Sunday, September 23, 2012

...Scatter Stones and a Time to Gather Them (Ecclesiastes 3:5)

Spoleto! I hope these photos say more than I can - the Upper  Town (oldest part) is a lovely place. 

Note:  I’ve taken many of these comments from Spoleto Travel Guide (by  Martha Bakerjian, Guide)

The arch in the middle of the Ponte delle Torri and the valley below Spoleto

Spoleto is a walled town built on a hillside with most of the sites in the compact upper town.


Inhabited since prehistoric times, the lower parts of its wall are from the 6th century BC. The first Roman settlement, Spoletium, began in 241 BC and there are Roman remnants throughout Spoleto's historic center. 

The Arco di Druso (23 AD)

Above Spoleto is a medieval Rocca (fortress) and spanning the deep gorge to one side of the Rocca is Spoleto's most famous sight, Ponte delle Torri or Bridge of Towers.

Those little dots on the bridge are people
Ponte delle Torri, Bridge of the Towers, is a 14th century bridge built over the foundation of a Roman aqueduct. The bridge is about 750 feet long and at the highest point it's 262 feet above the gorge. Across the bridge is a small fortification tower.
Rocca Albornoziana, near the bridge, sits on the hilltop above Spoleto. Rocca Albornoziana was built on the foundation of the Roman acropolis in the 14th century and served as the seat for local pontifical governors. It has six towers, two large courtyards, and some beautiful frescoes.

Piazza del Duomo and the Duomo are at the foot of a scenic stairway. Erected on the site of a primitive Christian temple, the original Duomo was built in the 12th century. Its Romanesque facade was remodeled during the Renaissance and now has beautiful pink stone, 8 rose windows, and gold mosaics.

Fountain in P. del Mercato

Piazza del Mercato, one of Spoleto's central squares, was once the site of the Roman Forum. There's an interesting fountain built 1746-1748. Around the square you'll find bars, gelato, and some restaurants.

Church of S. Ansano

Notice the column fragment in the church wall

The Roman Arch of Drusus, built in 23AD was the entrance to the Roman Forum. Nearby is an ancient temple under what is now the Church of S. Ansano (the arch is to the left of the church in the photo above).

The Roman Theater was built in the first century.  (From the Rough Guide to Tuscany and Umbria) - a gruesome event occurred there in 1319 when 400 Guelph supporters were rounded up by the Spoletans (probably Ghibelline supporters), had their throats slit and were dumped in a pile on the stage of the Roman Theater and burned.
The Guelphs and Ghibellines almost make the Romans look tame - they took their politics seriously!

I could see the Roman Theater from my bathroom window looking straight out .......... and to the left is the view looking straight down. The lady is walking in front of the Church of S. Agata, built in the 11th Century, but no longer used for worship.

I loved my room on the corner (# 47) - not only did it have a view of the antiquities and the pedistrian-only Via S. Agata below, but it had a little balcony.  If you're ever in Spoleto, I would recommend Hotel Aurora (unless you must have total luxury) - it's a great price and Antonella bakes fresh cakes for breakfast every day. On the afternoon I arrived, the first thing I sensed when approaching the hotel was the smell of cakes baking.  Ah!

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