Our first itinerary starts from the heart of Italy: Umbria.
Fascinating region characterized by the uninterrupted succession of green hills that gradually merge with the Valnerina mountain and furthermore up to the Sibillini massif.
All the territory is scattered by cities and settlements rich in history and traditions.
The first stop of our trip led us to the spectacular Marmore Falls. It is absolutely impossible not to realize that you have arrived at your destination. After the umpteenth bend of the Provincial Road 209, you suddenly unveil an unprecedented spectacle and definitely out of the ordinary: majestically calm waterfalls offer to the view in all their splendor. The Marmore Falls are one of the highest in Europe, counting on a 165-meter altitude, divided into three jumps.
It is possible to park the car just a few meters from the entrance and, crossing a typical market, you find yourself immersed in the vast natural park that houses the falls (lower belvedere).
We decided to start our visit from the top belvedere, reachable by a shuttle in a few minutes of travel (advisable).
At the entrance of the upper belvedere stands the Specola, a loggia built by Pope Pius VI in 1781. You will find yourself on a small tower at the end of the Upper Cascade Belvedere, from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the first jump .
Exactly the privileged place to observe the rainbow of Marmore, a phenomenon that is visible when creating special atmospheric conditions related to the presence of water vapor (we assure you that the rainbow is absolutely true!).
Visiting all five of the routes around the falls, you will be constantly surrounded by an extraordinary flora and fauna, typical of Mediterranean vegetation: an exceptional biological wealth.
Water over the centuries has dug some beautiful caves with stalactites and stalagmites in travertine.
Absolutely distinctive is the "Balcony of the lovers".
It is a terrace at the end of the tunnel of the same name (the "Tunnel of the Innamorati"), embedded in the travertine rock a few inches from the Waterfall: by stretching an arm you will touch the water of the Waterfall (need a raincoat!).
The view from the second jump represents one of the most fascinating places of the Waterfall, from which you can see the many canyons excavated in the rock by the waters of the river; All around this path there are innumerable wooden ladders and bridges.
Waterwind and unspoiled nature make this one of the most exciting in the Waterfall.
The path of "Pennarossa" (accessible from the Lower Belvedere) is instead the touristic route par excellence. A stairway leads up Mount Pennarossa, reaching two scenic spots with a striking frontal view of the Waterfall. It is the only point that allows a complete view of the three jumps. In fact, it is just in front of the cliff from where the Waterfall is formed. At the top you will get so tired... but the view is definitely worthy of appreciation!
Immediately after visiting the Marmore Waterfall, we stop at Ferentillo, a charming Umbrian village nestled in the splendid Valnerina, just inside the River Black River Park. The village has for centuries been a cultural and religious center of great importance, just look at the numerous architectonic, artistic and archaeological evidence that you encounter in visiting it.
Two places have hit our attention and we absolutely recommend visiting: the Museum of the Mummies and the Church of the Abbey of St. Peter in the Valley.
The Museum of the mummies is located in the crypt of the Church of Santo Stefano and it is in this place that from the 16th century onwards all the dead of the village were inundated.
With the emanation of Napoleonic Edict, extending to Italy in 1806, all burials were banned within the city walls and the extra-urban cemeteries were established.
In addition to banning the burial, the bodies of the bodies inside the crypt were ordered, and only then was the perfect mummification of some of them.
That was how the sensational discovery took place: Exumatic individuals were completely mummified. It was noticed how the mummification of the bodies had happened in a totally spontaneous way.
In addition to retaining the skin, some of them still had intact their nails, teeth, ears, lips, genitals, beard and hair. The mummies are still being studied by experts all over the world.
That said might sound like a macabre but we assure you it is a very fascinating place to visit especially for the alea of mystery surrounding it.
The Abbey of San Pietro in Valle is a historic monastery of Valnerina, located right in the town of Ferentillo. The old monastery is currently privately owned and used as a hotel residence, where we were lucky enough to be accommodated during our stay.
The abbey was built in the eighth century by Faroaldo II, Duke of Spoleto, in the places where the hermits Lazarus and John lived. According to the legend, the Duke of Spoleto saw in his dream St. Peter himself, who invited him to build a Benedictine monastery in the place of the present abbey. A few years later the duke renounced the title and became a monk in the abbey.
At the end of the 9th century the monastery suffered, the pilgrimage of the Saracens and resources later to the will of Brass III. In 1234 Gregory IX assigns the abbey to the Cistercians in line with what is happening in Lazio under Innocent III.
In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII gave the Abbey's abode to the Cybo and from 1917 the monastery went into private hands.
The church, which has remained as a separate body from the abbey, is on a single nave dating back to the 7th century; The apse is of the twelfth century.
Preserve precious medieval and Renaissance frescoes of Umbrian school depicting antique and New Testament scenes.
Having stayed at this beautiful property has literally accompanied us in a charming journey through time: the surrounding landscape and architecture suddenly catapult you into the twelfth century.
Staying in the rooms of this wonderful abbey was a tremendous privilege. Everything is taken care of in detail. An experience that we recommend to all lovers of historic residences.
In addition to history, traditions and landscape, you can not remain indifferent to the flavors of typical Umbrian cuisine.
And it is in Ferentillo that we have enjoyed the magnificence.
In particular, at "Osteria del Trap" we delighted our palate with exquisite meat dishes (excellent cut with porcini and truffles) ... not to mention the cakes!
Very relaxing environment and unique atmosphere on the lake owned by the restaurant.
We moved to the southern part of the Umbra Valley and, housed in a very large plain (where a lake once stood), we come to Spoleto.
Crossing the historic center you can admire the enchanting alleys where the past is still enclosed in every detail.
Walk through the alleys of the old town, stroll through the wonderful natural scenery and visit its monuments are moments through which you can enjoy full of a radiant Spoleto.
The Duomo (or Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta), a symbol of the city of Spoleto, but also the location of the famous Festival of the Two Worlds, is certainly one of the most beautiful Romanesque examples we have in Italy. It was built in 1175 in the place where the church, dating back to the 8th century, was destroyed, destroyed by Federico Barbarossa.
Consecrated by Pope Innocent III, works continued until the middle of the 13th century. The beautiful façade is divided into three sections, the lower one is characterized by a porch erected in the 15th century as well as the bell tower standing on the left side.
The central part, on the other hand, is characterized by a central rosette and four other lateral sides, while at the top there are three large arches with the central one containing a mosaic depicting the Redeemer between Our Lady and St. John, above it there are other Three rosettes. The interior of the Duomo is astonishing and rich in works of art, among them (just to name a few) we remember: the cycle of frescoes by Filippo Lippi, the Eroi Chapel frescoed by Pinturicchio, the letter signed by St. Francis of Assisi The tablet given as a symbol of peace by Federico Barbarossa to the city of Spoleto. In addition, from the canonical of the Duomo you can access the ancient Cripta di San Primiano, which is the only "intact" environment of the old buildings of the cathedral.
The Rocca Albornoziana is at the top of the hill of Sant'Elia, where it overlooks the Umbrian valley and offers a breathtaking panorama.
The Rocca has two inner courtyards and six towers, including the one commonly called the "spiritata", and the "pinnacle room", frescoed with 15th-century paintings. A scenic fortress overlooking the town of Spoleto.
It is the main bastion of the fortification system built by Pope Innocent VI, to strengthen militarily and to make the authority of the Church more visible inthe territories of Central Italy.
The Tower Bridge, 236 meters long and about 90 meters high, is undoubtedly the "symbol monument" of the city of Spoleto: a mastodontic works on ten arches that connects between Colle Sant'Elia and Monteluco.
The crossing of the bridge is made up of a road and a water channel, supported by ogival arches and stone pilasters. You will come across a long panoramic walk around the Rock.
The Bridge of the Towers offers a panoramic view without comparison: from its height you can admire one of the most suggestive and unaltered areas of the preappennine extension near Spoleto.
Let's remember that this was a view that also impressed Wolfgang Goethe, a German writer and playwright of theeighteenth century who devoted an entire page of his "Journey to Italy".
Our preferred restaurants and hotels in Ferentillo:
Hotel Abbazia San Pietro in Valle, Ferentillo (TR)