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The ghost town of Scoppio

Hidden among the peaks of the Martani Mountains, not far from Acquasparta, lies Scoppio, a ghost town, off the conventional routes.

Its name derives from the Latin scopulus meaning 'rock,' by virtue of its dominant position. The village literally clings to a rocky outcrop that rises majestically, plunging more than 200 metres into the valley below.

Scoppio's history is intertwined with that of the Terre Arnolfe, a group of castles between Terni, Narni and Spoleto, named after an ancient lord of Germanic origin, subject to the Duke of Spoleto, around the year 1000. Following the fortunes of these castles over the centuries, the village was still inhabited by as many as 25 families in 1750, but was later abandoned in 1950 due to damage caused by a series of earthquakes, some of them tragic.

Despite everything, the centre still retains part of the original castle, with its spectacular isolated position on a rocky spur overlooking the Matassa ditch. The Romanesque church of San Michele Arcangelo, the eldest of the angels who fought against Lucifer, is remarkable. The building was erected between the 11th and 12th centuries and is decorated with frescoes by the Spoleto painter Piermatteo Piergili, dating back to 1576, including a Madonna and Child with two angels.

The magic of Scoppio has captured the imagination of even international celebrities. U2 used images of this place in their music videos, while the famous director Wim Wenders shot parts of his docufilm dedicated to Pope Francis, 'Pope Francis - A Man of His Word,' here, proudly presenting it at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018.

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