23 February, 2019
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“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.

The itinerary between the flavors and aromas of Valnerina continues with other products of this territory.

After lentils, honey and the Nera’s trout, let’s discover other local delicacies.

Roveja

This is the story of some small colored seeds, two tenacious women and a glass jar. In 1998 Silvana and Geltrude, were reorganizing the cellar of their house, after the earthquake occured in 1979. On this occasion they found a dusty glass jar full of colored seeds, together with a faded sheet of paper with a mysterious name written in pencil: roveja. It is a legume which blossoms on the heights of the Central Apennines. Roveja is a small and heroic legume, a type of wild pea, often considered as a weed. It is now a Slow Food Presidium and it has survived thanks to Silvana and Geltrude. Since 2006 roveja has been restarting to grow and blossom in Valnerina.

 

Norcinerie of Valnerina, photo by Officine Creative Italiane

Norcinerie

There is a craft in the heart of Valnerina, which preserves the identity of a territory and recalls its ancient traditions and memories: the “Norcino”. It finds its roots in the Pagan worships, in which the killing of pigs was the apex of agrarian rituals and marked an important periodo f the year.
The processing of pork meats is still a triumph of flavors and ancient feelings in Umbria.  Over the centuries it has becomes the fulcrum of an impenetrable magical-superstitious tradition. It consists of identifying in some characteristics of the entrails of the slaughtered beasts, prophetic and revealing visions.

 

Saffron, photo by Officine Creative Italiane

Saffron

The mystery which surrounds the etymology of the word Crocus Sativus, scientific name of the Saffron, is lost in the legend of the Crocco, one of the character of the Metamorphoses of Ovidio. He fell in love with the nymph Smilace and he was turned into a blond saffron flower. Symbol of prosperità, even today, the Crocus Sativus is presented as a long-life wish due to the therapeutic and aphrodisiac properties which are able to renew the body. It was used over the centuries, not only to obtain the yellow color destined to frescoes and to dye garments and fabrics, but also for cosmetic and medicinal purposes because of its properties.
The cultivation of Saffron is part of the Umbrian identity and history. It is something which  preserves an important link with the  human element: from the preparation of the soil, to the choice of bulbs passing through the moment of blossoming, until to the packaging of the final product.

 


First part

The hanged man, the hunchback Severino, Sor Aurelia and two Chinese. These are just some of the mummies that can be known in the Museum of Ferentillo. Ferentillo is in the province of Terni and is in a very particular position staying in the intersection of two rocky ridges that almost meet each other, closing the Nera Valley. The village develops in two parts: Mattarella and Precetto, placed on the two banks of the river Nera.

Mummies

 

Precetto has a thirteenth-century urban structure and a well-extended fortification system: the crenellated walls running along the ridge of the mountain, and the mighty towers have been preserved along the centuries. The area expanding in the lower part, however, is more recent, dating back to the fifteenth century. Its reorganization was authorized by two men, Lorenzo and Francesco, of the noble family Cybo, who had planned the construction of some new churches throughout the territory. They established one of them had to be dedicated to Saint Stephan, and had to be in the area where a church of medieval origin (thirteenth century) had already been built. The old church was not demolished, but it was used as a base for the foundations of new buildings. The modified spaces made possible an alternative use of the church, which, incorporated by the new structure, was readapted to a sepulchral crypt of the upper church.

The crypt

The space was filled with debris, in all probability waste materials coming from the stone used for the upper church. It modified the level of the previous floor. Twenty-four meters long, nine meters wide and two high, the crypt still features architectural and artistic elements dating back to the medieval church phase of the thirteenth century such as the ancient portal and the remains of the apse. From the sixteenth century onwards, all of corpses of Precetto were buried in this place until 1806 when the Napoleonic edict of Saint Cloud, Décret Impérial sur les Sépultures, forbade the burial inside the city walls and imposed the construction of extra-urban cemeteries. In addition the edict also ordered the exhumation of the bodies and so we noticed the perfect mummification of some of them.

 

The museum

Since the nineteenth century the place has become famous for the collection of mummified bodies so it has stimulated the interest of numerous scholars and many visitors. Because of this great interest, in 1992 it was decided to give life to a new museum, using display cases for the conservation of the bodies and welcoming visitors with the singular engraving above the entrance door of the museum: «Today to me, tomorrow to you, I was what you are, you will be what I am. Think mortal that your end is this and thinks that this will be soon».

The mummies

To date there are 21 mummies exhibited at the Museum among men, women and children. There are too,10 heads, 270 skulls, a still sealed coffin and two mummified birds (one of which is an eagle). Moreover, during the last cleaning and maintenance of the crypt, burials have been found in the room before it, maybe destined for the unbaptized. The particularity of the museum, in addition to the extraordinary state of preservation of the dead, lies in the fact that we can really know the mummy that we are facing. In fact, some of them reveal the story that continues to be handed down orally or can be found in the ecclesiastical archives.

 

The Chinese

The Chinese

A particular reconstruction concerns the mummies of two Asians (recognizable by their characteristic physiognomy). The legends tell of a rich man and his bride, probably Chinese, on their honeymoon in Venice. «After a long and happy journey the two young people arrived in the Serenissima […] Being Catholic, the bride called Summer Flower, wanted to visit the city of San Pietro. So they came to Rome. There were a lot of people in the city: it was the extraordinary Holy Year (1750). Unfortunately  the two young men were struck by a terrible disease: the cholera. They fled from the holy city and went into the Umbrian hinterland, perhaps to go to Triponzo where the thermal springs could hope for the miracle of healing. It was a very hot day. The symptoms of evil were evident in Summer Flower […] They were found at dawn on the steps of the church of Santo Stefano. Flower of Summer held tightly the small golden crucifix given to her by her bridegroom A-Tuan». The legend is supported by the presence of their clothes, in good condition until the 1970s.  The lawyerA fun fact regards the body kept in the only still closed coffin in the crypt. It is a local lawyer who was stabbed several times, whose mummy is not exposed with respect to the descendants of the man still living and residing in Ferentillo. Even one of the assailants was killed during the murder, and his body is exposed in one of the museum display cases. «[…] The lawyer was sitting in his office still busy with the processing of some paperwork. Taken the light he hastened to open. He immediately recognized a friend of his. He had come to warn him that a flock was destroying his olive grove […] When they reached the crossroads with the path of the plain, suddenly there emerged two individuals from the great oak tree, who attacked them with a knife. The false and traitorous friend joined those and fell blindly. The lawyer, although he was caught off guard, as he was courageous and courageous, took from his pocket the knife, inseparable companion in those times, and began to defend himself vigorously. Struck to death by the three men, however, had the strength, before falling lifeless, to kill the traitor who now lies with him forever».

The greedy sir

«[…] He ate everything and went crazy for those aniseed donuts that are distributed to the commoners on the anniversary of Sant’Antonio Abate […] It had become the Fable of the country. They all mocked him but not in his presence because they feared his wrath. Very rich, he could afford any extravagance and revenge […] In the evening, while the sir was intent on munching a nice turkey leg, knocked repeatedly at his door. She was a poor old woman, covered in a few rags begging for a piece of bread […] Sir Francesco shouted to the servants to drive her out. The woman, desperate and humiliated, with all the hatred raged against him: “[…] The day will come that your body will not stand up to the weight of the bread you ate and your mouth will no longer be able to eat it”. The anathema must have had its effect since the sir was struck by an incurable disease that deformed his mouth and preventing him from feeding, soon led him to death. There are also the mummies of a young woman who died in childbirth buried with the stillbirth, the one of Sora Aurelia, an old peasant woman with still intact clothes, a bell ringer, a hanged man and the hunchback Severino».   Mummification In 1887 the Accademia dei Lincei published a detailed study on the curious phenomenon of mummification of bodies. The scholars Carlo Maggiorani and Aliprando Moriggia, university professors, supported by the chemist Vincenzo Latini, declared to be convinced that mummification was due to the type of soil rich in silicates of iron and alumina, of sulphate and nitrates of calcium of magnesium and ammonia and also to the ventilation of the room and to the presence on the skin of the mummies of micro-organisms which, by feeding on the decomposable materials of the corpses, dry them quickly. Subsequently the crypt ground was analyzed in an attempt to derive certain data to consolidate the hypotheses formulated on why the bodies were mummified, but the reliable reason has not been identified; however, attempts were made on the process of mummification with bodies of animals, which revealed the rapid process of mummification of the crypt soil. However, it seems probable that the cause of mummifying bodies can be a bacterium that dehydrates bodies.

 


Museum Hours:

1 APRILE – 30 SETTEMBRE Aperto tutti i giorni

Mattina: 10 – 13  Pomeriggio: 15 – 19

1 OTTOBRE – 31 OTTOBRE Aperto tutti i giorni

Mattina: 10 – 13   Pomeriggio: 15 -18

1 NOVEMBRE – 28 FEBBRAIO Aperto tutti i giorni

Mattina: 10 – 13  Pomeriggio: 15 – 17

1 MARZO – 31 MARZO Aperto tutti i giorni

Mattina: 10 -13  Pomeriggio: 15 -18

L’ingresso al museo è consentito fino a 15 minuti prima della chiusura.

INFORMAZIONI E PRENOTAZIONI tel: 328 6864226 — 335 6543008

e-mail: info@mummiediferentillo.it web: www.mummiediferentillo.it

 


Bibliography:

  1. Favetti, Ferentillo Segreta… Storia di un Principato…, Tipolito Visconti, Terni, 2005
  2. Santini, Guida di Terni e del ternano, Tipolitografia Petruzzi, Città di Castello, 1998
  3. Carlo Favetti e Annamaria Pennacchi, Le Mummie di Ferentillo, Edizioni Quattroemme, Ponte San Giovanni (PG), 1993

 


Sitography: 

http://www.mummiediferentillo.it/mummie/

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museo_delle_mummie_di_Ferentillo

http://luoghidavedere.it/luoghi-da-vedere-in-italia/cosa-vedere-in-umbria/museo-mummie-ferentillo-storia-orari-raggiungere_10680

http://www.museiprovinciaterni.it/context_musei.jsp?ID_LINK=508&area=47

 

«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/.

[For 8 people]

Ingredients for ravioli: 

  • 600 g flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 kg of ricotta
  • 5 eggs
  • 10 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of rum
  • 3 tablespoons of alckermes
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon

Season with: sugar and cinnamon 

 

Preparation:

Blend ricotta with a fork, add the eggs, sugar, arckermes, rum and cinnamon. Prepare, with the eggs, flour and a pinch of salt, a normal phyllo dough; make ravioli. Boil and season with cinnamon and sugar.

The sweet ravioli in Norcia – or, as they call them in that city, cravioli – were served in winter, for Carnival, sometimes as a dessert, others as a single dish, others as a first course. They could also be fried; in this case they are cold-served.

 

 

Courtesy of Calzetti – Mariucci Editore 

Preci belongs to the Club
I Borghi Più Belli d’Italia

 


Taking the path 505 from Triponzo to Visso, we go up along the tortuous course of a stream. They call it lu raiu de la scafa, whereas raiu, derived from gravarium, indicates a dejection of crushed stone.
At times it will be necessary to wade the river, trying not to slip on the wet rocks, and trying to distinguish the obstacles from the shadow games of the fronds’ dome over our heads.
Then the rocky walls, straight and smooth as if they had been cut with a blade, will attract us in a narrow gorge, recalling us with the hypnotic sound of the pouring water.

La cascata de Lu Cugnuntu, foto di Maurizio Biancarelli

Lu Cugnuntu

We are in Valnerina, a few kilometers from the village of Preci, where the ditch of San Lazzaro and the ditch Acquastrino are thrown into what is a real wound in the calcareous layers of red sliver that characterize the area. Not by chance, the gorge is called Lu Cugnuntu, the conjunction – from the Latin coniunctio, even if it could be derived from the vulgar coniuntius, a sort of hydraulic pipe. At the foot of the juncture, you are hit by a cloud of aerosol, released from the water that falls for twenty-four meters.

 

Upstream, the calcarenites – rocks rather resistant to erosion – have in fact created a gradient that gives rise to a majestic spectacle, almost overwhelming for that narrow slit.
Although the guides recommend taking this excursion in spring, when getting wet it is not a problem, it is in winter that the gorge releases its magical atmosphere. It is not just for the greater range, but also for the low temperatures that, by freezing the aerosol, create icy tapestries that decorate the steep walls.

Miraculous waters

In ancient times it was believed that these waters had therapeutic powers, such as those near Triponzo and Madonna della Peschiera. The conviction was such that, in 1218, was created a leper colony, also favored by the isolated position. In a parchment of 1342, we read as Razzardo di Roccapazza – Roccapazza was a castle that was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1328 – had donated a land, partly cultivated and partly used as a pasture, to the village of San Lazzaro in Valloncello. For some, Razzardo was influenced by Saint Francis, or at least by the Franciscan ideology that was beginning to take hold; in any case the structure that was built, annexed to the homonymous church, was entrusted first to the monks of the Abbey of Sant’Eutizio, then to the minor friars and to the Franciscans.
The same parchment shows that the sick could live in the leper colony with their families, but they could not leave it in any case. Food was thought to be prodigious, like mountain viper meat. In the same way, we know that the superiors enjoyed the privilege of ordering hospitalization for the sick of the dioceses of Spoleto, Camerino and Ascoli, even if their relatives did not approve.
The leper colony – of which the central aisles of the adjoining church are still visible – was suppressed in 1490 by Pope Innocent VIII, because fortunately the cases of leprosy were disappearing.

 

 

Cascata de Lu Cugnuntu:

Latitude 42 ° 51’04”N Longitude: 12 ° 59’19”E
Maximum altitude: 620 m
Travel time: 2h
Length: 1.75 km
Difference in height: +220 m / -220 m
Water points: 3
Scenic value: high
Panoramic site: low
Access mode

  • on foot: easy
  • by bike: difficult
  • On horseback: average
  • By car: not allowed

Recommended seasons: all
Tips for hikers: wear waterproof shoes and helmet

 


Sources:

R. Borsellini, Riflessi d’Acqua – Laghi, fiumi e cascate dell’Umbria, Città di Castello, Edimond, 2008.

M.Biancarelli, L’Umbria delle Acque, Ponte San Giovanni, Quattroemme, 2003.

www.lavalnerina.com

www.iluoghidelsilenzio.it

Int.Geo.Mod srl (a cura di), Parco geologico della Valnerina, Spoleto, Nuova Eliografica s.n.c..

As has already happened before, but in this case, it comes from a small strip of wounded land in the heart of the “Heart of Italy”. A sprout of future for Italy and Europe.

Montanari testoni

 

Four documentaries, four stories about Valnerina’s rebirth. A year after the earthquake that hit central Italy, four documentaries, written, produced and realized with the Restart project. Comunità Resistenti by MenteGlocale – permanent laboratory of social communication, based in Perugia – tell the stories of a land, the Umbrian Valnerina, which reacted to the earthquake’s material and moral damages.
Norcia, Campi, Cascia, Ruscio: the earthquake struck the populations touching them in the affections, in the habits and in the small and great security of everyday life. These mountaineers were injured but not defeated, and in some cases they were able to react to the difficulties by rolling up their sleeves. Written by Filippo Costantini, Giorgio Vicario and Daniele Suraci, who has also directed and edited the Restart project. Comunità Resistenti, it was created with the contribution of Corecom Umbria, through the 2017 Community TV competition.

The four docu-films

The four docu-films try to tell the stories of these territories, the stories little known or that few tell. People and places are the protagonists, who go beyond the earthquake and try to roll up their sleeves to start over and move on.

 

  • Montanari testoni

Born in November 2016 in Norcia, inside a field tent, the Montanari Testoni association was promoted by a group of young people from the territory to face together the adversities related to the earthquake. It was created to talk and discuss the personal and collective situation and to propose activities of participation, sharing, collaboration and cultural promotion dedicated to the inhabitants of Norcia. From a collection center for food and clothes, a real social center, the container has hosted in recent months – and continues to do so – condominium meetings, workshops for children, film clubs and much more, until the rehearsals of the famous Corale di Norcia, left without a seat, and has now become a fundamental reference point for the entire nursery community.

 

Sisters of Cascia

Sisters of Cascia

 

  • Rita

In Cascia, after the shock of October 30th, 2016, several buildings became unusable, but except for a few cases there were no collapses. For security reasons, for the first time in the history of Cascia the Basilica of Santa Rita was closed and the Augustinian cloistered nuns had to leave the monastery, returning after a few weeks. They tell the life in the Cloistered Monastery of the Sisters of Cascia and the relationship between the Casciani and Saint Rita: in a Cascia hit by the earthquake the icon of the Saint is a concrete presence of hope for the future.

 

  • Maddalena

Ruscio is a small fraction of the Municipality of Monteleone di Spoleto composed by two-storey houses, historical buildings, three churches, two squares, a bridge and many fountains. The village develops along a single road cut by a bridge that divides Ruscio above from Ruscio below. The fraction, where there are permanently seventy people, has not suffered much damage. The material signs of the recent earthquakes are there, but they are not very strong: the most evident damages are in people and are linked to the fear of depopulation, to the fear that at least for a few years it will no longer be the same. Every year in the summer the rusciari scattered in the world return to the small Umbrian village to spend their holidays, repopulating houses that for most of the year are carefully guarded by the few stable inhabitants of the country. On August 24th the traditional Rusciari Dinner is celebrated, an indispensable moment to say goodbye before returning to their places of residence. In 2016, due to the earthquake, the dinner was canceled.

 

  • Doctormonster

Back to Campi is the dream of Roberto Doctormonster Sbriccoli, bricklayer-dj of Campi, a fraction of the Municipality of Norcia strongly affected by the shocks of 2016. The upper part of the village is red zone, all the houses are unusable, and several are collapsed. Between the upper and lower parts of the village stands the headquarters of the Pro Loco, a structure inaugurated just four days before the earthquake of August 24th, 2016 and built by the inhabitants of Campi – ed by Doctormonster. A class four anti-seismic structure that was immediately used as an emergency reception center. In the weeks following the shock, it hosted up to ninety people, proving to be fundamental for shelter and assistance. Animator and coordinator of the space was Docmonster, who is also the president of the Pro Loco. These were difficult days, full of discouragement and nervousness, but that place was fundamental. Today many of the inhabitants of Campi live in the newly delivered containers and wooden houses.
Docmonster has a dream called Back to Field, a € 4 million project that aims to build a multi-purpose center for tourism and sport on a newly acquired site by Pro Loco. It is a project that aims to provide a complete and equipped with all the services to those who will be on vacation in the summer (before the earthquake many people choose this place for summer holidays) in these areas and has the ambition to be a multi-purpose center for pre-season retreats of the teams of different sports. Docmonster took it upon himself to realize this project.

 

 


The video: http://www.menteglocale.com/

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

“I assure you that it doesn’t need to be windy, because you would be in great danger. Even without wind, it is very horrible to see the valley from all sides and in particular to the right hand; because it is so horrible for the precipice and height that it is hard to believe (…) because if by misfortune your foot is missing, there is no other strength except that of God that could save it. ” (Antoine de la Sale, Queen Sybil’s Paradise)

The wind is undoubtedly one of the predominant features of the Sibillini Mountains, with that insistent and overpowering breath that seems to carry in the air an arcane voice, with its sometimes sinister flavor, up there, in that massive that rises impressive between Umbria and the Marche, in a zone heavily affected by the recent earthquake, but that guards, unchanged, beauty and wonder.

 

Sibilla Appenninica by Adolfo de Carolis

The unintelligible oracle

Right up there, between the Mount of the Sibyl, the gorges of the Infernaccio and Lake Pilato, are lurking ancient stories and legends, which are handed down, intertwined and transformed from generation to generation and still retain a magical and enchanting charm. In ancient times, Mount Sibilla attracted European people because it was thought that near its top there was a cave, oracle Sybil’s home.
We know that the cult of Sybil was very old, dating back to the classical era, during which the Sibyls were prophets who made ambiguous predictions, found in the leaves scattered by the wind.
Among the ten classic Sybils, however, does not appear the one of the Apennines, the one that gave the name to our mountains. Did the myth originate, as some scholars claim, from the Phoenician deity Cibele, the Great Mother, the goddess of nature and of the fertility that owned the gift of prophecy?
Or is it more recent, dating back to the Middle Ages, when pagan gods become Christian prophets? Was she “our” Sybil that, according to the legend, foretold the birth of Christ, and then, offended because God chose Mary as Mother of the Redeemer, rebelled against him and was confined for punishment in that lost cave?

The Queen's Double Face

The first person who talked about the Apennine Sibyl, in 1430, was Andrea da Barberino, with his novel Guerrin Meschino, a knight who asked Sybil’s advise trying to reveal the identity of his never-known parents. From this moment on, Sybil began to assume the semblance of a cruel and enchanting queen, a seducer capable of bringing a man to ruin, turning away from God and his precepts. And if Guerrin Meschino succeeded in contrasting her flatteries and, after a year, to escape the insidious kingdom and to obtain Pope’s forgiveness; the same thing did not happen to the German knight narrated a few years later by Antoine de La Sale in his opera Queen Sybil’s Paradise. The knight came to the Sibyl’s cave searching for adventures, but he was caught by her fascination so that only with great effort he managed to escape. He also went to the Pope asking for forgiveness, but the Pontiff hesitate in giving him his indulgence. So, upset, he returned to the realm of the Sibyl and didn’t come back ever again.
The popular legend, anyway, painted Sybil as a fairy surrounded by its maids, the Sibilline Fairies, who leave the cave mainly at night to go to Foce, Montemonaco, Montegallo, between Pian Grande, Pian Piccolo and Pian Perduto di Castelluccio di Norcia and Pretare, but they had to return before sunrise. It is told that during a dance they have lost their sense of time and, too late on the way back, they ran desperately with their goats’ feet, they formed the Road of Fairies, a fault at 2000 meters above Mount Vettore.

 

Drawing by Antoine de La Sale

A place devoted to the Devil

These are myths and legends, probably born for the necessity of understanding and, in some ways, justifying the impervious and imposing conformation of a territory that over the centuries has fascinated and at the same time frightened the inhabitants and the strangers who have faced their complexity.
So the Pilate’s lake, beautiful and impetuous, as the road to reach it, became the terrible place where Pontius Pilate was led, and, tied to a carriage of oxen by the will of the Emperor Vespasian, was dragged by the crazy animals at the very bottom of the little lake with “eyewear” where he drowned. Many writers and poets talk about Pilate’s lake as a place devoted to the devil, a destination elected by wizards and necromancers.
Fortunately, the pretty alpine pond, the only one in the Apennines, is still there, and contrary to what appeared to be after the 2016 earthquake, though with some backlash, the world’s most spectacular glasses keep watching us from the top of Mount Vettore.
Who loves hiking and nature’s majesty and, why not, with a little magical and fairy-tale flavor, does not miss the opportunity to go into these unique places, perhaps starting from Castelluccio di Norcia, who, in terms of legend, seems to be the favorite destination of the Sibyl’s Fairies during their night-time moves.

 


Andrea da Barberino, Guerrin Meschino

Antoine de la Sale, Il Paradiso della Regina Sibilla)

http://www.sibilliniweb.it/citta/la-sibilla-appenninica/

http://www.lifemarche.net/grotta-sibilla-linterpretazione-leggenda.html

http://ilcastellodelsole.blogspot.it/p/la-sibilla-appenninica.html

http://www.coninfacciaunpodisole.it/index.php/sibillinisegreti-il-blog-tour/189-sulle-tracce-della-sibilla-appenninica

Monti Sibillini, le più belle escursioni – Alberico Alesi e Maurizio Calibani (Società Editrice Ricerche)

 

 

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INGREDIENTS: 
  • 1 kg of quinces;
  • 300 g of carlina acanthifolia roots;
  • 1 l of cooked must
  • 200 g of sugar
     
PREPARATION

Wash the quinces, cut them into large slices, bake them in very little water for 30 minutes, peel them, remove their cores and place them with the baked must and sliced roots ​​in a stainless steel pot with thick bottom and walls . Cook on low heat and, when the apples are loose, combine the sugar. When a drop of quince jam, poured on an inclined plate, does not get down well, put in jars. Close the screw cap while the jam is still warm. Wait two months before opening the jar.

 
 

This quince jam is typical of the area of Norcia. The roots of carlina acanthifolia, with bitter taste, are collected in autumn, and they are useful inappetence and flu. You should not consume in excessive doses. 
 
 
 
Courtesy of Calzetti-Mariucci Editori 

 

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