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Eggi

Eggi, the fortified village a stone's throw from Spoleto

Eggi is a village set among olive groves, just 2 kilometres from the Via Flaminia, and 5 km from Spoleto going towards Foligno, almost straddling the Nera and Spoletana valleys.
The village, of Roman origin, has well-defined stages of construction that enable you to understand its history. The construction of the triangular castle corresponds to a first period (the 14th century). During the 15th century, the village began to develop beyond its walls, and housing was built just outside of them.

Between the mid-16th century and the end of the 18th century, the village experienced a period of splendour thanks to the presence of distinguished citizens, who, with their considerable financial means, commissioned many contemporary artists to embellish the local churches.
Not to be missed is the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a religious building from the late 15th century, decorated with frescoes depicting the search for protection against the plague; the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista with an apse decorated between 1527 and 1532 by Giovanni di Pietro, known as Lo Spagna; and the Oratorio del Sacramento and hospital complex, with a gate to delimit its isolation, a vast area used as hospital wards, a kitchen and other service areas. The warehouse of Monte Frumentario is on the ground floor. The Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo houses interesting frescoes by the Master of Eggi, an anonymous 15th-century painter who worked in the Spoletina and Valnerina valleys, and who was identified by Federico Zeri based on the frescoes in this church..
The village of Eggi is famous in Umbria for its Wild Asparagus Festival, between late April and early May, now running for 20 years. This event is well worth a visit to taste one of the traditional dishes of the Spoleto area: homemade strangozzi with asparagus sauce.

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Avigliano d'Umbria

The small village of Avigliano

During mediaeval times, Avigliano Umbro and its territory experienced long disputes between Todi and Amelia and this is indicated by the marble eagle, the symbol of Todi, on the main doorway to the city.

The Chiesa della Santissima Trinità [Church of the Holy Trinity], is of note as it holds the painting of the Madonna del Rosario attributed to Andrea Polinori, a famous painter from Todi. There are nevertheless traces of the urban mediaeval fabric on the walls, on the entrance door and on the large tower with a cylindrical base where the public clock juts out.

 

The communal theatre is also worth mentioning. This was built at the start of the 20th Century and is well conserved inside.

As you leave Avigliano Umbro, you can find interesting religious buildings such as the Chiesa di Santa Vittorina, the Chiesa di Sant'Egidio and Chiesa di Sant'Angelo churches, and a visit to some castles and fortresses nearby is also worthwhile.
First and foremost, the Castello di Santa Restituta castle, which stands alongside an important archaeological area, the Grotta Bella, where many statuettes of protohistoric and Roman history have been found, the Castello di Toscolano castle alongside the Cappella della Maestà di Toscolano chapel containing frescoes which can be attributed to Pier Matteo d'Amelia and the Castello di Sismano castle with its two impressive side towers.

Finally in Dunarobba, we find an impressive quadrangular fortress dominated on its four sides by large cylindrical towers. This is located near the famous Fossil Forest, an impressive prehistoric natural park formed around a million and a half years ago and made up of grand sequoia trees.

 

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Paciano

Paciano, a medieval hamlet on the hills of Lake Trasimeno

Paciano, located in western Umbria, is a small town surrounded by olive groves at the foothills of Mount Petrarvella with views over Lake Trasimeno, Valdichiana and Mount Amiata

It is considered one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in Italy" thanks to its environmental, cultural and artistic heritage.


The historic town centre has maintained its medieval structure, with three parallel roads connected by perpendicular alleys that can be reached via the Fiorentina, Perugina and Rastrella Gates. In addition to the numerous churches, you should also visit the brand-new multimedia Banca della Memoria (Memory Bank) in palazzo Baldeschi. Here, you can reflect on the " memory and skills of artisan, agricultural and gourmet food and wine work" thanks to the local population.
If you love art, fine paintings and sculptures are displayed in the Don Aldo Rossi museum, the church of San Giuseppe and the Art Gallery, which can be reached through the Santissimo Sacramento confraternity in Via della Pitalessa.

 

Nearby, we suggest visiting the Madonna della Stella Sanctuary, built in 1572 after a pilgrim saw a star resting for three days above an image of the Madonna.
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Piediluco discovery itinerary

Piediluco is a small medieval village situated on the shores of the lake of the same name
An ideal destination for fans of sailing, boating and water skiing, it was chosen by the Italian Rowing Federation as the site of the National Rowing Centre; here, international rowing competitions are held and its sports facilities, in addition to housing, are used by athletes from around the world as the ideal venue for retreats and internships.

Enjoy the view of the village from the centre of the lake, taking advantage of the organised boat trips, or rent a pedalo; once in front of Monte Caperno, you can shout up to two syllables and you will hear the echo phenomenon.
Stroll around the lake; admire it from above while you walk along the Via di Francesco, up towards the Marmore Waterfalls.
Enjoy a moment of relaxation on the small well-equipped beaches.
In the picturesque fishing village, enlivened by the cheerful multi-coloured facades of the houses and magnificent remains of the Fortress built in the 11th century to control the area, make sure you visit the Church of San Francesco, built around 1338 in commemoration of the visit of St Francis. Note the bas-reliefs on the entrance doors depicting fish and tools for fishing in the lake.
Between late June and early July, the Festa delle Acque is not to be missed; a festival celebrating the summer solstice and the close link between the people and the lake: dance and theatre performances, musical concerts and firework displays that culminate with the gastronomic festival based on lake fish and the parade of boats with allegorical figures.
Only a few kilometres from Piediluco is Villalago, a 19th-century historic residence with a park, where you can enjoy a magnificent view over the lake; in summer, outdoor concerts and shows are staged there.

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Pietralunga, an ancient village overlooking the Carpinella Valley

Pietralunga stretches across the hills in the north-eastern part of the Città di Castello area, not far from Montone and overlooking the Carpinella Valley

The first urban settlements had Umbrian origins (2nd-1st centuries BC), although the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Many of the artifacts found at this site are now preserved in the Archaeological Museum of Perugia.
During Roman times the town was located next to the road linking the Tiber valley and the Via Flaminia.

Traces of numerous villae rusticae remain from this period; one, of particular importance, with traces of mosaics. The Roman settlement in the valley was abandoned during the barbarian invasions. The new town was built in today's location and given the name Plebs Tuphiae. The 6th-7th centuries saw the construction of the church of Santa Maria and the Longobard fortress facing the central square, cornerstone of the town's terraced building structure.

 

It was an independent municipality from the eleventh to the fourteenth century until it became part of Città di Castello.

The town has typical medieval features with sixteenth-century urban interventions. The oldest urban centre extends around the Fortress and the church of Santa Maria, with the walls dating back to the eighth century. Of the three original city gates accessing the town, the only one which is well-preserved is the Cassero gate.

Just outside the walls is the Candeleto pine forest which houses the "Silvio Bambini" Ornithological Museum. Also interesting is the church just outside the town, currently the Sanctuary of Madonna dei Rimedi.

 

To the southwest of the town do not miss out on visiting the church of de'Saddi, one of the oldest churches in the Città di Castello area and the site of the martyrdom of St. Crescenziano, a Roman legionnaire killed during the Diocletianic persecutions.

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Monteluco and its ancient hermitages and religious buildings

The evergreen Monteluco is located close to the historic town of Spoleto, to which it is connected by a pedestrian footbridge, the Ponte delle Torri

You can reach the mountain with your own means of transport, along a road that offers a magnificent view over the Spoleto valley.

Entirely covered with oaks, it was a "sacred wood" (in Latin, lucus) and a place of worship dedicated to Jupiter since Roman times (3rd century BC); it was also chosen by the early hermits, who came from Syria as early as the 5th century AD, as a preferred place of mystical solitude. Today the mountain, still unspoiled, is home to ancient hermitages and religious buildings of great historical and artistic value.

We recommend that you visit the San Giuliano Abbey, according to tradition dating back to the 5th century, the Villa Lalli (former hermitage of Santa Maria delle Grazie), the Hermitage of Sant'Antimo and the shrine dedicated to St Francis, who, in around 1218, obtained the small Chiesa di Santa Caterina from the Benedictines, and around which he built small cells for himself and his first companions.

The Monteluco Visitors' Centre is also well worth a visit: the centre is the result of an initiative by the local branch of the WWF in order to promote knowledge through historical, religious, geological, botanical and zoological evidence.

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Trekking urbano a Parco Sant’Angelo a Perugia

Trekking urbano a Parco Sant’Angelo a Perugia

L’area verde a nord di Perugia, con i suoi circa 4 ettari di estensione a pochi passi dal centro tra ulivi, lecci, salici, tigli, acacie e alberi da frutta, è tutta da percorrere e da scoprire, a partire dalla possente cerchia delle Mura medievali – innalzata tra la seconda metà del 1200 e la prima parte del 1300 – che la delinea.

Potete lasciare l’auto nelle aree limitrofe con ingresso da via Sperandio, uno dei tre accessi al Parco (gli altri sono in via del Canarino e in via del Bulagaio), e iniziare il percorso adatto a tutta la famiglia che si sviluppa ad anello per circa un chilometro.

Anche i più sportivi possono allenarsi con una bella corsa in salita, “facendosi le gambe”, come si dice, sui gradoni e sui terrazzamenti con cui il parco è stato realizzato. 
L’allestimento è stato progettato in questo modo per salvaguardare la conformazione originale del luogo. Vi trovate infatti su uno dei crinali del vallone del Bulagaio, che un tempo era giardino di ortolani, coltivato a piccole terrazze di colture ortive, con gli ulivi a tappezzarne i declivi. Al suo interno scorre il fosso omonimo, che faceva parte di un sistema di valloni scoscesi, le forre, che si spingevano a ridosso della città.

Percorrendo l’antico spazio – via del Bulagaio corrisponde a una delle cinque “vie regali” d’accesso a Perugia ed era usata in epoca etrusca per gli scambi commerciali tra Perugia, la Piana del Tevere e Gubbio – arrivate all’anfiteatro, realizzato agli inizi degli anni ’80 con gradinate in tufo. Qui si svolgono, di solito nel fine settimana, manifestazioni ed eventi, in particolar modo dedicate ai più piccoli, a cui il parco dedica lungo il percorso attrezzature sportive e ricreative.  

Potete ora rilassarvi e ammirare le vicine Mura in pietre arenarie e calcaree con agli angoli mezzi torrioni quadrangolari. State ammirando la seconda più antica cerchia di Mura della città, la prima risale al tempo degli Etruschi e fu edificata tra il IV e il III secolo a. C.

Dedicate anche uno sguardo (in attesa della sua riapertura) al poderoso cassero di Porta Sant’Angelo, prospiciente il parco, con i suoi tre livelli di costruzione a partire dal 1326: il primo in pietra arenaria, il secondo in pietra calcarea, il terzo in laterizio. La trasformazione in cassero, munito di botole e feritoie e di porta caditoia, così come lo potete vedere oggi, risale al 1479. Dal suo tetto si gode uno splendido panorama sulla città.

E per finire in bellezza, non potete perdervi una visita, in via del Tempio, alla chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo, una delle prime chiese paleocristiane in Italia e il primo edificio religioso di Perugia, edificato tra il V e VII secolo. 

Per informazioni:

tel. +39 328 5355084 (Associazione T.URB.AZIONI)  
tel. +39 075 5722624 (Ufficio Parrocchia di Sant'Angelo)

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Le Cascate de Lu Cugnuntu

“Lu Cugnuntu” Waterfalls

Lu Cugnuntu waterfalls, 8 km from Preci, give you a regenerating show of water which plays between limestone walls and it splashes a charge of vitality. But you have to reach the hidden goal among the luxuriant vegetation, equipped with waterproof shoes, helmet and good legs to walk.

By car you can reach the suburb of San Lazzaro in Valloncello, from the small valley name which extends until it unites with the most famous river Nera Valley, the Valnerina.

From here, left your car and passed the first house, turn on the left following the signal “Lu Cugnuntu”. The path opening in the vegetation climbs over the stream and it leads you into the wood, always along the watercourse, which sometimes you have to wade and to be careful not to slip on the wet rocks. 

Gradually, going up the riverbed, often jumping from rock to rock, you will enter in a canyon of straight stony walls, that will lead you into the gorge, broad at the base about three meters, that narrows on the top leaving visible just a piece of the sky.

First you hear the sound, then you’ll see them, sparkling, jumping from about twenty meters high: they are the Lu Cugnuntu waterfalls (from Latin coniunctio, conjunction, given that in this point are joined the Valloncello and Acquastrino ditches), a natural jewel, little known, hidden into the Valnerina’s folds, that you could reach in half an hour walk.

These waterfalls, as indeed the Triponzo and Madonna della Peschiera waters, in distant times, they were thought to be healthy and therapeutic. For this reason in the San Lazzaro village in Valloncello was built a leper colony with the attached church, according to tradition founded by Saint Francis in 1218. It remained active for 400 years.

You can stop in the village, in the journey back, to find in the remains of the church attached at the hospital, what is left of that complex and of that time, provided that the Lu Cugnuntu waterfalls still remain powerful as in the past, wonderful and therapeutic for your soul.

 

For information:
Valnerina Tourist Area, via G. da Chiavano 2, tel. +39 0743 71401 – 71147, Cascia
www.lavalnerina.it

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Le Cascate del Menotre

Menotre Waterfalls

Among Pale and Belfiore there is a magic place where you can admire the Menotre river getting up with several jumps and insinuating in narrow gorges, from here you can start your exploration: in descending manner from Pale, in ascending manner from Belfiore.

You are facing a prominent figure of this territory, that is born close to the village of Orsano and to the Mareggia mount – in the municipality of Sellano – about 800 meters high, and from the first drops it train in digging its bed among gorges and limestone rocks, along a path of 30 km. 

The water makes its way into the valley that bears its name, snappy crossing the villages of Rasiglia – where various sources close to each other considerably increase its river flow – Casenove, Scopoli, Pale, Belfiore, Vescia, Scanzano and finally flowing into the Topino.
Once passed the hamlet of Belfiore, after a roundabout, you can leave your car in a forecourt surrounded by olive trees. From here is starting a trail of over a kilometers, gravel and flattish in the first part, that unfolds in the Altolina Park and it borders almost all the riverbed.

Along the track, at the points of natural interest, you can pause in some dedicated areas equipped with benches and tables, surrounded by poplar trees and ferns.

Hidden among the vegetation peep out some stone sculptures, in memory of what once was the garden of a noble family, the Elisei, settled in Pale with a building of its own since 1268. On the path you also do run into an old hydraulic brickwork which emerges from the ground, used to canalize the river’s water towards the factories built downstream over the centuries. 

The first thunderous jump of the Menotre suddenly opens to the view, with its bubbly power; after two bends, while the path is going to be steeper, it ensues another which worth admiring up close along a little detour on the left side: the restless water arrives winding among the walls of a ravine creating a small lake with a thousand shades.

After other two jumps as an athlete, one of which is hiding the access to a small cave, the Menotre gives its best close to Pale, with a spectacular and thunderous dip of about 150 meters in the valley below.

Above you open up the houses and the castle of the old village nestled between the river and the rocks, which tell the industrial history of the paper mills whose Menotre was the prime mover.

Just think that the first printing of the Divine Comedy was realized at Foligno, in 1442, with the paper of Pale’s paper mills.
This journey walkable in about an hour it is accessible most of the year, but we recommend you to visit it during late spring or summer: the luxuriant vegetation and the water make the visit fresh and pleasant.

If you have some time you can visit nearby the St. Mary Jacob’s Hermitage and the Abbadessa Caves.
A small old world composed of water and rocks that will leave you breathless.

 

For more information:
www.paledifoligno.it 

Ph.: Tommaso Camilloni, Andrea Spaccini and Bernardino Sperandio

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Ceselli: canyoning, rafting and trekking

Ceselli: canyoning, rafting and trekking

Ceselli (alt. 317 m) is a small settlement in the Valnerina, on the right bank of river Nera, overlooking the valley of the same name. 
A hillside castle dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries, it defended the feudal monastery of San Pietro in Valle and was, according to oral tradition, entrusted to the vassals of the dukes of Spoleto.
The village grew in the valley with the typical hillside houses that have entrances to the barns and dwellings on different sides and storeys. 
In the village we suggest visiting the church of Saint Michael the Archangel, dating back to the 14th century, and modified several times over the centuries up to its current 19th century facade.

The interior presents a single nave and side altars, with remains of frescoes from the 15th and 16th centuries around the apse and the bell tower, which was built on the remains of the castle's tower.  Further along the SS209 Valnerina road and up into the mountain, outside the settlement, is the small Romanesque church of San Vito, venerated in popular tradition as a bulwark against rabies.  
Near the graveyard, along the old Spoleto road is the Romanesque church of San Sabino o Savino, bishop and Umbrian martyr, killed in Spoleto. The interior, with its single nave, presents traces of frescoes partly dating back to the 1500s.

A district of the town of Scheggino, known for its Activo Park amusement park, truffles and the sense of peace and quiet that characterise many of the villages in this part of the Valnerina, the settlement of Ceselli has been a separate municipality since 1875. Its position on the bank of the river Nera, nestled among steep slopes where well oxygenated water flows and sometimes foams into rapids, makes it an ideal destination for all water sports, (rafting, canoeing, kayaking, canyoning...), no-kill fishing and hiking.  
A departure point for those wishing to explore the Forra del Casco, a stimulating descent through canyons, waterfalls and rapids in a still-wild nature, Ceselli is also at the heart of a network of paths to discover by bike or on foot, such as the historical Pious IX trail, which leaves Osteria di Ceselli and follows in the steps of the then-Archbishop of Spoleto, fleeing the revolutionary tremors of 1831, as well as the Via di Francesco.

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The UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of Peglia Mount

The UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of Peglia Mount

The Natural Reserve of the Peglia Mount is located into the Terni zone, enclosed between the river basin of the Tiber river, which delimits it eastward, and of the Peglia river westward.

Northward, the hills, on which grow several luxuriant woods characterizing the Reserve, are extended toward the Trasimeno Lake area, while southward you can find some height greater hills, among which the Peglia Mount stands out.

The whole Reserve, incorporated into four Municipalities as San Venanzo, Orvieto, Parrano and Ficulle, has never had a strong population growth like other towns in the Region:  these places and small villages of 40k hectares have never exploited the resources of their land, preserving its great variety of flora and fauna that are living into the woods of the area, for many centuries remained almost intact. Holm oak, turkey oak, oak trees and maple trees, with many diversity of fruit trees and shrubs, they constitute a small green lung in the Green Heart of Italy
In the district of the Peglia there are actually forty four species of wild mammal.

The Elmo wood – Melonta, a hilly area of about 1000 hectares, has got a dense vegetation mainly characterized by holm oak but you can also find other tree species, like the Turkey oak and the black hornbeam, associating to shrubby species, like the tree heat and the arbutus.
Here we have some prehistoric sites of the Peglia Mount, dating back more 700.000 years ago, and there are also some extinct volcanoes of San Venanzo, risen on the ridge of one of them, where you can watch the union of very rare rocks, only present at Quing Ling in China, at Bunyaruguru, Katwe Kykorongo in Uganda and at Mata de Corda in Brazil.   

The human activity was not totally absent: particularly interesting for those who want to explore the area, as well as the paths latterly opened and marked, there is the path which from the small village of Poggio Aquilone enters into the Reserve to reach Parrano and the mineral springs of the “Tane del Diavolo”. Little further north, art lovers can visit the Scarzuola, where the artist from Milan Tommaso Buzzi devised and built his visionary “Ideal City” starting from a thirteenth century convent. 

The perception that you have by walking through these woods, or by exploring the “slow” lifestyle of the towns of different sizes of the area, like Ficulle, Montegiove with its castle or Orvieto, “slow city” par excellence, it consists in a unique equilibrium between man and nature. Precisely this virtuous relationship earned to this territory the status of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, under the Programme “MAB – Man and Biosphere”.

For more information:
www.montepegliaperunesco.it

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The Gorges of the River Nera

The Gorges of the Nera River

The gorges of the River Nera, where nature, culture and history have been meeting for two thousand years in a unique atmosphere, are a worthy continuation of the Valnerina after the Nera river crosses the Terni Valley. 

 

It’s an interesting bit of territory because of its landscape, naturalistic and historic value.

Particularly inspiring is the path that follows the ex railway bed, running along the Nera river for about 5 kilometres. It’s an itinerary suitable for everyone: lovers of trekking, running, mountain bike and horseback rides, but also canoeing enthusiasts who can follow the River Nera with its artificial marinas created along the river from the area of Funara until the mill in the territory of Nera Montoro.

At the southernmost tip of the Gorges there are remains of the Ancient and strategic Roman harbour and of the shipyard that demonstrate the old navigability of the rivers Tiber and Nera; up on the mountain of St. Croce, you can see the caves, once inhabited by hermits, and the abbey of St. Cassiano and below the remains of the imposing Bridge of Augustus (27 BC).

The Superba Narnia, seal and symbol of the medieval historical atmosphere pervading the whole valley, stands on the other side, lying on a spur of rock of the Mount Maggiore.

The area upstream the ecological oasis of the San Liberato Lake is particularly interesting for ornithological reasons: the rugged rock walls host a vital population of blue rock thrushes also living in Narni’s towers and offer shelter to some species of nocturnal and diurnal birds of prey.

The forests of holm oaks and manna-ashes, in many points almost impenetrable, host a long list of migratory species: from Wood Pigeons, that sometimes stop there for nesting, to Thrushes, Blackbirds, Jays, and to the multitude of other Passerines, that in autumn and spring fly over our peninsula in their long migratory flights. 

 

[Source: www.turismonarni.it]

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Monti Martani

Monti Martani

The Monti Martani massif is located at the center of Umbria and runs north-south for about 45 Km. 

The Martani slopes have mainly gentle, with deep furrowed valleys, due to the presence of torrential streams that are dry for much of the year. 
The high degree of permeability of the limestone rocks and the presence of the fault system have allowed the establishment of a deep and complex groundwater flow. In some cases, water erosion has produced very deep ravines, with sinkholes due the dissolution of limestone; there are also cavities and caves. 
The tops of Martani are mostly rounded and grassy. The evergreen forests have primarily Holm, and also arbutus, terebinth, lentisk,  mastic trees, heather, wild olives and the beautiful Aleppo pine.
As for the fauna, its diversification is linked to the variety of plant environments examined above. 
Among the invertebrates are to remember two splendid insects: the two-tailed pasha butterfly (Charaxes jasius) a beautiful large diurnal butterfly characterized by typically tropical colors, unfortunately more and more rare, closely related to the strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), a plant by which the caterpillar can survive; and the Rosalia longicorn (Rosalia alpina), a rare beetle, marked by a blue livery light with ash-dotted elytra by velvety black spots, which survives and blends into beech woods.

The hills are home to beautiful and rare salamander and the small spectacled salamander, the non-venomous four-lined snake and the venomous common viper.
Birdwatchers can look for buzzards, sparrowhawks and other diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey. There are also rare species like the green woodpecker, the great spotted woodpecker, the kingfisher and the blue rock thrush. Many mammal species are present but they can be difficult to spot and only noticed by careful analysis of the soil. 
These include hedgehogs, squirrels, foxes, weasels, polecats, deer and badgers. 


In the mid-eighties, thanks to some initiatives of the Umbria Region, Martani Trekking was ceated. It is a "double-loop" or "figure eight" path which covers different terrains: on the grassy ridges and on ridges cloaked forests, among the small medieval villages of historical roads and paths, a path suited to the three types of hiking on foot, horseback and mountain biking.

 

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Prati di Stroncone

Prati di Stroncone

A dreamlike destination about 1000 metres above sea level, near Stroncone, a medieval village perched on a hill covered with olive groves and well protected by the robust town walls. 

The Prati di Stroncone (Stroncone Meadows) open before you after a succession of curves and slopes, and located at the foot of Mount Macchialunga.

 

Wide green plains with a few huge trees appear when the mountains side almost begins to retreat from the roadside.

Along these splendid and wide plains one can rest and relax with friends or have fun with kids: it’s a jewel within easy distance of Terni, maybe little known but that you will love at first sight.

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Villalba Park

Villalba Park

The Villalba Park is a wooded area of over 20 ha.

The park is situated at an altitude between 600 and 700 meters and it was designed by the Mountain Communities as park facilities. The area, situated at the edge of the Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve, inside the vast state-owned forest of Selva di Meana, is remarkable from an environmental point of view.

The Park is included in the ample Interregional Park. The woods of tall trees include species of oak, with some other rarer but important varieties such as maple, ash, beech and chestnut trees. Among the shrubs there are the rare fraxinella.

Just inside the park there are numerous wild orchids, of which more than thirty different species have been recorded. There is also a rich fauna with the presence of ungulates, predominantly wild boar, but also fallow and roe deer, and many birds of prey.

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Trasimeno Lake

Umbria, the green heart of Italy

The green heart of Italy, with its rich variety of landscapes, is the ideal destination for memorable weddings and romantic weekends immersed in the most scenic natural setting. 


The rugged Apennines are interspersed with the mountain ranges of the Valnerina and the numerous regional nature parks, until they plunge back into the wide lake basins of Lake Trasimeno and Piediluco and along the banks of numerous rivers, first and foremost the Tiber. But Umbria is not just a place of wild nature, it is also full of hidden treasures within the enchanted natural places: the chromatic illusions of the Castelluccio Plain in the centre of the Monti Sibillini Park, the stagmites of the Montecucco Cave, powerful Marmore Waterfalls.

Created by the ancient Romans, the waterfalls are a highlight of Umbria's natural heritage, and are set in a park with trails to discover the flora and fauna of the area, and even a hidden tunnel dug into the travertine, that opens onto the famous “lovers' balcony”.

The sound of the rushing waters accompanies the romantic legend of Velino and Nera, the humble shepherd and the beautiful nymph united by an overwhelming love, separated by the wrath of the jealous Juno, who turned the young nymph into the crystalline river now flowing from the top of the Velino and still bearing its name.

Another enthralling legend about a lovely nature spot concerns Trasimeno Lake, renownd for its romantic sunsets. According to legend, the fearless prince Trasimeno, son of the wise Etruscan King Tirreno di Lidia, fell hopelessly in love with the graceful nymph Agilla, and then they got married on the lakeshore. Somehow the young prince drowned in the lake that now bears his name, and they say it’s still possible to hear, in the gentle breeze rippling the lake, the distant the moaning of the nymph Agilla, searching for her love who was swallowed by the waves.

The enchanting local landscape serves as a backdrop to the typical products, marking the timeless bond of the Umbrian people with their land. The abundant and flourishing lake hosts delicious kinds of fish, cooked in the “tegamaccio”, or porchetta-style, or simply grilled over embers, is the ideal product for lovers of the good cuisine. Seasoned with the excellent local oil and accompanied by an exquisite Umbrian wine, fresh-caught lake fish will be perfect for a romantic candle-lit dinner surrounded by the inspiring Umbrian hills.

 

For further information: 

Wedding in Umbria


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Santuario della Madonna dei Miracoli

In order to reach the shrine of our Lady of Miracles, you have to go to Castel Rigone, a small hamlet of Passignano sul Trasimeno.
The sanctuary is located just outside the walls of the village, and it is among the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Umbria. The building was erected in 1494, with the support of the Perugia municipality, as place of protection against the plague; for this reason, it was dedicated to Our Lady of Miracles, by the will of Pope Alexander VI.

The structure was totally built with sandstone: the façade was executed by Domenico Bertini, and the squat tower was rebuilt in 1851, after the collapse of the previous one in 1531. The sanctuary has a Latin-cross design, with a vast single nave; on the left wall you can admire paintings by the Perugia school dating back to the 1500s.
A wooden crucifix is located in the right arm of the transept, within a small chapel of pietra serena stone, frescoed by Tommaso Papacello. The two tondi with figures of the prophets Micah and Isaiah, located on the pillars of the triumphal arch, were executed by Domenico Alfani.
In the apse is the painting depicting the Epiphany, executed by Alfani after cartoons by Rosso Fiorentino. The chapel in the left transept, also in pietra serena, houses a picture of the Virgin with the Child, dating back to the end of the 16th century.  The painting by G.B. Caporali depicting the Coronation of the Virgin is located above the second altar on the left.
 
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The Knights of Malta’s Castle in Magione

Castle of the Knights of Malta in Magione

Originally a hospital of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, later known as the Knights of Malta, and dedicated to St. John Baptist, the original core of the castle was built in the mid-12th century not far from the important road between Perugia, Lake Trasimeno and Tuscany. 

Even if some people believe that the facility belonged originally to the Knights Templar, later passed to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, there are no documents attesting this proposal. On the contrary, all documents of the 12th century tend to show that the castle has always belonged to the current owners.

In March 1261, this hospital was almost totally destroyed by the militias of the Perugia municipality; the only remains of the original structure are parti of the church, the base of the bell tower and some parts of the current western wing. Already renovated in the second half of 13th century, in 1367 the structure was extended in its eastern side, whereas an arcade over the church and probably the circular tower on the left of the current entrance were built in 1471.

The 16th century saw the construction of other arcades, which incorporate some parts of the 14th century arcades and are still visible on the three sides of the inner courtyard. It was probably on the occasion of these new works, or right before them, that two frescoes representing the Nativity and a composition with the Virgin Mary, St. John Baptist and St. James have been made. Other minor works occurred in 1644, when the sandstone puteal has been built on a pre-existing tank.

The name Badia, used by the Magione inhabitants for his structure, established itself in modern times, when the term Magione was no longer indicated the castle (something that was already happening in the 16th century), but referred to the village in place of the more ancient Pian di Carpine. The documentation from the late 15th century refers to the abbatia (abbey) Mansionis Plani Carpinis.

Currently the buildings are used as the operational centre of a large farm and vineyard. Local wines were praised by the humanist Giannantonio Campano who, in the mid-15th century, stated that there were few districts producing better wines than those from around Lake Trasimeno.

For further information:

www.castellodimagione.it


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Palazzo della Corgna

Palazzo della Corgna

The Palazzo della Corgna sits on Piazza Gramsci in the historical centre of Castiglion del Lago and is connected via a covered walkway to the gorgeous medieval fortress that looks out over Lake Trasimeno.


The Palazzo della Corgna sits on Piazza Gramsci in the historical centre of Castiglion del Lago and is connected via a covered walkway to the gorgeous medieval fortress that looks out over Lake Trasimeno.

Historical note
The building was originally designed as a hunting lodge for the powerful Baglioni but was then altered by Ascanio della Corgna to serve as his noble family's home.
It is now the municipal building of the City of Castiglione and home to the museum of the palazzo.

The Palazzo della Corgna is certainly worth a visit for the great XVI century façade and stairs, and for the richly decorated rooms, which make up part of the museum.


Among the important works of art it contains are the frescoes painted by artists like Niccolò Circignani, better known as "Il Pomarancio".

Palazzo della Corgna was built by Ascanio della Corgna when the State of Castiglione was handed over to his powerful family by Pope Julius II.

Work on it began in 1563 and the project was executed by Galeazzo Alessi and Il Vignola.
The palazzo is, in fact, an elegant Renaissance noble home.
Designed with a L-shaped layout, the main façade has a raised entrance that is reached by a double staircase. Set back to the left of the main building is the lesser wing of the building, a simple structure with a sequence of rectangular windows.

Between the two buildings lies what remains of what was once a large and elegant Italianate garden.
The interior of the palazzo is rich with pictorial decoration in keeping with the social standing the della Corgna family enjoyed in the Renaissance.

The ground floor is divided into three rooms with frescoes depicting playful scenes of leisure, it is where people gathered and engaged in social activities.

The stairs lead to the upper floor, the ‘noble floor'. It was here that della Corgna lived and where he entertained important guests. The rooms, which are part of the museum's route, are entirely decorated with frescoes by Niccolò Circignani and Antonio Pandolfi rife with important themes celebrating the family's fame and glory.
It was here that Diomede della Penna, a nephew of Ascanio, had the walls covered in frescoes depicting the military and political prowess of his uncle, which we find in 16 faux arras on the walls and in the large one on the ceiling.

A story handed down over the years in Castiglione recounts that at midnight every 3rd of December, the anniversary of Ascanio's death, his ghost shows up at the front door and then roams about the rooms of the Palazzo.

Leave your car outside of the old walls and walk into the old centre on foot, following the lively main street all the way down to Palazzo della Corgna.
You can visit the grand old building buying a comprehensive Sistema Museum ticket that also includes the medieval fortress and the covered walkway that connects the Palazzo to the fortress. 

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Isola Maggiore

Isola Maggiore

Isola Maggiore is the second largest island on Lake Trasimeno and it is covered by a dense vegetation of olive trees, holm oaks and cypresses. Unlike Isola Polvese and Isola Minore, today it is still inhabited, with a small village on its western shore.

 

The settlement dates back to the early Middle Ages, and a community of Friars Minor settled here starting from the end of the 13th century. They hosted St. Francis on the island throughout an entire Lenten season.
The small village consists of one completely paved road overlooked by the houses of the 13th and 14th centuries, including the lovely house of the Captain of the People. At the end of the village is the Church of St. Salvatore, that houses some parts of a polyptych by Sano di Pietro, formerly in the church of the Franciscan monastery.

The southernmost tip of the island houses Guglielmi Castle, that today is in an unfortunate state of abandonment. Built by the marquis Giacinto Guglielmi, its neo-gothic forms reuse the structures of the ancient monastery of Franciscans, of which only the small church of St. Francis is left. Another important building is the Church of St. Michael Archangel with frescoes made between the 13th and the 16th centuries and a Crucifix that is perhaps attributable to Bartolomeo Caporali.

 

Bibliography
Guerrieri O. (1988), Il lago Trasimeno e il suo territorio: Castiglione del Lago, Città della Pieve, Magione, Paciano, Panicale; Passignano, Piegaro, Tuoro, Le Isole, Perugia, Benucci.
Caruso P. (1999), Benvenuti in Umbria, guida ai 92 comuni, Collazzone, Grilligraf Editrice.T.C.I. (2004), Umbria, Milano, Turing Editore.
 
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