A trip to Amelia and San Gemini, in autumn

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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A short jump in the south of Umbria, in the province of Terni, to admire two splendid municipalities: Amelia and San Gemini. In my post I'll tell you what I saw and why? you should plan a visit to these places.

1 day


Amelia, ancient Ameria, would have been founded by the hero Amiro in 1134 BC and? passed through a phase of strong urban development in age? Augustea. In fact, it was precisely in these years that Amelia provided itself with a forum, paved streets above an efficient sewer system and, probably, a campus and an amphitheater were also built.

For a dip in the Roman history of this city, I suggest you go, as I did, to the Civic Museum (Archaeological and Pinacoteca), housed in the former Boccarini College, originally a Franciscan convent of the XIII-XIV century. . Inside, in fact, you will find the remains that testify the life of this town in Roman times, such as the so-called funerary altar of Dionysus, the inscriptions from funerary monuments and in particular the large bronze statue (2 meters high!) Of the Roman general Nero Claudius Drusus, called Germanicus, found in 1963. The latter lived under the Emperor Augustus and was an excellent leader in the Balkans, Germany and the East, where he lost his life following an illness, in 19 AD.

The Museum also allows you to admire other treasures such as a fifteenth-century altarpiece by Piermatteo d'Amelia, works by Livio Agresti, Giacinto Gimignani, Sebastiano Conca, and others. Do not miss the masterpiece, also by Piermatteo d'Amelia: the table with Sant'Antonio Abate, founder of monasticism, originally located in the Church of San Giovanni Battista.

Finally, also in the Roman context, put on your agenda also the Roman Cisterns (entrance in Piazza Matteotti) for water conservation and the Cyclopean walls erected over 2500 years ago.

If you love art and culture, a stop at Amelia's social theater? unmissable, to me? really liked it! This theater entirely in wood, born around the end of the eighteenth century under the direction of the architect Stefano Consacchi, has clear references to the Fenice Theater in Venice. Maybe someone will remember? for having been chosen as the set of the film "Il Marchese del Grillo" with the famous Alberto Sordi.

Other places to admire:

-The co-cathedral of Santa Fermina - The ancient building of the eleventh century was destroyed in the following centuries and then rebuilt in the Gothic style; remarkable? the dodecagonal bell tower that stands next to it.
-Palazzo Farattini - It was built in the sixteenth century on a project by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, over pre-existing rooms of Roman baths
-Palazzo Petrignani - In Piazza Marconi, this noble building built in 1500 in Renaissance style hides wonderful frescoed rooms, one above all, the Sala dello Zodiaco in whose lunettes the months of the year are represented


I continued my visit in southern Umbria, moving to another municipality in the territory that is part of the Gal Ternano.
At 345 meters above sea level stands the built-up area of ​​San Gemini, made up of about 4600 inhabitants, one of the most? beautiful of Italy. Even if I was there only for an hour, at night, I assure you that the title? absolutely deserved!

Maybe, you already have? heard of this country because of its natural and mineral waters, so? I want you to discover another side of it, the historical one, linked to tradition and the Middle Ages through the Giostra dell'Arme, awarded since 2009 with the bronze medal granted by the President of the Republic as a representation award.

The carousel ? an equestrian tournament that has come back to life since 1974, at the turn of the months of September and October, in the alleys, stairways and streets of the historic center, divided in half? from the colors of the two districts that compete: Rocca and Piazza. The figures of the districts, in medieval clothes, live with trepidation the expectation of the last Sunday, after 9 October, the day of the Patron Saint Gemini, in which the galloping knights must put on a ring and throw the javelin on the noble shield.

On the other days of the event you can admire the splendid Romanesque Church of San Francesco with the adjacent Cloister where, every year, the Rione Piazza hosts local artisans and painters, who display their artifacts; also you will have the possibility? to taste the traditional Umbrian dishes in the local taverns. If you are lucky, as I was, you may also come across the exhibition of flag wavers and drummers through the streets of the village. Will a detour to Palazzo Vecchio allow you? to dive into the thirteenth-century history of San Gemini and browse the various temporary exhibitions that are held inside.

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