hanging from the ceiling, to which Andrea immediately hangs a tofo.
While the photographers are unleashed, I observe the technical perfection of this creation, with its deceptions that trap the fishes. Andrea, meanwhile, gives us a practical demonstration of how the net is attached to the circles, counting the points one by one: every four points, he stops and makes a knot. This is suggests a rather repetitive work, which  demands an extreme attention. What he calls the needle, is actually achecella, a sort of comb with only two teeth that Andrea uses smoothly and careful as if he were combing the hair of his beloved.

 

Photo by Claudia Ioan

Since 1955

According to his grandmother, Andrea still has much to learn. I try to understand if she is proud of her nephew, and of how he has decided to preserve a craft work to which she has dedicated her life. Instead of answering me, she starts talking about herself.
Since 1955 this was her work, but for a year now it has been taking a break because of her health conditions. She has worked a lot and with passion, but now she feels that her energy is fading.
The worry for the health, as well as the difficulty of resigning herself to the inevitability of this situation, make her voice crack – but I do not need to tell her that she is a warrior and that we all would want to have a grandmother like her.

 

Photo by Claudia Ioan

Accuracy and experience

From the demonstration by Andrea we understand that this type of work is extremely complex: it requires precision and experience, as well as an extremely high attention. Andrea deploys a trammel spreading it between the hanger and the window to the east: the nylon, initially a very light blue, seems almost to disappear, suspended between the dust and the late morning sun.

 

Photo by Massimiliano Tuveri

 

Now I understand why the room is so bright. It should not be easy, moreover, to remember the innumerable patterns of the equally innumerable types of the nets. Then some worn out notes appear, stored in the drawers of the teaching post: schemes, numbers, updates. All you need to build a perfect net is written there, on unfolded accounting sheets and notebooks, a humble looking heritage that is worth more than a rare treasure.
It is this knowledge that allows the construction of complicated trammel nets and similar hare hunting nets, or those used at the sea, for the sport, for the shop windows, for the restaurants and for children’s games. Those nets that generations and generations of fishermen have used as their work tools on the Trasimeno Lake, whose pastel green stands out discreetly at the end of the road.

 

Photo by Massimiliano Tuveri

 


Retificio Mancinelli

“The town looks solemn and powerful, with its doors, the main road and the church of San Francesco” (M. Tabarrini)

Monteleone di Spoleto, photo by Claudia Ioan

 

Set on a hill along the Corno river valley, Monteleone di Spoleto is among the most fascinating and characteristic villages of Valnerina. Over the centuries, thanks to its position, it gained the appellation of Lions of the Appennines. Its territory is part of one the most typical and uncontaminated environment of the central Apennines.
The city is like a small casket which has been keeping precious objects of history, art and architecture for centuries: in fact, Monteleone boasts very ancient origins, as evidenced by the numerous tombs found in the surroundings. About the ancient wars and battled fighted in the area, numerous testimonies remain. Among them, the famous chariot of the sixth century BC stands. It was found here in the early twentieth century. Inside the local Church of San Francesco is preserved a splendid copy, while the original one is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The town, since ancient times, appears solemn to the visitor in all its majesty; witness of its ancient vestiges, Monteleone shows off all the pride of its history to the traveler. The city, in fact, isolated among the bleak mountains of the Apennines, is rich in symbols and meanings. Such as the repetition of certain numbers: three are the city walls and, each of them, is provided with three doors, moreover, there are six towers and eight ramparts in the city. The castle, surrounded by solid walls, watchtowers and gates, preserves the typical medieval and renaissance appearence, with its houses, churches and noble buildings that overlook alleys and squares. Characteristic element of the whole country is the local white and red rock, which makes the architecture unique, able to recall the magical two-color of the ancient orders of chivalry. The territory has four residential areas (Ruscio, Rescia, Trivio and Butino), whose main activities were agriculture and sheep – farming. But the area was known due to the industrial activities too; such as the Ruscio lignite mines and the iron mines. From these mines according to the tradition, was exctracted the raw materials for the Pantheon gates in Rome.

 

The spelled, photo by Claudia Ioan

Excellence in Monteleone di Spoleto

To make Monteleone di Spoleto an even more wonderful town is the amber color that distinguishes its land: the spelled of Monteleone is among the excellences of Italy. Thanks to the efforts of local producers, it was possible to request and obtain the DOP brand (Protected Designation of Origin).

 

Monteleone di Spoleto, photo by Claudia Ioan

Church of San Francesco

Crossing the town’s walls, it is possible to discover, through pleasant alleys, important historical and artistic treasures.  The Church of San Francesco, built between the 14th and 15th centuries, is one of them. The church is the most remarkable and suggestive monument in Monteleone, because it has been witness of the most significative historical periods of the town.
Originally, the church was dedicated to Saint Maria or better Madonna dell’Assunta, but it has been always commonly known with the name of the poor of Assisi, since the early Franciscans settled there around 1280. The Franciscan order in Monteleone always used the Church for their functions and in every official act, a seal bearing the image of the Assumption abducted in heaven with the initials S (Which stands for Sanctae) and M (which stands for Mariae). Various frescoes decorate the church walls with devotional images probably painted by artists of the the Fourtheen Century Umbrian School

Church of St. Nicholas

The church is located at the highest point of the historical center; It dates back to the early Middle Ages, in fact the first documents date from 1310. It has a single nave with ten chapels with its own altars. The ceiling is coffered and covered with a tempera painted canvas with floral motifs. Among the several works of considerable value, we mention the decollation of St. John the Baptist between St. Anthony from Padova, St. Isidore and La Maddalena, attributed to the painter Giuseppe Ghezzi and the Annunciation, probably a work by Agostino Masucci.

Church of Santa Caterina

In 1310 five Augustinian nuns, coming from the Monastery of St. Catherine in Norcia, asked for a small church and a house in the lower part of Monteleone in order to build a monastery there. Both the house and the church were outside the circle of walls, and they had been built in 1265. The nuns remained there for almost five years. Of the eighteenth-century church, only the perimeter walls remain.

 

Church of Santa Caterina, photo by Enrico Mezzasoma

Church of Santa Maria de Equo

The interior of the church is typical of rural churches: in the center of the church there is an eighteenth-century altar, adorned with a wooden statue of the Madonna with Child; on the sides, inside two niches, there are the wooden statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. Along the left wall is the venerable Gilberto or Liberto, a hermit who lived here for many years.

 


Bibliography: L’Umbria si racconta. Dizionario E-O, Foligno 1982 di Mario Tabarrini.

Let’s talk about the numbers: 150,000 / 180,000 flowers of Crocus Sativus cover an immense field beautiful and violet, and from all that field you get only one kilogram of saffron.

Red gold

A huge amount of flowers for a small product: of course this causes a raise in the price, as the caviar, but unlike this one, the saffron has a thousand-year history that oscillates between magic, health, prestige and cuisine. It has been a successful product for centuries, to the point of obtaining the nickname of red gold. It was a multitasking product, used as a dye for real fabrics, but also as a precious aphrodisiac and cosmetic to revive pale cheeks.
In Italy the word saffron immediately evokes the risotto alla Milanese, while in France it is an ingredient of bouillabaisse (fish soup) and in Sweden it is an element of the Grande Amaro Svedese.
Everyone uses saffron. In fact it is really requested and 180 tons a year are produced in the world. 90% comes from Iran. The powder of saffron is one of the spices which is most subject to fraudes and to be adulterated. The powder can be mixed with turmeric or with calendula, but there are those who do not hesitate to add powdered minerals or synthetic dyes. Moreover, as in ancient spices shops, there is also the risk of buying a badly preserved product.

 

prodotti tipici umbria

Saffron

Saffron of the dukedom

Once, the saffron arrived from the East following the path of the Via delle Spezie, eventually it started to be was cultivated in Italy too, above all in Abruzzo and in the territories of Spoleto and Terni.
Various historical and economic events had made it disappear from the domestic market, but now it is back and it is becoming really very important. In Italy it is not produce so much, but we cultivate the red saffron variet, which is really precious. In order to face the expenses and difficulties of cultivation and harvesting, forty Umbrian producers created an association with the evocative name of Saffron of the Dukedom, to rember the presence of the Duchy of Spoleto. One of the associates, Mr. Giuliano Sfascia, explained to me the characteristics that the product must have to be of the highest quality, and brought me to the field, where I observed the saffron itself.

 

umbria

The crocuses

 

The flowers, the crocuses, are born from the bulbs that are placed in the ground in July, but they do not bear the intensive cultivation, they need space and air, they grow on the hills, they need light and well drained soils, sandy or silty.
The 180,000 flowers, needed to obtain a kilo of saffron, can only be picked up by hand, bent over the crocuses, early in the morning, when the flowers are still closed. Each flower has only three red stigmas (antennines) that contain the spice which is the saffron. This harsh harvest is called overflowing and is done in October.
Once the flowers have been collected, the three stigmas are delicately come off, placed in a glass vase and immediately left to dry. The first they dry, the better the taste of the spice will be. Saffron production requires effort and many hours of work and it is subject to a thousand risks, bad weather and parasites. To all this we must add that every collection, to obtain the quality certification, must be analyzed by an authorized laboratory. Crocina, the color, Pirocrocina, the bitter taste and Safranale, the aroma, are the three substances that characterize the saffron, but only if the presence of these substances is high we have the saffron of the best quality. No magic. Good cultivation helps the three substances to give their best. So, good “risotto” to everyone.

Henry James, visiting Umbria, wrote: «His first [visitor] care will be not to be in a hurry to walk everywhere very slowly and aimlessly preserving all that his eyes will encounter».

A handful of words that inspires this itinerary among the flavors and aromas of Valnerina, significative elements of an Umbrian identity, which wants to tell its story. Authentic tastes which come back to life thorough valleys and ancient towns where the laboriousness of man is kept.  Here it is possible to know the whises of the Umbrian people to reflect, at the table, the richeness of their land: this is the reason why  we decided to discover the flavors of Valnerina.

The trout of the Nera river

The Nera river is like a primitive flow, which for millennia has tormented the sleep of the ancient bridges and stone of Valnerina. It has shaped this superb landscape, combining its name with the territory and becoming an incomparable icon of Umbria. Valnerina is a place where biodiversity resists to the agri-food chains that aim to bury stories of the fishermen, worn by the Nera and its breeze. And it is precisely in this context that the river drags downstream the trout of the Valnerina, considered as a trophy by the fishermen coming from everywhere.

 

Honey

Honey

In Valnerina, the journey through the lands of taste can continue, crossing one of the many passes and borders and finding different souls and unexpected aromas. Visitng small companies that produce ancient flavors, such as honey, allows the visitor to meet people, faces and stories. Buying directly from the producers, at zero km, not only guarantees the quality, but also allows to follow an itinerary along the paths of an uncontaminated landscape. This part of Umbria has a strong voction for this noble nectar both precious and appreciated, which has flourished, with renewed and lively enthusiasm, derived from the source of an ancient tradition.

 

legumi tipici umbri

IGP lentils of Castelluccio

If there was a night of the gastronomy Oscars, on the red carpet of taste and tradition, the Umbrian excellences would win more than one award.  But if there is an award that certainly can not miss is that for the lentils of Castelluccio di Norcia: a product in which archaic tastes are exhibited, with an extraordinarily modern charm.
Castelluccio di Norcia, a poor land with healthy products, would be the closing title of this short film about the Umbria of genuineness. In the “tradition casting”, the main role belongs to the famous lentil, legume, that in the cold of the Apennine Mountains ‘ winter, manages to preserve an incomparable quality. A food proudly made in Valnerina that, in the shyness of an extraordinarily small seed, hides an infinitely large flavor.

 

Keep it going…

For centuries the area around the lake Trasimeno lake has been an important reference point for the cultivation of wine in Umbria.

A difficult search for identity

The production territory has always had a significative difficulty in finding an identity with regard to its wine production. Quite hard identifing a specific wine variety, as it is possible in other areas of Umbria, like Orvieto, Torgiano or Montefalco.
Since the very beginning of the millennium, the lake area, like many others in Italy, has seen the spread of the production of Sangiovese and of other international wine varieties, first of all the well – known merlot and with large use of small wooden barrels. A type of production influenced by the trend of that moment, but which leaded to a lack of common identity among the wineries of the Trasimeno.
The same disciplinary of production of the DOC “Colli del Trasimeno” is very varied, as it admits numerous international vine varieties, from the chardonnay, to the pinot noir, as well as typically Umbrian ones, such as the Grechetto and the Trebbiano.

 

Trasimeno wine, photo by Facebook

A reference point in the middle of chaos

In recent years, this difficult search for identity, seems to have reached a turning point: we are talking about the increasing discovery and enhancement of Gamay del Trasimeno, already included in the DOC, cited above.
The history of this vine variety is not one of the most lucky, since it has been confused with the most famous Gamay cultivated in France, in the Beaujolais region, for a long time.
Actually, the Umbrian Gamay  is part of the Sardinian Cannonau family, the Alicante and the Spanish Garnacha.
Its ancient origins are Hellenic and from that area, it spreaded to the rest of Europe, above all, it took root in the Iberican peninsula. Eventually, Spanish people introduced it to Sardinia, around the middle of the fifteenth century. From here, originated its journey towards our Umbria.
This happened thanks to the numerous Sardinian shepherds migrated to the Trasimeno area from the middle of the nineteenth century, who brought with them the wine varieties of their lands.

An example of adaptation to the territory

 

The Gamay of Trasimeno wine varieties has been protagonist of innumerable displacements, but it has always managed to adapt and take root in the territories in which it was brought, assuming different names, while the original one has been lost in the memory of the places. The Gamay of Trasimeno has, in fact, a twin brother also in the Marche, called Bordò, cultivated by a handful of wineries in the Piceno area. Instead, in Veneto its name is Tocai Rosso, and in France, Grenache.In any case and whatever its name, the Gamay Of Trasimeno produces many bunches and can be harvested in two moments: a first harvest, for rosé wines, while the second one, gives ruby-red wines with hints of bitter almonds and red fruits.Today Gamay Perugino or Gamay of Trasimeno is increasingly appreciated and known, as shown by the three gold medals won last April by some of the wineries from the Trasimeno lake, at the 2018 edition of the Grenaches du Monde in Catalonia. This is an international event that compared over 850 wines from all over the world, made with grapes from the Grenache family.

When Autumn comes, it is time to harvest and to collect olives. Once, in our countryside after the harvest, the rents had to be paid, and if the harvest was scarce, the farmers had to move.

A palette of colors

The colors are so special during this period: the hills that surround the town of Montefalco are cultivated with the Sagrantino wine variety, a multi-awarded DOCG red wine. The beauty of Sagrantino explodes in the colors of its vineyard: at a distance, they seem to be mainly red; but if we go closer, we can note that the leaves have taken the whole palette of autumn colors, ranging from yellow to red, passing through the burgundy, and with shades of dark green. The Canadian maples have become a worldwide attraction for the magnificence of their autumn leaves: the vineyard of Sagrantino is no less beautiful, but at the moment it is little known. Compared to the others vine varieties, the leaves of the Sagrantino do not take on the sad and crumpled aspect of the vineyard that are bound to die, but they widen and seem to acquire a still summer vitality.

 

The olive harvest

Another important aspect of the Autumn in Umbria, is the social one, which consists in the ritual of bruschetta with the new olive oil. Many people in Umbria harvest olives, those with hundreds of trees and those with only a few dozen. Suddenly the fields are filled with nets stretched out under the trees to collect the falling fruits, because none must be lost. Those who have few plants still collecting by hand, those who have more trees collect with the electric beater, a kind of whisk that quickly drops all the fruits from the trees. Umbrian trees are small and hand harvest is still possible, even though the advantages of the new technologies are replacing ancient methods.

The smell of the milled olives

Fun begins here, at the olive oil mill, where you are greeted by large baskets full of black and green olives. You can hear the noise of the machines that are milling them, eventually the scent of the fresh olive oil with its intense flavors.At the olive oil mill you can start enjoying the new olive oil. «How many olives did you collect? How much does olive make this year?» These are the two fundamental questions that everyone exchanges. The collection varies from year to year, once it could be affected by the drought or too much rain. During other years, the flies arrive, another time, the frost ruins gems and trees. Nature owns a factor of uncertainty that cannot be ignored or avoided.

 

Christmas arrives early

Between a chat and another, you can taste the new olive oil. All the olive oil mills in the area of Gualdo Cattaneo have a room with a fireplace, with fresh bread and a bottle filled directly in the mill.The olive oil is still a little dense, not transparent, perfumed with fresh fruits, it is poured slowly on the bread called bruschetta. Then you taste it and it is a wonderful sensation. This is not only for the quality of the olive oil, as it comes after, but, above all, it is important to be together, to discover, with curiosity, the magic of the new season. It is a bit like at Christmas, with the difference that it does not last only a day, but a whole month.

Today I walked in an enchanted garden. A large lawn with trees, flowers and roses. Wild roses with only five petals and hybrid roses with an infinite number of petals, fragrant and perfumed roses, white, red, yellow, pink, mottled and solid. An endless palette of shades of colors.

A spontaneous garden like the one, as I saw, was not born by chance; it takes study, knowledge of the environment and the ability to wait.

 

Which grow wild!

This wonder was created by Mrs. Helga Brichet, who, in a short space, collected the whole world. Mrs. Helga comes from South Africa, she lives in Umbria in the area of Torri, where she grows Chinese roses and roses from other parts of the world.
Do not expect the usual rose garden with neat bushes and romantic passages covered by climbing roses. Mrs. Helga lets the rose bushes to maintain a spontaneous form, the shape that nature gave them. To enhance its beauty, it has accompanied them with other flowers, such as poppies, periwinkles and blue bells.
In the garden there are two types of roses, the wild ones and the hybrid Chinese ones, which are ancient, but arrived in Europe at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the following century.
Since then on, Europe had known red roses, and had fallen in love with them. Napoleon’s wife, Josephine, wanted to set up a rose garden at the Castle of Malmaison, which surprised by the great variety of flowers, and because the Chinese roses bloomed again, unlike those already present on the old continent.

 

The garden of the antitheses

Entering the garden, I found myself facing the gigantic Rose of the Himalayas. Large flowers and large leaves, has no stem but a trunk and climbs up a tree. Then we move to its opposite, a bush of white Chinese wild roses, very small, with very small leaves. It’s called Rosa Sericea Pteracantha, but it’s an absolutely new feature for me: it has giant, reddish, winged and transparent thorns. In contrast, they look like a precious stone.
Perfume? A little. Chinese roses are not recommended for perfumery, but if you approach them, you will feel a gentle and intoxicating smell.
Mrs. Helga is an excellent guide, accustomed to show visitors her wonders with a great knowledge of the subject, also for her role as former president of the World Federation of National Rose Societies. To see the garden, just call and make an appointment.

 

Helga Brichet

 


For information: Helga Brichet – 0742/99288

«The mountains are silent masters that make silent disciples», wrote Goethe. Inflexible masters who evoke the mysteries and torments of silence in the soul of those who listen to them. Ancestral places where earth and sky unite, where verticality merges with mass, with the heaviness of the earth. Stone cathedrals and memories where the caducity of the land enlenìvens in contact with heaven.

Pian di Chiavano

 

The Altopiano di Chiavano is nothing more than the rock bridge that still preserves the relationship between earth and sky, the stage of an ancient amphitheater whose audiences are lost among the mosaics of clouds.
It is as if a painter’s brush had lingered on this part of the Valnerina by drawing the skyline of countries and countryside in which the human being promptly crept in. But never nature has lent itself docile to the intervention of man: small funds taken from the mountain, improvised pastures and uneven tracts that, losing themselves in the heart of the plateau, seem to remind those who observe them that here Nature always manifests itself according to Leopardi’s ideal: mother and stepmother, double face of the same coin. Modeled by the human labors to assume an almost human profile, the countryside appears composed, almost asleep, in a vortex of pastel colors and shadow games, in a chromatic progress much more similar to the landscapes of ancient Scotland than to the typical hilly environment of Umbria.

Natural scenographies

In times of ruinous loss of cultural identity, the Chiavano Plateau jealously preserves dusty reminiscences of a still alive folk tradition, which resists stoically with the disappearance of its earliest treasurers. A popular tradition considered as the summary of many lives, capable of mysteriously interpenetrating the meaning of things, even the most common. Near the junction point of the ancient Roman road system rises Coronella, a town that owes its name to the marble column used by the Romans as a reference in the construction of any road system[1]. A ghost town, which appears and disappears behind trees grown in abandoned gardens; a country that lives only on the 15th of August, the day when the church shutters are reopened, on a feast that is as simple as it is felt. The mystery of faith that lives again in improvised processions, in sacred kiosks that indicate the path to follow to the shepherd and the flock by the mountain route, in those climbs that are above all life experiences.
On the scenic backdrop of these peaks, the shadows of the empty and silent dwellings, unarmed in front of the inexorable passing of time, are projected. But it is precisely this silence that leaves space for introspection, a silence that is empty of words, but not emotions. Yet there are plenty of silences and catching the differences is not easy. Some are atrocious: silences of death and chilling loneliness, while others are desired, long awaited or surprisingly unexpected. Eloquent silences in which the principle of non-contradiction also fails. Silences in which fear and courage converge, tears and smiles, questions and answers, coincidentia oppositorum.

 

The relationship between man and earth

Stormy peaks, but for what they evoke in the soul of those who scrutinize them. And then, the best attitude to be implemented is the one of attention, the one of stopping to contemplate. Because we are not always able to immediately understand the hidden message behind the silence of nature. Ancient figures, almost sinister, inhabit this silent plateau. Gnarled hands and faces dug by sweat, a bitter sweat that finds its reason in the generous fruits of the earth. People used to the tiring mountain life, which rejects the easy idols of so-called progress. And it is in those gnarled hands that the most intimate meaning of this morbid attachment to the earth is to be sought, of this strong devotion to fatigue and work, which is ennobled, but which makes man similar to the beasts. Yet it seems that between the peasants and nature there is an almost mystical relationship, able to break the link with the sacred and mix with the profane to merge as a single stream in the vast ocean of popular tradition. A complex territory that not even its oldest inhabitant knows deep down, a cauldron of traditions, culture and stories whose origins seem to be lost in the mists of time.
A land that exudes popular wisdom, in which the ghosts and memories of a distant past are superimposed, but never forgotten. A glorious past, which has its roots in the splendor of ancient Rome and in the countryside surrounding the small village of Villa San Silvestro, a village of just twenty souls became famous for the presence of a Roman temple probably dedicated to Hercules. The genesis of the hero to whom the temple is dedicated, the result of the carnal union between the terrestrial Alcmena and Jupiter, seems to further strengthen the relationship between this earth and the sky, between matter and the celestial, between what is human and the divine. On the podium of the Roman temple stands the church of the village, in the point where, in a not too distant past, votive choirs were raised aimed at the deities of the Roman pantheon, in a place where a deep fear of the divine dwells.
And it is precisely from Chiavano that begins our journey, from the terrace overlooking this wild land whose children, both in the great deeds and in those daily, have managed to express a value and a passion in some cases almost heroic, that only those who live one step from heaven he manages to show off in the hardest battles, in those superhuman silences that make noise.

 


[1] Si tratta della cosiddetta pietra miliare vedi http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/miliare1/.

A route made of byroads, paths, riverbanks and perched villages. This is what the Greenway is about.

Marmore Waterfall

Marmore Waterfall

 

A pedestrian and cycle path has been created in the green heart of Valnerina, with the aim of letting people know and live these places which have been neglected far too long. It is a 180-kilometre ring dedicated to nature lovers. It is not too difficult nor too challenging and allows the wanderers to enjoy the landscape along the Nera River and its outfalls as well as the local cultural aspect, which can be appreciated while crossing the historical villages.

The Idea

The Greenway has been thought to promote Valnerina and the area belonging to the mountain community. However, there is more. It started, indeed, as a real environmental emergency, to preserve the landscape while exploiting its huge potential, but respecting its ecological balance at the same time. Thus, it has become a straightforward learning tool about nature and its articulate shapes, the place where a creative and engaging approach can be experimented to attract new forms of tourism and knowledge of the territory.

The routes

The first step to connect the visitor to the territory has been identifying and arranging an alternative route, which you can either walk or ride on a bike or a horse. The starting point is at Marmore Waterfall, which is also the arrival point. It is a ring completely immersed in greenery, which allows the tourist to enter an unchartered world made of green paths and enchanting villages. Thus, in a place beloved by Lord Byron and all the other travellers who revered the Grand Tour, you can set off on a long route partly formed by chartered paths: Benedectine trails, the Via Francigena, and the former Spoleto-Norcia railway.
From the Marmore Falls to the fork to Preci it is possible to walk along the Nera. The left bank of the river is entirely viable and is one of the most interesting dirt roads of central Italy. From there it is possible to take a mountain trail which has been connected and which crosses Preci, Norcia, Cascia, Monteleone di Spoleto, Salto del Cieco, Piediluco, Prati di Stroncone and then goes back to the Waterfall going though Campacci di Marmore (The upper Belvedere).

 

Marmore Waterfall

 

As a ring, the Greenway can be followed one way or the other. As to make it accessible to anybody, it has been divided into sixteen stretches, each of them a ring itself, so that it is easier for the travellers to go back to the starting point without having to follow the same route. Many of the stretches along the river, from the Falls to Preci, are mostly flat even though the mountainous ones on the way back to the Fall can present quite challenging climbs. Yet, these can be avoided by choosing the alternative paved and low-traffic routes. Each of these routes is five to twenty-two kilometres long. By joining several trails, you can plan a journey any length you like. Each route, clearly indicated by signposts, goes through residential areas where public services are provided. Moreover, along the route all the paths that take to the protected natural areas are clearly signalled.

A trip for everybody

 The Greenway is a route accessible to everybody. It is completely safe as it is dedicated to non-motorised users and it grants access to anyone thanks to the so-called “soft-traffic”, which allows the tourists to enjoy the area they are crossing slowly as to observe the surrounding landscape in all its aspects.

 

Nera River

Nera River

 


Sitografia: http://www.lagreenwaydelnera.it/it