Walking the streets of Spoleto is a constant delight for a history lover such as myself. I drive Tim crazy by constantly stopping to take pictures of the lovely old doors…
…or the charming old fountains…
…or squeal when I see picturesque alleyways. And then we get distracted and wander down the alleyways, or stairways, just to see where they lead. (And often get lost!) That’s the charm of Spoleto.
But eventually you get where you’re heading…in our case, yesterday it was first to the Duomo.
I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t really excited about visiting another church. Let’s be real- we’ve seen a lot of churches at this point, right? But…holy cow. This church? Wow!
The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or the Duomo, is one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen. The Cathedral, which was apparently rebuilt at the end of the twelfth century, took the place of the ancient building of Santa Maria del Vescovato (8th-9th century), which had replaced a primitive Christian temple.
I don’t know how old the mosaic tile floors are…but they’re old. And they’re beautiful.
There is a magnificent fresco painted by Fillipo Lippi (he is also buried there.)
The Duomo also has a fragment of a letter written by St Francis of Assisi (!!!). It is kept in a reliquary of the church. It is actually only a fragment of a letter, written on goatskin, estimated to have been written around 1225 when St. Francis was nearly blind and suffering the effects of stigmata. It was written to Brother Leo, one of his earliest and closest followers. But STILL…Saint Francis!
Also, look at how the afternoon sunlight reflects the gold leaf on the fresco outside the church – isn’t that breathtaking?
We then took the amazing travelators to the top of the hill to see the Ponte delle Torri, an ancient Roman aqueduct which was rebuilt in the fourteenth century. It was a splendid day, with perfect weather and we enjoyed the walk immensely. The views were superb, and the leaves were just starting to turn…it was gorgeous.
We then climbed a bit further still to the Rocca Albornoziana or La Rocca, which was built in the fourteenth century as a residence of the Pope. It was designed as both a residence and a fortress. Lucrezia Borgia also apparently resided at La Rocca. From 1817-1962 it was used as a prison.
There are remnants of lovely frescoes remaining on the walls today.