Spoleto is a “hidden-gem” in Umbria, Italy surrounded by vast green hills & rich vineyards. Spoleto became a Roman colony in 241 BC and has successfully repulsed an attack by the Carthaginian general, Hannibal, in 217 BC . It later became important because of its strategic location on the Roman artery Via Flaminia and its great role in the Gothic wars.
Walking around Spoleto’s narrow streets and enjoying its landscapes is enough to make you feel you are back in the Medieval Era.
Below are the top sights and activities to check when visiting Spoleto:
1. Duomo di Spoleto (Spoleto Cathedral )
The church is an example of Romanesque architecture and was built from the second half of the 12th century after the city had been devastated by Frederick Barbarossa‘s army.
The most striking feature is this Byzantine-hieratic mosaic portraying Christ giving a Benediction by Doctor Solsternus (1207). The latter kept calling himself an outstanding modern artist with nothing else known about him and this being his only known work. It would take half a century before the mosaics in Roman churches would surpass his style.
2. Ponte delle Torri
Ponte delle Torri (Bridge of Towers) stands on 10 pillars built on the foundations of a Roman aqueduct at a height of 262 feet (80 meters) and offers a splendid panoramic view of the city.
3. Rocca Albornoziana (Castle of Spoleto)
After checking the Ponte, head to Rocca Albornoziana which is a fortress that stands on Colle Sant’Elia, towering over the vast Spoleto valley. Its construction started in 1359 and it belongs to a series of fortresses whose construction was ordered by Pope Innocent VI to re-affirm the Pope’s authority in central Italy.
4. Lunch Essentials
After the long walk up to Ponte delle Torri & Rocca Albornoziana, a lunch is a must. Enjoy a home-cooked meal at “Trattoria Del Festival” located in the center (Via Brignone, 8, 06049 Spoleto PG, Italy).
5. Teatro/Museo Romano di Spoleto
Teatro Romano (Roman Theater) located inside the monumental complex of Sant’Agata, is a theatrical building dating back to the 1st century BC. The theatre was damaged by a landslide caused by an earthquake and got restored in the ancient times.
The monastery of Sant’Agata now houses the National Archaeological Museum of Spoleto and the theater is used for concerts and shows.
6. Basilica of Sant’Eufemia
Sant’Eufemia is a Romanesque-style, Roman Catholic basilica church. The church is dedicated to Saint Euphemia of Chalcedon. It is a great place to take some artistic pictures.
7. Catch a movie at Sala Pegasus
This movie theatre/exhibit was the former church of San Lorenzo, currently called Sala Pegasus. In 1972, some restorations made it possible to transform it into how it looks today!
It was dedicated to Saint Lawrence, a Syrian monk, bishop and local martyr who died in 576. Saint Lawrence is said to be the “illuminator” for the miracles related to healings from blindness.
8. Have a walk & grab a coffee at Vincenzo Art Cafè
Enjoy the end of the tour with a warm cup of coffee or tea. The art café looks great on the inside and has delicious sandwiches and snacks you can grab.
Then head to Piazza del Mercato and enjoy a great stroll around the piazza!