Spoleto in one day
Spoleto is an Umbrian city of about forty thousand inhabitants and is the ancient capital of the Lombard dukes. Palaces, towers and bridges are the protagonists in this village with urban fabric influenced by Romans but which retains a fully medieval appearance, having been first under the Lombard dominion and then under the influence of the Papal State. The oldest parts of the city are the Arch of Drusus, the Roman theatre (dating back to the early years of the empire) and the church of San Gregorio Maggiore, unique for its raised presbytery. If you have just one day to visit the city, we suggest to start from the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the restored Roman House and, from there, we suggest to head to the highest part of Spoleto to give a tour of the Rocca Albornoz (fortress), from which you can admire the wonderful Spoleto valley and the duomo from above and cross the Towers bridge.
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Roman House
Do not miss the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Duomo Square, an example of the Romanesque architecture, which holds frescoes by Pinturicchio and Filippo Lippi. The interior of the church was radically transformed in the first half of the 17th century and it is in Baroque style with three naves of six bays each, transept, large semicircular apse and dome without drum. You can reach the spectacular square where the Cathedral stands from above, through a staircase from which you can admire the church in all its beauty. The Roman House, a few minutes walk from the Cathedral, attributed to the mother of Emperor Vespasiano, Polla, is also vey nice. The “domus” dates back to the first century AD and its rooms still conserve the floor mosaics and the typical pattern of the patrician houses in vogue between the end of the republican age and the beginning of the imperial age. Going back, on your steps, take Aurelio Saffi street and head towards the Towers bridge and the Rocca Albornoziana.
Towers bridge and Rocca Albornoziana (fortress)
The Towers bridge is certainly one of the most impressive spectacles in the city and connects the two fortresses at the ends: the Rocca Albornoz and the Fortilizio dei Mulini. If you are not afraid of heights, cross the bridge. It will give you an intense emotion, because it is unique in its kind: 230 metres long and 82 high, it has ten arches and was erected between 1200 and the following century, after the sacking of Spoleto by Federico Barbarossa. Probably the bridge was built over an ancient Roman aqueduct. At one end, as we said, is the Rocca Albornoz, built by the will of the Spanish Cardinal Egidio Albornoz in the 14th century, with the aim of reaffirming papal domination, as desired by Pope Innocent. The fortress became the residence of the governors of the city and it was decorated with numerous frescoes and decorations; frescoes which, however, were partly lost when the structure in 1817 became a prison (until 1982). Inside the fortress there is the national museum of the Duchy of Spoleto, which illustrates the Spoleto territory from the 4th to the 15th century.
Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds)
A few years ago in the billboard of the festival of the Two Worlds was written: “There is only one Festival of the Two Worlds”. And it is just like that: this festival celebrate every form of art, where every year famous guests arrive from Italy and from the world. This cultural festival lasts 17 days and usually starts in the last week of June. During the event you can attend ballets, operas, painting exhibitions, conferences, concerts, theatrical and sacred music performances and events dedicated to the contemporary world. The places of the shows are the Melisso theatre, the Roman theatre, the San Nicola complex, the Rocca courtyard and the church of Sant'Eufemia.
The town has become famous for being the location of the shooting of the TV series Don Matteo. In this Rai fiction, Terence Hill plays the role of a nice investigator priest. In the cast there is also Nino Frassica, a famous italian actor. There is a real tour organized by the city Tourism Office, which allows you to walk in the places where the priest rides the bicycle, between Garibaldi street and the Archbishop's Palace. The tour takes place on certain times of the year using the Spoleto Card.