Spoleto, this beautiful medieval city with its maze of alleys in the shadow of the castle, is transformed each summer into a city vibrating with music and entertainment in churches, squares and palaces, attracting audiences from all around the world, especially for the famous Festival of Spoleto. Located between Rome and Ancona, the province of Umbria, with its medieval villages, such as Assisi, Gubbio, and Perugia, is distinguished by beautiful hills with scattered vineyards and centuries-old mansions on land that has been converted into wonderful farms.

Since the mid-20th century, Spoleto has been at the heart of the global music scene. The Lombard composer, Gian Carlo Menotti, at the peak of his career in the United States, dreamed of creating an event where music, opera, dance and great artists would come together in a unique celebration of the performing arts that united the Old and New World. Thus, the “Festival of the Two Worlds” was born. On June 5, 1958, it opened its curtains for the first time with Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth, directed by Luchino Visconti, 55 years later, Spoletians agree that Menotti predicted correctly. The city slowly came to life and finally took off, drawing to it all of the legendary figures of the 20th century.

A stroll in the historic center of Spoleto is most pleasurable. From Piazza della Libertà take the Corso Mazzini all the way to Piazza della Signioria  you will see BC Roman Theater where the festival dance performances mainly take place. Very close you will find the Archaeological Museum from prehistoric times to late antiquity. The heart of the city is Piazza del Duomo and the beautiful church of St. Assunta, originally built in 1067 with impressive frescoes of Pinturicchio, and Filippo Lippi.

At the Piazza del Duomo you will also find the Opera house/Theatro Caio Melisso. Opposite the Theatro stands the home of Menotti, which, since 2011, has housed the documentation center of the festival. Right below, Trick Track restaurant offers excelent dry martinis it’s worth sampling the spaghetti with black truffles, the most characteristic product of the area.

An amazing walk is exploring  the Giro Dei Condotti,  found around Spoleto, with panoramic views of the city and the entire valley. The trail, green with lush vegetation, will lead you to a bridge which is part of the Roman aqueduct (Ponte delleTorre). Cross the 230 meters of the bridge to reach the magnificent fortress of the Rocca Albornoziana that towers above the city. If you go in the afternoon, you can get there from the escalator of Pontsianino at the foot of the hill. The views of the medieval city from above in the light of the sunset is dream-like.

In the end of the bridge, is situated the Hotel Gattapone, one of the city’s finest small hotels. Opposite is the hill Monteloukro the Sacred Forest of Saint Francis and the dozens of nature trails.

From the hotel, it is worth  a day to devote to the Sagkrantino wine roads.The purple signs lead visitors from one winery to another, definitely try Tribiano Spoletino.

Julia Klimi

Translation Vicky Anastasiadou

The full article about Spoleto (in Greek language) published in Kathimerini June 2015.

Στο περιοδικό “Ταξίδια” της Καθημερινής μπορείτε να διαβάσετε το άθρο στα ελληνικά.

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