Spoleto in the province of Perugia Umbria is an hours drive north of Terni. One of Robert’s neighbours works in Spoleto and on our second day we were offered a lift to that village. Early the next day the four of us crammed into his motor vehicle (sadly I have forgotten the name of this kindly neighbour) and headed off arriving in an interesting square where our friend dropped us off while he continued his journey to work. This was one of the less celebrated squares but even so, its character and the sites/sights surprised us. From the public graffiti to the ancient clock tower to the Roman amphitheatre/ruins beside the square we were entertained. A well-appointed coffee shop provided an ideal viewing point to see a roman theatre whilst having a cappuccino. Outside of the coffee shop the ancient arches that once held the audience now afforded a view of the countryside and the ruins to passers-by.
We proceeded (after coffee) down a lane to the entrance to the museum containing the artefacts uncovered by the excavation of the amphitheatre.
Back out of the lane way and into the main street we rushed passed the dress shops and shoe shops of the old town (this is vastly bigger than Cesi) into another square of coffee shops pubs and tourist souvenir shops which appeared to be the former marketplace of the village now serviced by pop up shops serving meats fruit and vegetables as well as traditional cooked Italian foods. A toilet break required so into another cafe for another cup of coffee. We proceed to follow the streets where they may lead us – passing the town hall.
From the town hall we walked to the majestic Rocca Albornoziana fortress, built in 1359–1370 for Cardinal Albornoz – Spoleto at this time was part of the Papal States. It has six sturdy towers which formed two distinct inner spaces: the Cortile delle Armi, for the troops, and the Cortile d’onore for the use of the city’s governor. The latter courtyard is surrounded by a two-floor porch. The rooms include the Camera Pinta (“Painted Room”) with noteworthy 15th‑century frescoes. After having resisted many sieges, the Rocca was turned into a jail in 1800 and used as such until the late 20th century. After extensive renovation it was reopened as a museum in 2007. The Rocca is so immense that I could not photograph the whole structure.
At the foot of the Rocca is Duomo (Cathedral) of S. Maria Assunta: Construction of the Duomo begun around 1175 and completed in 1227. The Romanesque edifice contains the tomb of Filippo Lippi, who died in Spoleto in 1469, designed by his son Filippino Lippi. The church also houses a manuscript letter by Saint Francis of Assisi. We found the manuscript in a chapel off the main chapel. It appears so non-descript until you realise how ancient it is and who is the author. It is tiny. There were a number of ancient looking writings in the Duomo one being on the face of a door. No translations were available nor was there any importance ascribed to the document but not a usual feature of such churches. They have retained a part of the Duomo in its original condition with frescos.
We continued to saunter through Spoleto old town and eventually were evicted into the modern town of Spoleto. Here we caught our bus back to Cesi without any eventful happenings.
All of this time I have been wearing a moon boot to aid the healing of a split tendon (the Achilles) on my right leg. By the third day I was in need of a rest. I spent most of the day writing my earlier blog whilst Kerry and Robert filled in their day. Rested Kerry and I returned to Rome to celebrate the reason for this extravagance – our 30th anniversary.