The city wall of Bettona

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Tourist information and welcome office
Piazza Matteotti, 18 - Loggia dei Lanari - 06121 Perugia
Bettona was a small Etruscan center to the left of the Tiber river, controlled by the neighboring and powerful Perusia-Perugia. The town protects itself through a mighty wall which enclosed the town organized on the same top of the hill occupied by the medieval town and actually by Bettona historical center.

The walls have an original path length of about 1 km, represent a joyful and interesting opportunity to visit with several points of relax and enjoy thanks to a remarkable panorama.

The currently visible wall is the result of a reconstruction made by Cardinal Albornoz after the destruction of Bettona realized in 1352 by forces of Siena, Florence and Perugia who occupied it "breaking down walls and all the buildings expect the churches ". The walls were rebuilt in part by tracing the route of the Etruscan walls, which can be stored for various stretches almost all incorporated into the walls of the medieval era. By visible traits is evident the use of a work irregular square, using large square blocks of various sizes, made of local sandstone. The blocks, arranged in horizontal rows, have varying heights and shapes parallelepiped or trapezoidal; the best ones preserved are on facing the signs of the process and in rare cases traces of an ashlar simple rustic wall. In several places you could see the lower blocks of the Etruscan walls resting directly on the bedrock of the hill, suitably regularized for the implementation of the rows.

The visit to the town wall could begin leaving Porta Vittorio Emanuele II (called Santa Caterina), located at the northern end of the wall, and heading left towards Viale Roma, where it meets a sudden right-angle which grows to a length of 26.30 meters and resting directly on the rocky bank of the hill. In this area the twelve visible rows have varying heights and a different state of conservation, some with perfectly fitting joints, others with obvious signs of the erosive action exerted from the elements on the sandstone, who left in some cases unusual shapes, one in particular known as "the ass of the nuns". The popular tradition says that is a superstitious value. In correspondence of the door Vittorio Emanuele II, after which the stretch formed a right angle, the wall is interrupted by a modern reinforcement plastered.

Staying on the west side and continuing in the direction of the first Porta in May, or Arch of San Giacomo overlooked by the monastery complex suppressed in the Napoleonic era, it meets at the sides of a stretch of Etruscan wall consists of a line emerging from the ground to a length of respectively 5.40 m and 10 m; the blocks have the worn surface and the profiles of rounded joints. Going a few steps you leave the ring road of Rome Avenue to cross the long, narrow Market Square documented from 1378, where it meets on the left the fourteenth-century St Peter's Porta with drawbridge. At Porta Romana, the southern entrance to the city, you can see a further section along approximately 10 meters. The wall, in part reconstructed, is formed by three rows, incorporated in the lateral structure of the door. In the same area, along Via del Pericolo a stretch of wall is visible that describes an angle at the intersection with Via Tirio, which rests directly on the rocky bank of the hill. A length of about 10 meters and on three rows, the stretch has been interpreted by some as a terrace wall of the southern slopes of the hill, by others as audience of a temple building.
On the north side, at the convent of San Crispolto, the Etruscan defensive circuit instead followed a path very different from that medieval one, whose construction made a widening perimeter wall, inside whom it is hidden the ancient curtain. In the cellars below the former convent the visible section reaches a thickness of about 2 meters and has a processing inaccurate blocks, which made believe belonged to the inner curtain of the walls, that is, the face is not visible.
To the north of the former convent there is a stretch of four rows protruding from the ground, 20 meters long. Before reaching Vittorio Emanuele port, starting point of the tour, you could see some blocks embedded in the wall structure redone in recent times and it is possible to recognize a stroke length of about 30 meters of the Etruscan walls. The similarities with the walls of other Etruscan centers indicates the date of the walls of Bettona by the second half of the fourth century BC.