Dunarobba’s Forest, setted in Avigliano Umbro, was born from a natural phenomenon that allows after milions of years to admire an openair museum made of fossilised tree trunks preserved in an original position. The Forest is composed of huge plants, similar to today’s sequoia, covered by the clay and broken at 5-10 metres of height, that are able to join a diameter above one half metre.
Clitumno’s Wellsprings,arousing suggestions, are an ideal location to understand the connection between the religion and the environment. Here the water and its particular colors with the exuberant vegetation create a gorgeous and uncompared landscape. The wellsprings dedicated to Clitumno God, personifications of the river where Clitumno expressed his oracles, were famous in the roman period and were told by Properzio’s books, Plinio’s books and Virgilio’s books, inspired poets as Byron and Carducci, painters as Corot and, also today, the wellsprings gush out from cracks’ rock and join in to a lovely small lake.
Alviano’s area was born in 1978 in a space that measures 800 hectares, included in Tevere’s wildlife park. Since 1990 WWF managed a fauna reserve in a florid context of the river and marshy vegetation. Inside the area you can do birdwatching staying on the towers or in the garden sheds, there is also an openair school room in the middle of the marsh. The area is damp and it’s suitable for rare migratory bird’s nesting, infact it’s possibile to admire the belted kingfisher, the great crested grebe, herons, cormorants, sea gulls, hawks and others birds.
Marmore’s waterfalls are the most particular and enchanting sight of all. It’s a wonderful creation of roman engineering, infact the roman consul called Manio Curio Dentato, planned the reclamation of the Velino marshes and it was dug an effluent called Cavo Curiano where today there is the main waterfall, canalizing the river’s stagnant water. Today Marmore’s waterfall (called in this way cause of calcium’s encrustations similar to the marble) is developed in three spectacular jumps until 165 metres ( the tallest of the Europe). Furthermore there are two observation points that allow to the visitors and the tourists to look at the wonderful sight of gushing water. Not so far from Marmore’s waterfall, there is Piediluco’s lake, surrounded by green mountains, it’s a touristic location that you can’t forget.
Umbria is less famous about touristic routes. There are a lot of streets and touristic routes that can disclose us some historic and archeological information.
The roman tanks in Popolo Square, overreach 5 kilometres of tunnels, including 30 preroman, roman and medieval tanks, 500 wells from different periods of time founding Todi’s underground heritage. There is also a difficult system of catacomb architectures around the inside hill, that was created during the past centuries according to the ground’s geomorphological features.
You can visit it through a mechanized route that crosses Rocca Paolina’s building, between the ruins of the medieval district owned to Baglioni’s family. The stronghold was built in 1540-43 according to Paolo III Farnese’s will and was designed by Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane. The big stronghold was destroyed in 1860 after that Perugia was joined to Italia’s Kingdom. Today you can see the medieval district’s ruins as the old houses, some streets, for example Bagliona’s road, courtyards, small squares, bakeries and shops, Gentile Baglioni’s house, since 1200, with the tower and the space dedicated to Ridolfo e Braccio Baglioni. After 5 kilometres away, average (in the south-est direction), there is Volumni’s catacomb, an etruscan family in Perugia. The grave, discovered since 1840, is one of the most important monument in Etruria and includes also a huge necropolis called Palazzone that is developed in a lot of graves since archaic period (6th century a.C.), and ellenistic period (3rd-1st century a.C.). The catacomb’s date is between the second half of the 3rd century and the first half of the1st century a .C.
It’s a labyrinth of tunnels dug in 3000 years. You’ll see the etruscan “Velzna” that is Orvieto during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, as in a flashback journey.The guided visit is the best way to know the cultural aspects of the town full of history and works of art. It’ s important to visit San Patrizio’s well, designed by Antonio Sangallo il Giovane, according to Clemente VII’s will to supply with the water Albornoz’s stronghold, in case of siege or fight, the well is deep 62 metres and inside there are two overlapped flight of steps, planned to make easier the water transport.
In 1218, S.Francesco d’Assisi built a hut made of a marshy plant called “scarsa”, from this word comes the name “Scarzuola”. The Saint built a Convent planting a laurel and a rose creating a religious location very important also today. Inside of the small church of the convent is keeped a fresco since the first half of 13th century, one of the first portraits of the Saint. Today Scarzuola is a fantastic location that is changed by Tommaso Buzzi, an architect from Milano, who bought the convent in 1957 to create the “ideal town”. The convent’s renovation was the first step of Buzzi’s project; instead the second step was the gardens, changing the simple vegetable plots of monks in a wonderful wood composed of hedges, rare flowers, garden sculptures and bowers, remembering the legend about the love between Polifilo and his nymph. When Buzzi finished the “religious town’s” renovation, he started to build the “desecrated town” called “Buzziana”. It’s setted at the and of the garden and it overlooks a huge natural amphitheatre. It’s a particular and mind-blowing small town built with the stone, its factories seem to be shaped with the sand as the castles created on the sea. The buildings are connected to real theatrical areas (scenes, flight of steps, big pools) built on the ground and supported by strong stone walls.
Buzziana seems really a desecrated town, full of recalls and quotations: everywhere there are sentences, monograms and indecipherable symbols. It was designed according to the New-Mannerism Style, the small town shows complicated and astonishing shapes: there a lot of flight of steps and small steps, rural styles, monsters’s bas-reliefs, small sculptures, shapes that recall a vegetation similar to Arcimboldi’s works of art, without references to the architecture. There are a lot of wonderful and unusual buildings and monuments: circolar structures similar to the arabic astronomical observatory, structures that recall the animals, some wells dedicated to the meditation, the locations for performances, the pagan temples with crystal towers that seems a pinnacle of gothic cathedral. When Tommaso Buzzi died in 1980, the stone building remained unfinished and so he requested that the nature possessed it and changed it in a unit of fantastic ruins worthy of Clerisseau’s paint. Buzziana is still live today approximately finished and it’s as a spiritual labyrinth, a way to think that forces our dimension’s rules to impose another one.
On the hill, that goes down until the valley, there is Collevalenza’s village that is far 6 kilometres from Todi, along Tiberina’s national street (3bis), it’s also far 100 kilometres from Roma and 50 kilometres from Perugia. In this small village, one of the 36 villages that compose Todi’s area, lived Speranza Alhama of Jesus Sister, since 18 August 1951, with other nuns and the first Sons of Merciful Love, to save and to spread the devotion to Merciful Jesus. She was poor but she had in her heart a big dream: to create a big centre of spirituality and to spread, in all directions, the recall of Merciful Love to the people.
Merciful Love! This expression became for Speranza Sister a spiritual direction, an ambitious project. The architectural result of Sister’s dream is the Sanctuary. In Collevalenza, infact, there is the Merciful Love Sanctuary. It was designed by Giulio Lafuente in 1965, a spanish architect, so the Sanctuary is the most famosus example of modern architecture. It’s very tall with a steep step, it appears to the visitor very severe and imposing, cause of the huge balcony on the facade. This austere shape is heavy for the soul, even if it is lightened from a concave glass window and from a diagonal break of the surface. This is surely an impression that arouses the pilgrim’s inner weight left there. The visitor that wishes to pray and to find a religious location can go to Crypt. Beside the Sanctuary, there are Pilgrim’s House, Young girl’s House, the Swimming Pools dedicated to ill people, the Well that has a miraculous history and its Fountain. The Sanctuary is surrounded by a street that measures 800 metres and here there is Via Crucis. The Sanctuary has received the title of Basilica in 1982 by Giovanni Paolo II Pope . Speranza Sister died in Collevalenza in 1983 and she is buried behind Crypt’s altar. In 1992 the Church Process for Her canonization received the legal validity.
Short and suggestive Romanesque route between the ruins of the castles and small medieval churches, around Todi’s landscape. From S.Antimo’s abbey, dipped into pine trees, to Monticello’s Castle or Ficareto’s Castle, that takes the name from Vica or Vittoria Goddess and also would have been dedicated a temple to her in this place. The route starts from Duesanti, one of the most crowded areas in Todi: the two saints are called Antonio and Antonino, martyred during the barbaric invasions. Today, around the oldest unit, there are more recent houses, along a tree-lined street.
You can see also the ruins of a small romanesque church that was abandoned: it was dedicated to Saint Mary and it’s called “ the old church” it was built in 1290. The old castle, that according to the tradition keeps the saints’ mortal remains, has been a reason of big disagreements between Guelfi and Ghibellini that lived in Todi. Today one of the old great towers is a balcony where you can admire the landscape. Going to Pretroro’s direction, we can see the church dedicated to Saint Martino. It’s a romanesque small church, with only one room and it has been renovated recently: the facade has preserved the remains of a rose window. With a short deviation you can join Pretroro’s Castle where, in the end of 15th century, the Ghibellini chased away from Todi finding a shelter.
Going through olive groves and vineyards, you can choose the south direction to S.Damiano and Ponticello, or the north, where stands out Frontignano’s tower. You can come in S.Damiano through a medieval door with Todi’s coat of arms. Here in 1174, a rich farm-worker, who came back from Palestina, as to thank for a received recovery, built a church dedicated to S.Damiano, from it comes the name of the castle. Along the street that connects Foligno to Todi, there is another romanesque church that embellishes the landscape: on the facade you can admire original remains of the building (12th-13th century). Lower, Monticello’s Castle takes the name from the small hill where it has been built. From here, the street comes down between the cultiveted fields, without to lose Todi’s view. Between others castle to visit, there are Lorgnano’s Castle, very small, called Lariano or Lariniano, a name that comes from the reverence for the Lari, the divinties that protected the house. To confirm the tradition, in 1700 were found some marbles and above them some romanic inscriptions that refer to the religion. About the medieval castle don’t remain so much, you should visit the small church dedicated to Saint Andrea. Between one castle and another one, we arrive in Loreto: it was conserved and was renovated very well, it setted on a clayey hill and takes its name from surrounding laurel woods, a latin word that refers to “laurus”. In 12th century it was important as a stronghold to defend the area. Next to it there is S.Lorenzo’s romanesque church, changed a lot in 1900. Frontignano’s castle, with strong walls and a tower (13th century), was one of the most fortified of the area. Not so far from the lived centre, there is S.Maria della Neve’s church, renovated on the remains of the old church, on the altar and gothic decorations. Above Frontignano, stands out Almonte’s tower, built according to the will of Almonte degli Atti, told by D’Annunzio in a sonnet dedicated to Todi included in the “ Praises of the sky, the sea, the earth and the heroes”.
In Cacciano, with its small castle divided between Guelfi and Ghibellini, where in 1472 Guelfi found a shelter followed by historic enemies, ends our route.