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

Narni-My 5th Report on Via Flaminia

  10 votes
Page: 1 2
Narni seems to be the most beautiful town I have found along Via Flaminia up to now. Before I gave you this conclusion, I have been there twice and passed it 4 or 5 times. It seems that I am not the only one being capitivated by its incredible beauty.

fog adds the mystery of Narni
fog adds the mystery of Narni
many people here, I suppose, must have seen the movie produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the Chronicles of Narnia-The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but very few know the story between the movie and the town that I am going to tell you. The movie was all based on the novel of an English writer Clive Staples Lewis, but Lewis's inspiration came from Narni. Narnia is the ancient name of Narni in the Roman Period, therefore both the Narnia Land and the Lion Aslan in the movie, were talking about Narni. Lion is the symbol of the town and can be found everywhere.

Narni used to one of the obliged stages of the Grand Tour during the 18th and 19th centuries. The French impressionism pioneer Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot visited here in 1826 and did leave two pictorial masterpieces, Le Ponte de Narni. One is kept in the Louvre Museum, the other one is in the National Gallery of Canada. The bridge on the painter's palette is called Ponte d'Augusto.

But Narni's charm is more than those from the big stories, for me its beauty is beyond any word or any language seems to be redundant. You may do nothing here, just wandering along the narrow street in the town is such a pleasure that you may feel strongly both the peaceful atmosphere and an exhilarated mind. You will find you have nener been so close to the history, to the nature, to yourself as well, as you do now.

Narni is a hilltop town and can be seen quite far away from Via Flaminia, but it is a pity that this stunning view is spoiled by two things. One is that when you pass it by car from the highway, there is no place allowing you to stop for a while to have a good look at it. The other is that when you go by train, you can not see its beautiful side, but its irregularity or ugliness, if you like. Because the train will stop at Narni Scalo, the industries there as well as the railway station all stand before the hill where Narni perches. But you will forget it very quickly by what you find ahead.


Favourite spots:
Ponte d'Augusto
Ponte d'Augusto
But the hill is not the real essence, if you neglect the small river running silently throughout the valley, you will not have a complete picture of Narni. The river is called Fiume Nera in Italy, namely Black River in English. If we say Narni a great man, Fiume Nera is really like his mother, who gave all she has selflessly. Actually Fiume Nera does not only nourish Narni, but also the whole Umbrians as well as the Romans, because it joins the Tiber eventually, where the Roman civilization was initiallly developed.

1. Ponte d'Augusto

Ponte d"Augusto or Bridge of August is probably the best place to see the great achievements of ancient Roman engineering. It used to having four arches, but now only one is remaining. It is stunningly high, so you may call it "sky bridge". Standing at the foot of this giant creature, I feel so small. I am even wondering that it seems to be not an easy job today, how the people did it 2000 years ago?


What's really great:
Duomo as well Piazza Garibaldi
Duomo as well Piazza Garibaldi
2. Main Squares

Narni have many nice squares, but at least these two that you can not afford to miss: Piazza dei Priori and Piazza Garibaldi. One is hosting the Palazzo Comunale and the Loggia dei Priori, the other is where the cathdral is located. But the two main squares are very close to each other, the major road connecting them is called Via Garibaldi.

3. Churches

Narni has a number of nice churches. Besides the duomo, there are Chiese S. Agostino, Chiesa S. Francesco, Auditorium S. Domenico, Chiesa S.Restituta, Chiesa S.Agnese, Chiesa S. Margherita. But the most impressive ones are Duomo, Auditorium S. Domenico, Castello S. Girolamo, S.Maria Impensole.

Castello S. Girolamo is out side of the center, but it is not too far, does deserve a visit. The main building that you see in the first picture of my report is Castello S. Girolamo, it is built in a wonderful setting, mountain with snow, the lake as well as the bright colors of the building.


La Rocca, the Crown of the King?
La Rocca, the Crown of the King?
There is another church you should not miss, Abbazia San Cassiano. It is in the vicinity of Ponte d'Augusto and perching on the top of another hill. You may see the river Fiume Nera as well as the Bridge very closely from the road to Abbazia San Cassiano.

4. la Rocca

La Rocca means the Castle. Narni has a great castle which is the twin of the castle in Spoleto, both of them were out of the hands of Albornoz. But Narni's castle is even more impressive, because you see it quite far around from via Flaminia. It is really like the crown of the king.

5. Bell Towers

Narni has a number of impressive bell towers. I could find 7 at least from the map of the town, but the most impressive ones are along the small road behind the Municipal Palace, Via Aurelio Saffi. But it is a pity that they do not have any specific name at all, even the local people did not know, they just called them Torre, tower.


the main gate to Narni, Porta Ternana
the main gate to Narni, Porta Ternana
6. Gates

Narni keeps many gates from the ancient times. They include Porta Polella, Porta della Fiera, Porta del Vodano, Porta Ternana, Porta Romana, Porta Pietra. But the most impressive one is Porta Ternana, which controls the main entrance along Via Flaminia to the town.

7. Fountains as well as aqueduct

Because of Fiume Nera, Narni does not have the problems of lacking water. Just look at the fountains at the main squares, you will know how rich it is in water resources. Major Roman aqueduct, Formia can still be found. In the main square, Piazza Garibaldi, there is a plate showing Lacus, downstairs you will find the original architecture. But I even did more to find where Formia was, I followed the instruction and came to a place behind the church Chiesa S. Margherita, but I found it was a dead end. There was an old guy repairing the car, and I came up for help. He was so excited at hearing Formia, he was even taking me downstairs to see the aqueduct.


Picture taken from the place where I fell down
Picture taken from the place where I fell down
He reminded me of the slippery stairs, but before I was going to finish the last stairs, maybe I was too eager to see where the Formia aqueduct, I forgot the danger of the stairs, I fell down there and found what he was trying to show me was just a hole, part of the orginal Formia aqueduct, but it is still in use even today.

God may be moved by my strong zest to find out and give me unexpected beautiful signs for photographing as a compensation and incentive.

8. Candle Tray

I did not stay overnight at Narni, but I believe the night at Narni would be extremely romantic. Because I saw candle trays hung on every corner of the ancient walls of the town. I did not know whether they remain just like a decoration, or they are still in use. I was thinking if there were no electricity at night in Narni, the whole town were lit up by the soft candle lights, it would be how romantic, wouldn't it?

The interesting thing is that the candle tray in Narni is like the icecream holder.


the most atmospheric small street, Via del Campanile
the most atmospheric small street, Via del Campanile
9. small streets

What really touched my heart was not the big buildings in Narni, but the small streets winding throughout the towns. They were so atmospheric that I could not believe that I was living in the 21st century!!! They were a little bit dark, but it was this kind of dimness that made this peaceful town a home to stay. Everything came to a standstill. It was so tranquil that I had to mind my steps not to spoil this incredible peace. Those small streets were my favorites:

(1) Via del campanile, one side road just behind the duomo, you will see skyscraping bell tower as well as candle trays on the wall.

(2) vicolo Belvedere, the stunning view of Abbey San Cassiano, the mountain with snow as well as the lake will keep you stay for a while. Meanwhile you will see the ancient walls.

(3)via del Asilo, some part of the road is like an balcony, you may appreciate the beauty of the valley.


(4) Via della Luna, the road itself was nothing, but there was an open space where you might be better positioned to overlook the valley.

10. Industry

Narni is so close to industralized town, Narni Scalo, where the real stain stays, which to some extent has spoited its beauty. I have no right to criticize, I know Narni has to support its people, but I have two following questions:

One question is related to its neighbor, Terni, 7 minutes away by train, is also an industry center, but I could not see any industry there, if there were no momuments reminding me of this fact. How Terni can do that?

The other question is that It seems to me that Narni's industry is not as ugly as many people said. You may see it from my picture, but the important thing is that how you can respect this beautifulness meanwhile achieving further development. That's the question not only for Narni, but also for the whole world. We are facing the same challenges.

Other recommendations:
Fiume Nera, the river nourish Narni as well as the whole Umbria
Fiume Nera, the river nourish Narni as well as the whole Umbria
1. well plan your routes. The layout of Narni is trangular and vertical, therefore you need to look at the map very carefully. You start your itineray with the bridge, Ponte d'Augusto and the river, Fiume Nera, as well as the Abbey San Cassiano. and then you climb to explore the town. Or you may start at the city center first, and then choosing the bridge, the river and the abbey at your last visit.

2. Narni is easily accessible by train, therefore you had better visit the town by train instead of your own transport. It is very difficult to find a parking place, meanwhile Italians do not have any patience to allow you to stop somewhere for a quick shot.

3. In order to let you better understand Narni, I am going to establish an album for it. welcome to see it with my report.

Published on Thursday December 11th, 2008

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Fri, Jan 02 2009 - 10:52 AM rating by davidx

Sounds wonderful and I rate my chances of getting there pretty high as it lends itself to rail access.

Fri, Dec 12 2008 - 06:30 PM rating by robynallen

A good read about a place with such beautiful surrounds and history. Looks like such an interesting place to visit.

Thu, Dec 11 2008 - 05:58 PM rating by pesu

Yuliang, I would like to visit Narni after reading your fine report! Very nice pics, too. Looking forward to the album.

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