Spoleto is one of the most ancient cities of Umbria, from 241 BC. e. Roman colony of Spolecius (lat Spoletium), successfully resisting the attack of Hannibal. Being on the Flaminia road contributed to the growth of Spoleto, especially during the Gothic Wars. After the destruction of the Goths, the city was restored by Narses. The Lombards advancing south made it in 570 the capital of the duchy, which in the best years occupied all of Central Italy east of the Papal States and waged grueling wars with the Ravenna exarchate. Formally, the duchy continued to exist until 1213, when it joined the papal possessions, but by the beginning of the 9th century, Spoleto had lost its status as one of the oldest political centers in Italy. Until 1354, the inhabitants of the city fluctuated between batches of Guelphs and Ghibellines. In 1860, after stubborn defense, the castle in Spoleto was occupied by Piedmontese troops and sent to prison.
The medieval city is picturesquely spread out on a hillside over which a massive stronghold rises (Rocca), built in 1355-64. on the site of the citadel of the dukes of Spolets. The Spoletan Cathedral (consecrated 1198, rebuilt 1634-44), in addition to eight Gothic windows in the form of rosettes and a large mosaic of 1207, is famous for the magnificent fresco “The Blessing of the Virgin Mary” by Fra Filippo Lippi, which rests in this temple.
Of the more ancient monuments, an important aqueduct has survived, 206 m long and 81 m high, laid on the medieval bridge over the river (1364), the "Bloody Bridge" of the 1st century. BC e., the ruins of the pre-Roman and Roman fortifications, the ancient theater (partly recreated by the efforts of restorers) and the arch of Druze (23 BC) near the ruins of some ancient temple. There are many ancient churches, the exact date of construction of which is often the subject of scientific debate: San Salvador (either V, or VIII centuries), Santa Yufemia (X century), San Pietro (XIII century), San Gregorio (XII century.) And others.
How to get to Spoleto
It is most convenient to get to Spoleto by Aeroflot and Alitalia via Rome. At Fiumicino Airport you need to catch the Leonardo Express, which goes to Termini Station (half an hour on the way, departure every 20 minutes). In Rome, take the train to Spoleto - trains depart every hour and spend 1.5 hours on the road.
You can buy tickets and check the schedule at the office. carrier website Trenitalia (in English). In total, the journey from Sheremetyevo to Spoleto takes 6-7 hours.
Search for flights to Rome (nearest airport to Spoleto)
Public transport Spoleto is represented by buses running on 6 routes. But the average tourist can do without them, especially since the city has a unique system of travelators (free) that allows you to quickly and conveniently travel in hilly terrain.
There are no centralized bicycle rental offices in Spoleto - again, due to the terrain, riding a bike is difficult, and because of sharp turns and narrow streets it’s even dangerous. A car is also not the best option - entry to the center is forbidden to everyone except residents. Cars can be left at one of the free parking lots on the outskirts of the city, and if necessary, take a taxi. A 10-minute ride will cost 10 EUR. From the railway station to the center, taxi drivers charge a fixed fee: 15 EUR. Prices on the page are for October 2018.
Most Spoleto hotels are located in its historical center. All of them are located in ancient buildings, so the rooms in them are often very small. Larger modern hotels with pools, stylish lobbies and spacious lounges are located closer to the outskirts, or even out of town in general. The cost of living there and there is about the same. A standard room in a four-star hotel is offered for 80-140 EUR per day. A night in a three-star hotel will cost 60-80 EUR. You can settle in a guesthouse for 60 EUR, and in an apartment - for 50-70 EUR.
A great option for those who are by car - housing in country estates. You can rent a room in an authentic rural style 5-10 km from Spoleto for 50-60 EUR. There are no hostels in the city and its environs.
Cuisine and restaurants
The main dishes of the region: “stragozzi al tortufo” (thick Umbrian pasta with a parcel of truffle), beef steak with local tomatoes and parmesan, “cirole alla ternana” (pasta with garlic, olive oil and chili). Of the fast food in Spoleto, panini sandwiches with a variety of fillings are most favored: prosciutto, mortadella, bresaola. You can grab a bite to eat on the go for 5 EUR.
Fans of gourmet cuisine can try the masterpieces of Umbrian cuisine in Michelin-starred restaurants - there are two of them in Spoleto. The cost of a dinner for two is there 100-120 EUR. But to eat in traditional osteria can be much cheaper: dinner accompanied by a glass of local merlot will cost 20 EUR per person.
Familiarity with the main attractions of Spoleto is best to start from the top of the hill of St. Elijah. Here at an altitude of 400 m above sea level is the Rocca fortress (Piazza B. Campello, 4). In 1359, Cardinal Albornotsa ordered it to be erected at the highest point of the city for the papal residence. Until 1983, the building was a prison.
In the center, surrounded by powerful walls of the fortress, there is a structure that divides the castle into two courtyards: Honor and Armory. The first operates the Museum of the Duchy of Spoleto, opened in 2007, and the second - a summer theater for 1200 spectators. Yards connect the passage with frescoes of the late 16th century. On its arch is the coat of arms of Pope Gregory XIII, and on the walls are the coats of arms of 6 cities of the Papal Region: Porto d'Anzio, Perugia, Orvieto, Ripatransone, Spoleto and another yet unidentified city.
Approaching the walls, you can enjoy stunning views of the nearby hills, the Tessino river valley and Spoleto itself.
Between the hill with the castle and Monteluco Mountain is another important attraction - Tower Bridge (Ponte delle Torri). To get to it is very simple: you need to go down on a free elevator or walk around the top of the hill.
The bridge got its name thanks to two observation towers, but there are several versions of its appearance at once. According to one of them, leaning on 10 powerful arches, Ponte delle Torri served as an aqueduct in the late 12th century. Another says that the bridge was built in the 14th century by the Spanish Cardinal Gil Albornoz.
The main church of Spoleto is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin in the north-east of the Old Town (Piazza del Duomo, 2). Its top is composed of two tiers, in the upper - three round windows and three deaf lancet arches with a mosaic with Jesus, the Mother of God and St. John in the middle. Inside the cathedral of the 15th century is decorated with frescoes of the famous artist of the same century, Fra Filippo Lippi with images of the Acts of the Virgin. In the center of the presbytery there is a multi-colored marble altar with 4 columns-candelabra.
The Roman heritage of Spoleto is represented by the amphitheater of the 1st century BC. e. (Via delle Terme, 2). In ancient times, it was seriously destroyed by an earthquake, then the structure began to be disassembled into stones. The remains of the amphitheater were discovered only in 1938. Today it has been restored and is hosting various events. The orchestra pit still has marble flooring, and in the proscenium there are holes in which the curtain was once fastened.
One of the most ancient monuments of the city - roman theater I century, which in the summer still serves as a platform for performances.
The tourist center of the city - piazza del duomo, where is roman cathedralDuomo with a bell tower (XII century.). The facade is decorated with mosaics of the beginning of the XIII century, a medieval portal with a rose window. The interior of the cathedral is notable for the cycle of frescoes of the Florentine Filippo Lippi (1406-1469), which is buried here.
Church of Santa Eufemia
A short walk from the cathedral is Church of Sant Eufemia (Chiesa di Sant’Eufemia, XI c). Inside the Romanesque temple above the nave there is a gallery on which women were to sit during the service - this is a rare example of such a layout in Italy.
Ponte delle torri
Bridge Ponte Torri (PontedelleTorri, "Tower Bridge", XIII century.) Overlaps the space between the castle and the opposite hill.
In June and July, the city hosts the festival "Two Worlds" or "Two Hemispheres." The culmination of the holiday - exhibitions of avant-garde art, many of which are arranged right on the streets of the ancient city.
Italy. The Pearl of Umbria - Spoleto
Spoleto is one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the pearl necklace of Umbria. The medieval city is picturesquely spread out on the hillside of St. Elijah at an altitude of 400 meters above sea level. Once at the foot of the lake splashed, but since the XVI century there was no water, now this lowland is called the Spoleto Valley.
We arrived in Spoleto on a very hot June day and were looking forward to the pleasure of climbing the mountain under the scorching sun. However, the residents of the city have prepared an incredible surprise for tourists. A cascade of escalators (Percorso Meccanizzato) was built in the city, leading through the whole city to the very top of the hill.
Exits from the escalator tunnel lead to key points in the city. Very convenient and completely free. Maps of the city with marked attractions are displayed everywhere. Air conditioners worked at full power throughout the journey, so the rise to the fortress was more than pleasant.
Only 10 minutes, and we are already looking down on the city and the Duomo.
The fortress of Albornoziana (Rocca Albornoziana) is the largest building in Spoleto. It was built in the XIV century as a papal fortification on the site of the citadel of the dukes of Spolets.
For a long time there was a prison in the fortress. Today in the premises of the citadel are museum expositions, part of the buildings are closed for reconstruction.
The fortress offers stunning panoramic views. Perhaps the most beautiful of those we have already seen in Umbria.
From one of the loopholes in the fortress wall, we made out the famous tower bridge (Ponte delle Torri) - one of the symbols of Spoleto. We went down to the bridge.
The bridge connects the hill of St. Elijah and Mount Monteluco.
The length of the aqueduct, built in 1364, 230 meters, height - 81.
We were stuck near the bridge for a long time, completely forgetting about the schedule planned for the day.
The incredible beauty of the place!
From the bridge is another shot of the Albornocian fortress. It would be worth spending much more time on it. Maybe next time…
However, they went directly to the city. The Pearl of Spoleto - the cathedral was already closer.
It was the cathedral that we primarily wanted to see on this trip. There are a lot of interesting things in Spoleto, but in the few hours that we had, it was not realistic to inspect everything.
On the way to the cathedral, everything was filmed, for which a glance caught on.
The city is known from 241 BC. e. as a prosperous Roman colony of Spoletium. In those days, Spoleto became famous for the fact that Hannibal tried unsuccessfully to conquer him. However, the remains of the cyclopean wall indicate that the settlement was here before, from about the 7th century BC. Later the Goths ruled here, then the Lombards, under which Spoleto flourished, becoming the capital of the duchy. Since 1213, the city became part of the papal possessions and lost the status of a major political center in Italy. Since 1860, Spoleto has been part of Italy.
We reached the Duomo quickly enough. We were not very lucky here, the square (Piazza del Duomo) in front of the cathedral was occupied by filmmakers. They settled thoroughly and for a long time - they were shooting some historical film.
They admired the cathedral from the steps of the wide staircase leading to it, along with other frustrated tourists, of whom there were quite a few.
Spoletan Cathedral was consecrated in 1198. The official name of the temple is the Duomo Or Santa Maria del Assunta. However, little remains of that building. In the middle of the 17th century, the Duomo di Spoleto survived a cardinal reconstruction. The bell tower of the 12th century more preserved the original features.
On the facade of the cathedral, 8 Gothic sockets and a large mosaic stand out immediately. Inside, the cathedral contains the frescoes of Filippo Lippi, who is buried here.
In addition to the Duomo, Spoleto has many interesting churches, most of them very old, the exact date of construction of which is unknown.
Spoleto can be considered to some extent a wonderful city. It was here that Francis, heading on a military campaign, had a dream at night, after which he interrupted the campaign and changed his life abruptly, returning to Assisi and founding the famous monastic order.
In the remaining time, we wandered a little aimlessly along the old streets of Spoleto and had a delicious lunch in one of the small trattorias, which were numerous.
Already going down to the parking lot along the escalators, they could not resist, left the exit to the oil tower, the name was interested. They did not immediately understand which tower was the same.
And when we figured it out, we realized that there was simply no time to get closer to it ...
The Oil Tower (Torre dell’olio) is the highest tower of Spoleto, with a height of 45.5 meters. The tower was built in the 13th century and is part of the palace, which was added to it 300 years later. The tower got its name because boiling oil poured from it onto the heads of enemies. This method of reprisal with trying to conquer the city has been used in Spoleto since the time of the Hannibal attacks in 217.
In Spoleto there are ruins of pre-Roman and Roman fortifications, a partially restored ancient theater, many arches of the pre-Christian period, and many more that are worth seeing.