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Citerna
Citerna
The village and its underground cisterns
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Situated in northern Umbria on the border with Tuscany, Citerna is a delightful medieval hamlet set on a hilltop between the Cerfone River Valley and the plain crossed lengthwise by the Sovara Stream. It looks down onto the Tiber Valley. According to various authors the name Citerna could come from cisterns distributed within the town walls that long ago were used to store water.

 

HISTORY

Citerna's origins are Ancient Umbrian and Etruscan. After conquest by the Romans (coins and clay objects from this period were found between San Fista and Pistrino), the town experienced all those medieval vicissitudes that saw the alternation of various dominations: first the Barbarians and then the various local families.

In 1221, Citerna swore loyalty to Città di Castello in exchange for protection against the surrounding communes, and reflected the historical events of that town until Citerna became part of the Papal States (1463). In the early 1500s Citerna was given as a vicariate to the Vitelli family of Città di Castello, who held it until the end of the century. It then became the first Umbrian town to become part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.


 

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

From the terrace of the Rocca, a fortress of Longobard origin, one can see Mount Verna and Mount Fumaiolo which is the source of the Tiber River: following the course of the river ones comes to the hamlet of San Sepolcro and other towns of the Upper Tiber River.

From the north-west facing tower, beyond the round Cassero keep, can be seen the Cerfone River Valley that leads to Arezzo. In the historical centre worthy of a visit, is the church of San Michele Arcangelo, that contains the excellent Crocifissione painted on a panel by Pomarancio; the 15th century Palazzo Vitelli with its rich furnishings; and the church of San Francesco (1316), with a tempera on board Deposizione by Pomarancio and Cristo in Gloria by Raffaellino del Colle.

On exiting the church we find the small Palazzetto Prosperi, with the 16th century Sala del Camino known as the "the lovers room". Beyond this is a small archway that leads to the charming medieval walk that follows the perimeter of the town walls.

To be seen in the vicinity is the ex-monastero del SS. Crocifisso (16th century) in Cerecchio; and the church of Santa Maria and Santo Stefano in Pistrino. Near to Citerna is the hamlet of Fighille that was an important ceramics production centre in the Middle Ages.

The roads that wind up the hill to Citerna offer fantastic views of the Umbrian and Tuscan Upper Tiber Valley and are a worthy introduction to this medieval hamlet.

Panicale
Panicale
Panicale
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HISTORY

The area was settled by the Etruscans and later became a safe haven for the Roman soldiers who survived the Battle of Trasimene, which was won by the Carthaginian general Hannibal. After the fall of the Roman Empire and after having been under the Longobards, in 1037 Panicale became one of the first Italian towns to declare themselves free and independent from outside domination. In the 13th century it granted control to Perugia, but in 1316 it once again became free and set up its own government. The castle of Panicale was considered one of the most important fortified structures in all of Italy and withstood any attempts at being taken until 1643, when the Florentine army conquered it during the war between the Papal States and the Duchy of Parma. It came under the control of the Church until the country united as the Kingdom of Italy.

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
The historical centre has maintained its typically medieval layout intact. Between the two entrance gates, Porta Fiorentina and Porta Perugina, there are three piazzas at three different levels. The lowest one is home to the 15th century fountain, on the second one the grand Collegiata di San Michele bears witness to religious power, and the third, and highest, is where you'll find the political core of the town, Palazzo del Podestà.
Among the most important landmarks, from an artistic point of view, is the Fountain, constructed in the late 15th century, the Collegiata di San Michele Arcangelo, a fine example of Umbrian Baroque architecture, the Palazzo del Podestà, which dates to the 1300s and has double lancet windows and a tall tower that can be seem from the valley below, the Cesare Caporali Theatre , one of the smallest in all of Umbria and made entirely of wood, decorated with gilded stucco and painted garlands.
Don't miss a visit to the Tulle Museum in the former Church of Sant'Agostino, not far from Piazza Fiorentina on Piazza Regina Margherita. It is dedicated to Anita Belleschi Grifoni, a local woman who, in the early 1900s, brought back a special type of embroidery on tulle known as Ars Panicalensis.
The Pinacoteca Mariottini is located inside City Hall and houses 31 portraits of illustrious men from the past.
The complex of San Sebastiano is worthy of note. It was built by the Jesuits in the 17th century in a lovely garden next to the Church of San Sebastiano. The church houses two gorgeous frescoes by Perugino: the Martyrdom of St Sebastian and the Madonna with Child surrounded by Saints.
Just further on is the Church of the Madonna della Sbarra, built in 1625 outside the walls of the castle in a place where the customs office was located in ancient times, hence Sbarra, or Barrier.
In the surrounding area you'll find the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Mongiovino, built in pure Renaissance style and home to the work of the best sculptors and inlayers of the era (Lorenzo da Carrara, Giovanni Lombardo, Domenico Fiorentino), and the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Grondici, set in a wood of oak, olive, cypress and pine trees. It was a popular destination for pilgrims because of the miraculous image painted in 1495 by Gregorio Gregari.


Piegaro
Piegaro
Piegaro
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HISTORY
Founded by the Romans in 290 BC, in the Middle Ages Piegaro was a fief of the nearby towns (Montegabbione, Orvieto, Perugia, Marsciano) until it became part of the Papal States in the 16th century. Papal rule ended in 1860 with the birth of the Kingdom of Italy. ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
Sights in the village's historic center include the Church of San Silvestro, the Church of Madonna della Crocetta (16th century) with a wooden statue of Ecce Homo, Palazzo Misciatelli-Pallavicini (18th cent.) and the Palace of the Bulgarelli counts of Marsciano. Nearby, Piegaro offers interesting sightseeing opportunities: in the small medieval village of Castiglion Fosco there is a unique round tower and the Church of Santa Croce; another medieval village, Cibottola, has a castle, the Church of San Fortunato and the Convent of San Bartolomeo; Gaiche, with a castle (13th century), the Church of San Lorenzo (1391) and the Oratory of San Bernardino; in Greppolischieto, the small church of San Lorenzo (14th century); and in Pietrafitta, the Abbey of Sette Frati (11th-12th century) and the churches of Madonna del Fosso and Santa Maria Assunta. For nature lovers, there is Montarale Park: it covers the area of Mt. Arale, from which there is a beautiful view of the Nestore river valley all the way to Perugia and Lake Trasimeno.


Tuoro sul Trasimeno
Tuoro sul Trasimeno
Tuoro sul Trasimeno
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HISTORY
The first large-scale historical event was the "Battle of Trasimeno" on 24 June 217 AD when Hannibal's Carthaginian army annihilated the Roman army. During the Middle Ages the town was subjugated to the typical vicissitudes and struggles to conquer such a strategic position on the border between Perugia and Tuscany. In the 16th century it was included in the Papal States as an important post and customs station, and enjoyed a long period of peace. ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
In the typical medieval centre of town can be seen the Palazzo della Capra and the church of Santa Maria Maddalena. In the vicinity, on the lakeside at Lido di Tuoro, in the locality called Punta Navaccia, exists an interesting outdoor art gallery, Campo del Sole (Field of the Sun), featuring 27 large sculptured columns in sandstone done by famous Italian and foreign artists: the works of art are positioned in a spiral around a centre table surmounted by a symbol of the sun, and look like modern totem poles. Also of interest is Castel Ranieri, a castle belonging to the Montemelino family that enjoys a beautiful view of the lake; and the Pieve di Confine, a parish church built in the 12th century just a few kilometres from the town. Isola Maggiore, the largest island on the lake, is part of the municipality and of interest is the Romanesque church of San Salvatore from the 12th century; the church of San Michele Arcangelo from the 14th century; and Castello Guglielmi, castle erected in 1891 on the ruins of the convent of San Francesco. The " Battle of Trasimeno" took place between the Roman and Carthaginian armies in 217 AD and the historical itinerary offers an impressive reconstruction of the most important phases of Hannibal's rout of the Romans. A guided tour takes in the nearby archaeological excavations, including the "Ustrina", large limestone pits that Hannibal had dug to burn the bodies of the soldiers killed in battle.


Corciano
Corciano
A characteristic medieval town
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HISTORY
The Etruscans lived here in the 4th century BCE, followed by the Romans, and in 1136 the castrum of Corciano was listed as one of the possessions Pope Innocence II confirmed ownership of in a report to the bishop of Perugia. In 1223, Saint Francis was on his way back from Maggiore Island on Lake Trasimeno, where he had spent Lent, and stopped in Corciano. In memory of his passing through town, according to tradition, construction was begun on the Church of San Francesco. In 1334 a Papal Bull issued by Pope John XXII authorised the building of a monastic complex for the Augustinians. In 1364, the castle was sacked by the Compagnia Bianca in the service of the Papal Legate, Egidio Albornoz. In 1416, the soldier of fortune Braccio Fortebraccio da Montone conquered Corciano after a long siege. In 1482 they began construction on the tower of Porta Santa Maria to bolster the defences of the castle. In 1860, it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
High city walls enclose the medieval castle of Corciano, a town steeped in history and rich with works of art. It is a town of narrow streets, stairs, palazzos, towers, gardens, churches and bell towers, all set in a framework of intact medieval allure.
Not to be missed: in the historical centre is the tower of Porta Santa Maria, the main Piazza Coragino with its 16th century well, City Hall, residence of the Corgna Dukes in the 16th century, the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo and the Palazzo dei Priori, the church of Santa Maria Assunta, which houses a painting by Perugino entitled Assunta (1513) and the city banner painted in 1472 by Benedetto Bonfigli, and, finally, the Gothic-style Church-cum-museum of San Francesco, home to frescoes dating back to the late 13th-early 14th century. Under its floor are 21 family tombs closed with stone slabs that bear the heraldic emblems of the town's most important families.
Another point of interest is the church of Sant'Agostino (1334), set on top of a hill dotted with olive trees facing the hill on which Corciano rises. It is home to various paintings from the 13th century and wooden statues of the patron saints San Michele Arcangelo, San Sebastiano, San Rocco and San Macario.

Inside Corciano you can visit the 16th century Church of San Cristoforo, the museum of the Pievania and in a typical home in the centre, on Via Tarragone, is the peasant's house museum.
Outside the walls, on Via Cornaletto, in a modern building destined to become a cultural centre of great importance for the region, is the Antiquarium, which houses paleontological, prehistoric, Etruscan and Roman relics from all over the surrounding area.

In the environs of the town, aside from the Strozzacapponi Etruscan necropolis, the magnificent castle of Pieve del Vescovo, restored and turned into a villa designed by the architect Galeazzo Alessi in 1570, is also well worth a visit. As is the little church dedicated to Saint John, home to a lovely fresco by the artists of the school of Il Perugino. Other major points of interest are the castles of San Mariano, Mantignana and Solomeo, a beautifully renovated town, Chiugiana, Castelvieto, Capocavallo and Migiana, where there is a quarry of great paleontological interest with numerous ammonite fossils.

The region around Corciano is home to an environmental and naturalistic heritage of importance on a European scale. From the town you can enjoy wonderful views that span from the verdant tops of Monte Malbe, Monte Tezio and Monte Acuto to that of far away Monte Amiata, which on clear days is visible in the distance. The top of Monte Malbe, known as Colle della Trinità, is a wooded area of typical Mediterranean vegetation and includes several different species: holm, turkey and sessile oak trees, arbutus and juniper.


Paciano
Paciano
Paciano
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HISTORY
The village's Etruscan-Roman origins are confirmed by archeological findings in the area, although the earliest written documents date from the 10th century. In subsequent centuries Paciano was subject first to Chiusi and then to Perugia, which designated Paciano as a fortified border village. ART AND CULTURE
Enclosed by a 14th-century circuit of walls with towers and three gates (Porta Fiorentina, Porta Perugina, and Porta Rastrella), the medieval village character of the historic center has been preserved intact. All that remains of the oldest castle are the ruins of a tower, called the Torre d'Orlando; architectural works of interest are the Buitoni fortress, Palazzo Cennini and Palazzo Baldeschi, home of the Nature Museum. There are numerous churches within the village, built in different periods: the oldest is that known as the Chiesa Dentro (or church of San Giuseppe), which has an old municipal gonfalon from the Bonfigli workshop, and the Church of San Carlo Borromeo, with an ornate 17th-century portal. Standing opposite the Porta Fiorentina is the parish church of the same name, erected prior to 1000 AD, surrounded by expanses of green that serve as a backdrop to the many events held here each year. Also of interest are the Church of the Madonna della Stella, built in 1572 after a pilgrim saw a star poised for three days above the image of the Virgin Mary, and the Museum of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Sacrament, which has a large number of religious works, including a large fresco of the Crucifixion by the painter Francesco Nicolò of Città della Pieve, statues and 16th-century reliquaries containing bones of the first martyrs, church ornaments, vestments and gospel books, and interesting Etruscan artifacts from the 4th century BC (pottery, lanterns, bucchero ware) found in the surrounding area. Nearby one finds the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Stella and, in Ceraseto, the small Church of San Salvatore, with a fresco from the 16th century by Caporali.


Città della Pieve
Città della Pieve
Città della Pieve
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HISTORY

An Etruscan-Roman centre, in the VII century it became the powerful Castrum Plebis, which arose around the Church of Santi Gervasio e Protasio. In 1188 it come under the dominion of Perugia, and under Emperor Frederick II the free town (in 1250) began to resemble what we see today. Political and military strife continued until the XVII century, when Città della Pieve came under the Papal States and was turned into an important administrative and religious centre. It remained under the dominion of the Church (with the exception of the Napoleonic years) until 1860.

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

The historical centre still maintains the typical medieval urban layout on which Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassic buildings were later constructed, proof of the artistic vitality of this city. The sights to see are the Cathedral of Santi Gervasio e Protasio (Duomo), which houses works by two great Città della Pieve artists - Il Perugino and Il Pomarancio - and the Oratory of Santa Maria dei Bianchi, home to the extraordinary Adoration of the Magi by Il Perugino.
Aside from the city tower, built in the XII century, and the Bishop's tower, a watch tower probably built in 1326, you can visit such noteworthy landmarks as the Rocca (Fortress) with its five towers, Palazzo della Corgna (XVI century), home to the city library and exhibition space, Palazzo Bandini (XVI century) and Palazzo Baglioni, which dates to the XVIII century.

Outside the city walls are the Church of San Francesco, now the sanctuary of the Madonna di Fatima, the Church of Santa Maria dei Servi, home to a fresco by Il Perugino depicting the Descent from the Cross, and the Church of Santa Lucia.

Fun fact: along Via Vannucci you'll find vicolo Baciadonne, considered the narrowest street in all of Italy for its width of only 50 to 60 cm.

Just outside the city is Santa Maria degli Angeli, a Franciscan hermitage that looks like a Gothic structure with a sail-shaped bell tower.

The town's location just on the border makes it a characteristic element on the landscape, one in which the countryside of Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany come seamlessly together, an area enhanced by the beauty of nature: gently rolling hills that show off all the colours used by Il Perugino in his art, from the silvery green of the countryside around the his lovely village, which exalts the softened shapes of the cultivated fields, to the intense red of terracotta bricks, an echo of an ancient local tradition that dates to the early 1200s.


Castiglione del Lago
Castiglione del Lago
Castiglione del Lago
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HISTORY
Conquered by the Etruscans, Castiglione del Lago was put under the jurisdiction of nearby Chiusi and for many centuries was called "Castrum Clusii" (castle of Chiusi). After the Roman period, the marshy land in the area was reclaimed and connected with the Valdichiana. In the Middle Ages it became a powerfully fortified village; the Castle was built, destroyed and rebuilt, until Frederick II of Swabia had it razed and rebuilt again (13th century), transforming it into a fortress called 'Castello del Leone' (Castle of the Lion), which later became "Castiglione." It was a marquisate from the 16th to the 17th century, and then became a duchy under the Della Corgna family. When the Della Corgna dynasty died out in the 17th century, Castiglione del Lago became the property of the Papal States, until the Unification of Italy (1860). ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
The historic center is surrounded by medieval walls with three gates: Porta Fiorentina, Porta Senese and Porta Perugina. There is an impressive fortress, the Rocca del Leone, one of the most interesting examples of medieval Umbrian military architecture. Built in 1247 to a design by Fra' Elia Coppi da Cortona, it has the shape of an irregular pentagon, with five towers and three gates, dominated by a triangular main tower nearly 30 meters tall. The walkway offers splendid views of the lake, and the vast space inside is used today as a natural amphitheater for shows and events. Another building of great artistic importance is the Ducal Palace or Palazzo della Corgna, commissioned by Ascanio della Corgna in 1560 and designed by Vignola or Galeazzo Alessi. The interior is sumptuously decorated with frescoes by Salvio Savin and Niccolò Circignani, known as "Pomarancio," with scenes from mythology and of the military exploits of the condottiere Ascanio della Corgna. Together they represent one of the best examples of Mannerist painting in Umbria. Also worthy of a visit are the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, with a fine panel from 1500 by a student of Perugino, a Madonna of the Milk by the Sienese school of the 1300s, and frescoes by Mariano Piervittori (1850); the Church of San Domenico di Guzman, with a splendid wooden coffered ceiling and an ambulatory used as a the tomb of the Della Corgna family; and, on the village's main square, Piazza Mazzini, the 13th-century Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo. In the vicinity of Castiglione del Lago are numerous Etruscan settlements scattered among the small villages built on the surrounding hills, at Gioiella, Vaiano, Pozzuolo and, near Panicarola, the Sanctuary of Madonna della Carraia (proto-Villanovian necropolis). Built in the 17th century, the sanctuary has a spacious interior with a Greek cross plan and a fine wooden altar with the venerated image of a Madonna and Child. Of great natural and environmental interest is Polvese Island, the largest in Lake Trasimeno, designated as an oasis with facilities and an educational-environmental park. The island is covered with thick vegetation, with ilex, laurel and pubescent oak groves, and is an excellent place for observing animals.


Magione
Magione
Magione
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History
Magione has Etruscan-Roman origins, but the first historical records go back to the Middle Ages and a document mentioning a villa on the Pian di Carpine, the plain situated at the cross roads between Perugia, Chiusi and Lake Trasimeno, which was used by all the pilgrims coming from or going to Rome. To care for these pilgrims, the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John of Jerusalem founded a hospice called La Magione di Pian del Carpine, and today's Magione grew out of this nucleus. Towards the end of 1300 the Knights of Malta decided to transform the hospice into a castle to protect it against subjugation by Perugia. In 1502 a plot against Cesare Borgia, illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, was organised in the castle but when Borgia discovered the plan he had the conspirators strangled. Magione was the birthplace of John of Plano Carpini, disciple of Saint Francis, who set out on a grand journey to the Orient and arrived at the court of the Great Khan in Monglia. On his return he wrote Historia Mongalorum quos nos Tartaros appellamus (History of the Monguls, which we call Tartars). ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
The most important building is the Castle of the Knights of Malta, one of the most beautiful in Umbria, which was constructed on a square plane with large round towers and a courtyard that has 3 levels of loggia on 3 sides. The present building, built around the nucleus of the pilgrim hospice founded in the 12th century by the Knights of Jerusalem, is an enlargement of the pre-existing castle that incorporated a Benedictine abbey from the 12th century, thought to have belonged to the Knights Templar. Of interest is the church of San Giovanni Battista, built in 1571, with a majestic Baroque facade and on the inside a fresco cycle by Gerardo Dottori; the church of Madonna delle Grazie (1209) featuring the Vergine in Trono con il Bambino (1371), a painting attributed to Andrea Di Giovanni da Orvieto; the Torre dei Lombardi tower built between the 12th and 13th centuries by the Knights of Jerusalem for defence; and the Palazzo Comunale, town hall, home to frescoes by Gerardo Dottori. In the vicinity worthy of a visit is the medieval hamlet of Montecolognola that gives a wonderful view on to Lake Trasimeno, and the church of Santa Maria Annunziata; the Castle at Agello; the Abbey and Romanesque church at Sant'Arcangelo; and the Museo della Pesca, fishing museum, at San Feliciano that also has a retrospective of the anthropological history of Lake Trasimeno. La Valle nature reserve situated within the Regional Park of Trasimeno is of great interest. It has a Visitors Centre; a library dedicated to the Trasimeno area with books on nature and scientific texts; a bird ringing station; wooden walkways; and bird watching observatories . ARTE, CULTURA, AMBIENTE
L'edificio più rappresentativo della città è il Castello dei Cavalieri di Malta, uno dei più belli dell'Umbria, caratterizzato da una pianta quadrata con torrioni circolari e un cortile sul quale per tre lati si affacciano logge sovrapposte in tre ordini. La struttura attuale, sorta sul nucleo di un ospizio fondato nel XII secolo dai Cavalieri Gerosolimitani, è frutto di un ampliamento del castello preesistente che incorporò anche un'antica abbazia benedettina del XII secolo che si suppone fosse stata sede dell'ordine dei Templari.
Interessanti la Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, edificata nel 1571, con una maestosa facciata decorata secondo lo stile barocco ed arricchita dal ciclo di affreschi di Gerardo Dottori, la chiesa della Madonna delle Grazie (1209), che conserva la "Vergine in Trono con il Bambino" (1371), dipinto attribuito ad Andrea Di Giovanni da Orvieto, la Torre dei Lombardi, realizzata tra il XII e XIII secolo dai Cavalieri Gerosolimitani come sistema difensivo, ed il Palazzo Comunale, dove si trovano affreschi di Gerardo Dottori.

Nei dintorni meritano una visita l'antico borgo medievale di Montecolognola, da dove si gode di una vista magnifica sul Trasimeno, con la Chiesa di Santa Maria Annunziata, il Castello di Agello, la Badia con la Chiesa Romanica a Sant'Arcangelo, il Museo della Pesca di San Feliciano, con una interessante retrospettiva storico antropologica del lago Trasimeno.

Di grande interesse ambientale l' Oasi naturalistica "La Valle", posta all'interno del Parco Regionale del Trasimeno, che dispone di un Centro visite, un Centro di documentazione del Trasimeno con testi naturalistici e scientifici, una stazione di inanellamento degli uccelli, una Passerella in legno e degli Osservatori per praticare il birdwatching


Passignano sul Trasimeno
Passignano sul Trasimeno
Passignano sul Trasimeno
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HISTORY
The area was inhabited by the Etruscans and the Romans, and is the place where Hannibal and his troops slaughtered and defeated the Romans in the famous Battle of Lake Trasimeno (217 BC). Later the Goths, Lombards and Byzantines also fought for control of the area. ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
The town's oldest quarter has preserved intact its appearance of a fortified village, which can still be seen today enclosed within the circuit of medieval walls. The gates and towers of the walls have survived, such as the tower known as the Torre di Ponente, which still bears the Commune's coat of arms. The Rocca, or fortress, rises on the highest point in town. Built in the 5th-6th centuries, it was later enlarged and transformed. Among the buildings of artistic importance are the Church of San Cristoforo, an old parish church built before 1000 AD over the ruins of an older pagan temple, the 15th-century Church of San Rocco and the Church of San Bernardino. There is also the impressive 16th-century Sanctuary of the Madonna dell'Oliveto, which holds excellent paintings and sculptures such as the Madonna and Child in sandstone by Ascanio da Cortona. One place of particular interest is the Boat Museum, where various craft from Lake Trasimeno, Lake Piediluco, and from Padule di Fucecchio are on display, as well as the "Fassoi", a boat made from plants from the Cabras Marsh in Sardinia. Deserving of a visit nearby is the delightful little village of Castel Rigone, with gorgeous views of Lake Trasimeno, where one finds the Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Miracoli, considered a masterpiece of the Umbrian Renaissance. Another interesting place to visit in the surrounding hills is the ruins of the Roman Villa delle Quarantaia, a rustic villa dating from the 1st century AD, and the keep of the old Castle of Monteruffiano. Also just outside Passignano is the 12th-century Church of San Vito, and the 17th-century Villa of the Bourbon Marquises of Sorbello in Pischiello. The entire area has many places of environmental interest: regular boats leave from Passignano for Polvese Island and Maggiore Island, where one can visit the Romanesque Church of San Salvatore, built in the 12th century, and the Church of San Michele Arcangelo (14th century).


Gualdo Cattaneo
Gualdo Cattaneo
The medieval hamlet surrounded by forests
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HISTORY

The foundation of Gualdum Captaneorum, castle set in the foothills of the Martani Mountains, dates back to 975 when Count Edoardo Cattaneo, vassal of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto II of Saxony, received it as his fief and built the fortress. The town was certainly of Longobard origins as can be seen from the name: Gualdo derives from "Wald" (forest, wood), and Cattaneo from "Captaneorum" (captains, lords in the service of their king). It was frequently the object of bitter fighting and was governed alternatively by Foligno and Spoleto. In 1198 if became a fief of the Duchy of Spoleto, and when the duchy came to an end the town was retaken by Foligno who held dominion over it until 1439 when it was annexed by the Papal States and governed by them, except for the brief Napoleonic period, until the Unification of Italy (1860).

 

ART AND CULTURE

On the main square of the town stands the mighty Rocca, a fortalice based on a triangular plan with three equal sides and three towers connected to each other and to the castle walls by underground passages. Of interest is the church of Sant'Agostino, from 1136 with frescoes by the Foligno School; the church of Saints Antonio and Antonino (1260), with a Romanesque crypt and a tempera panel by the Umbrian-Sienese School; and the church of Sant'Andrea that retains from the original Romanesque structure the crypt and some sculptures on the facade that were part of the rose window, after it was completely restructured in 1804. In the vicinity are interesting itineraries through a series of castles and other medieval constructions that made an effective scheme of defence for the district: most were built in the early Middle Ages (13th – 14th century) and now constitute an extraordinary open-air museum. The most distinctive fortified archetype is the Castello di Barattano. Noteworthy is the fortified hamlet of San Terenziano, where there are several churches of interest: the lower church with Romanesque crypt; the upper church (13th century); the church of Sant'Apollinare (13-14th century) and the church of the Madonna delle Grazie (15th century). The hamlet of Grutti has underground caverns and the Romanesque church of Santa Maria di Agello; while Marcellano has the church of the Madonna del Ponte; Saragano the Castello Longobardo; and Pomonte the Baronial palace and the ruins of the small castle called Castellaccio.


Fossato di Vico
Fossato di Vico
Fossato di Vico
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HISTORY

Fossato di Vico first developed because of its strategic importance on the Flaminian Way, but for this same reason, after the fall of the Roman Empire it was also the cause of violent clashes between the Goths and Byzantines and of later battles over control of the area which continued through the Middle Ages. In the 10th century it was a fief of the counts of Nocera, and in the 12th it passed to the counts of Marsciano who, after subjecting it first to Gubbio and then to Perugia, finally sold it to Gubbio. In the 13th century, after Perugia had conquered the area militarily, it established itself as an independent commune. In 1442 it succeeded in resisting against the attacks by the troops of Francesco Sforza, but in 1500 Cesare Borgia, son of the Pope, sacked and destroyed the town, as did the Duke of Urbino in 1517. In 1540 it became part of the Papal States and remained such, apart from the brief Napoleonic period, until the creation of the Kingdom of Italy (1860).

 

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

The municipal territory is divided into two parts, one linear and level along the Flaminia state road and the other perched on the hillside. The latter, called Fossato Alto, is a typical medieval village, with beautiful historic buildings, such as the Old Town Hall, the Clock Tower built by the Gricci brothers, the Crenellated Tower above the entrance gate, and old religious buildings such as the Church of San Pietro, dug into the rock and built in the French Gothic style imported by the Cistercians, the Church of San Benedetto, a Benedictine abbey and today a national monument, which has the remains of frescoes from the Gubbio school and a portrait of Urban V by Matteo da Gualdo.

Then there are the extraordinarily beautiful "Rughe", a street covered by round-arched stone vaults, a rare example of 13th-century castle architecture having a chiefly defensive function. Also of interest are the Chapel of the Piaggiola, with excellent frescoes by Ottaviano Nelli of Gubbio, the Camaldolite Church of San Cristoforo (13th cent.), the Church of San Sebastiano and the Monastery of Santa Maria della Fonte (13th century), a community of Benedictine cloistered nuns. Another sight deserving of a visit is the Municipal Antiquarium, which documents Republican and late Imperial Roman sites and artifacts.

Nearby is the Roman Bridge dating from the 1st century BC, the San Giovanni Bridge from the Augustan age situated along the Flaminian Way, and the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Ghea, in the open countryside. Part of the municipal territory lies within Mt. Cucco Regional Park, a natural protected area since 1995. It has a very rich landscape and environmental heritage, both for its fauna (foxes, weasels, martens, wild boar, squirrels, hares) and its flora.


Basilica of St. Benedict
Norcia
Norcia
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HISTORY
An ancient Sabine city, Nursia was conquered by the Romans and became an important municipium. It was a free commune in the 11th century, and when it passed to the Catholic Church in the 1400s it was granted considerable autonomy. Saint Benedict was born circa 480 AD. And even though the town was destroyed more than once by earthquakes (in 1703, 1730, and 1859) many works of art and historical memories connected to the life of the founder of the Benedictine Order can be found. ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT
The town is divided into wards and has a 17th-18th century urban structure. Norcia is proud of its historical and artistic heritage that makes it one of the most important art cities in Umbria. On the main square are visible the oldest and most important buildings in Norcia. In the middle of the square is the statute of San Benedetto; while framing the square is the Castellina, the monumental fortress designed by Vignola in 1554 and today home of the Museo Civico e Diocesano, civil and religious museum; the Palazzo Comunale,Town Hall, with its double loggia; the Basilica di San Benedetto, erected on 1st-century Roman remains, with a Gothic facade from the 14th century, and in the crypt can be seen the ruins of a Roman building that according to tradition was the paternal home of Saints Scholastica and Benedict; and the Portico delle Misure, the measuring porch, built in the 1500s as a covered cereals market. Close by the square is the Concattedrale di S. Maria Argentea from the 16th century with an altar done by F. Duquesnoy (1640). Also to be seen in the town is the complesso di S. Francesco from the 14th century, today housing the Auditorium, the municipal library and the Historical Archives; the Palazzo dei Cavalieri di Malta, the Knights of Malta palace, presently the Museo dell'Arte Contadina, farm life museum; and the church of Sant'Agostino built in the 14th century. Of great interest are the Tempietto, the most original and best preserved historical building in the town was constructed in 1354 by the Norcia-born Vanni della Tuccia; the church of San Giovanni, one of the oldest in Norcia, featuring a beautiful wooden ceiling and Renaissance altar from 1649; the Oratorio di S. Agostinuccio with an elegant wooden ceiling and Baroque altar; the church of Madonna Addolorata, that displays the miraculous image of the Madonna painted on canvas in the 18th century; the del Crocifisso church abutting onto the city walls at the highest point of the town; and the church of San Lorenzo, the oldest in Norcia. Norcia is situated at the centre of the Sibylline Mountains National Park: the town is surrounded by mountains of more than 2000 mt, a day-trippers and skiers paradise. Between the mountains, on large flat amphitheatres are raised prized crops (most famous are the lentils from the plain of Castelluccio) and a wide variety and quantity of animals (such as hogs for the production of Norcia's renowned delicatessen products). Not far from the town, on the wide open plains of Castelluciio, can be found the European School of Free Flight; the many trails in the National Park are perfect for hikes, horse riding and mule treks; the Sordo and Corno rivers offer rafting and canyoning, while the striking rock faces, the Karst grottoes and the gorges that are characteristic of the whole Valnerina area are ideal for free-climbing and speleology. Places in the vicinity that merit a visit are: the winter sports and day trip centre, Forca Canapine (20 km from Norcia, at 1541 metres); the Castelluccio high plains (Pian Perduto, Piano Piccolo and Piano Grande, a large Karst basin that in Spring is covered with beautiful alpine flowers; Monte Porche (2235 metres) with a striking panorama onto the Sibylline Mountains and the Abruzzo Mountains; Monte Vettore (2476 metres), with Lago di Pilato lake and the Grotta della Sibilla, Sybil's Grotto; and the Necropoli della pianura di Santa Scolastica with findings from the Iron Age to Roman times.


Foligno
Foligno
The city of the Quintana Joust
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HISTORY

Foligno was founded by the ancient Umbrians, followed by the Romans, who made it a municipium and an important post on the Flaminian Way. Later destroyed by barbarian invasions and subsequently rebuilt, it became an independent commune in the 11th century, but in about 1310 it came under the seigniory of the powerful Trinci family (vicars of the Church after 1336), under whose rule the town developed considerably. With the Trinci it extended its dominion over many neighboring towns (Assisi, Spello, Montefalco). In the 15th century it became part of the Papal States, remaining under its rule (except for the brief Napoleonic period) until 1860, when it became part of Italy with the birth of the Italian State.

 

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

Foligno's historic center has a number of beautiful religious buildings and noble palaces. Starting from Piazza della Repubblica, focal point of the town's civic and social life, worthy of a visit are the Cathedral, with its secondary façade, an architectural gem, by the masters Rodolfo and Binello (1201), the Town Hall, and Palazzo Trinci (1389-1407), seat of the Archeological Museum and of the Picture Gallery. Nearby is the new Municipal Library, which has over 600 drawings by the Imperial Regio Architect Giuseppe Piermarini. Other must-sees are: the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria Infraportas, with frescoes by Nelli, Ugolino di Gisberto, Alunno and Mezzastris; the Church of San Salvatore, with an 18th-century interior by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli; and the former church of San Domenico, today a splendid Auditorium. There are also the Oratory of the Nunziatella, a fine example of Renaissance architecture with two frescoes by Perugino, and the Church of San Francesco, which holds the remains of Blessed Angela of Foligno, a famous mystic and teacher of theology who was born near the present-day Porta Romana. Another important religious building is the Cathedral of San Feliciano, which according to tradition stands on the spot where the first bishop of Foligno is buried, a Christian martyr under the emperor Decius. The noble palaces include Palazzo Orfini, where Evangelista Mei of Foligno and Johann Numeister from Germany printed the first edition of Dante's Divine Comedy in 1472, Palazzo Cantagalli, Palazzo Deli, Palazzo Alleori Ubaldi, Palazzo Bartocci and Palazzo Candiotti.

Nearby are the very interesting Sassovivo Abbey (11th century), with its stupendous Romanesque cloister and unique mystical Benedictine atmosphere, the Church of Santa Maria in Campis, an early Christian basilica restored in the 19th century, and the Rocca dei Trinci fortress (15th century) in Sant'Eraclio. In Pale, an old village famous for the paper mills built there in the 13th century, there is a castle, as well as the churches of San Biagio and Santa Maria Giacobbe. Not far away is the Hermitage, a church dug out of the rock and decorated with frescoes. Worthy of a visit in Colfiorito are the archeological findings and the Church of Santa Maria di Plestia (10th century). The Colfiorito Regional Park is a vast tableland of great natural and environmental interest and worth: it comprises a marsh, home to rare species of plants, flowers and water birds, a mountain, and the archeological site of the ancient Roman town of Plestia.


Scheggino
Scheggino
In the Nera valley, in the heart of the Valnerina
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HISTORY

Scheggino was built by the Duchy of Spoleto to defend one of the three bridges over the Nera river, thus serving as an outpost. Historical reports tell of a victorious resistance to a siege (1522) attempted by the condottiere Picozzo Brancaleoni, who failed to breach the walls and fortifications built in the 11th and 12th centuries.


ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

The old agricultural center of "Schiginum" came into being in the 18th century around the Castle, enclosed by triangular walls and with a keep at the top, the primitive structure of which can still be seen today.

Sights right in the historic center include the Church of San Nicolò, dating from the 13th century and entirely redone during the 1500s, with fine frescoes in the apse attributed to Spagna, and the Church of Santa Felicita, which is astonishing for its primitive style despite its having been built in the Romanesque period, causing it to be erroneously attributed to the Lombard period.

The area offers a truly unique landscape, due to the distinct beauty of the Nera valley in this location: the splendid Valcasana springs, which flow out of the ground not far from the village, are just one example of the wonderful show offered by nature in this area.

Torgiano
Torgiano
An ancient medieval village among the vineyards
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Located in the heart of Umbria, Torgiano is an old fortified medieval village that developed where the Chiascio River meets the Tiber, amid sinuous hills carpeted with vineyards and olive groves.

An internationally famous wine-producing area, in 1968 the wine of Torgiano became one of the first in Italy to obtain the DOC (controlled designation of origin) seal. Framed by an enchanting landscape, steeped in history, art, culture and nature, Torgiano has been able to blend its deep-rooted history with modern hospitality.

HISTORY

The Torgiano area was settled in Roman times, as is proved by archeological discoveries (remains of a villa, epigraphs). Later it was occupied by the Goths and the Lombards. In the 13th century the castle was built, and Torgiano came under the dominion of Perugia, and shared the same fortunes.

Following the defeat of Perugia in the "Salt War" (1540), Torgiano became a territory of the Papal States, and except for the period of French occupation (1798), it remained under papal rule until 1860, when it joined the Kingdom of Italy.


ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

Sights in the historic centre include the Baglioni Tower, a trace of the old fortified walls surrounding the town, and two fountains by the artist Nino Caruso: the Fonte di Giano and the Fonte dei Cocciari, or "Potter's Fountain."

Torgiano has many religious buildings, such as the Church of San Bartolomeo, built in the 18th century over an old medieval parish church, the Church of Santa Maria del Castello, the Church of Santa Maria dell'Ulivello, and the Oratory of the Misericordia. Inside the Church of the Madonna dell'Uliveto are 16th-17th century canvases, and the Oratory of Sant'Antonio has frescoes dating from the 16th century.

Torgiano has two excellent museums, both run by the Fondazione Lungarotti: the Wine Museum, one of the most famous museums in Italy dedicated to wine, conceived and put together by Giorgio and Maria Grazia Lungarotti in 1974, housed in the 17th-century Baroque Palazzo Graziani-Baglioni; and the Olive and Olive Oil Museum, located in a small cluster of medieval buildings inside the castle walls, which has documents, engravings, antique jars for storing oil and other historical items on display.

Nearby, Brufa, a locality known for being a stop on the Wine and Art Route, invites sculptors every year who leave their works in the area, creating an outdoor museum. Worthy of a visit in Miralduolo is the Church of Santa Maria in Bucarelli, a Benedictine legacy from the 14th century with a fresco of the Virgin in Majesty from the same period. Other sights include the Church of the Madonna del Ponte in Ponterosciano and the Church of the Crocifisso and San Lorenzo in Pontenuovo.

Scheggia e Pascelupo
In the heart of Mt. Cucco Park
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HISTORY

The area's development was due to the military and economic importance of its position, but after the fall of the Roman Empire, this was also the cause of violent clashes between the Goths and the Byzantines (6th century) and later fighting between Gubbio, Perugia, the Montefeltro family and the Church.

Starting in the 15th century, the Church took possession, and maintained its rule over the area until the Unification of Italy. The merging of two municipalities, Scheggia and Pascelupo, into a single administrative center took place in 1870 with the aim of optimizing resources and structures.

 

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

The earliest name for Scheggia was "Ad Hensem," related to events connected with the Flaminian Way, along which a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter Penninus is believed to have been built.

There are numerous Benedictine and Camaldolite abbeys in the northeastern part of the municipal territory: the Abbey of SS. Emiliano e Bartolomeo in Congiuntoli (12th century), with a double nave divided by tall octagonal pilasters, while the primitive early church consists of a single room with a barrel vault ceiling. Near Isola Fossara, in the valley of the Artino gully, is the Abbey of Santa Maria di Sitria, founded in the early 11th century by St. Romuald: the present day Romanesque church, which dates from the 12th-13th century, has a barrel-vaulted single nave and a raised presbytery with a crypt below supported by a single Roman column with a Corinthian capital. Near Pascelupo, the San Girolamo Hermitage stands on the steep slope of the Rio Freddo gully, at the base of a natural amphitheater of very high limestone walls.

The area is of great natural interest, with the entire municipal territory lying in middle of Mt. Cucco Regional Park, between Mt. Catria and Mt. Cucco. The impressive gorges and valleys, the pure waters and pristine nature make this an ideal destination for excursionists and outdoor sports enthusiasts.


Valfabbrica
Valfabbrica
Valfabbrica
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HISTORY

The origins of the castle of Valfabbrica are closely connected with the vicissitudes of Santa Maria in "Vado Fabricae," a Benedictine abbey documented from 820 AD, founded by the Benedictines along the banks of the Chiascio river near the ford on the route linking Assisi with Gubbio. The old abbey was so powerful that it was able to compete with the biggest neighboring feudal lords.

During the Middle Ages the nearby towns of Perugia, Assisi and Gubbio fought over control of the area. In the 16th century it finally entered the dominion of the Papal States, under the rule of which it remained, except for the brief Napoleonic period, until the founding of the Kingdom of Italy (1860).

 

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

In the historic center, the old Medieval Castle has preserved its 13th-century walls and a mighty Tower. Inside the Castle one comes to the Church of San Sebastiano, formerly an oratory, the interior of which was renovated in the 16th century. Outside the Castle are the small Church of the Madonna di Foce, built in 1634-36, with a façade decorated with a large terracotta rose window, and the modern Church of Santa Maria Assunta, with stained glass windows and canvases from the 16th and 17th centuries.

The municipal territory also includes the well-known Castle of Casacastalda, a small village founded by the ancient Umbrians. Its three gates (Porta Perugina, Porta Eugubine and Porta del Giglio) provide access to the village with its tiny streets, old stone buildings and narrow passages. The Church of the Madonna Assunta is worthy of note; inside it has a Triptych by Matteo da Gualdo from 1478, an 18th-century organ and an apse decorated by the painter Alessandro Bianchini.

Also interesting is the delightful Sanctuary of the Madonna dell'Olmo, richly decorated with frescoes from the Umbrian school (dated 1486-1488) and by Matteo da Gualdo. Sights in the fortified village of Giomici include the Castle and the Church of San Michele Arcangelo.

The Assisi-Gubbio Franciscan Peace Path is steeped in spirituality and is of great interest for lovers of nature. The route, which winds its way for 40 km through the woods of Assisi and Valfabbrica, past Giomici castle and Biscina mountain along the Chiascio valley, was conceived and built considering the classic elements of nature – water, wood and stone – and is meant to be traveled on foot, horseback or bicycle only.


Sigillo
Sigillo
Sigillo
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HISTORY

Sigillo was already inhabited by Umbrians when the Romans came and made it one of their municipalities. After the fall of the Empire, the town was destroyed by Totila (552) and then rebuilt by the Longobards, who included it in their Duchy of Spoleto.

In the Middle Ages it was conquered several times, sacked, destroyed and rebuilt once again until, in the 15th century, it was taken into the Papal States. It remained under Church dominion until the Unification of Italy in 1860.

 

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

Most of the art work of Sigillo can be found in church buildings: the Church of Sant'Andrea was built on the remains of an older church and has a single Neo-Renaissance nave, the Church of Sant'Agostino was built between 1788 and 1791 by Swiss architect Giacomo Cantoni on the remains of what was once the Church of Santa Caterina, of which only the medieval crypt remains, the Church of Sant'Anna is near the cemetery and built along the Via Flaminia in the mid-1400s, and then there is the Church of the Augustinian Monks. The former Church of San Giuseppe is worthy of note for the important paintings it houses and the frescoed vaulted ceiling dating to the 1930s. The Palazzo Comunale is on the main piazza and was built in the 12th century. Today it houses the city archives.

Worth a visit outside of town are the remains of a substantial Roman bridge known as the "Spiano" and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (13th century) at Villa Scirca, one of the three oldest in Sigillo and home to frescoes done by the painter Matteo da Gualdo (1484).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The nature in the area surrounding is the real treasure of Sigillo and has made nearby Mt. Cucco Park the ideal destination for outdoor sports lovers, above all for hang-gliding and paragliding.


View of Gubbio
Gubbio
Gubbio
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HISTORY

Gubbio is an ancient town whose origins go back to the height of the Umbrian civilization, as can be seen from the Eugubine Tablets (seven bronze tablets with writing in the Umbrian language, preserved at the Civic Museum in Palazzo dei Consoli). The Romans gave it the name Iguvium, and later Eugubium.
Destroyed by the Goths (552), who were succeeded first by the Byzantines (592) and then the Lombards (772), it rose again in the 11th century, when it was established as an independent commune. In the 12th century, Gubbio, under the spiritual guidance of Bishop Ubaldo, the great protector of Gubbio, won a war against Perugia and other nearby towns. Thanks to its thriving industry (specialized in majolica pottery), it reached its greatest splendor in the 14th century, during which time many monuments were built and it took on the medieval appearance that still has today. In 1384 it became part of the Duchy of Urbino, and went with Urbino to the Papal States in 1631.

 

ART, CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT

Gubbio is one of the most ancient towns in Umbria, remaining marvelously well-preserved over the centuries, with many monuments that bear witness to its glorious past. Architecturally it represents the zenith of medieval civilization and of society in the 1200-1300s, with the system of the guilds.

Evidence of its ancient origins is provided by the Eugubine Tablets, one of the most important archeological records in Italy – seven bronze tablets with writing in the Umbrian language preserved at the Civic Museum – and the Roman Theater standing just outside the city walls. The monumental Basilica of Sant'Ubaldo, which holds the remains of the town's patron saint, towers over Gubbio, with its architectural masterpieces that stand as symbols of the power of this medieval city-state.

Construction began in the early 14th century on the superb complex that includes the Palazzo dei Consoli, symbol of the town and home of the Picture Gallery and Archeological Museum, the Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Pretorio, which serves today as the Town Hall. Also deserving mention are Palazzo Beni, the Bargello with its famous fountain, and the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo. The Renaissance Ducal Palace, attributed to Francesco Giorgio Martini, documents the town's brilliant period under the rule of the Montefeltro dukes. Also interesting are the Cathedral (12th century), Santa Maria Nuova, with the Madonna of the Belvedere by Ottaviano Nelli inside, the Church and Convent of Sant'Agostino (13th century) with frescoes by Nelli, the Church and Convent of San Francesco, San Giovanni, characterized by the Romanesque façade and bell tower, San Pietro and San Domenico.
Also of interest are Piazza 40 Martiri with the Church and Ospedale dei Bianchi, the Loggia dei Tiratori and the Church of Sant'Andrea or Monastery of di San Marziale.

Sights outside the walls are the Roman Mausoleum, the Church of San Secondo, the Church of Madonna del Prato and the Church of the Vittorina.

Natural attractions include the Mt. Cucco Park nature area and the fascinating Bottaccione Gorge, with the rocks that, according to one theory, reveal the secrets of the disappearance of the dinosaur 65 million years ago

 


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