Introductions to various aspects of the history, languages and peoples of Tuscany in Italy
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.
St. Benedict (San Benedetto) enjoys a very special place in the life of Norcia (Nursia, in Roman times), where he was born, probably in about the year 480, reaching manhood as the remnants of the Roman Empire slid into chaos. During the subsequent Dark Age, monasteries were often the main focal points of culture, learning, spiritual zeal and readiness for social action, in contrast to the agitated sea of barbarism that surrounded them on all sides.
Carsulae is a quite well-preserved Roman city located in the Umbria countryside. Although not as spectacular as Pompeii and Herculaneum, Carsulae does nevertheless provide a readily comprehensible example of Roman city planning, with some of the major features of a Roman provincial city clearly visible.
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.
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