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 [...]
Visitors to Orvieto should not miss the two small museums located on the Piazza del Duomo. These are the National Archaeological Museum which holds the most recently found archaeological materials from the city and surrounding area, and the Museum of the Faina Foundation, located on the opposite side of piazza which holds a number of older finds plus items bought on the antiquarian market. Of special interest are the Etruscan artefacts, since Orvieto is a good candidate to be the site of Etruscan Volsinii (Velzna or Velusna) which was known to stand on a steep height and was the location of the Fanum Voltumnae, the most important sanctuary of the Etruscans.
The Eremo (Hermitage) delle Carceri is a refuge located not far from Assisi in a steep forest gorge on the slopes of Monte Subasio, at 791 m (2,595 ft) above sea level. The name Carceri comes from the Latin carceres, meaning “isolated places” or “prisons”.
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.
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.
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.
The “old town” of Assisi is not very large and can easily be explored on foot. The Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is the mother church of the Order of Friars Minor, commonly known as the Franciscan Order. As the burial place of St. Francis, the basilica is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Italy.
Città della Pieve in Umbria overlooks the Val di Chiana towards the western frontier of Umbria, about 20 km south of Lake Trasimeno and 8 km from Chiusi in Tuscany. Città della Pieve is more a town than a city and is an attractive, compact locality.