Montignano
The origins of the Castle of Montignano date back to 962 when Otto I of Saxony was crowned in Milan as Emperor of Germany and King of  Italy by Pope John XII and he immediately tried to gain the loyalty [...]
Villa San Faustino
The castle of Villa San Faustino was part of the Terre Arnolfe in the tenth and eleventh centuries (mentioned in documents of the abbey of Farfa 1115 and 1118). The castle, connected to the important parish chu [...]
Colpetrazzo
Castle built between 1300 and 1400, it still preserves its medieval structure. Of particular interest is the medieval main door near the small church of San Bernardino. Above the church of San Bernardino is sit [...]
Mezzanelli
The castle of Mezzanelli has followed the fortunes of the various rulers who handled its political life. Once part of Terre Arnolfe, the castle was cited in documents from 1115 and 1118 (Earls Ridolfo, Saraceno [...]
Castel Rinaldi
Medieval village built in 1160 by a certain "Rinaldo Duke of Calabria", Castel Rinaldi was part of the fief of the Arnolfi. Constantly part of Guelph, Castel Rinaldi was often the center of infighting that mark [...]
Viepri
The fortified village of Viepri is wrapped in high hills, which ensured defense for centuries and still seem to hide it. Built after 1380 on the ruins of the demolished castle of Monte Schignano, its rule was t [...]
Martani Mountains
The Martani Mountains extend evenly from south to north for about 35 km between the provinces of Perugia and Terni. They border to the east on the Umbrian Valley and Valserra, to the west on th [...]
Castelvecchio
The village is today very different from what must have appeared in the Middle Ages. Today only some ruins of the fortified village remain, hidden by vegetation. Literature attest it as one of the most [...]

Geo-Tourism in the Martana area

19 km - itinerary feasible by bicycle or motor vehicle 

The itinerary is focused on the geology of the mountains around Massa Martana but also allows the visitor to appreciate natural and artistic attractions. The itinerary starts from Viepri, a charming fortified medieval village located at the foot of mount Monte Schignano; the mountain is famos for the pre-Roman settlement remains.

From Viepri you will then reach the Abbey of Santa Maria Viepri (private structure, visits upon demand), probably built by the lords of Castelvecchio around 1150; the structure preserves the primitive Romanesque style, even after extensive restorations. Leaving the abbey the itinerary then reaches Castelvecchio, village that during the XIII century was one of the largest and most populous castles in the area. The massive elliptical walls encompassed a village with more than 100 families, a hospital and seven churches. Entering the village you can visit the church of Santa Maria di Castelvecchio, and a little further in the direction Grutti, the church of St. Ippolito with its typically hut-shaped structure and elegant Romanesque lines. It presents a semicircular apse of unusual shape and the typical masonry blocks in white and pink. In the vicinity of St. Ippolito you can make a short stroll of about 800 m to observe a striking karst fenomenon; a sinkhole. At the end of the footpath you will reach an old quarry dug out of the local limestone; here, with a little patience, it is possible to find fossilized remains of ammonites (cephalopods) and marine mollusks dating back from Jurassic times and silent witnesse of the long geological evolution of the area. Back to the car, the itinerary continues returning to the road that descends from Viepri to Collevalenza. After some km you will reach on the right side of the road, the church of Sant'Arnaldo, the construction dates back from the XIII century, although it went through multiple alteration in later centuries. In this location, on the second Sunday of September, it is celebrated an ancient festival in honor of the saint; on this occasion a faithful crowd flock here to take profit of the miraculous virtues embodied by Sant'Arnaldo. From the church take again the provincial road for about 300 meters and follow the directions on the left for Castel Rinaldi, a fief of the Arnolfi family then subjected to Todi. The village is a typical example of fortified settlement with its the well preserved city walls and the parish church of San Sebastiano.  Along the road back to Viepri are visible even-though partially hidden by the vegetation, several small niches carved in the travertine. those structures called "columbaria" probably had in ancient times a funerary function.

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Viepri

The fortified village of Viepri is wrapped in high hills, which ensured defense for centuries and still seem to hide it. Built after 1380 on the ruins of the demolished castle of Monte Schignano, its rule was the subject of a dispute between Todi and Foligno. In 1392 it chose to submit to Ugolino Trinci, lord of Foligno but was finally conquered by Todi. The winners  put their coat of arms, an eagle, above one of the two gates of the castle. They are still well preserved, while only a portion of the medieval walls is visible. Inside the small village is the church of San Giovanni with an interesting frescoes dated 1577(Madonna col bambino tra angeli, Decollazione di San Giovanni Battista and San Rocco).

 

 

 

MARTANI MOUNTAINS

The Martani Mountains extend evenly from south to north for about 35 km between the provinces of Perugia and Terni. They border to the east on the Umbrian Valley and Valserra, to the west on the valley of the Tiber and that of the Naia and to the south on the Terni basin with the Nera River. The chain of Martani Mountains is surrounded by important cities and historical centers: Montefalco and Foligno to the north, Spoleto to the east, Todi, Acquasparta and Sangemini to the west and Terni to the south. There are also numerous ancient finds and archaeological sites. The most important is Carsulae.
The tops of Martani Mountains are mostly rounded and covered with grass. The main are (from N to S): Monte Martano (1094 m) - Monte Capoccia Pelata (1054 m) - Monte Forzano (1086 m) – Cima Panco (1013 m) - Torre Maggiore (1121 m) - Monte Torricella (1054 m). The vegetation predominantly consists of oak and, in higher areas, beech. The Martani are full of caves, sinkholes and water erosion inside the sinkholes. The Martani are part of the Umbria-Marche Apennine: they are a well-defined geomorphological and lithological entity described as a system of folds and thrust faults arranged to form an arc in eastern convexity. The summit areas emerge micritic limestones: you are placed in an environment of pelagic sedimentation from the Lower Jurassic, ie from 190 million years ago. Along the ridge one can observe interesting karst morphotypes, formed by the corrosive action of rainwater on limestone, such as sinkholes, diffusely present along the chain (The Tifene, Corva of Mezzanelli, Pozzale, etc..), to the west of the same and karst plains such as Casetta San Severo. Near the summit of Monte Martano a strong humanization altered the mountain landscape. In this place, considered strategic for position, exposure and altitude, a considerable number of radio and television repeaters  were placed.

Castellieri culture 

The Castellieri culture (or castellare) is a small fortified protohistorical settlement or village (Bronze Age and Iron Age), built in the most easily defendable elevated position, in which a natural defensive situation was exploited and reinforced by man. The fortifications are generally made of stone and wooden palisades and mostly (but not always) circular. At the fortified village are sometimes associated external necropoles, formerly with the deceased buried in boxes made of stony slabs, decorated with vases and hammers. Often their well-defendable locations have been reused at the time of the ancient Romans and during the Middle Age. The Castellieri culture, which developed in Istria and neighboring areas (also Friuli and Venezia Giulia) between the 15th and the 3rd century BC.  Other rather well-known and studied Castellieri in Italy are present in Umbria, especially in the highlands of Umbria-Marche Apennines. Among the Castellieri in the area we should also include those of Monte Il Cerchio, Monte Martano, San Pietro in Monte, Monte Schignano and M. Capoccia Pelata.

 

 

 

Santa Maria di Viepri

Near Viepri stands the Abbey of Santa Maria. It was built around 1150 by the Lords of Castelvecchio. At the beginning of the 13th century it became the parish church of destroyed castle of Monte Schignano. An interesting example of Romanesque architecture, in time it underwent various interventions. The abbey was built using material from abandoned Roman buildings. On the simple gabled facade opens a portal surmounted by a lancet window and stands what remains of a sturdy bell tower, mutilated, it seems, by a lightning.

The great square tower was subsequently incorporated in the adjacent building. Along the outer walls of the abbey are incorporated a number of interesting and sculptural fragments of Roman and early medieval age. The semicircular apses have the characteristic crowning arches and pilasters on shelves, common to the Romanesque churches of Umbria. The interior is spacious and divided into three naves, separated by solid pillars without capitals, ending in three apses. It is covered by cross vaults supported by transverse arches, but it is plausible to assume that originally presented the usual wooden roof trusses. Although the abbey is free from the crypt below the chancel is slightly raised above the floor of the nave.

 

Castelvecchio

The village is today very different from what must have appeared in the Middle Ages. Today only some ruins of the fortified village remain, hidden by vegetation.

Literature attest it as one of the most important and populous castles in the area (the town had about 100 families), surrounded by massive elliptical walls.

A place of passage, for its location along the path between Massa Martana, Todi and Gualdo Cattaneo, it had a hospital and seven churches under it (San Giorgio, Sant'Anastasia, Santa Cristina, San Biagio, Santa Croce, Santissima Trinità e Sant’Ippolito).

Castelvecchio's history is marked by several episodes, which made the town a scene of repeated fighting. In 1377 Catalano degli Atti head of the Guelph faction attacked the population of the Ghibelline party, who were able to protect themselves thanks to good defense that the mighty walls opposed.

In 1434 the castle was totally destroyed by the troops of Francesco Sforza. The few survivors decided to reconstruct the village further down the valley, around an important crossroads where in 1603 was built the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Castelvecchio.

The building still dominates the town, showing late Renaissance lines that little integrate with the architecture and atmosphere of medieval castles in the area.

The sanctuary was built in 1604 by the Bishop of Todi Angelo Cesi and was designed by the architect from Perugia Valentino Martelli. The church was built to commemorate a miraculous event occurred May 11, 1602. The simple lines of the structure hide a rich interior of seventeenth-century works of art, in addition to the fresco on the main altar, with the miraculous image of the Madonna con Bambino, painted in 1581 by Pietro Paolo Sensini.

On the four side altars there are fine seventeenth-century paintings: Cristo crocifisso tra San Francesco e Santa Maria Maddalena, by Ascensidonio Spacca called il Fantino, San Carlo Borromeo by Pietro Paolo Sensini and Madonna di Costantinopoli e la Santissima Concezione tra i Santi Francesco, Domenico e Antonio da Padova by Pietro Salvi da Bevagna.  Just outside the town is the pretty little church of St. Ippolito, documented since the 13th century, of an elegant Romanesque style with a semicircular apse of unusual shape and masonry in white and pink stone. The interior has a single nave and the apse preserves a seventeenth century fresco depicting “Cristo in Croce tra San Pietro e San Paolo”.

 

Sinkhole of Castelvecchio

Dolina is a word of Slovenian origin and simply means valley. Given that the interest in the karst phenomena developed from the Slovenian territories, international terminology has designed that term to define more precisely a karst valley, which is a typical depression of the land molded into various shapes by karst phenomena. A dolina (sinkhole) is a closed basin that would fill with water giving rise to a pond if the walls and floor were waterproof, however, usually the water is absorbed through underground tunnels. Formed by the erosive action of rainwater, the sinkhole has an elliptical form and measures 250-300 m in diameter and is about 20 m deep.

Ammonites

The Ammonites, Phylum: Mollusca - Class: Cephalopoda - Subclass: Ammonoidea, are cephalopods appeared in the Devonian (about 400 million years ago) and extinct around the Upper Cretaceous-Paleocene (ca. 65 million years ago). Ammonites were animals of marine origin whose shell was formed by calcium carbonate in the form of aragonite, while the organic part was substantially composed by conchiolina. Ammonites were classified as cephalopods and can be considered as the progenitors of today's squid and cuttlefish. The anatomical parts that you can recognize and observe in fossils of ammonites are mainly: the fragmocon and protoconch, the Chamber of Housing and the peristome.

 Sant'Arnaldo

The church is surrounded only by some oak and cypress woods. It still has part of the original stone facade in local white and pink stone documented as early as the thirteenth century, has a single nave, much altered in later centuries. An ancient religious festival that attracts many pilgrims from different locations is celebrated on the second Sunday of September.

 

Microlimpiadi
Sagra della Polenta
Sagra del Buon Mangiare

Itineraries

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