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It was the end of 1900 when an accidental meeting in Venice would change, oversetting them, the poetress Vittoria Aganoor and Umbrian parlamentarian Guido Pompilj’s solitary existence. 


Villa Pompilj, pic by Giovanni Maw


A Scornful Temper

Vittoria was immediately struck by this man she would call «the strong soldier for Good», in fact in him she saw «a clear ethical dimension connected to a humanitarian and solidarity based impulse which had been previously unknown to her».[1] At the time, Guido held the position of Undersecretary of the Ministry for Finance in the 1st Saracco Government. As will be described by his close friend, Giuseppe Marinelli, Guido had an «undemostrative character, hard, undeterred, wanting in conciliating sentiment, had an aim in view, careless of the obstacles, and despising whoever blocked his way. He didn’t bend before anyone’s wishes, that’s why he had many opponents who, whilst admiring his lively mind, could not explain his indomable and contemptuous attitude».[2] Still, in private he was capable of showing «a sweet lovingness, almost of a childish kind”; furthermore, his conversation was “witty and cheerful, never mordant or sarcastic, always circumspect and enthusiast together».[3]

Deep Black Eyes

Vittoria, then forty-five-year old, started writing to Guido and «pouring out all of […] herself into the letters – emotions, longings, activities and concerns – getting so to scrape Pompilj’s laconic discretion».[4] Actually, the forty-six-year old Guido, bound up in his own policy preoccupations, didn’t think to share the rest of his life with a woman anymore. Though, soon this woman to whom «nobody who had nearly approached her would have been able to avoid the irresistible charm radiated by her small body all grace and lightness; by her big dark and deep, passion twinkling, gloom and misty eyes; by her candy and ladylike amiability»[5] won Guido’s heart, so that he started loving her more and more so as to become a single identity.

villa alta

Villa Pompilj, pic by Giovanni Maw

An Abode in Monte del Lago

The letters became increasingly fond and kind up to the one of 16 May 1901 where she stood ready to marry him, confident to have found «the perfect companion, who, taking all her soul, would give all his in return, without any restriction or limit».[6] Vittoria, defying conventions, wrote:

«[I] always thought that getting loveless marriage is a shame; maybe it’s false, but this is what I always thought. In the past I had a liking for someone whose body I was merely keen on, but I knew I was charmed by the looks and nothing more, and that their souls and mine were totally different. That, I thought, it’s not the true and full love. Why would I like getting married now? Because it would be the only way to live with You, for You, next to You; because, if there was an alternative way to do this, I wouldn’t ask You… I mean, I would have never asked You to marry [me] […] Know […] that not only I would have left Venice for Rome, but even for Siberia indeed [in order to] live with You and settling for any habit of his».[7] 

In November that year, they got married in Naples and their love became all-absorbing and full, «united in mutual respect, kept together as by common artistic and cultural interests as by an identical appreciation of simple and rural things they could find in the beloved lake Trasimeno»[8] on the which banks they chose to live just married, in that Villa Alta at Monte del Lago, Guido’s birthplace. Vittoria and Guido lived years of an intense and absolute love, as deep as only the blue can be: incomprehensible and impenetrable like the depths of the waters and unbounded like the blue of the skys. Thus when Vittoria died in May 1910, following an ovarian cancer surgery, Guido despairing killed himself leaving the words «I couldn’t, I would not survive without her».[9] 



[1] A. Chemello, Vittoria Aganoor e il suo mondo, in M. Squadroni (curated by), Vittoria Aganoor e Guido Pompilj. Un romantico e tragico amore di primo Novecento su Lago Trasimeno, [Perugia], Soprintendenza archivistica per l’Umbria, 2010, p. 135.
[2] Quoted from M. Chierico, cit., p. 14.
[3] G. Muzzioli, Guido Pompilj e Vittoria Aganoor Pompilj. Commemorazione popolare, Perugia, Guerra, 1910, p. 5.
[4] P. Pimpinelli, Vittoria Aganoor. La poetessa, in M. Squadroni (curated by), cit., p. 111.
[5] G. Mazzoni, in «La Favilla» fasc. ill. in honour of Vittoria Aganoor (Jul.-Aug. 1910) quoted from L. Grilli, Introduzione, in V. Aganoor Pompilj, Poesie complete, Firenze, Le Monnier, 1912, p. IV.
[6] «La Donna», 20 May 1910, quoted from F. Girolmoni, Il fondo bibliografico Aganoor Pompilj della Biblioteca comunale di Magione, in M. Squadroni (curated by), cit., p. 184.
[7] Letter from Vittoria to Guido Pompilj dated 16 May 1901, quoted from L. Ciani, Aganoor, la brezza e il vento, Nuova S1, Bologna 2004, p. 92.
[8] G. Chiodini, Vittoria e Guido. Un suicidio concordato, in «Il Messaggero Umbria», 23 Apr. 2010.
[9] ASPg, Fondo Aganoor Pompilj. Ada Palmucci, Testamento di Guido Pompilj, 4-5/5/1910.



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Do you want to discover every shade of Umbrian blue? Take a look to BLUE

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


Thanks to its stunning location on a gentle hill in contrast with the nearby Monte Subasio, Spello is one of the Borghi più Belli d’Italia (the most beautiful hamlets of Italy).

Famous for its majestic flower decorations during Corpus Domini, which year after year become increasingly popular even outside Umbria, and during which the streets are colored with flower carpets representing religious scenes, the small village was founded by the Umbrian and then it fell under the Romans around 41 BC. In the Augustan era it was named “Splendida colonia Iulia” (Splendid Iulia Colony). The Romans gave to Spello the Empire’s typical urban structures, such as walls, spas, a theater and even waterworks that, despite the various vicissitudes – from the Barbarian invasion to the Dukedom and Papal domain, have been preserved up to now.


View of Spello

View of Spello, photo by Marica Sorbini


Thanks to the rediscovery of one of them, the hamlet has become an attraction for sportsmen as well: if you are hikers with a passion for nature there is a wonderful path for you! In fact, in 2009, a section of the Roman aqueduct was recovered thanks to a planned project by architect Stefano Antinucci, in order to create a trail for hikers and mountain bikers. The old structure made of white and rose limestone, underwent several renovations over the years and was operative until the Nineteenth Century when, due to excessive losses, it was replaced by a new structure and therefore it temporarily fell into oblivion. But today the aqueduct is an important find, preserving many original traces that can be admired during the journey, intersecting with old bridges and even a drinking trough, once used to water animals. Now, there is a little fountain from which fresh water can be drawn.



Roman aqueduct, photos by Marica Sorbini


The trail has its starting point in Spello: from the city center you have to reach Fonte della Bulgarella (313 m). From there you go through a well-traced path that comes under the small and characteristic village of Collepino (456 m altitude), but of course it is also possible to walk through it in the opposite direction, and indeed, it is considered as the natural continuation of the pre-existing Path 52, which directly connects Mount Subasio to Collepino. It develops for about 5 km and is predominantly flat, and it is suitable for hikers of all ages, including children and the elderly. Along it there are benches that allow people to rest, but, above all, to enjoy and admire the surrounding scenery: glimpses on the Chiona Valley, the Apennine hills and Spello are undoubtedly good reasons to undertake this walk.



Collepino Trail, photo by Marica Sorbini


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San Gemini belongs to the Club
I Borghi Più Belli d’Italia


Geolab is a permanent exhibition dedicated to Geology. A place designed to tell how our planet works, how Umbria was born, and what are the mechanisms that are at the basis of its evolution. At Geolab is: “forbidden not to touch”. 

Geolab is more than a museum: it is almost a lab, which in San Gemini hosts several interactive machines
explaining things in a funny way, but above all, it invites the visitor to observe and experiment with a scientific method.



Let’s Discover the Earth

The visit unwinds through five halls along a path that leads the visitor from the discovery of the Earth’s structure to the landscape reading, through the main geological outcrops of Umbria.
The first room opens with the discovery, thanks to special lens, that the surface of the Earth is divided into large plates: a game, that allows to disassemble and reassemble the planisphere of 150 million years ago, and a wheel of time separating Africa and South America that, by showing plaques’ movements in the past, help to understand how Oceans were born.
Between the first and the second room you will enter in a great Earthy globe, where you can see how it is made the inner part of our planet – the core. Afterwards, with the help of an interactive plastic, the visitor can find out how mountains were born,  why earthquakes strike and where volcanoes open.
With the third room you get into to the geodynamic events of the Mediterranean area and Italy. A game allows you to go back in time and find out how our Peninsula had been formed: answering the questions correctly, you can make three plastics raise, and they represent as many moments in Italian geological history.
The fourth is dedicated to Umbria: here you can try to lift the Apennine from the sea and see erosion phenomena. In the centre, a large plastic with an aquarium offers, at a glance, both the geological history of the Region and the rock formation environments that form it, along with rocks specimens themselves. A space is dedicated to fossils and another to the view of Umbrian rocks secrets under a microscope.
In the last hall, made up of a deconsecrated church, you can finally get to know the main phenomena and the geological sites in Umbria.
Some examples: the recording, with a seismograph, of the jumps of visitors introduces the study of earthquakes; an active plastic explains how San Gemini mineral water forms. Digging into a tub filled with plastic balls, you can recover fossil bones, then identify the ancient Umbrian animal now extinct to which they belonged.



Educational Labs

Geolab is a space where it is possible to directly handling exposed materials. To this feature, creators wanted to add direct experience and scientific research. Laboratory activity is structured in different thematic paths: 
Pages written in the rock: the rocks are the only evidence of an ancient and slow history that perpetuates to present, made of settlements, eruptions and upheavals within the Earth. Interestingly, it is their study and their recognition based on their macroscopic characteristics: colour, hardness, weight and texture.
Fossils: Science that studies past life, Paleontology, has the power to bring us back in time, into a world of strange animals and plants. Fossils are the only element to understand the eternal pulsation of life and the Planets’ eternal changing.
Description and representation of landscape, geography and topography: study of the shapes of landscape in order to construct a map.
The adventures of Teo the trilobite and Minnie the ammonite: through the story of the adventures of the trilobite Teo and those of the tyrant ammonite, children will discover the various evolutionary phases of living beings, including fossils (by colouring and cutting them) and their position in the different Geological Eras drawn on the carpet.
Home Science: The thread of this lab is the story of daily experiences through the eyes of the scientist. With a series of experiments, you will be able to know some phenomena that, although seemingly obvious, introduce us to the laws of Physics that regulate them. 




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


May is very important for the citizens of Allerona because of an event that makes them proud of their roots: Pugnaloni. 
On the third Sunday of May, people of Allerona celebrate Saint Isidoro, farmers’ patron saint; an humble man who has earned holiness thanks to a life dedicated to prays, hard work, and sharing with the most unlucky people. 

The Origin

Pugnaloni are the evident adaptation made by Christianity of a propitiatory pagan rite.
The term “pugnalone” could be derived from a “pinch”, a stick with an iron tip on one side, used to urge the oxen to work more abruptly and, on the other, by a scraper that the plowmen used to clean the plow from the plinths.
Other sources says that it derives from the Latin verb pugnare, which means fighting, and we can rather find this connection in the homonymous celebration of Acquapendente, in the province of Viterbo.
The battle-related perception that in Acquapendente is celebrated as a re-conquest of freedom by the people – who, armed with forks and spurs, defeated the army of Federico Barbarossa – cannot have inspired the re-enactment of Allerona, probably connected to the agricultural tool.

The Modern Rite


Traditional Allerona bun

The modern representation testimonies so: they are wooden poplar beams about three meters high, topped by an ovoid cage, made of hammocks or flexible wooden shingles, and resembling a large rope. The cage is decorated with vibrant ribbons and fresh flowers set on top, enclosed in a compact bunch shaped like pommel. Inside the cage you can find fresh cheese, wine bottles, tools to work on fields, small wooden tools and banners with motto and proverbs on farm life, and photographs of the Pugnalone bearer’s family.
In the wagons, which every year go through the streets of the village, there is the agrarian life and the scene of the miracle of St. Isidore, reproduced in a miniature; a real crib made of clay statuettes dressed in traditional dresses. The event sees as the central scene the Saint, intending to pray under the shadow of a tree and two angelic forms that replace him by tugging in his place the oxen wagon; So Isidoro became, thanks to this event, patron saint of the agricultural world, and his memory is linked to the rituals that celebrate life in the fields in Italy and Spain.
The wagons are entirely manufactured, as tradition claims, by the people from Allerona, who every year with their neighbourhoods compete for the construction of the winning wagon. The most beautiful Pugnalone is then rewarded by a commission and remain on display throughout the day in the Old Town; once the carriers themselves offered to those who participated in the primaries contained in the Pugnaloni, but today the districts organize, in the afternoon, together with the re-enactment of the old trades, a more modern tasting of typical food products. 


Similar Rites

Similar shades can be found in some foreign traditions regarding the celebration in May; according to one of them, a huge tree were brought into the village, adorned with animals and plants as thanksgiving to the divinity: a ritual linked to the elemental concept of sympathetic magic. It was a very dear gesture to the farmer who, by offering the first products of the Earth to this nature-protecting entity, thought he would receive a greater fertility in return.
We can find another example in some rituals of the Classical Era, such as the celebration of the Eleusine Mysteries, which were celebrated in the first months of spring. Also during this feast were offered the first fruits of the Earth, but to appease the goddess of agriculture Demetra, the deity of crops who, sad by the rape of her daughter Persephone held in the Underworld, had decided to condemn the humanity to the eternal winter.

Tree Spirits

A particular connection that we can find within these popular traditions of central Italy is the cult of the tree spirit, still hidden today among the wrinkles of these Christian festivals. 


Repetition of peasant life

From the beginning of time, the prehistoric man, who often did not know how to explain the strange phenomena that occurred around him, created an ubiquitous deity in everything that was wild and mysterious. However, with the passing of time, a new idea spread out: the tree was no longer seen as divinity, but as its dwelling. The tree spirit instead of being considered the soul of each tree, thus became the protector of the forest and the fields. To this, one could recall the custom of carrying a decorated tree in the town centre: it was nothing but a way to bring part of the spirit that resided there and make it spread among the people, ensuring fertility and prosperity. 


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A Day for Custody of Creation; a journalistic information forum to find new ways to narrate Creation; a path, along the Francis’ Way, to follow the steps taken by the Saint during the long and stiff winter of 1206. 
A tripartite celebration, from September 1st to 3rd, which has primarily the aim to spread sustainable tourism, but also to protect the cultural heritage and the landscape beauty in which these monuments, like us, are plunged. The common denominator is the Saint of Assisi, Italy and Ecologists Patron Saint: who better than Francis, who had wandered in these lands abducted by their magnificence and perfection, could have been the symbol of a renewed attention to the environment? 

Eremo di San Piero in Vigneto

Eremo di San Piero in Vigneto

The Pilgrimage

At its ninth edition, the 50 kilometers pilgrimage from Assisi to Gubbio is an opportunity to enter in the atmosphere of this celebration. It is, in fact, the route made by Francis after his dispossession, the gesture of the radical rejection of the comforts he had been used to, a sort of prelude of a rather symbolic clothing, not only because the bag that he will be gifted will become the symbol of his Order, but also because nudity will allow him to wear the Eden’s splendor, the emblem of an harmonious world.
It is precisely on this assumption that the path begins, articulated not only on the places the Saint actually visited, but also on the unique value they have had for the elaboration of his doctrine, borrowed from the beauty, simple and essential, of Creation.
Starting from Assisi, the first stop is in Pieve of San Nicolò and then in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta; then you will arrive at Biscina Castle and at the Church of Caprignone, where the Saint proclaimed itself, in front of some bandits, «the Herald of the Great King». After being beaten, Francesco found a shelter at the Abbey of Vallingegno, another stage of the pilgrimage, that we reach after having been supplied with drinking water at San Piero in Vigneto, a Benedictine hermitage similar to a fortification. In Vallingegno, Francesco was welcomed reluctantly, and he was reduced to a simple scullery boy; he will come back several times, testifying its love for animals.  
Undoubtedly, however, the most famous episode concerns the wolf, the beast that Francis managed to tame near Santa Maria della Vittorina, the last but one stage of the pilgrimage before the goal. Gubbio stands indeed not too far, among the silvery olive trees, ready to welcome the hikers in the Church of St. Francis, whose unfinished façade reflects the statue of the saint with the wolf, a character of primary importance in the definition of the holy figure.
But if every church and every corner of Assisi shines out of the aura of Francis, it is in Gubbio that the most significant biographical turns have taken place. Here Francesco worn the habit for the first time, here he found his friend Giacomo Spadalonga, a mate during the imprisonment in Perugia after the defeat of Collestrada. And it is always in Gubbio that the Bishop granted Franciscans their first cenobia, at least according to the proto-biographer Tommaso da Celano. 


I pellegrini arrivano a Santa Maria della Vittorina (edizione 2016)

Pilgrims arrive at Santa Maria della Vittorina (edizion 2016)

The Forum

A similar path, though dedicated to communication experts, is also the novelty of the annual Catholic Information Forum for Custody of the Creation. Starting from the new – and emblematic – Sanctuary of the Dispossession in Assisi, the forum will first reach the village of Valfabbrica, where will be presented the new Horse Slow Way (Ippovia), whose main aim is to improve this part of the route along the Francis’ Way. Indeed, is  many women and men, perhaps accompanied by trusted friends on a leash, had embarked on this route both on foot and by bicycle, the part dedicated to the equestrian tourism was not sufficiently valued so that they often encountered slippery asphalted tracts and scattered points of refreshment. Hence the idea of ​​strengthening the Horse Way – according to an integrated project between the municipalities of Valfabbrica, project leader, Assisi, Gubbio and Nocera Umbra, supported by Umbria Region and Sviluppumbria – with farriers, assistance and food refreshment points for riders and horses: the path from Gubbio to Assisi will stand as a symbol of slow tourism, a perfect way to enjoy the beauty of the landscape around us.
The Forum, organized by the Greenaccord Onlus Association, will then route to Gubbio where, among artistic and spiritual hot points, they will discuss the responsibilities of the Press on news sharing after the post-emergence, in order to help affected areas’ rebirth. Within this articulated dialogue, those journalists who have distinguished in the spreading articles on issues will be awarded the honorary title of “Creation Sentinel”. 


Pilgrims on horseback

Pilgrims on horseback

The Word Day of Custody of Creation

Each of these paths will find its epilogue on September 3rd, with the solemn liturgical celebration for the Creation Day, broadcasted live on Rai Uno. Travelers in God’s Land – the theme chosen for this twelfth edition – is nothing but the summit of the two experiences previously described. It is the perfect title of a story of inner growth, which is based on respect for the surrounding world; is the perfect prelude to the World Tourism Day of September 27th, which is also geared to sustainable tourism, one hundred percent. 



The article is promoted by Sviluppumbria, the Regional Society of Economic Development of Umbria

The hermitage of Santa Maria delle Carceri, evoked, and evokes now, appealing and leading emotions, and feelings for the writers that in the past went there. Now it does that for the people that go there ether to study or to create a guided tour.

A charming place

Once, a Franciscan Belgian priest, of whom we don’t know the true identity, visited this hermitage at the beginning of the XVIII Century, and it defined it «a very devoted desert».[1] A century after his visit, the journalist and writer, Thomas A. Trollope, wrote: «The monastery […] an overhanging ledge of rock, harder and offering greater opposition to the action of the weather than the stratum immediately below it».[2] At the beginning of the XX Century, the poet Olave M. Potter, described the place as «a wrinkle on the side of the mount Subasio, […] a little world of dreams and sweet memories».[3] And again, today Enrico Sciamanna, couldn’t resist making a poetic description of the hermitage: «the Carceri are a white eye in the green of the holm oaks of the woods of Subasio. An always opened eye on the world towards the sky».[4]

hermitage in assisi umbria

The Name

The name of this place though, that should represent and hermit for ascetic, may be in contrast with all the poetic feelings and suggestions that we see described by the visitor of ancient times: “Carceri” that means “prisons” from the Latin carcer as a synonym of “heremus”, translated in “hermitage” has been used in some documents from the XIII Century, meaning the will for a spiritual “imprisonment” that Saint Francesco and his followers wanted. But the name can also come from the hermitage that looks much like carceres, meaning prisons.[5]

The History

The history of the hermitage of Saint Maria delle Carceri begins with the place where it is build, chosen by Saint Francesco. He found these karstic caves, a perfect place for mystic ascesis and meditation, and they were near an oratory, that the Saint dedicated to Virgin Mary.[6]
In the second half of the XIII Century, they started to build humble constructions, near the hermitic caves, that can be found by the high horizontal section, parallel to the chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Since then, Carceri represents an important place for the Franciscan religiousness.

The Structure

mystical places in umbria

The cell

From a big vault you get in a suggestive triangular terrace called “Il chiostrino dei frati” translated in “the little cloister of monks” that overlooks on a rock cliff, where the Carceri is build, shaped in two rimmed arms. Above the door of the monastery, you can see a monogram of Saint Bernardino, on the inside you can find the refectory and, upstairs, the dormitory, and the monks’ cells.
From the cloister you can go to the chapel of Saint Bernardino, and above its door you can see an inscription of the name given by Saint Francesco to the original chapel. In the chapel you can find only one window, closed by a French glass from the XIII Century, but moved in here only recently, where the Virgin Mary with the child is represented.
Then, you can see the original chapel of Saint Maria delle Carceri, engraved in the stone. Above the altar we can see a fresco of the Virgin Mary with the child and Saint Francesco, over a Crucifixion of the XIII Century, done by Tiberio d’Assisi in 1506. Close to it, we have the choir, where the wooden stalls form the Saint Bernardino period. Going down from a staircase, you arrive in Saint Francesco cave, now divided in two rooms, one is a stone bed where the Saint used to rest and the other is a little cell where the Saint used to pray and meditate.
On the outside you can see a fresco of the Predica agli uccelli, while on the floor you can see a slab, with a little window from which you can see the end of the cliff. Legend has it that the cliff was made by the devil, once expelled from monk Rufino.
Going up from there, you can go in the chapel of Maddalena, where Barnaba Manassei rests. In the woods over the place you find the caves of Rufino and Masseo. Over a bridge you can see a bronze sculpture of Saint Francesco, represented while he frees some turtle-dove birds, the sculpture was made in the late XIX Century, by Vincenzo Rosignoli. From here you can see a long boulevard and, at the end of it, there’s a theater, engraved in the stone, used for liturgical functions, for the pilgrims. Going down on a steep path, you will arrive to the hermitic caves of monk Leone and the first followers of Saint Francesco.[7]

Reference Texts

Guida di Assisi e de’ suoi dintorni, Tip. Metastasio, Assisi 1911, pages 47-49.
Gatti, Le Carceri di San Francesco del Subasio, Lions Club di Assisi, Assisi 1969.
P.M. della Porta-E. Genovesi-E. Lunghi, Guida di Assisi. Storia e arte, Minerva, Assisi 1991, pages 175-178.
Lunghi, Santa Maria delle Carceri, in Eremi e romitori tra Umbria e Marche, Cassa di Risparmio di Foligno, Foligno 2003.
Sciamanna, Santuari francescani minoritici. I luoghi dell’osservanza in Assisi, Minerva, Assisi 2005, pages 60-68.
Zazzerini, Eremo di Santa Maria delle Carceri, in L. Zazzerini, In ascolto dell’Assoluto. Viaggio tra gli eremi in Umbria, Edimond, Città di Castello 2007, pages 2-9.

[1] The unknown Belgian Franciscan, visited the hermitage between 1726 an 1733, he left a memory, and we can find in a book written by A. Sorbini in Assisi nei libri di viaggio del Sette-Ottocento, Editoriale Umbra – ISUC, Foligno 19, page 46.
[2] T.A. Trollope, A Lenten journey in Umbria and the Marches, London 1862
[3] O.M. Potter, A little Pilgrimage of Italy, London 1911, translated from the quote of A. Brilli-S. Neri, Alla ricerca degli eremi francescani fra Toscana, Umbria e Lazio, Le Balze, Montepulciano 2006, pages 23-24
[4] E. Sciamanna, Santuari francescani minoritici. I luoghi dell’osservanza in Assisi, Minerva, Assisi 2005, page 68.
[5] Look in M. Sensi, L’Umbria terra di santi e di santuari, in M. Sensi-M. Tosti-C. Fratini, Santuari nel territorio della Provincia di Perugia, Quattroemme, Perugia 2002, page 75.
[6] An inscription from the fifteenth century, on the arch of the church door sais “Sancto Francesco puose a q[u]esta chapella el nome di Santa Maria” meaning “Saint Francesco gave at this chapel the name of the virgin Mary”. Look at M. Gatti, pages 35-36
[7] For a better description of the Carceri, look at P.M. Della Porta-E. Genovesi-E. Lunghi, Guida di Assisi. Storia e arte, Minerva, Assisi 1991, pages 175-178.

If you are looking for a trip to do in the weekend, or for holiday too, it’s the right moment to discover “Borghi più belli d’Italia” (the Italia’s most beautiful villages). The official website splits by region these selected towns and among them, in particular, there is Arrone, placed 8 km from Terni and nestled in the heart of Valnerina.

The Oil Trail

what to see in umbria

Church of San Giovanni

The concept of the village recalls the typical medieval town and, while walking through the streets, it’s hard not to marvel at the green hills which protect the stone walls; but the origins of Arrone are older and can be discovered through the nature trails that depart from there. One of them is Sentiero dell’Olio (The Oil Trail), which starts from the center and ventures into oaks and pines to ascent to the small village of Tripozzo, located 600 meters above sea level. 
While climbing, you can see how maquis is fast replaced by expanses of olive trees and Roman remains: indeed this site was widely used to grow and process olives, proved by mill’s remains and by the street, now used by hikers, that once was the link to transport oil down to the valley.

The Spring of San Lorenzo

Another confirmation of the anthropological significance of the area is the presence of a source of water, known as fonte di San Lorenzo (The Spring of San Lorenzo), which you can discover at less than 500 meters above the sea level along the way, but also of archaeological finds like a building and ceramic materials, that have been found after some farming works. They date back approximately to a period between I Century b.C. and the I Century a.C. in Tripozzo itself, because of the presence of typical structures and construction techniques of the Roman era, appeared in 2000 after the excavations made by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Umbria.

It is thought that the building was a villa for slaves and by studying this construction it has been possible to ascertain the presence of a beam press, used to squeeze olives. We knowe  that the building was also renovated: so we can suppose that both the crusher construction and the following changes were made by prominent man of the early Empire Age, a sort of entrepreneur who had a large number of manpower for its growing activities.


umbrian hamlets

The oil production is now carried out in an organic way, as we can see from some placards placed among the olive trees. Maybe the harvest is made by some discendants of that entrepreneurial figure! 
In Tripozzo, the walk leads to a beautiful scenery that worths the route: we can admire the valley, where you can see a varied landscape of woods, olives groves, some fractions of Arrone like Montefranco and, if you refine your view, you can see on your left the cloud of water rushing down from the Marmore Waterfalls, hidden by another hill. 
With our eyes full of wonder, we can come back to Arrone.

Parco Regionale Fluviale Del Nera, Itinerari escursionistici a tema. Sulle orme del nostro passato: alla visita di interessanti siti archeologici.


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