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yuliangpang Spoleto - A travel report by yuliang
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Spoleto,  Italy - flag Italy
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yuliangpang's travel reports

The Most Wonderful Weekend I Ever Had In Spoleto

  10 votes
Page: 1 2
Spoleto is a splendid Italian medieval town, located in the region called Umbria, which is more well known for its capital Perugia and Assisi, the birthplace of San Francesco, but Spoleto does has its own place in the history of Umbria, or even Italy.


The symbols of Spoleto
The symbols of Spoleto
Spoleto is a good example for illustrating the legitimacy of an old Chinese saying that the fate of a town is very much decided by its location. Lying in the heartland of Italy, just 126km north of Rome, Spoleto is strategically located on the ancient road, Via Flaminia, which was the major road connecting the Tyrrhenian Sea and Adriatic Sea in ancient time. And it is this strategical geographication that has put Spoleto in the military frontline since the Roman expansion in the 3rd century BC. Historically Spoleto used to be bequeathed to the Pope, but it had never stopped its struggles for the independence. And it did has succeeded in maintaining sovereignty over two centuries (570-774) under the name of Duchy of Spoleto, whose terrritory used to expand to the central Italy.Nowadays, the town is still benefiting from its glorious past and the well-preserved medieval heritages turn it into a charming place for tourists.

Yesterday(8th of November) I visited Spoleto with the accompany of two friends from Thailand and Philippines each. Actually it was my second time to Spoleto. The first time was a field trip one year ago organized by a school in Rome where I used to learn Italian, therefore this time I was supposed to be the tour guide of my friends. But when we got there, I realized that I was not qualified to take this job, because I found myself quite new to it, there were quite a number of places I did not see in my previous visit.

Spoleto is quite big considering its historical sites scatter around the lower and upper part of the town, which do need you make great efforts to explore everything within one day. If you would like to make your life much easier, at least these three things you can not afford to miss in Spoleto: churches, castel and bridge.

Favourite spots:
Duomo
Duomo
1. Churches

Spoleto boasts of churches. Wikipedia gives a long list of 13 churches in its introduction about Spoleto, the following four or five deserve a visit.

(1) Duomo of S. Maria Assunta

The symbol of Spoleto does has its quite specialties. Its simple but beautiful facade, the imporportionately high bell tower as well as the agreeable surroundings, particularly the spacious square and the lovely hanging gardens make it an ideal playground. Inside the duomo you must see three things: Erioli Chapels at the beginning or the right nave, the frescoes by Filippo Lippi in the apse and its tomb in the right transept. But for me, I love the delicate rose windows most.

(2) San Ponziano

lying outside of the town's walls and surrounded by olive groves, this 12th romanesque complex is simply beautiful. I love the reliefs rightly up the entrance, which are supposed to decorate the rose window. Though some of them are broken, but you may still see how they are delicately made.

What's really great:
San Ponziano
San Ponziano
(3) Basilica of San Salvatore

In the vicinity of San Ponziano, this 4th-5th complex is said to be one of the most important examples of Early Christian architecture. Its pain appreance belied its great interior. I just simply love its integrity, through it you may well imagine how the churches at its times look like.

(4) San Gregorio Maggiore

It also has a high belfry, and flanked by a nice courtyard, but i like the frescoes on the walls most.

2. Castle

Spoleto has several castles, but the one as referred to here is Rocca Albornaziana. It is another postcard site in Spoleto. It is just behind the Duomo, but it does require ticket, 7.5 Euro, including some rooms with frescos and exhibitions. It used to be a stratefic fortress and a prison as well. It has two wards, the first one at the entrance is Ward of Honor, which used to be the residential seat of the Governor of the Duchy. The other court is Ward of Arms used for military activites. Camera Pinta can not be missed.

Sights:
the bridge, escape to the Castel
the bridge, escape to the Castel
3. Bridge

The bridge here refers to Ponte delle Torri. It is a real masterpiece for the famous Roman aquiduct, connecting the Castle and the hill behind it, Monteluco. It has 240-metre span, supported by 10 eighty-metre arches. It was Initiall planned to bring water from Monteluco, but changed into escape from the castle when it was under siege.

There is another bridge called Ponte Sanguinario deserving a short place here. Ponte Sanguinario means blood bridge in English. It was built in the 1st century BC and it takes the name for the persecutions of the Christians in the nearby amphitheatre which made the river become red. Today it is still there, but you may easily miss it if you are not attentive.

The list that i give is not an complete one, there are still a lot of interesting places not included. For time constraints, I did not finish all of them during my day trip. As I mentioned earlier, you need to well organize your time, otherwise can not fully explored it within one day.

Accommodations:
image of Spoleto
image of Spoleto
Gattapone, the hotel recommended by Rough Guide, is just sitting on the road to the Ponte. It has a very nice location which easily catches the attention of passengers, as it did to my Thai friend. We did not know it was in the Rough Guide book, we just knew it when we got it at her strong request. The interior is more enticing than what it looks like, particularly it has a courtyard behind and from where you may reach the Ponte delle Torri directly. It is very nice for making pictures too. But you need to pay more for it. The hotel is quite expensive, 90-120 Euros depending on the season for one single room. The owner Pietro Guilio, is also very friendly, showing us the courtyard and meeting rooms. Just leave the information for those who may need it: Tel: 0743 223 447, www.hotelgattapone.it.

Nightlife:
It would be the most difficult thing for me to say somethings about the nightlife, because firstly i did not stay there at night, secondly I did not hang out at night, most of time stayed at home.

Hangouts:
superb position for photographing
superb position for photographing
The biggest discovery of my second visit to Spoleto was the superb places for making pictures. I listed here for your own reference:

1. Ponte dei Torri and the footpath in Monteluco

You may have a walk on the Bridge, but do not end your visit at the end of Bridge. If you climb the stairs and go a little bit further, you will find some superb locations for make a panaromic shot of the castel , the bridge and the whole town.

2. San Ponziano

This is another wonderful place for photographing. You may put the church as well as the Castle nestled on the background mountain as well as the bell tower of the Duomo in one shot. You may just take the grove trees as the only background to the shot of the Castle. You may make the castle has different flavor.

3. Near Ponte G. Garibaldi

The dried river is an ideal place to make some shots of the Castle and the Duomo.

4. Piazza Della Signoria

Perfect places to take pictures of the town buildings

Restaurants:
my favorite in Spoleto
my favorite in Spoleto
There are a lot of restraunts in Spoleto around Piazza Mercato, Market Square in English. But the prices are not cheap. There is one pizzeria dell'Orologio around the corner the square. It is a good choice to have some food there, it is quicker and cheaper.

Other recommendations:
Heaven or Prison?
Heaven or Prison?
1. well organize your time. The major sights of Spoleto are not well concentrated, you really need to take some time to look at the map very carefully and figour out your own routes, otherwise you can not finish to fully explore Spoleto within one day.



2. Leave at least one hour for the Bridge and the footpath in Monteluco. It deserves your time. fresh air, wonderful views, you got all those things as what tourists expected from the place he visited.



3.Train Tickets:reading the notice carefully before you buy the train ticket from the machine. You may only buy the tickets from the machine after the ticket office is closed. The machine does not give you any change if it need give you more than 9 Euros when you buy the ticket from the machine, but only a receipt, you may get your money back within one month from any station during the working time.

Published on Sunday November 9th, 2008


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Thu, Jan 08 2009 - 09:45 AM rating by davidx

I agree about Soleto. It's a wonderful place, although sadly the cathedral was smothered in scaffolding when I saw it.
Your fine report does Spoleto full justice.

Thu, Nov 27 2008 - 01:51 PM rating by marianne

good advice, well written

Tue, Nov 11 2008 - 05:18 PM rating by jorgesanchez

With every new report that you write, you improve your skill. Well done!

Mon, Nov 10 2008 - 01:33 AM rating by gloriajames

i can see that you have followed like my reporting style....(";)
and excellent read...and 5*

Sun, Nov 09 2008 - 01:40 PM rating by rangutan

Nice layout, easier to read. A lot of tips and good advice too :-)

Sun, Nov 09 2008 - 12:33 PM rating by pesu

Yuliang, congrats - great report - fine pics - I just want to go to Spoleto at once... :-)

Sun, Nov 09 2008 - 11:32 AM rating by krisek

Yuliang, a magnificent report! I really like how you broke the mold of our report's structure. It sounds like you are truly enjoying yourself in Italy, and thank you for all the practical hints for Spoleto.

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