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This was the fourth in a series of Umbria ConMe tours that we booked through Viator. The other three were the walking tours of Assisi, Perugia and the underground tour of Orvieto. All of these tours were terrific.
Getting off the train, it was an easy walk from the train station to the old town. Unlike some of the other towns we visited that were located atop of a large hill, Spoleto was along the hillside, but with a gradual rise. It was interesting to see the thriving new town and suddenly go under an arch and be in the old town.
We finally met the owner of Umbria ConMe, Alessandra. She is also an extremely well informed lady who knows the history, religion, architecture and geography who could help us experience Spoleto in a most meaningful way.
Spoleto is another old town that was annexed by the Romans. Its proximity to Rome and being located in the foothills of the Apennines made it a popular destination to cool off during the scorching summers. Not that long ago, an historian was studying about Spoleto and had read accounts of an old Roman amphitheater that existed. He looked over the town and decided that the spot that made the most sense and per the descriptions had to lie alongside one of the churchs properties. He got permission to start digging and his hunch proved right. There is an excavation going on that has uncovered a sizeable amphitheater in relatively excellent shape. There are several pieces of columns and statues that are broken and need to be pieced, but overall the seating and staging area are in excellent shape.
Spoleto has its share of narrow, winding streets that add to the fun of exploring. We saw some gardens and then came into view of the majestic Duomo. Alessandra then proceeded to tell us about the Duomo. She told us about the mosaic floors, whereby the churchgoers had modest designs but the church officials had extravagant mosaic patterns. The large paintings of Lippi and Pinturichhio were pointed out, including fine points to look at in the paintings.
It is truly a lovely town with a lot of history and worthiness to visit. Not too long ago an earthquake hit the region. Spoleto was closer to the epicenter than the other towns that we visited. There was some minor damage. We could see an example of one of the buildings being repaired. Apparently the earthquake has caused many of the Italians not to visit Umbria. So, most of the tourists right now, are from outside Italy. So, by quickly repairing the minor damage, Spoleto should be in a position to push all thoughts aside as to its safety. We only knew of the earthquake damage because Alessandra had pointed it out. Again, it was very minor.
It was a great tour. Grazie, Alessandra.
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