Introductions to various aspects of the history, languages and peoples of Tuscany in Italy
Attending Mass in the Basilica of St. Benedict in NorciaFor those inspired by traditional services in ancient churches, nothing equals attending Mass in the Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia in Umbria. Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia St. Benedict (San Benedetto) enjoys a very special place in the life of Norcia (Nursia, in Roman [...]
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The journey begins with a visit to the Duomo (cathedral) of Spoleto. Although this structure, which dates from the 13 C, is predominantly Romanesque, its majestic portico is the result of alterations made during the Renaissance period. Inside, a cycle of frescoes by Filippo Lippi and a Madonna and Saints by Pinturicchio can be seen.
The three sectors of Città della Pieve, called Terzieri (Borgo Dentro, Casilino, Castello) challenge each other to an archery competition, known as “The Bull Hunt” (inspired by the “Caccia del Toro”, a primitive bullfight that took place in the ancient Castel della Pieve in the 15 C and 16 C).
Castelluccio di Norcia is a small high-country village situated in the the Sibylline Mountains (Monti Sibillini) of Umbria. The geomorphology is dominated by U-shaped valleys and glacial plains formed by huge glaciers during the last ice age. The attraction of these high altitude valleys is the “Fiorita” or “Fioritura” (the Flowering) of Castelluccio di Norcia. Between the end of May and the beginning of July of each year, the plains change colour as millions of flowering plants burst into bloom.
Perugino was the foremost painter of the Umbrian Renaissance. He was famous for his fiery temperament and lack of religious belief and yet he painted the tranquil and exquisite Madonnas against finely detailed backgrounds.
The Cascata delle Marmore waterfalls, which are located about 8 km from Terni, in Umbria, are not a natural phenomenon but were created by the ancient Romans. The water source of the falls is Lake Piediluco which is fed by the river Velino (the rest of the river flows into a hydroelectric power plant). The falls descend into the river Nera in the valley below. The falls are in effect turned on and off according to a fixed schedule, for the benefit of tourists and the power company alike.
The fortified Benedictine Abbey of St. Cassiano is beautifully located on Monte Santa Croce, overlooking and controlling the Nera, in Umbria. The abbey was built on the site of a fortified monastery dating back to the Gothic Wars (6 C), and was probably built by the famous Byzantine general, Belisarius.
Pintoricchio was born in Perugia in 1481, worked mostly in Sienna, but also in Rome and Perugia, and died in Sienna in 1513. According to Vasari, Pinturicchio was a paid assistant of Perugino. The Baglioni Chapel is a chapel in the Collegiate church of Santa Maria Maggiore at Spello in Umbria and is famous for the frescoes executed by Pinturicchio from ca. 1500 to 1501.
One of the great pleasures of a visit to Italy is to stumble across a local festival or fair (festa, sagre, fiera). Although there are a great many of these events – fairs, costumed festivals, patron saints’ days etc. – so that your chances of finding yourselves participating by chance are good, it is nevertheless worthwhile to do a bit of research because some of these festivals are not to be missed.