The Retirees return to Italy – Umbria – Portaria

Leaving behind the ruins of Carsulae, we waited at the road for the bus to take us on to Portaria. After a short wait we boarded the bus travelling along the lonely country road towards Acquasparta and after 5minutes the bus took an abrupt turn right into a track towards the hills. Portaria is a part of the town of Acquasparta. It is located along the ancient byway of the Via Flaminia , between Carsulae and Spoleto on the  Martani mountains, overlooking a great view of the Naia river valley. We arrived around 1.00 pm looking for a spot of lunch. Just inside the city gate we found this medieval looking tavern serving delightful country food. We could not help but overindulge.

According to data from Istat census in 2001, there are 126 inhabitants, while the municipal website says about 425 residents.

The town appeared to have castle like walls with two different eras of construction as there appeared to be a second building period with another wall around both sets of buildings. So I did some research.

A document of 1093 shows the town known as Porcaria (pastures for pigs were evidently abundant), where two monasteries in the area are donated to ‘ Abbey of Montecassino, by a descendant of Count Arnulf. In August 1499 Lucrezia Borgia, with her army, stopped at Porcaria castle and was greeted by four commissioners and two hundred Spoleto infantrymen before taking possession of the governorate of Spoleto.

Following her marital annulment from Count Sforza in 1498, Lucrezia was married to the Neapolitan Alfonso of Aragon, the half-brother of Sancha of Aragon who was the wife of Lucrezia’s brother Gioffre Borgia. The marriage was a short one. They were married in 1498; Lucrezia—not her husband—was appointed governor of Spoleto in 1499, Raids of troops from Ternane and Tuderti forced the inhabitants to submit to the protection of Spoleto: the captain Bartolomeo d’Alviano  established a commissioner and an infantry garrison at Porcaria.

In 1540 the town was traded, along with Acquasparta, with the castle of Alviano with Pier Luigi Farnese : the new lord, Giovan Giacomo Cesi, who exploited the marriage to Isabella d’Alviano. In 1550 it was bought for 6,000 crowns from the Apostolic Camera. During the Spoleto Duchy of Lucrezia Borgia , it is said that she lived in one of the houses overlooking the piazza Verdi today.

A separate municipality until November 1875 when it was merged with Cesi then part of the province of Terni in 1929.

Again the village appeared asleep (and they probably were) and we walked the streets alone.The main piazza is dominated by this tower and clock and inside the residences all appeared to be in good condition (apart from some doors showing their ancient heritage) and small garden plots abounded. There was one active church and below the fresco some of those funeral reliefs from the Carsulae ruins were apparent. There is a rear gate and the exterior wall of the village sits on another wall equally as high.

Returning to the entrance to the village we awaited our bus which duly came and transported us and a few other passengers to Acquasparta rail station, paused and then headed off on the return route to Cesi and Terni.


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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.