Spoleto Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta or the Duomo di Spoleto) is a beautiful church in Spoleto dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. SHORT HISTORY The Spoleto Cathedral was built at the end of the 12th century, replacing the building of Santa Maria del Vescovato, which was dating back to the 8th or 9th century. Earlier, on this place, was an ancient christian temple dedicated to the martyr Primiano di Larino. The crypt of San Primiano, from the 9th century, represents the only remaining element of the building that stood on this place. ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the façade of the church, embellished by the mosaic of Solsterno, are the arcades of the portico built in 1491 by Ambrogio Barocci. Inside the Cathedral, you can find numerous works of art. At the beginning of the left aisle, you can admire the painting by Alberto Sotio (around 1187). The apse has a remarkable painting with Stories of the Virgin by Filippo Lippi, made between 1467 and 1469. You can also find here a bronze sculpture of Urbano VIII by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and a painting by Annibale Carracci. Interesting is the chapel of Sant’Anna, built Read more [...]
One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, find below a list of the most famous tourist attractions in Spoleto, Umbria…
Rocca Albornoziana is an imposing fortress standing on Colle Sant’Elia, the highest point in Spoleto, strategically towering over the valley. SHORT HISTORY The construction of Rocca Albornoziana started in 1359, of the order of Pope Innocent VI. The project was entrusted to the Spanish Cardinal Egidio Albornoz, who commissioned the works to Matteo di Giovannello da Gubbio, also known as Il Gattapone. The fortress was finished around 1370. Rocca Albornoziana became the main point of the defensive system of this valley, and later the residence of dukes, city governors and papal legates. In 1816, Rocca Albornoziana was turned into a prison, and was used like this until 1982. ARCHITECTURE Rocca Albornoziana has a rectangular shape with six imposing towers. Inside, it has two courtyards, the Cortile delle Armi (Courtyard of Arms), the headquarters of the troops, and the Cortile d’Onore (Courtyard of Honour), reserved to the administrators and the governors. The two courtyards are connected by a vault, decorated at the end of the 16th century with frescoes representing the six cities of the States of the Church. Salone d’Onore (Hall of Honour), the widest space of the fortress, was destined for ceremonies. Camera Pinta (Painted Room) hosts Read more [...]
Piazza del Duomo is a beautiful square in Spoleto, filled with interesting buildings, palaces, churches and places of culture. Descending the stairs to reach the square, flanked on the right by buildings of the 16th century, with the Cathedral of Spoleto in front, is like entering a grandiose scene. The highlight of the square is, without doubt, the wonderful Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or Duomo di Spoleto, built at the end of the 12th century. In the square, we can also find the Church of Santa Maria della Manna d’Oro and the Parish of Santa Maria Nella Cattedrale. Another interesting building is Palazzo Racani Arroni, built in the early 16th century, lining the right side of the stairs that descend to the cathedral, displaying a grey facade embellished by extraordinary but ruined graffiti. Another 16th century palace is Casa Menotti, the home of Giancarlo Menotti, composer, screenwriter and creator of the Festival dei Due Mondi. Today, the palace is hosting a small museum of about 160 square meters, managed by the Monini Foundation in collaboration with the municipality of Spoleto and the Festival dei Due Mondi Foundation. In the square, we can find the beautiful Teatro Caio Melisso, an Read more [...]
Fontana di San Giuseppe (Fountain of Saint Joseph) is an interesting fountain in Spoleto, set against a terracing wall in Via Saccoccio Cecili, in the section commonly known as Curva dei Picchi. SHORT HISTORY Before the construction of Via Cecili, the place was occupied by a palace already equipped with a fountain, called already the Fountain of San Giuseppe. The palace was demolished in 1850, to make way for the new road, which at that point formed an important curve. In 1856, a new fountain was built, keeping the old name of San Giuseppe. In 1977, the fountain was restored by the Amici di Spoleto Association. ARCHITECTURE The water comes out of three nozzles, each provided with a collection tank. The central nozzle is decorated with a small mask. At the top, there is a crowned coat of arms in which a knight in battle is sculpted. HOW TO GET THERE From Piazza Garibaldi, as you enter the historic center of Spoleto, there are about 350 meters to the fountain, or about 5 minutes on foot. The closest bus station is Torre Dell’Olio, about 200 meters away, on the bus route MSP0D.
Teatro Caio Melisso is an old opera house in Spoleto, and one of the most elegant theatres in Italy, being known as one of the main venues of the Festival dei Due Mondi. SHORT HISTORY The oldest theatre in Spoleto, Teatro Caio Melisso was built in the second half of the 17th century, using part of the structures of the unfinished Palazzo della Signoria. The first mention of the theatre was made in 1664, as the „room for comedies”, which led to changing its name in Noble Theatre in 1668. The original wooden structure was enriched in 1751 with decorations, curtains and scenes, which gave it a very precious appearance. After 1819, due to the theft of the 18th century decorations, the theatre was looking bad and the Spoletans showed the desire to have a larger one, so, in 1853, some of them tried to set it on fire. Teatro Nuovo was built in 1864, surpassing the decadent Noble Theatre, which however, after only ten years, was renewed by the will of the Municipality. The project was entrusted to the Spoleto architect Giovanni Montiroli and, in 1880, the theatre was reopened under the name Caio Melisso. Caio Melisso was Read more [...]
Near the Spoleto train station, there is a monument that you can easily overlook. Its name is Teodelapio, which comes from one of the first Lombard dukes of Spoleto, who reigned in the 7th century, Theudelapius. SHORT HISTORY The story began in 1962, at the fifth edition of the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the Two Worlds), curated by Giovanni Carandente. In March 1962, Giovanni Carandente invited Alexander Calder to participate in the event. He asked him to create a piece of art that could serve as a triumphal arch at the entrance to the city and become its symbol. Alexander Calder was an American sculptor known for his Mobile sculptures, which are moving due to air currents, but also for the monumental stationary sculptures that are called Stabiles. The American sculptor designed a metal monument, kept today in the Carandente Museum, inside Palazzo Collicola. The sculpture was enlarged 27 times, being the first of many Stabiles of Calder and the only one on the Italian soil. 18 meters in height, the work is considered the first stationary monumental sculpture in the world. HOW TO GET THERE It’s simple! The Teodelapio is right in front of the Read more [...]
In the historical center of Spoleto, in Piazza del Mercato (Market Square), there is a fantastic fountain, whose water has been running for over 700 years. With a clock above and a monument dedicated to the Barberini family on top, this fountain is known as Fontana di Piazza del Mercato or, simpler, Fonte di Piazza, and is one of the main tourist attractions in Spoleto, and should not be missed. SHORT HISTORY There has been a fountain in Piazza del Mercato since the 13th century or even earlier. In 1433, another one was built in front of the old fountain by the local architect Giovanni Buono and it was inaugurated on the occasion of the visit of Roman Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg. Achille Sansi, a historian from the 19th century, tells us that the water flow of the fountain had been increased in 1512, thanks to the improvements made to the pipelines. In the 16th century, the place where today’s fountain stands was occupied by the church of San Donato. In the second half of the 16th century, the church was abandoned and its façade facing the square was used first for a clock, and then for a monument Read more [...]
Fontana di Mascherone is an interesting fountain in Spoleto, simply known by the locals as Il Mascherone, due to the mask from whose mouth the water flows. The fountain was probably built in the 17th century, and according to a nearby inscription, a restoration was comissioned in the year 1736 by the Pope Clement VII. HOW TO GET THERE The fountain is located in Piazza Campello, only 230 meters from the Spoleto Cathedral and about 1.9 kilometers from the Spoleto train station. If you want to find the fountain easily, use the map below.
The Basilica of Sant’Eufemia rises inside the Archbishop’s Palace, near the Piazza del Duomo, on a place that was once occupied by the palace of the Lombard Dukes of Spoleto. SHORT HISTORY The first information about the monastery and the church of S. Eufemia dates back to the 10th century, when the Benedictine monk Giovanni Cassinese wrote about the life of S. Giovanni, Archbishop of Spoleto. In the 12th century, the church was encompassed by the Palazzo Vescovile (the Archbishop’s Palace). At the end of the 14th century, a painter was commissioned to paint the complex of the palace. At the middle of the 15th century, the Spoleto diocese was run by the Patriarch of Alexandria, the venetian Marco Condulmer, and the church seems to have changed its title from S. Eufemia to S. Lucia. HOW TO GET THERE After you visit the Cathedral of the Assumption of Saint Mary, in Piazza del Duomo, you can easily get to the Church of Sant’Eufemia, only 100 meters away. If you need precise directions from anywhere in the city, use the map below.