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.
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….
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).
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:
…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.
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