The town was established in roman times, but it became famous and important during the Communes’ era in the Middle Ages. This happened especially thanks to the construction of the Saint Francis basilica in the XIIIth century. The church used reddish Subasio stones, which are a peculiar trait of the whole center. The two citadels were built during the XIVth century, when the town was under the Church’s sphere of influence.
The Church of Santa Maria Maggiore: built in the VIIIth century, it was the first cathedral in Assisi; the Romanesque implant can be identified in its formal simplicity.
The Church of Saint Clare of Assisi: it was the second church in Assisi and it was built in 1257; the saint’s body (proclaimed as such in 1881) was already buried there in 1260; she was the founder of the order caring out her name; in the relics’ oratory (looking on the right from the main aisle) we find a Wooden Crucifix dating back to mid XIIth century; it was brought here from Saint Damian’s Oratory where legend has it that it told Francis these famous words: “Go and repair my church because it’s collapsing”.
The Church of San Rufino: this cathedral was built during the Middle Ages on a sacred roman area and it was rebuilt after the XIth century by the archbishop Ugone – works were finished in 1253; its interior was reconditioned towards the end of the XVIth century; here we can find the baptismal font where both Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi were baptized; next to the church there is the Cathedral’s Museum.
Minerva’s Temple: it was built in the Ist century AD, on an ensemble of terraces which stood in the town’s center; starting 1456 it became a Christian church, so it was named Santa Maria sopra Minerva; left of the temple’s portico we find the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo built in the XIIIth century; opposite the square there is the Palazzo dei Priori constructed from 1275 to the end of the XVth century.
The Basilica of Saint Francis: it was built after the saint’s death, in 1226, and it got consecrated in 1263 by Pope Innocent IV; the most renowned painters of the period worked here: Giotto, Cimabue, Lorenzetti and Simone Martini; the basilica is divided in two parts: the inferior basilica and the superior one.
Evidences of rites and sacred places engraved in the local language on seven bronze tablets (known as the Eugubine Tablets) came from the ancient town of Ikuvium. They date back to the IInd century BC.
During the roman period the town expanded in the plain areas, but during the centuries characterized by the barbaric invasions the locals retreated to the higher grounds to defend themselves better.
During the Middle Ages town walls were added and an important monumental complex was built: the Palazzo dei Consoli. Towards the end of the XIVth century Gubbio enters the sphere of influence of the Montefeltro of Urbino family. From 1624 on, Gubbio joins the Papal State alongside the Dukedom of Urbino.
Roman excavations: a Mausoleum, an ancient monumental tomb has been uncovered – the sepulchral barrel vault room is still visible; the well preserved remains of the Roman Theater date back to the Ist century A. D.; it had the capacity of 6.000 people and it was characterized by squared and bossed surfaces.
The Church of Saint Francisco: its construction dates back to the XIIIth century; its interior is divided into three aisles with no transept; on the left side of the apsidal chapel we find a frescoes series representing Episodes of Mary’s life by Ottaviano Nelli (1408-13) while in the central section of the apse there are other frescoes (badly preserved) by an unknown author (1275).
The ancient hospital of Santa Maria della Misericordia: this XIVth century complex preceded by a long portico and surmounted by the Wool’s Art open gallery was added to the craft corporation in the XVIIth century.
The Church of Saint John the Baptist: this is probably the original site of the first cathedral consecrated to San Mariano; the structure has been built between the XIIIth and XIVth century; it has a gothic façade and a Romanesque bell tower.
The Church of Saint Dominic: it can be found in the San Martino neighborhood that expands on the banks of the Camignano creek; the church has been built by the Dominicans during the XIVth century where once stood a church consecrated to Saint Martin dating back to 1180; the XVIIIth century interior is adorned by local-school frescoes.
The Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo: this is a typical Gubbio building dating back to the end of the XIIIth century, adorned by a series of small gothic windows.
The Palazzo dei Consoli: built from 1332 on, this squared-façade structure has a small tower on its left side; in front of the entrance portal there is a fan-shaped stairway; on the lunette we can see a Madonna and the Saints John and Ubaldo fresco, the last one being the patron saint of the town; today this building hosts the Civic Museum and the Art Gallery.
The Palazzo Pretorio: it can be found in front of the imposing Palazzo dei Consoli in the same square; a lot smaller than the above-mentioned building, it was build towards the end of the XIVth century; an interesting event taking place in the last Sunday of May (in the area between the two buildings) is the traditional Crossbow Palio where the crossbow experts from Gubbio challenge those from the Tuscan town of Sansepolcro.
The Bargello square: in front of the XIVth century building which gave the name to the square, there is the Madmen’s Fountain; according to the tradition those who were defined as crazy would circle the fountain’s basin three times and sprinkle themselves with its water.
The Cathedral: built in 1229 and enlarged a century later, it’s consecrated to Saints James and Mariano; its interior has a single highly-vaulted aisle which hosts a series of paintings and the tombs of two local bishops.
The Palazzo Ducale: in front of the Cathedral we see the Building known in town as the New Court; it’s been commissioned by the Montefeltro family after they gained control of the town.
The Church of Saint Augustine: found in the Saint Andrew neighborhood, it was built in 1294; in its interior we can see traces of frescoes dating back to its foundation.
The Basilica of Sant’Ubaldo: it was built on top of a preexisting church consecrated to the saint; Elizabeth, the Duchess of Urbino and Eleanor Gonzaga sponsored the works in 1513 alongside Pope Julius the IInd; the basilica stands at 827 masl (2713 ft) on the Ingino Mountain.
During the Etruscan period the town of Velzna rose on top of a cliff; it became rich and powerful thanks to the trade with the Tyrrhenian and the Northern areas; the Romans knew this town by the name of Volsinii – they conquered it in 254 BC. Revitalized in the early Middle Ages, Orvieto grew until it became a free and rich Commune during the XIIIth and XIVth centuries, until the Black Plague catastrophe struck in 1348. It got included in the Papal State and cardinal Albornoz fortified it by erecting the Fortress in 1364; it underwent a few changes during the following centuries.
Pozzo di San Patrizio (Well of Saint Patrick): commissioned by Pope Clement VII in 1527, it was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger; it’s made of two helical staircases, one on top of the other - one for the descent and another for the ascent, which avoided the meeting of the animals loaded with water-jars.
The Albornoz Fortress: this is one of the many fortresses commissioned by cardinal Albornoz in order to consolidate the papal power; it was destroyed, but in 1450 Pope Nicholas V commissioned its rebuilding; today this is an excellent panoramic point for admiring the Orvieto surroundings and the town itself, besides being a tranquility oasis thanks to the beautiful gardens which surround it.
The Cathedral: consecrated to the Assumption of the Virgin, it was commissioned by Pope Nicholas IV in 1290; Lorenzo Maitani was in charge of the works which went on with ups and downs for almost three centuries; the bas-reliefs, the XIVth century statues and the polychrome mosaics (which adorn the façade with episodes from the Old and the New Testament) are some of the marvels of this Romanesque-Gothic church; another highlight of the façade is the Orcagna rose window; one of the masterpieces found inside the Cathedral is the Madonna di San Brizio chapel, covered with frescoes by Beato Angelico helped by Benozzo Gozzoli from the summer of 1447 on, and finished by Signorelli, who painted the frescoes on the walls; on the inferior bands we see the portraits of a series of famous poets and men of letters from antiquity: Dante, Tibullus, Ovid and Sallust; the Corporal chapel hosts a reliquary which preserves the linen vestment of the Bolsena altar.
The National Archaeological Museum: it’s located in the Palazzi Papali (Papal Buildings) complex, which comprises three XIVth century structures commissioned by Urban IV, Gregory X and Martin IV.
Museo dell’Opera del Duomo (The Cathedral’s Museum): the masterpieces from the Middle Ages and from the Renaissance, alongside those dating from the XVth to the XVIIIth century are hosted in the Papal Buildings, in the second section; the Palazzo Soliani was commissioned by Pope Boniface VIII and it hosts a collection of sculptures, lithographies and drawings donated to the town [of Orvieto] by the Sicilian artist Emilio Greco.
The Moro Tower: it was named like that because of the figure which adorns the emblem of the Pucci bankers’ family.
Palazzo dei Sette: this was the headquarters of the seven town magistrates, each of them representing one of the artisanal corporations of Orvieto; its foundations were laid towards the end of the XIIIth century; after a XVIth century reconstruction, it became the seat of the papal government.
The Church of Saint Andrew: initially the Collegiate Church of Saint Andrew and Saint Bartholomew, this is one of the most ancient urban constructions; its foundations were laid in the XVIIth century and it was probably erected on previous Etruscan walls on top of which a Roman era temple was built; later the church was completely rebuilt (between the XIIth and the XIVth centuries); the most important elements of the church are the gothic portal and the imposing dodecagonal tower with three orders of mullioned windows and a series of emblems inserted during the 1920-30 reconditioning.
The Church of Saint Dominic: here the original bicolor style (using basaltic dark stone and light travertine) was used in Orvieto for the first time towards the end of the XIIIth century; it was later widely employed in the Cathedral and then it became significant in town; inside it we find the most important work of art [in Orvieto]: the monument dedicated to cardinal Guglielmo (William) de Braye by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1282.
Città di Castello
It’s the most important High Tiber Valley center, a gateway for those coming here from the Romagna region. It’s the ancient borough of the Umbrian people who settled down here because of the strategic importance of the area, found at the border between Tuscany and the Emilia-Romagna region. During the Middle Ages it became a Commune and it has always been on conflict with the nearest city-states. The “Civitas Castelli” became more and more powerful and rich thanks to the development of flourishing commercial activities, among which the printing, an important part of the economic network of the town even today. During the XVIth century the Vitelli family became very influent in town and changed even the urban structure of the settlement, filling every angle of the town with their own properties.
The Cylindrical Bell Tower: its foundation was laid in the XIth century.
The Cathedral: it was built from the XIVth to the XVIth century; its unfinished façade is baroque and can be dated back sometime between 1632 and 1646; the Cathedral’s Museum can be found on the side of the church; it hosts precious objects, a vivid example of the church’s evolution during the Middle Ages and a masterpiece by Rosso Fiorentino, the Resurrected Christ.
The Palazzo Comunale: it was built in the XVIth century by the architect Angelo da Orvieto; it’s a record of the Florentine architectural influence present in town before the arrival of the Vitelli family; we can see this especially in the rustic bossed stones used like in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
The Civic Tower: also built in the XIVth century, it was once called “The Bishop’s Tower” because it was attached to the Bishop’s Building.
The Palazzo del Podestà: the façade facing the Cavour street is coeval with the Palazzo Comunale (Municipality’s Building) and it seems like the original project of the edifice belonged to Angelo da Orvieto in this case as well; the side facing the Matteotti square is baroque; in the same square we also see the Palazzo Vitelli known as the Abundance Building.
The Church of Saint Francis: its origins can be traced back to the XIIIth century, but it has been modified various times until the XVIIIth century; here we can see the important Vitelli chapel built by Giorgio Vasari, an architect and painter who is also the author of the Coronation of the Virgin altar piece (1564).
The Church of Saint Dominic: it was built in the XVth century and later modified even though the façade was left unfinished.
The Pinacoteca (Municipal Art Gallery): it is one of the most important art galleries in the Umbria region; it can be found inside the prestigious Palazzo Vitelli alla Cannoniera; the building was erected by Antonio da Sangallo between 1521 and 1532; Giorgio Vasari also contributed to the works, as we can see form the external graffiti of the building.
The Burri Museum: undisputed Italian artist of the XXth century, Alberto Burri was esteemed worldwide; he was born in Città di Castello in 1915 and he died in Nice in 1995.
Perugia is Umbria’s main town. Its historical city center carries a medieval architectonic print, but there are urban structural traces dating back to the Etruscan age. The ancient city rises on the hill that dominates the Tiberin Valley, while at its bottom the modern city was built during the XXth century. Its strategic position makes it become an important city, with its origins dating back to the Xth century BC. Initially an Etruscan town, it becomes a roman municipium in 217 BC. It was destroyed and rebuilt by Octavian in 40 BC. After the byzantine period the city keeps developing and reaches its maximum splendor in the XIVth century. It belonged to the Papal State from 1531 until Italy’s Union.
The Etruscan Marzia Gate: it’s mounted into the Eastern bastion of the Rocca Paolina, erected by the architect Antonio da Sangallo in 1540.
Saint Dominic’s Church: reminds us of the Florentine churches of Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella; after several collapses it’s been renovated in a baroque style by Carlo Maderno in 1632.
Saint Peter’s Church: this Benedictine monastery was founded towards the middle of the Xth century, but it seems that underneath it there have been various Etruscan and Roman burials-related tunnels and a later paleochristian edifice (VIth century AD); the church hosts various paintings by Perugino, Guercino, Guido Reni and Sassoferrato.
Palazzo dei Priori: it was intended to lodge the highest municipality officials, being built in various stages between 1293 and 1443 (the Umbrian National Gallery can be found inside it); next to this building we can find the Collegio del Cambio (the Exchange Guild) and the Collegio della Mercanzia (Merchant’s Guild); on the side that leads to the IV November square there is a staircase that heads to the entrance of the Sala dei Notari (the … Room).
Fontana Maggiore: built from 1275 to 1278 by Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni Pisano, the fountain is a splendid architectonic creation and at the same time a complex hydraulic structure; here water was brought from the new Monte Pacciano aqueduct, thanks to the work of the Boninsegna engineer from Venice.
The Etruscan Reservoir: it’s situated under the Bourbon palace – Sorbello; this grand hydraulic implant would supply the city with water even during sieges.
The San Severo’s Church: inside it we can see the famous frescoes painted by Raphael between 1507 and 1508, with the superior part celebrating the Trinity; Perugino finished this work by adding the figures of the saints in the inferior part in 1521.
The Augustan Arch also known as the Etruscan Arch: built in the IIIrd century BC, this is one of the civic gates of Etruscan age that has later been modified by the roman emperors; we can still see on the upper side the “Augusta Perusia” inscription commissioned by Octavian Augustus himself.
The San Bernardino Oratory: it dates back to 1452; the fine bas-reliefs of the façade were done by Agostino di Duccio, a Florentine artist.
The Saint Michael the Archangel’s Church: it has a circular outline and it dates back to the end of the Vth century.
The Volumni Hypogeum: it’s one of the most interesting burial places among the various necropolises in Perugia; the Etruscan nobles of the Velimna family (also known by the roman name of Volumni – hence the name of the mausoleum) have been buried in the big chamber tomb.
Norcia: it lies at the bottom of the ridge of the Sibylline Mountains; the town has been a commercial and transit center for centuries; amongst the local contemporary productions the truffle seeking, the meat processing and the sausage making stand out; this made “norcino” become synonym with high-quality butchery.
Its walls have been built by the Romans, who have conquered the town in 290 B.C. . Later they have been substituted by the XIIIth century heart-shaped walls which have been damaged, like the rest of the town, by a series of disastrous earthquakes. Inside the perimeter of the walls we can still see the eight antique gates. One of them, The Roman Gate, is the gateway for the Sertorio Street from which the Saint Benedict square can be reached. At the center of this square we see the statue of the saint (1880). The XIVth century Palazzo Comunale can be found in the same square. Next to it there is the Basilica dedicated to Saint Benedict of medieval origins which has been heavily restructured in 1389. On its façade there is a 1578 monumental portal flanked by two statues representing Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica. The Measures Portal on the right side of the church dates back to the XVIth century. Here there is a stone step on which the commercial measures for the trade of cereals are preserved. The crypt was built on the spot where, according to tradition, Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica were born. Over here traces of an ancient church and its fragmentary frescoes are preserved.
In the square we also see the imposing Castellina, a fortress commissioned by Pope Julius III in 1554. The prestigious architect Jacopo Barozzi (widely known as “il Vignola”) was entrusted with the project. Inside the fortress’ court we find the Civic Diocesan Museum.
Castelluccio di Norcia: this borough was initially tightly-related to sheep farming; what we see today is a no-earlier than XIIIth century residential area; the ancient XVIth century fortification disappeared, only some section of the walls and a portal are still visible; on the walls of the building we can see incomprehensible white “paintings” which actually are dialectal writings; from the end of May to the beginning of July the Castelluccio plateau witnesses the first blossoming: a mosaic of tones which vary from shades of ochre yellow to red; the floral species which color the Pian Grande and the Pian Secondo are innumerable; the most representative product of this borough is the “lentil” legume which blooms between May and August.
Narni & Terni
Narni: the origins of this town can be traced back to when the Umbri people laid the foundations of Nequinium; in 299 B.C. the settlement was conquered by the Roman legions and renamed “Narnia”; the town had a vital position along the important Flaminia consular road; besides being Nerva’s birth place, Narni hosted the crossroads on the big road heading towards Terni and Spoleto; in time Narni increased demographically until it occupied the whole top of a hill; the river Nera flows at its bottom; during the Middle Ages it underwent economic difficulties derived from the wars between the Papal State and the Empire, but it got over them even after it’s been conquered by the Pope towards the middle of the XIVth century; during the XVIth century Narni was devastated by the Landsknechts who were returning from the sack of Rome. During the following years the settlement preserved its shape (the one that we see even today) because of a low demographic growth; the Garibaldi Square is also known as the “Lake’s Square” because of the big underground water cistern supplied with water from the Roman Formina aqueduct; today this water is converged towards a fountain with a bronze basin dating back to the XIVth century; very close to the square we see the imposing and beautiful Cathedral consecrated to Saint Juvenal (patron of the town) in 1145; its foundations were laid in 1047, but it’s been reconstructed in the XIIth century.
Palazzo dei Priori: the portico, the grand loggia and the civic tower.
Palazzo del Podestà: a series of Roman and medieval commemorative stones and archeological finds are hosted in its atrium; it also hosts an Egyptian mummy; its interior has frescoes by Ghirlandaio and Benozzo Gozzoli; the building dates back to the XIVth century.
The Church of Santa Maria Impensole: it dates back to the XIIth century; its exterior is particularly interesting owing to the typical portico and to its portals sculpted in a classical style.
The Church of Saint Dominic: this Romanesque church was once called the Santa Maria Maggiore;
The Church of Saint Francis: this church was built in the XIVth century where legend has it that Saint Francis lodged during his stay at Narni in 1213 and where he laid the foundations to an oratory.
The Fortress: it was erected by Cardinal Albornoz, one of the most important people in the history of Umbria in the late Middle Ages; after many years of neglect, the complex has been restored and it can be visited today – it provides a splendid panoramic view.
The Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore’s Falls): it is the work of the Velino river’s waters, which reach the underlying Nera river thanks to an artificial canal structured in three gradients for a total height of 165 meters (541 ft); it can be reached by two streets known as the Inferior one and the Superior one.
Terni: this is the industrial centre of the region; it stands in the middle of a plain dominated by waters, as it is situated at the confluence of the Nera River and the Serra and Tescino streams, all fundamental for the development of the heavy industry during the XIXth century (Terni is the home of the Breda Steelworks); furthermore the Flaminia road, a very important path which connected Rome to the North of the Peninsula and the Adriatic area since roman times, passes through the town; Terni has been heavily bombarded during the Second World War, therefore many historic buildings have been destroyed.
The Pinacoteca Comunale (Municipal Art Gallery): it is located in the Palazzo Gazzoli where both modern masterpieces (by Mirò and Chagall) and artworks by Benozzo Gozzoli, Spagna and Niccolò Alunno are hosted.
The Church of Saint Alò: this is a Romanesque church dating back to the XIth century which distinguishes itself because of the reutilization of many Roman sculptures in its external architecture, which probably means that the church was built on top of the remains of a pre-existing pagan temple.
The Roman Amphitheater: one of the most well-preserved Roman structures in all Terni, this Ist century A.D. amphitheater stands just a few meters away from the Cathedral; it has been used as a quarry and gradually covered by a series of buildings; it has been rediscovered towards the middle of the XIXth century and then uncovered at the beginning of the XXth century.
The Church of Saint Salvatore: this church has been built over the remains of roman edifices; the central circular part of the structure is very antique, while the rectangular avant-corps is more recent, probably built in the XIIth century.
The Church of Saint Peter: this XIVth century church stands just a few steps away from the Palazzo Comunale; it has been enlarged and restructured various times; it stands out because of its numerous frescoes which are representative for the local artistic school active between the XIVth and the XVth century.
Its urban layout has a peculiar spiral shape, built over a steep conic hill: the Serano Mountain which dominates the Spoleto plain.
The town has been [deeply] marked by an early Christianization process due to the presence of a martyr, Emiliano, in the IVth century. After being an autonomous Commune for a brief period of time, it entered the Pontifical State’s domain until Italy’s Union.
The Church of Saint Francis and its annexed Franciscan Art Collection: the church dates back to the first half of the XIIIth century; the most precious work of art in the Collection is the Coronation of the Virgin by Giovanni di Pietro also known as “lo Spagna” (1522).
Palazzo Lucarini : this is the location of the Flash Art Museum, a collection of contemporary art which hosts exhibitions centered on XXth century works.
The Madonna delle Lacrime (Madonna of the Tears) Sanctuary: it hosts an important frescoes cycle by lo Spagna; the Epiphany by Perugino (1512) can be found inside its San Francis chapel.
The Springs of Clitumnus: they are on the Flaminia road and they are renowned since ancient times; they actually are karst spring pools and their cold and very clear waters create a small lake studded with small islands; their name derives from an ancient literary source which attributes them to the god of the river, Clitumnus (god of the harvests); this attribution is quoted by various poets (like Virgil, Propertius and Pliny the Younger) in different periods; the river Clitunno was once navigable; the Romans appreciated this place a lot and they have built an out-and-out touristic zone making the Springs a public bathing area and building various structures there; a lot of villas have been constructed on the banks of the river as well; the best preserved among the votive edifices is the famous Tempietto (Small Temple) – first a pagan structure, then a paleochristian one (between the IVth and the VIIth century) consecrated to Saint Salvatore; here we can find some antique frescoes judged to be the earliest paintings on a sacred theme in the Umbria region.
The Umbrian Olive Oil: it is a guaranteed of controlled origin product (DOC), a qualification which is given according to the laws meant to safeguard this product; Umbria is divided into five production areas, each of them having a different set of quality standards; the strictest ones are applied in the Trevi area, doubtless one the most important production centers in this field.
It’s one of the most important and significant Umbrian towns, not just because of its position (at the bottom of Monteluco) and for its imposing monuments, but also because of its international notoriety owed to the Spoleto Festival.
The first settlement in this town was probably one of Umbrian peoples. On its upper side there still are remains of gigantic walls dating back to the IVth century B.C.. After the roman period, Spoleto’s importance grew thanks to the layout of the Flaminia road which was the way to Rome. Afterwards Spoleto became the headquarters of the Longobardic dukedom and later an important Commune. The town was marked by the settlement of numerous monastic orders and remained prosperous throughout the centuries.
The church of Saint Gregory the Great: it was built in the paleochristian era (the IVth century A.D.) outside the town’s walls, like most ancient churches; it’s been renovated in 1146 and subsequently modified various times.
The church of Saint Nicholas: this deconsecrated Augustinian church has a sloping façade and a single aisle; it is currently used for shows and concerts, but in 1512 this impressive gothic building hosted Martin Luther.
The church of Saints John and Paul: this deconsecrated church has been dedicated to the saints already in 1174; it is worth paying it a visit even just to see some frescoes that have been discovered on its inside; the most antique is the one illustrating Saint Thomas Becket’s martyrdom, painted just after his canonization in 1173.
Palazzo Spada: this is where the Municipal Modern Art Gallery is; the collection comprises two levels and three sections; the first one is the most interesting, as it includes masterpieces of Italian contemporary artists whom participated at the “Spoleto Prize”; two of them are Arnaldo Pomodoro and Giulio Turcato.
The Roman Theater: it dates back to the Ist century A.D.; it had a capacity of 3.000 people; it has been unearthed in the XIXth century; the nearby Saint Agatha monastery, one of the most antique town complexes, now hosts the National Archaeological Museum; its most interesting items belong to the pre-roman period.
The church of Saint Ansano and Saint Isaac’s Crypt: they were built over the remains of a Ist century A.D temple.
Druso’s Arch: erected to celebrate Emperor Tiberius’ son memory, this arch is placed on the cardo maximus at the point where it reached the forum’s square (nowadays the Marketplace).
Palazzo Comunale: built over a Roman House (its excavations can be visited), it hosts the town’s art gallery which includes Umbrian paintings and a Mary Magdalene by Guercino.
The Archbishop’s Building: it’s a “stone record” of Spoleto’s history; an ancient roman building used to be here (it’s still partially visible); during the dukedom’s times the Longobard’s Building was constructed on this very spot; later, during the XIIth century this structure got incorporated into a convent; between the XVIth and XVIIth century it became the bishop’s residence; in the inner court of the Bishop’s Building we find The church of Saint Eufemia dating back to the XIIth century.
The Fortress: when the town was the outpost of the Papal State, the cardinal Albornoz (Pope Innocent VI legate) ordered the construction of a mighty military fortress on top of the highest point of the town – Saint Elijah’s Hill; he also wanted it to be connected to the Monteluco Hill by a bridge, the Towers’ Bridge, with its ten arches which leap over the Tessino stream’s valley even today; it is 230 meters (754 ft) long and over 70 meters (229 ft) high; there’s no certain construction date, but it seems like this is the evolution of a Roman aqueduct.
The Cathedral: the Spoleto Cathedral is famous worldwide owing to the splendid choreography that can be seen during the Spoleto Festival; the church was built where other two sacred edifices used to be and it was consecrated at the end of the XIIth century; it’s dedicated to the Assumption; there’s no doubt that its façade is the maximum expression of the Umbrian Romanesque architecture, divided into three orders, the result of three successive construction phases; before entering the church, on top of the central portal, we see the bronze bust of Urban VIII done by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1640; just at the church’s entrance, on the right side, there is Bishop Constantine Eroli’s chapel, entirely covered with frescoes by Pinturicchio; the other particularly valuable frescoes cycle is Filippo Lippi’s work and it can be found in the apse; here some episodes from Saint Mary’s life are illustrated, like the Annunciation, the Nativity Scene and the Coronation of the Virgin; the Tuscan artist’s sarcophagus is also hosted in the church because he died while he was working here, but his body has already been taken away; in the Holy Icon’s Chapel there is a very revered sacred image of the Virgin which allegedly is Saint Luke’s work (thus the peculiar veneration); over here we also find an autographed letter by Saint Francis to his disciple Leone.
The church of Saint Paul inter vineas: it’s been built where a sacred paleochristian structure used to be; a miraculous episode which happened in this previous building is mentioned by Gregory the Great; the present church dates back to the XIIth – XIIIth century and it is flanked by a cloister; besides its interesting Romanesque architectural shape, the most precious elements in this church are the XIIIth -century frescoes representing Prophets and Stories of the Creation of the World.
The church of Saint Peter Outside the Walls: this building is probably a very ancient one, as it seems to have been constructed towards the beginning of the Vth century, when remains of Saint Peter’s chains have been transferred here; its XIIth century façade is considered one of the most valuable examples of Umbrian Romanesque architecture thanks to the reliefs which occupy the rectangular sections in which it is divided.
The Church of Saint Salvatore: this is an exceptional case as the church has been constructed using re-employed building materials, most of them dating back to roman times, thus making it hard to date the beginning of the works.