Anne's Blog

Discovering Roman Wonders in Spello

Date: March 30, 2019 - categories: , , , - Leave your thoughts

In the more than twenty years as an authorized guida regionale del’Umbria, Spello (che bello!)  – not far from Assisi – has always been a favorite tour destination. Both for myself and for my tour guests.

And now more than ever, for the recently-opened museum of Roman mosaics (first discovered in July, 2005 during work on a planned parking lot) will now headline the “Spello attractions” marquee:

For a recent Spello tour for Tom, Judy (from Michigan) and Nina (from Germany), the stunning Roman villa mosaics had to be first stop:

And wherever we headed on our Spello wanders that morning, we sought out hints of the splendor of the Roman colony, Hispellum.  We noted vases in the courtyard of the bishop’s palace,  one topping the capitals of a Roman column….

…….and another capital nearby actually served as the flower pot, crowning a Roman column

Just across the courtyard from the capitals, a Roman column topped with an elegant Ionic capital was set into the wall of the Santa Maria Maggiore church (where the Romans had erected a temple to Venus).

….as as Tom noted, “a basketball hoop next to it, ” though I doubt that kids about to launch a ball, even note or reflect on the column;  the spellani grow up with Rome all around..

Just outside the courtyard and in front of the Santa Maria Maggiore church rise stately Roman columns of the temple to Venus:

Keep your eyes open and you’ll spot Roman tidbits all over Spello as you meander the scenic backstreets.   There’s no archaeological museum but the town has an “improvised” one in the treasured Roman remnants  mounted on the walls of the city hall entryway:

From city hall, we headed to the medieval church of San Lorenzo church, extensively restored in the 17th -century, where the simple main altar contrasts with the ornate Baroque baldacchino towering over it. Once again, Spello unveils its Roman past, for the altar rests on a stout Roman column:

Logicamente, Tom, Judy and Nina could not miss viewing the Roman city gates, Porta Urbica, Porta Venere and  Porta Consolare:

…and we ended our tour with close observation of other “Roman arches”: the “legs” in a glass of a 1997 sangiovese wine,  for as Luca told us at the wine cellar, “For us the ‘legs’ are called ‘archetti’ or ‘Roman arches.'”

Glad to have shared the day with you, Tom, Judy and Nina.

But we have to return to Spello again: you missed the Roman arch in upper Spello (near the medieval tower Pino restored), the Arco Augusto:

…..and who knows what other Roman wonders are yet to be unveiled?

Click here to read about Pino’s restoration of the medieval tower near the Roman arch

Read about the  recently-discovered astounding Roman mosaics

Click here to read about – and see! – the breath-taking festival, le Infiorate

 

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