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 Acquasparta, IAT Office of Terni

Acquasparta

HISTORY
The earliest historical records go back to 996 AD, when the castle of Acquasparta, built after the disintegration of the ancient Roman town of Carsulae, became part of the Terre Arnolfe, a fief of the Arnolfi family. After being under various rules, Acquasparta enjoyed its greatest splendor during the period under the seigniory of the Cesi, when it became the center of fervent cultural life culminating in the founding of the Academy of the Lincei (1603), the first school of science in Europe. The Cesi family governed the town until the line died out in 1880, coinciding more or less with the birth of the Italian State.

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
The most representative building in the historic center is Palazzo Cesi, a splendid Renaissance edifice designed by the architect Gian Domenico Bianchi, the seat of the prestigious Academy of the Lincei and the residence of Duke Federico Cesi; Galileo Galilei also stayed there for a brief period in 1624. Inside it has many rooms with frescoes by Zuccari and coffered ceilings. Other interesting buildings are the Church of San Francesco, dating from 1294, with the simple yet evocative Romanesque-Gothic lines typical of Umbrian Franciscan churches; the Church of Santa Cecilia, dedicated to the town's patron saint, which holds the tomb of Federico Cesi; the Church of Madonna del Giglio (or of the Crocifisso) from 1606; and the Church of the Sacrament (1684), with part of a Roman mosaic from the ancient town of Carsulae.

Nearby, heading towards Carsulae along the Via Flaminia, one comes to the Ponte Fonnaia, an ancient Roman bridge from the Augustan age, with two arches, over which the Romanesque Church of San Giovanni de Butris was built in about the 13th century. The church formerly belonged to the Order of the Knights of Malta, and together with the arches of the bridge it constitutes a very unique complex. In the locality of Firenzuola there is the interesting Church of Santa Maria in Rupino (12th century), a good example of Romanesque architecture in the Spoleto area. Moving toward the peaks of the Acquasparta mountains one reaches an enchanted medieval center, Portaria, a tiny village perched on the side of the mountain in a storybook landscape, with the Church of Santi Filippo e Giacomo. The church was built just after 1000 AD using materials taken from Carsulae, which can be seen in its rustic stone façade. Acquasparta's natural environment can be enjoyed by following the Martani Trekking paths, nature itineraries with facilities in the Monti Martani area, or by treating oneself to a stay at the Fonti Amerino spa, which has waters with excellent therapeutic properties.

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